Kremlin TV Loves Anti-War Protests—Unless Russia Is the One Waging War

Studies in 'whataboutism'

by Julia Ioffe | March 2, 2014

Anyone who has ever studied the Soviet Union knows about a phenomenon called "whataboutism." It was the Soviet tactic of responding to Western criticism of things like Soviet human rights violations. The Soviet Union would simply reply by pointing to something the U.S. was doing wrong. The classic, cartoonish reply became: "Oh yeah? Well you lynch Negroes." During Putin's long and defiant reign, post-Soviet Russia has adopted this PR technique, too. It has even created an institution that is dedicated solely to the task of whataboutism. It's called Russia Today.

And now Russia has de facto taken over the Crimean peninsula and the tables have turned and now here we are. It's high time for us, the corrupt Western media, to engage in some whataboutism. 

Yesterday, Buzzfeed listed 11 times that Russia condemned the use of military force by other countries without U.N. approval. 

Today, I bring you another addition. RT loves, loves, loves to report on anti-war protests in the West. They seem to prove that corrupt so-called "democracies" lead their countries into war against their citizens' wishes. Their citizens, of course, can only yell because they have no political power and no one listens to them. You know, unlike in Russia. 

Unfortunately, Russia Today was not around during the lead-up to the Iraq War—what a self-righteous orgasm editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan would've had!—but they were all over the Syria crisis this summer. "We say no war," one such headline trumpeted. "Protesters across the world rally against military strike in Syria."

"Hands off Syria!" blasted another. "Protesters rally against U.K. intervention in war-torn country."

"Syria anti-intervention march in London draws thousands."

How convenient that the pacifist line happened to coincide with the Kremlin's on Syria. And it was a coincidence, right?

Well, let's take a look at RT's coverage of the protests surrounding Russia's latest non-U.N. approved military buckaneering.

"Thousands in Moscow, St. Petersburg rally in support of Russian speakers in Ukraine."

A purely linguistic gathering, I'm sure. 

But where are the pacifists, the ones who thing language isn't worth starting a war over? Russia Today generally takes an anti-war stance, right?

Well, oddly enough, RT has no coverage of the anti-war protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg, which, shockingly enough, were brutally broken up by police. In Moscow alone, some 350 people were arrested today. There were arrests in St. Pete, too. Here's what it all looked like, since you won't see it on Russia Today. 

Дедушку свинтили за неправильный лозунг pic.twitter.com/AfUJEpzMFf

— Рустем Адагамов (@adagamov) March 2, 2014

(His sign says "peace to the world.")

 

Победитель (фото https://t.co/8ZuL2ffoib) pic.twitter.com/6np6vtV9BP

— Владимир Варфоломеев (@Varfolomeev) March 2, 2014

Police break up anti-war demo in #moscow # Russia. Outside ministry of defence. Few hundred people pic.twitter.com/HFG5WVYDr2

— Richard Galpin (@Richardgalpin) March 2, 2014

(That's in St. Petersburg.)

Strange, that Russia Today isn't covering it. Funny, that their line just happens to line up again with the Kremlin's. 

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//article/116816/whataboutism-russia-protests-against-war-ukraine