4 December 2012, 18:37

Russia is closed for you Mr. Harding

Russia is closed for you Mr. Harding

The UK’s Guardian is in our sights as this week’s most anti-Russian biased media outlet in the world. Once again we see Russia demonized and tired cold war stereotypes and fears brought out to this time attack people who are doing their most to improve relations between the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation. A Russian Embassy response, a writer who has been barred from entering Russia in the past and a newspaper with questionable motives are all part of this week’s media-bias counter bias report.

Hello dear reader, it has been a while since we looked at Western anti-Russian media bias, by no means is this because it has become less, it has in fact, become more widespread and even bolder. Unfortunately I have been busy covering other subjects and fulfilling other duties but this screams for attention and as the saying goes the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

This week I would like to take a look at a smear campaign being carried out by the UK’s Guardian against Russia, the elected president of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, the Russian Embassy in London and a UK political group called Conservative Friends of Russia.

When the subject first came to my attention my first question was why? There is always a reason for everything and my article is no exception. I am interested in getting the truth out and countering lies, I think everything I have ever written would back that up, and I am not afraid to call a spade a spade when the case in question calls for it. In this case the “why” appears to be gratuitous pandering to the anti-Russian sentiments of many of the Guardian's readers and Russophobes worldwide in an attempt to increase the publication’s readership.

The author of the article in question, one Luke Harding, has made a career of demonizing Russia. To the right of his columns deriding Russia, the Guardian shamelessly hawks his latest work, “Mafia State: How one reporter became an enemy of the brutal new Russia”, a book they published themselves and which claims to prove its title with US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. As if the Russophobic US State Department is somehow a reliable un-biased source capable of honestly assessing their self-declared geo-political enemy.

If all of that was not bad enough it gets worse. Mr. Harding was not allowed to enter Russia, and had his visa revoked on arrival and was immediately sent back to London due to a lack of credentials as a journalist and according to the Russian Internal Ministry for: “… a series of violations of the rules concerning foreign correspondents which were approved by the Government of the Russian Federation in 1994 and are well known to all journalists"

Mr. Harding obviously suffers from a delusional architecture full of spies and persecution by the “KGB” and that everything Russian is somehow evil and controlled by omnipotent evil dark forces. This is evident even in the portrayal of his denial of entry into Russia. He paints a picture of being deported unfairly as if he became an “enemy of the state”, while conveniently omitting the fact that he was in violation of many Russian laws and rules including being in an area where anti-terrorist operations were taking place without permission.

The fact that his delusions of persecution are real might be backed up by the fact that even the Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation publicly stated in an interview with the BBC that Mr. Harding is welcome back in Russia when he gets his documents in order and that his accreditation was waiting for him to come and pick it up.

Harding maintaining his “legend” of persecution by Russia is something that he needs to do to keep his readers believing what he writes and helps the Guardian sell papers, which is what it is all about for the Guardian.

For an organization such as the Guardian and a writer such as Mr. Harding, who needs Cold War thinking and Russophobia to continue in order to remain relevant, it is then obvious why they have chosen to attack the way they have.

It is sad that such people would attack a group such as the Conservative Friends of Russia, who were interested in advancing and promoting positive ties between the two countries. Yet for someone who wants to paint Russia as being evil and anyone who wants to advance anything positive with regard to Russia as being manipulated by the evil non-existent “KGB”, the choice of attack was obvious.

Let’s look at the article in question, obviously written for the gullible and easily influenced: namely tose who would not see through the attempt to paint a picture not keeping with reality, or in keeping with a reality they themselves have created, are you with me? It begins with a provocative headline: “How Kremlin got diplomats to woo Tories”, obviously the Guardian does not support the Tories, and shows a picture of two young serious looking men, one of them Sergey Nalobin the First Secretary of the Russian Embassy’s Political Section, who the Guardian takes issue with because they claim “Nalobin's father was a high-ranking officer in the FSB, Vladimir Putin's spy service.”

Okay stop. First off since when does what one’s father did affect what ones does now. The Guardian obviously wants to portray the fact that his father was in the Federal Security Service (FSB) as something evil and that as a result the son is just some sort of puppet. Calling the FSB “Vladimir Putin's spy service” is also ridiculous, as if President Putin created it and owns it. Maybe Mr. Harding would tell us what his father did and we could ponder his credibility as a “journalist”.

Mr. Harding continues his attack on Sergey Nalobin by writing a paragraph on his father and attempts to portray something sinister in the fact that he achieved a high position in the FSB. Harding keeps repeating Alexander Litvinenko so much that he gives the impression he really believes that that is all that the FSB is about. Lest Harding not be aware, the FSB is a part of the government of the biggest country in the world and it is charged with guaranteeing the security of the Russian Federation, due to this its roles are extremely diversified and widespread. Their jurisdiction does not include Britain or territories outside the Russian Federation except for the exception of hot pursuits of terrorists and they can not operate outside of Russia. Also for Mr. Harding the Border Service, which revoked your visa and “deported” you are under the FSB, but this does not mean you are being persecuted by the FSB.

Mr. Harding continues in the same vein saying Sergey Nalobin’s brother was FSB and throwing President Putin into the mix because he was the head of the FSB. Apparently and it is really sad, Harding and many of his audience and editors believe the FSB is some evil organization due to their xenophobia.

The FSB, MI-6, the CIA, Mossad and other intelligence agencies all work to promote their country’s interests and guarantee the security of their citizens and respective motherlands, this is normal and as it should be. Why then is it that any connection with the FSB is seen as something evil by the West.

Why isn’t the same standard used regarding, for example, US president’s ties to the CIA? Those are enough to fill volumes, or British politician’s ties to MI-5/6, those would also be worth noting if we wanted to engage in similar attack journalism. Should we all assume now that every British functionary at the embassy here in Moscow is working for MI-6, or at the US Embassy for the CIA?

I personally find offensive Harding’s portrayals of Russia, Russian diplomats, the Russian President, the Russian people and the FSB and would ban him from ever entering Russia if I could. This is not the first time his bias has entered the cross-hairs. The FSB is an honorable organization whose members follow the law and the constitution to the letter and take their oaths seriously, it members rarely seek recognition for their deeds and their successes are rarely ever heard about, it is offensive that a hack like Harding can be allowed to disgrace and vilify anything he wants because it sells some papers.

The Russian Embassy in London published a response to the article in question, the following is an excerpt, challenging the Guardian to publish their response:

“We are well aware of the existing bias, instincts and prejudices of some who would like any progress in our relationship to wait for the moment when we see eye to eye on issues of democratic development. Such an approach smacks of self-righteousness. Do we need to say that no country is now in good shape in terms of economy, fiscal situation, state of democracy, quality of political elites and, finally, the media? Russia is also far from perfect, and whatever problems we have we are willing to discuss those with our partners, including the British. That is, in fact, done at all levels. After all, Russia, naturally, is in a momentous transition, sort of goods in process, not finished goods in a state of end of history rot. We don’t claim moral high ground, but ask for a reasoned debate.”

“Since the state of the British media is a topical issue, it would be only fair to say that Britain’s international partners have a huge interest in their health, Russia being no exception. We did have those problems with the British mainstream press in the past.”, the Embassy of the Russian Federation in UK’s website says.

“We hope, the media, the Fourth Estate will exercise its freedom responsibly for the good of Great Britain and its international relationships which are a major source of economic growth and prosperity in our interdependent world. Hopefully, the blame for parts of British media’s blatant disregard for common decency won’t be put at our Embassy’s door.”

I hope so too.

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