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Russia-Ukraine Coverage Update: What Western Mass Media Downplays – OpEd

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Excerpted from a February 26 Newsweek article:

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By February 25, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was considering an invitation from Moscow to hold ‘neutrality’ talks in neighboring Belarus. If those talks happen, Putin will then be able to pull back troops and end the conflict—while having dealt the West a humiliating blow.

And that, military and Russia experts agree, may be the real point.

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I don’t believe that Putin is primarily motivated to tweak the West. If anything, it’s more the other way around. His primary motivation is to militarily strike before Ukrainemightbecome a strong NATO beachhead, in conjunction with better securing the position of the Donbass rebels. I make this assessment, while being uncomfortable with the action undertaken and some of the responses to it.

The selective outrage is breathtaking, given the lack of attention to the plight of the Donbass rebel inhabitants. These people have endured eight years of reckless shelling from the Kiev regime. (Among other sources, refer to David Hendrickson’s February 22 National Interest article and the content referenced in a same day Aaron Mate tweet.)

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Within Russia and​ abroad, there’s the view that Zelensky periodically gets stonewalled by Kiev regime nationalist circles and perhaps the US government. The latter certainly hasn’t helped to calm things down.

Zelensky won the last Ukrainian presidency on a campaign promoting better relations with Russia, including an end to the war in Donbass. Upon assuming office, Zelensky drifted in a noticeably opposite direction from his election platform. In US mass media, Tucker Carlson has exposed what keen Russia-Ukraine observers have already known about Ukraine being democratically challenged.

In the last Ukrainian presidential election, Petro Poroshenko was Zelensky’s main opponent. Poroshenko ran on a nationalist platform. He was once friendly with ex-Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili, who is now imprisoned in Georgia.

During the 2008 war in the Caucasus, Saakashvili regularly appeared on CNN, spouting neocon/neolib  out anti-Russian rhetoric. Over the past weekend, Poroshenko has pretty much done the same on that network.

In English language TV media, the CGTN America shows (particularly The Heat show) covering Russia-Ukraine, are generally superior to what France 24’s The Debate, Al Jazeera’s Inside Story and RT’s CrossTalk have put out. A respectfully diverse and knowledgeable panel makes for great viewing.

Lagging behind are the BBC, CNN, PBS, MSNBC and NPR, among numerous others. Some (not all) of the CGTN Western hired reporters and moderators periodically exhibit the inaccurate slants evident in Western mass media.

What follows is an updated message I sent to some of the people who’ve appeared on that network, as well as some others who’re involved with Western mass media and/or think tank circles. I appreciate the private replies. MA

I’ve a response to what Michael O’Hanlon, Serhiy Kudelia and Lincoln Mitchell said on CGTN.

Regarding a thought from Dr. O’Hanlon, NATO is a definite existential threat to Russia, as evidenced by the anti-Russian commentary regularly dished out by key NATO brass over the years. In comparison, someone like a now ex-German naval commander gets pushed out for offering a counter view.

NATO exhibited its bias going back to the 1990s. From that period, compare the reply to Russia’s open inquiry about joining NATO to those granted NATO membership. I’ve provided details on that blatant anti-Russian bias.

Poland presently has a nationalist anti-Russian government which some in the West consider as democratically challenged. Hypothetically, what happens when a noticeably anti-Russian NATO country picks a fight with Russia? Exclusively or otherwise, is Russia always in the wrong? There’s also the matter of how NATO militarily engaged itself on non-NATO territory in 1999.

The Neo-Nazi situation in Ukraine meshes with how the US government and Kiev regime were the only two delegations voting against a General Assembly resolution denouncing the glorification of Nazism. As I’ve noted, the official US explanation for its vote is crock.

Over the decades, the US body politic has been influenced by the activism of pro-Stepan Bandera elements in the Ukrainian American community. Dominating the Captive Nations Committee, these individuals influenced the US Congress to pass the Nazi like Captive Nations Week Resolution, portraying Russia and Russians as the benefactors of Communism at the expanse of others.

This move understandably offended the late Alexander Solzhenitsyn and offends people in the Russian American community, who’re proud of their dual background. Do Russian lives matter? In Ukraine, monuments honoring pre-Soviet figures Alexander Suvorov and Mikhail Kutuzov get disrespected unlike what’s accorded to the memory of Bandera.

Paul Robinson perhaps best sums up this situation by saying that Ukraine isn’t a Nazi state, while having a Nazi problem. This subject has been definitely downplayed in the US.

Note how US mass media recently covered a Ukrainian granny getting a shooting lesson from a group wearing the fatigues with the logo of a Neo-Nazi militia. The coverage didn’t mention that affiliation. Such oversight is common when the black and red Banderite flag is shown in news clips.

The Neo-Nazi elements have been evident among the forces which have killed and displaced many in the rebel Donbass area over the past eight years. Relying solely on Western mass media, some might be duped into wrongly believing that substantial war related deaths and population movement suddenly began on Ukraine’s Soviet drawn boundary. 

When belittling the Neo-Nazi role in Kev regime-controlled Ukraine, Dr. Mitchell notes his family’s Russian Empire Jewish roots. I sense that my family’s Russian Empire/Soviet Jewish and Russian Orthodox Christian backgrounds, have given me a broader scope, enabling me to make the following observations.

After WW II, the Banderites de-emphasized their anti-Jewish and anti-Polish activity, as they hyped an extreme anti-Russian message. In the US, this is more likely to be accepted:

The USSR was created to benefit Russians at the expense of others.

As opposed to –

The USSR was created to benefit Jews at the expense of others.

In reality, both are inaccurate. Likewise, with The NYTs’ Juliet Macur distinguishing between “clean athletes” and “Russians” How is that different from categorizing “law abiding citizens” and “Blacks“?

Concerning sports demagoguery, the IOC is advocating for the Russian flag and anthem to be banned from sporting events, as a response to the Russian military action in Ukraine. With the exception of the disingenuous decision against Yugoslavia (then consisting of Serbia and Montenegro) at the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics, when did the IOC ever ban another country for involvement in a war that led to many deaths and homeless, whether before, during or after an Olympiad?

Especially sickening, is Wayne Gretzky calling for a ban of Russia from the rescheduled World Junior Ice Hockey Championship. He never advocated banning Team USA to protest the many who died care of US military action. I don’t support such a banning. We’re talking about athletes – in this instance young ones. Russian NHL players are in a difficult position to speak out against Gretzky.

The gross arrogance, ignorance, hypocrisy and bigotry pertaining to Russians is quite evident. Make no mistake about it, many on the territory of Ukraine (in addition to some others elsewhere) are opposed to this deceit.  

With the uni-polar world in decline, China is in a prime position to broker a Russia-Ukraine settlement. Beijing has good ties to Moscow and Kiev, with Chinese officialdom exhibiting a more balanced approach than their US and EU counterparts.

Michael Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst and media critic. This article first appeared at Antiwar.com on February 27.

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, RT and WABC talk radio, in addition to having been a panelist at the World Russia Forum, Russia Forum New York and US-Russia.org Experts' Panel. Besides Averko's Eurasia Review column - Academia.edu, 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]

2 thoughts on “Russia-Ukraine Coverage Update: What Western Mass Media Downplays – OpEd

  • March 2, 2022 at 9:37 am
    Permalink

    So basically you think its ok for Russian to launch a full scale war in Europe in 2022 and expect to be treated normally.

    Come again? Are you absolutely bat-shit crazy or simply an idiot?

    ”I sense that my family’s Russian Empire/Soviet Jewish and Russian Orthodox Christian backgrounds, have given me a broader scope, enabling me to make the following observations.”

    Absolute nonsense. If you think any of your immediate or extended family think its ok to invade Ukraine you are bonkers. Nobody in their right mind agrees with what is happening. Russians abroad -and I see many every day at work -are absolutely disgusted at what is happening and are utterly mortified. These are not chain-smoking Russian squadies, these are people with PhDs working in scientific research. Russians everywhere are putting Ukraine flags on their Facebook, Insta etc. That tells you all you need to know.

    There is enormous debate as to whether you have ever actually ever set foot in Russia let alone Ukraine and you speak neither of their languages. How on earth you are qualified to make observations on these places is beyond me. If you think listening to RT, Babich and Lavelle et al is informed comment then then I greatly pity you.

    What is certain however is that Russia is not winning and is responding with Chechen War II tactics of bombing everything that moves. It wont work and when the Stingers start to arrive from sensible countries like the Netherlands and Germany then its going to be Afghanistan Part II but with more greenery.

    Reply
    • March 3, 2022 at 2:00 am
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      Troll,

      The mentioned background was in reply to Lincoln Mitchell noting his Jewish Russian Empire familial heritage as a basis for what he said about Neo-Nazism in Ukraine.

      On another point you mention with distortion, here’s what I said in the above article:

      “I don’t believe that Putin is primarily motivated to tweak the West. If anything, it’s more the other way around. His primary motivation is to militarily strike before Ukraine might become a strong NATO beachhead, in conjunction with better securing the position of the Donbass rebels. I make this assessment, while being uncomfortable with the action undertaken and some of the responses to it.

      The selective outrage is breathtaking, given the lack of attention to the plight of the Donbass rebel inhabitants. These people have endured eight years of reckless shelling from the Kiev regime. (Among other sources, refer to David Hendrickson’s February 22 National Interest article and the content referenced in a same day Aaron Mate tweet.)”

      ****

      FYI, Chechens are fighting right now on Russia’s side and that of the Donbass rebels. You omitted Russia’s Syrian operation on account of it having gone relatively well.

      Actually, I spend a good deal of time reading and listening to views which are different from mine. So much for your boorish manner, while exhibiting a limited if any intellect.

      Reply

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