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Russia Lifts Food Sanctions, Imports Baked Potato to Host Economic Forum

Why does Russia keep inviting vegetables to moderate its international conferences?

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Despite its booming agriculture sector, Russia has once again chosen to import a GMO vegetable to moderate one of its international forums. 

Yes, Megyn Kelly is just the latest addition to a growing list of potatoes invited by the Kremlin to debase an international gathering in Russia. By our count, she's the third televised windbag to haunt a Russian forum in the last year.

<figcaption>Megyn Kelly, moments before saying something deeply regrettable </figcaption>
Megyn Kelly, moments before saying something deeply regrettable

Let's review how awful things have become. 


June, 2017: Megyn Kelly's utterances at the 21st St. Petersburg International Economic Forum cause global shortages of ear bleach

There were so many moments from this year's forum that will be impossible to forget, even after intensive therapy, but if we had to choose one exchange, it would have to be when Putin literally asked her, "What are you talking about?"

Also, there was this:

March, 2017: CNBC's Geoff Cutmore tries to lecture Putin at the International Artic Forum in Arkhangelsk, Russia

The CNBC journalist asked Putin about "political interference", human rights and the recent protests in Moscow. 

Putin was not impressed:

We keep talking about human rights. All the time we talk about human rights. And you just mentioned those protests in Moscow and other cities in Russia.

But remember: [The West] imposed sanctions on people who had nothing to do with Crimea. They were not even involved. They were not aware of the government’s plans. They found out about this from the media. And then, they imposed sanctions on those people. What about human rights? They seized their accounts, they can no longer use their money to take care of their families.

So: What are you even talking about? How can you talk about human rights? So you want to have human rights in some cases, and then you don’t want human rights for other people.

It doesn’t make any sense. It’s not fair. Unfortunately we see this degradation of international law in practice. We have to fix that. Can we do that? Yes, we can. So let’s work on it together.

June, 2016: CNN's Fareed Zakaria tries to get 'colorful' with Putin

Zakaria had been invited to moderate a panel discussion at Saint Petersburg Economic Forum, which ran from June 16th to June 18th. Present on the stage were Zakaria, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, President Putin, and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Mr. Zakaria asked Putin why he complimented Donald Trump, calling him "brilliant, talented, and smart." Putin's response was, essentially, "I called him colorful - what part of 'colorful' don't you understand?" He then proceeded on a rhetorical tour de force against the hypocrisy of US foreign policy and criticism of Russia that left poor Fareed clearly looking like he'd been humbled. 

Can someone please explain why the Kremlin can't invite thoughtful people to moderate their events? Even with considerable mental gymnastics, this is all we can come up with:

  • Inviting certified imbeciles to moderate Russian forums will make them more "western friendly".
  • It also could potentially entice Americans to watch world leaders discuss issues, instead of watching the latest History Channel special about Hitler's secret UFO technology. So, an act of altruism, basically?
  • It's an easy way to show Russians the sad level of political discourse in the US

Megyn Kelly is not going to bridge any cultural or political misunderstandings between Russia and the US. Let's stop pretending that the US media will give Putin or Russia a fair shake. 

What is the Kremlin thinking? We're desperate for answers. Help us out.

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