Voices from Russia

Saturday, 5 July 2008

A View from Moscow by Valentin Zorin… Crooks and Falsifiers

Bear Stearns manager in bracelets being hauled off to the slammer. American business transparency at work! I wonder which big-wig this poor zhlub is taking the rap for? You can bet that they aren’t going to be humiliated in public like this.


Even the rich record of financial scandals in America featured nothing like the development I’m going to focus on. A few days ago, FBI agents broke into the offices of several banks on Wall Street to handcuff as many as 406 respectable businessmen. The topmost executive officers of Bear Stearns were put behind bars one day later. All the arrested businessmen were charged with business fraud. They’re said to bear the blame for the economic crisis in the USA. Such are the accusations. However, knowledgeable people surely understand that even half a thousand crooks are incapable of bringing down the powerful American economy and stirring up a global financial tempest. All they could possibly do is bring to the boil a long-brewing cataclysm. Yet, the powers-that-be can’t do without scapegoats, for this relieves them of the burden of the blame for the alarming economic developments.

It just so happened that the notoriously-well-known human rights watchdog, Freedom House, came out with an annual survey that seemed part of a well-planned and well-orchestrated anti-Russian campaign reminiscent of the worst years of the Cold War, just when the 400-plus bank executives were being handcuffed in their offices. Neither the sponsors nor the authors of that report could expect the two developments to happen at the same time. That’s why it was so funny to learn from their annual survey that although there were wealthy people in America, and although those wealthy people held positions of power, transparency was what made America so different from Russia. According to Freedom House, one’s always welcome to find out how those wealthy individuals have risen so high and how their money is spent in political endeavours and business ventures. Sounds great in the light of that sweeping crackdown on the business community which was prompted by fear of an even bigger scandal, doesn’t it?

If someone was caught spinning that sort of yarn years ago, he was supposed to put a bullet in his head. Years ago, I said. I doubt that a co-author of the Freedom House’s survey for 2008, Robert Orttung, will do as little as apologise for his words. His nose in the air, Mr Orttung said the Freedom House survey was completely devoid of bias. He could hardly expect the FBI to do him such a bad turn in an operation that put the limelight on the honest, highly transparent, in a word, highly un-Russian, business community of the USA. I am not speaking only of a scandalous episode in a fiercely anti-Russian campaign, but of a development that put to the test Freedom House’s claim to an unbiased approach to reality.

Falsifiers who pose as champions of human rights are sorry to report a decline in the Russian electoral process, control of the Russian media, and other oft-repeated allegations. They feign oblivion of Al Gore’s victory in the American presidential elections of 2000, the Supreme Court’s decision to ignore that result of the ballot and award the victory to the Republican hopeful George W Bush, and the more than 30,000 violations of the electoral law in the American elections of 2004. Because they fretted so much about the Russian media, the co-authors of the Freedom House report failed to hear what the editors-in-chief of the New York Times and the Washington Post said about political orientation briefings at the White House. The newborn darling of the West, the Freedom House survey for 2008, is full of bias and is peppered with lies. No matter how hard they’re trying to play up the self-proclaimed independence of the oft-quoted Transatlantic Institute, the co-authors of Freedom House’s and similar surveys are nothing but hired servants of a system that was built to wage a verbal war on Russia. It’s in the light of this that one should read the latest contribution from the free-roaming falsifiers of history in the employ of that self-proclaimed champion of human rights, the US-based Freedom House.

4 July 2008

Valentin Zorin

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

If we’re holding Russia up to scorn for its elections, we’re not much better… look at Chicago, for instance. One wonders why they even hold elections. Free media? I see little difference between ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN. “Four different flavours of Pravda”, a friend of mine said once, and he was correct. In short, both kettles are as black as sin, both sets of politicians are out for themselves, with the possible exception that the Russian sorts aren’t as in thrall to globalising tycoons (probably, the real reason for all the sturm und drang concerning them in the first instance). America still doesn’t have any statesman to compare with Vladimir Putin, and that’s the end of it. Lying about Russia isn’t going to change that. Vlad Putin for President and Lee Kwan Yew for Vice President, anyone? (Laugh! It’s a joke, son…)




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