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Obsessing Over Russia: Comparing Diplomats And Historical Narratives – Analysis


However they want to term it, the Democratic Party establishment remains frustrated about Donald Trump’s winning the US presidency. Some clumsy disclosure within Trump administration circles have served the Dems’ effort to portray a sinister Russian attempt at acquiring substantial influence in the US. Partisan propaganda aside, there continues to be inconclusive evidence and considerable reasonable doubt on the accuracy of this spin. Meantime, the Kremlin’s preference for having better relations with the US has essentially hit a roadblock with enhanced anti-Russian misinformation.

The brouhaha over US Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, has led to the dubious claim that the latter is a spook. Prior to this frenzy, the characterization of Kislyak as a spy is lacking. Even now, some of the more objective North American mass media reporting/commentary, suggest that he has (over the decades) performed like a diplomats’ diplomat. Regarding eye brows raising manner, Kislyak doesn’t seem so especially suspect when compared to how former US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul and his successor John Tefft have carried on. Specifically, McFaul’s clear receptiveness to some known opponents of the Kremlin and Tefft’s prior ambassadorial postings in the color coded revolution former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine, as well as anti-Russian leaning Lithuania.

The late Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin (blessed memory), wasn’t more confrontational than his Obama administration counterparts Susan Rice and Samantha Power. The same can be said of their successor (now at the helm) Nikki Haley. Yet, the main US mass media 24/7 TV networks (especially MSNBC) have keenly downplayed this aspect pertaining to the manner of Russia’s top diplomats and some of their Western peers.

MSNBC host Brian Williams, had a February 22 segment, that saw McFaul and Malcolm Nance blatantly misinform about what Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the recent Munich Security Conference. With Nance approving, McFaul erroneously stated that Lavrov expressed the opposite of Russia seeking better relations with the US. In actuality, Lavrov pointedly mentioned past US-Russian cooperation as a basis for what Russia currently desires. While preferring improved US-Russian ties, Lavrov indicated that the Kremlin isn’t in the mood to take hypocritically inaccurate and condescending criticism.

On a February 22 John Batchelor Show podcast, Stephen Cohen, expressed a view (in line with my own) that Lavrov and Churkin reflect a Russian pro-Western outlook, that has been regularly downplayed in the West – a point that leads to how disagreement with neocon and neolib views isn’t by default anti-Western.

Some alternative sources aside, Canada’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, continues to get relative kid gloves treatment on her views and family’s WW II past. Not that she’s the keeper of others – family members included. Notwithstanding, Freeland’s Russia related comments appear like they might very well be influenced by her family’s past.

Russia’s darkest secret“, as stated in the promotion of the recently released film “Bitter Harvest“, on the 1930s famine in Ukraine, omits some points that are downplayed at gatherings like the recent Atlantic Council anti-Russian panel discussion on Ukraine. For many, the greater secret is the number of Ukrainians and other non-Russians, who were subservient to the Soviet regime in question (including its head of state at the time of the famine), with the country known as the Soviet Union – not Russia.

Freeland’s family was from the western part of contemporary Ukraine, which wasn’t in the Soviet Union during the mass starvation in question. Some other parts of the USSR experienced famine as well. The Ukrainian SSR bore the brunt of that suffering. I readily distance myself from those overly Sovok (Soviet nostalgic) types, who exhibit considerable disdain for any acknowledgement of that tragic occurrence. (BTW, there’s an anti-Soviet/pro-Russian outlook that shouldn’t be confused with the Sovok mindset.)

Brutal as that period was, there was no calculated attempt to eliminate the Ukrainian people. In the USSR, the Ukrainian Soviet WW II contribution was duly noted. In that war, many more Ukrainians fought on the Soviet side than the anti-Soviet variant.

The area where Freeland’s family was from included some negative elements (like the supporters of the WW II period Ukrainian Insurgent Army), which some either downplay or laud as heroes. Freeland and the panelists at the aforementioned Atlantic Council gig don’t seem to care much (if at all) that their anti-Russian views aren’t shared by a good number (not just ethnic Russians) with roots to the land that comprised the Ukrainian SSR. For the former grouping, they’re simply right, which (upon a reasonably objective overview) isn’t the case.

This kind of chauvinistic thinking has greatly contributed to the turmoil. There are numerous Russians and non-Russians taking a more mature approach to the past and present differences. The greatest chance for a mutually agreed peace is with these individuals having a primary role.

Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. This article initially appeared at the Strategic Culture Foundation’s website on March 6.

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Michael Averko

Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. He has appeared as a guest commentator on the BBC and WABC talk radio, in addition to having been a panelist at the World Russia Forum, Russia Forum New York and Experts' Panel. Besides Averko's Eurasia Review column -, Counterpunch, Foreign Policy Journal, Global Research, History News Network, InoSMI.Ru, Johnson's Russia List, Journal of Turkish Weekly, Kyiv Post, Oriental Review, Penza News, Pravda.Ru, Pravoslavie.Ru, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Russia Insider, Sputnik News, Strategic Culture Foundation, The Duran, The Huffington Post, Valdai Discussion Club, Yonkers Tribune and WikiLeaks, are among the numerous venues where his articles have either appeared or been referenced. The American Institute in Ukraine and the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, have referenced some of Averko's articles, along with academic white papers prepared for NATO Watch, Ohio State University, Problems of Post-Communism and the Royal College of Defence Studies. He has been referenced in the Council on Foreign Relations, Defense One and The New York Times. Averko is source referenced in Richard Sakwa's book "Frontline Ukraine". His Eurasia Review article on Pavlo Skoropadsky, provides the first full online English language transcript of Skoropadsky's edict calling for an "All-Russian Federation", inclusive of Russia and Ukraine. Among other issues, that article explains the relationships among the major combatants in the Russian Civil War. He can be reached via [email protected]

3 thoughts on “Obsessing Over Russia: Comparing Diplomats And Historical Narratives – Analysis

  • March 7, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Great article by a scholarly writer.

  • March 8, 2017 at 1:46 am

    Eurasia review hits a new low in online publication with Michael Averko’s misinformed and biased article. The Great Famine, instigated and carried out by Stalin and his Communist Party, killed many millions of innocent ethnic Ukrainians in Ukraine and the Ukrainian inhabited regions of the Russian Republic. It was part of a larger genocide, begun in 1929/30 with the destruction of the Ukrainian national elites, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodoox Church, the dekulakization of the villages. The so-called “kulaks” were the village elites that had to be destroyed to deprive the rest of the farming population of its natural leaders. Either Mr. Averko is ignorant of this historical period, or he is purposely trying to mislead his readers. I would suggest that he become more familisr with the subject before he writes about it. May I suggest the following article, which may also be of interest to the readers of Eurasia Review:

    • March 8, 2017 at 7:43 am

      You must be the same Roman Serbyn who distorts at this thread:

      You continue to distort by singling out Ukrainians for suffering when many other non-Ukrainians (in Russia and other parts of the USSR) suffered. In the above linked article, I readily acknowledge that the Ukrainian SSR bore the brunt of the famine in question. However, the numbers involved relative to other actions (described in the article directly above this thread) convincingly debunk the notion that Stalin (his brutality aside) had no final solution for the Ukrainians along the lines of what Hitler had in mind for the Jews.

      In point of fact, the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC) was initially accepted by the Soviets. Among some others, the non-Russophile historian Orest Subtelny said this act was done as a means of offsetting the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church. Later under Stalin, the Soviets sought a centralizing preference. By then, the Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate had become compromised.

      The Orthodox Christian Church ties between many Russians and Ukrainians go back centuries. At present, most sources are of the impression that the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate remains the largest church denomination in the former Ukrainian SSR.

      Your promoted link has NOTHING which successfully refutes these points.


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