The World According to 'The Daily Beast': Anti-Putin Nationalists, Good; Other Nationalists, Icky.
'The Daily Beast' is fine with nationalists...just as long as they are Russophobic and anti-Putin
Sadly, it should come as no surprise to anyone reading this that the Western MSM has tried to use the tragic murder of a child in Moscow to gain some leverage in their propaganda war against Russia. RI contributor Ricky Twisdale covered the classy way in which The Moscow Times tried to use the lack of television coverage proof of Stalinist censorship in Russia. As Twisdale elegantly wrote, this is easily refuted. I first read about the story at Russia Beyond the Headlines, the English-language output of Rossiskaya Gazeta, a state-owned newspaper.
Not to be outdone, The Daily Beast has jumped aboard this gravy train. Anna Nemtsova, who as far as I can tell makes her living disparaging her homeland, took the opportunity to focus on Russian nationalists:
nationalist activists and politicians immediately embraced the horrific incident as a reason to oust all illegal immigrants from Russia…
Dozens of people, including Russia far-right activists, brought bouquets and toys to the entrance of the subway on Tuesday, the spot where police discovered the victim’s head.
A co-founder of the nationalist movement called “Russians,” Dmitry Demushkin, showed up with flowers, too.
For years, Russian nationalists demanded that President Vladimir Putin stop allowing foreigners to work in Russia.
Are Russian nationalists against illegal immigration in Russia? Absolutely. Are they racist? Yeah, they are. But Nemtsova has had no qualms with anti-corruption crusader Aleksey Nalvany, whose anti-immigrant record is well-documented. Yet, Nemtsova has sung his praises and made him into some kind of martyr for the anti-Putin cause. The fact that his liberal supporters have reevaluated their backing of him has mysteriously escaped her notice. Wrote TheTimes UK in 2013:
Liberal activists who have backed Russia’s leading opposition politician are reassessing their support after he gave his public backing to an extreme right-wing march in Moscow.
Nalvany hasn’t learned much, given his recent reaction to the Moscow tragedy:
“Let's not tie it to Islam” [Ed.: Bobokulova said this during an interrogation; the video leaked online].
Ok, but what could I to tie it to? To the ballet?
In this video, Gyulchekhra Bobokulova says:
“I killed the child to take revenge on Putin for bombing Syria.”
“I wanted to go to live in Syria where women are allowed to cover their faces.”
“I have three children, but you can kill them.They do not read the Koran, they do not perform namaz” [Ed.: Namaz is a Muslim prayer of repentance consisting of four parts].
It is clear that there are no religions that aim to kill children. However, we need an honest conversation about the fact that, alas, the situation is now such that if a somewhat insane person goes to the mosque or starts to discuss Islamic topics on the internet, it is very likely that they will be turned into shahids [Ed.: an Arabic word used to denote the term “martyr”] and sent to ISIS. Not because there are terrorists in the mosque, but because terrorists are the most active and are the first to indoctrinate new arrivals.
And now, we need to say not that,“Islam has nothing to do with it,” but instead that “Islam and all the ideologues condemn it, they grieve. All mosques in the country talk about this horror and curse those who confused the mentally ill woman with Syria and all the rest. Here we have a plan to prevent this from happening again.”
Otherwise this isn't going to work. Radical Islam can be defeated only with the humanity and moderation of Muslims themselves.
Whether one believes Nalvany is correct or not is beside the point. These comments would be perceived as the lowest form of Islamophobia in the West, yet the Western MSM has been inexplicably silent reporting on his statements. If Putin had made these exact comments, the Beast’s Russophobic parent magazine, Newsweek, would have had a field day. Donald Trump, the Western MSM’s current favorite whipping boy, says stuff like this all the time:
“There’s a tremendous hatred there,” Trump said. “We have to get to the bottom of it.” When [CNN's Anderson] Cooper asked Trump if he really meant to tar all Muslims, Trump shrugged off the question, saying, “You’re going to have to figure that out, OK?”
So, what is the takeaway? Nalvany blamed the tragedy in part on Islam, and is that fine with the PC West because he is anti-Putin?
Instead of chastising Nalvany, and asking him what exactly he means by “moderating” Muslims, Nemtsova chooses to focus on Russian nationalists. That is not to say that Russia doesn’t have its own fair share of nationalists and loony tunes like Aleksandr Dugin, but, unlike in Ukraine, nationalists do not have control of the Russian government.
Law enforcement officials said they were giving the nanny, 38-year-old Gyulchekhra Bobokulova from Uzbekistan, a psychiatric evaluation. They were not treating the incident as a terrorist attack, according to RFERL.
Russian politicians recommended establishing legal requirements for nannies to present a clean bill of psychiatric health to potential employers. Moscow’s Duma, the city’s local government, proposed tightening legal health requirements for nannies, the Russian news agency TASS reported. Inna Svyatenko, the chairman of Moscow Duma’s security committee said anyone employed to care for children should be required to have a full medical checkup complete with a drug test before they are able to work.
Russia’s Children’s Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov wrote on his official Twitter account, “When hiring a nanny for your child, at least check her psychological condition, require her to get a certification of mental health from a psychiatrist!” Dozens of people echoed his statement on Twitter and VKontakte, Russia’s version of Facebook.
I hate to rain on Nemtsova’s parade, but it appears as though the Russian authorities (you know, the people who make decisions and who are actually running the joint) are treating the incident as a mental health issue, rather than making it about immigration or religious ideology.
The reason for Nemtsova’s focus on the nationalists and the minority party is pretty clear. Nemtsova andThe Daily Beast needed to somehow spin this tragedy into a condemnation of Russia, Putin, Russians, and Russia under Putin. In actual fact, the Beast has zero misgivings about nationalists, so long as they are anti-Putin.
Nemtsova didn’t bat an eyelash when she reported on how swastikas are “hot” in Western Ukraine (her words, not mine.) In 2015, Beast reporter David Patrikarakos dismissed the presence of Ukrainian nationalists as a one-off:
That there were far-right elements present in the Maidan revolution that overthrew ex-President Viktor Yanukovych is undoubted. That they were a significant force is absurd (as their showing in successive presidential and parliamentary elections has proved).
The sad thing about this is early in 2014, the Beast came close to admitting the truth:
Of course the role that the Right Sector played in the Euromaidan cannot be underestimated. When two months of protests in the streets got almost no attention from Yanukovych’s government and just tightened the screws on society—with parliament voting on new draconian anti-protest laws and pro-government thug squads kidnapping and killing civil activists—it was the far right that first started to talk back to Yanukovych in his own language. They were the first to throw Molotov cocktails and stones at police and to mount real and well-fortified barricades. They were amongst those who burned two military troop carriers that attacked the barricades on February 18. The Euromaidan won thanks to the resoluteness of people who were ready to fight rather than to negotiate in parliament when any negotiation became pointless.
(Read: Nazis were used to achieve the initial Maidan goals. No biggie. Hey, they were just standing up to that bully Yanukovych, right?)
But now the situation on the ground has changed and the role the far right will play in the future of the country is an open question.
As University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski writes: “The far right in Ukraine has now achieved the level of representation and influence that is unparalleled in Europe. A member of Svoboda, a name adopted by the Social-National Party in 2004, became the Minister of Defense. Svoboda members also control the prosecutor general office, the deputy prime minister position and the ministries of ecology and agriculture. The paramilitary right sector has de facto power at least in some Western Ukrainian regions, such as the Rivne and Volyn Regions. Anriy Parubiy, the commander of the “Maidan self-defense,” has been appointed the head of the National Security and Defense Council, and [Dmitro] Yarosh, the leader of Right Sector, is expected to become his deputy.”
Nothing to see here, folks. Let’s focus on what’s wrong with Russia:
The Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF) even created a stylized logo: a circle with a line through it over a woman in a black veil with a severed head in her hand. The message: “Stop illegal immigration!”
The KPRF’s website demanded authorities address the migration issue because “some interactions between Russians and immigrants have lethal results.”
Note that their position is to crack down on illegal immigration, not immigration full stop. Unlike Nalvany, nobody in KPRF is blaming Islam here. These are the same kinds of knee-jerk reactions that one sees out of politicians, well, everywhere, after a tragedy such as this one.
Interestingly, unlike Nalvany, the Communist Party has not once been held up by the Western press as potential opposition to Putin. One wonders why, since the Communists are (spoiler alert) Putin’s opposition. They do not have a majority, but they have more support than Nalvany.
According to recent polls, Communists probably won’t be a majority any time soon. However, they are polling better than Western-backed opposition figures like Nalvany and Kasparov, so maybe they are a more realistic star the Beast could hitch its wagon to. I would really like to see an establishment Western media source trumpet their unabashed support for the Russian Communist Party. I would laugh and laugh and laugh. But I think we all know that they won’t. Supporting figures who have absolutely no chance of forming a majority in a general election serves the West’s purposes twofold: They can feel superior via opposing Putin from afar, and they can wring their hands and lament the death of democracy in Russia when their opposition darlings don’t win.
Out of options? Let’s play the Russia card:
“Things were simpler in Uzbekhistan,” writes Nemtsova where Bobokulova had suffered from schizophrenia since she was a girl. Simpler how? Schizophrenia is not an allergy. Russia did not give Bobokulova schizophrenia, or somehow make it worse. Nowhere does Nemtsova address whether Bobokulova was able to get treatment for her illness in Uzbekhistan. Uzbehkistan has an excellent public mental health care policy. Unfortunately, their facilities lack funding. Nowhere does Nemtsova say Bobokulova had access to adequate medication in Russia or Uzbekhistan, or if she did, if she was taking it. Fortunately, one of my useless degrees is in psychology, so I can say that, generally speaking, a psychiatric patient’s relapse is due to a variety of mitigating factors. “Russia” does not appear anywhere in any incarnation of the DSM as a potential cause of exacerbating schizophrenic symptoms.
“F*ck it,” writes Nemtsova. “Let’s blame her mental breakdown on Russia, too.”
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