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Overhyping US-Russian Differences – OpEd


The noticeable disagreements between the Russian and US governments notwithstanding, there have been some hyped inaccuracies, which serve the purpose of nurturing a further misunderstanding for many of those who’re overly reliant on mass media. The title of Grant Robertson’s February 18 Globe and Mail article “Welcome to Hockey in the Era of Trump; Russians Make a Point with Rough Rink Win Over US,” sums up a (put mildly) questionable overview.

When the US and Canadian women’s ice hockey teams compete, there have been some chippy moments, having to do with the North American style of play and the competitive rivalry between the two. For the same reasons, this situation has been evident in some US-Canada men’s ice hockey games. In that sport, similar rough play can be evident when Russia plays Canada and the US. These three countries have players who can and will dish it out. Hence, the recent US-Russia men’s Olympic ice hockey preliminary round game wasn’t anymore aggressive because of geopolitics.

The US coach Tony Granato was wrong for suggesting that the Russians were unnecessarily seeking to run up the score in that contest won by Russia 4-0. In the Winter Olympic ice hockey tournament, the advantageous top seed in the medals’ round can be determined by goal differential – a perfect reason for the Russians to seek more goals, when it was pretty clear that they won that game, with a little bit of time left to play.

In the primarily Russian based KHL (Kontinental Hockey League), I’ve yet to hear about North American players complaining of getting the shaft because of some political bias. Likewise, I haven’t recently heard of North American situated NHL (National Hockey League) Russian players receiving negative treatment for discriminatory reasons. I did hear of some isolated incidents of that sort in the early years of Russians coming to play in the NHL – something that other Europeans faced as well. In more recent times, that discriminating behavior doesn’t seem so common – if at all.

Regardless of its shortcomings, the sport of professional ice hockey has a definite egalitarian aspect, lacking elsewhere, like the phony, crony, baloney establishment BS, prevalent within some other circles.

On the matter of the Olympics and Russia vis-a-vis other countries, RT picked up on something that the PC likes of NBC’s Katie Couric typically downplay – instead favoring the promotion of hostility among some nations, including Russia and Ukraine. The February 19 RT article “Olympic Spirit: Ukrainian & Russian Athletes Embrace on Olympic Podium” states that:

“In an interview with Russian outlet Sport-Express, Burov said that bitter political issues should not be a part of sports. ‘We are friends. We talk with each other constantly. Politics has nothing to do with us. Belarusians, Ukrainians, Russians are all friends. We are all Slavs,’ Burov said, adding that his and Abramenko’s success is proof of how strong the Slavic school of freestyle is.

Abramenko’s fiance, fellow freestyle skier Alexandra Orlova, was born in Moscow and competed for OAR at the Olympics. She finished eighth in the ladies’ aerials final on February, 16.”

I’m well aware that there are some others in Ukraine and elsewhere, who aren’t fond of such Russian-Ukrainian fraternizing, which was also evident at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. These openly friendly occurrences give hope to a better future.

Shifting gears away from sports, US mass media had some bizarre follow-up to the FBI claim of a Russian government effort to sow discord in the last US presidential election. Julian Sanchez’s February 17 New York Times piece “Russia Wanted Trump to Win and It Wanted to Get Caught“, doesn’t explain why the Russian government would want to get caught, when it has far more sophisticated ways to cover its identity from such an operation? Fox News highlighted the idea that the FBI claim that the Russian meddling had a multi-faceted dynamic, which wasn’t exclusively pro-Trump and in line with the view that the Kremlin was just looking to trouble the American political system.

This perception overlooks an otherwise obvious aspect, having to do with some Russians acting on their own. In cyber, there’re activist anti-Russian trolls, who’re likely carrying on without US government support. At the same time, it’s not so out of line to note that the US government has involved itself with utilizing internet trolls. It behooves a good number of Western elites to surmise that this kind of government and non-government conducted behavior can exist in Russia. Without sufficient proof to the contrary, “Putin’s chef“, can take some matters into his own hands. Regardless, the Russian trolling (as described) didn’t have an impact on the outcome of the 2016 US presidential election. (Comedian/political commentator Jim Dore took a good ridiculing jab at the US mass media TV coverage of the latest FBI report on “Russiagate”.)

Scott Shane’s February 17 New York Times article “Russia Isn’t the Only One Meddling in Elections – We Do It, Too“, distinguishes the US and Russian activity in question by claiming that American actions are done for a good cause unlike Russia – a thought shared by former CIA Director James Woolsey. Shane’s piece notes the US role in influencing the 1996 Russian presidential election, without noting an otherwise glaring particular. Many generally believe that the US government intervention in that vote (whether you want to describe it as direct or indirect) tipped the balance in favor of Boris Yeltsin.

Yeltsin went on to appoint Vladimir Putin as his successor. If one accepts the US role as the deciding factor in the 1996 Russian presidential election, I wholeheartedly welcome that move which enabled Putin to become Russian president – something that very well might not have happened if Yeltsin didn’t win in 1996.

The aforementioned Sanchez, Shane and Fox News comments mesh well with John Stoehr’s advocacy to see the Democrats unite the US against Russia. A desire showing some irony, given how neolib to neocon leaning sources (as well as some others), are prone to portraying Russia as conjuring up hyped threats to seek national unity. Stoehr’s commentary is in line with the way over the top mention of contemporary Russian behavior with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the 9/11 terrorist attack.

*Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. This article was initially placed at the Strategic Culture Foundation’s website on February 21.

Michael Averko

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 Huffington Post, Valdai Discussion Club and WikiLeaks, are among the numerous venues where his commentary have either appeared or been referenced. The American Institute in Ukraine and the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies, have referenced some of his commentary, along with academic white papers prepared for NATO Watch, Ohio State University, Problems of Post-Communism and the Royal College of Defence Studies. He is source referenced in Richard Sakwa's book "Frontline Ukraine". Averko's Eurasia Review article on Pavlo Skoropadsky, provides the first full online 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]

One thought on “Overhyping US-Russian Differences – OpEd

  • February 28, 2018 at 1:27 am

    Averko makes sense. His articles should be on the desk of every member of the U.S. Congress. We need peace for the benefit of both countries.


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