Originally appeared at Journalitico
The Daily Beast is not somewhere I would generally turn to for balanced coverage of Russia, and mostly, I scroll past it without reading. But occasionally they manage to prove that there apparently is no limit to the depths they will plunge for a good old anti-Russia story.
Every now and then it drifts from seething hatred of Russia as an entity and Putin as a leader to pure Russophobic insanity. Often they use Russian authors to disseminate the worst of it, as if that somehow makes it more acceptable.
The latest installment has the not-at-all sensationalist headline: Why Do Russians Hate Refugees?
The thesis for this theory that “Russians” in general “hate” refugees appears to be one comment posted in a Facebook group called “Russian-speaking Switzerland” in which one Russian woman said she had a bad dream about refugees, calling them “savages on the run”.
The author also posits:
“It would be hard to imagine a European immigration officer making statements similar to those of Russian Federal Migration Service director Konstantin Romodanovsky when he was explaining why Muscovites are so negative about Central Asian migrants”
The statement referred to is this: “The population is not annoyed by the fact that these people are working [i.e. they are taking someone’s else job] but by the fact that they behave differently.”
Actually, it would not be hard to imagine European officials saying something like this at all; mainly because they have already, numerous times.
In addition, the author uses some random anecdotes about her racist friends in France to make her case that all Russians hate refugees. And that’s basically it.
Now, here’s the thing. There is a nugget of truth in the piece, but the way it has been presented by The Daily Beast as “look, reason 3465 you should hate Russia!” makes it valueless as a piece of journalism.
Russian attitudes to refugees from Syria, Iraq etc. generally are not the most welcoming. They are more in line with the views from eastern Europe in general, which the author and The DB apparently have entirely forgotten. Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland. These are countries which have all expressed extremely negative attitudes towards refugees in recent weeks and months. Some have expressed that they would prefer to take only Christian refugees.
But that didn’t warrant a mention. Nor did the fact that after the US, Russia is the second most popular immigration haven in the world. It’s far more juicy to just whip up an anecdotal tale about why Russians are horrible, racist barbarians who hate refugees. That’ll get more clicks.