Voices from Russia

Sunday, 31 August 2008

A Free Press? Not This Time.

Filed under: mass media,politics,Russian,USA,war and conflict — 01varvara @ 00.00

I wish I could fly back to Russia. I have been in the United States for a year, and I am studying and working here to get experience in American journalism, known worldwide for its independence and professionalism. But, in recent days it has felt as though I am too late, that the journalism of Watergate is well behind us and that reporting is no longer fair and balanced. For years I have respected American newspapers for being independent. But no longer. Coverage of the conflict between Russia and Georgia has been unprofessional, to say the least. I was surprised and disappointed that the world’s media immediately took the side of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili last week.

American newspapers have run story after story about how “evil” Russia invaded a sovereign neighbouring state. Many accounts made it seem as though the conflict was started by an aggressive Russia invading the Georgian territory of South Ossetia. Some said that South Ossetia’s capital, Tskhinvali, was destroyed by the Russian army. Little attention was paid to the chronology of events, the facts underlying the conflict. Last week, Georgia’s president invaded South Ossetia during the night, much as Adolf Hitler invaded Russia in 1941. Within hours, Georgian troops destroyed Tskhinvali, a city of 100,000 (actually 30,000: editor’s note), and they killed more than 2,000 civilians. Almost all of the people who died that night were Russian citizens. They chose to become citizens of Russia years ago, when Georgia refused to recognise South Ossetia as a non-Georgian territory. The truth is that, in this case, Russian aggression actually made some sense. Russia defended its citizens.

Yet, American newspapers published stories that omitted mention of the Georgian invasion. American media as a whole has been disturbingly pro-Georgian. The lead photograph on the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post showed two men, one dead, the other crying, amid ruins in Gori, Georgia. Many other images could have been used. Monday’s Wall Street Journal, for example, contained several stories about the conflict and even an op-ed by Saakashvili. Where was the Russian response? I understand why the Georgian government would block access to Russian media Web sites. I understand why Russian media would present events in a light that favours Moscow’s actions. But, American media are not supposed to do the equivalent.

The much-revered American principle of a free press guarantees access to an independent source of information. It is supposed to mean that nobody takes a side, that journalists give readers the facts and let them draw their own conclusions. The Georgian president quickly became a chief newsmaker for Western media outlets, yet, little could be found to explain the Russian side. It’s hard to understand how and why the terrible situation between Georgia and Russia has played out this way. Everything seemed too clear for the journalists writing about the conflict. Big, evil Russia tried to destroy small, democratic Georgia. The American media’s willingness to choose sides provoked Russian media outlets. Russian newspapers did not waste time reminding readers that the true evil was the United States and that Washington was ultimately responsible for the conflict in Ossetia and Georgia. Beyond the slanted coverage, I am also concerned about the lack of information on the number of civilians killed and wounded. How should we know which accounts to trust?

Over the past week, American media have achieved one thing for sure. They have lost prestige among a generation of young Russians who believed that America is a country of true, uncorrupted, independent information. Many Russian youths come to the United States for college and then go back to Russia to help build our own democracy. Russians believe in democracy. But, I don’t know whether many Russians will ever trust American media reports again. US newspapers have lost esteem among Russian journalists as well. These reporters have long looked to American newspapers as icons of quality journalism. They are supposed to stand for truth and serve the people’s interests. But, whose interests did newspapers serve by publishing stories in the best traditions of the Cold War?

I think that both the Russian and Georgian governments attacked civilians. I blame the governments for this war. But, I am also saddened by the unfair coverage of the conflict from Russian and American media. If this is what freedom of the press looks like, then I no longer want to believe in this freedom. I prefer to stay neutral and independent, just like a professional journalist has to do.

15 August 2008

Olga Ivanova

Master’s degree candidate at Duquesne University, an intern at the Washington Post

Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/14/AR2008081403048.html?nav=rss_opinion/columns

Editor’s Note:

Here is an unintended consequence of the American encouragement of the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia. There are many Russian students in the USA, and there are many Russian emigrants here, not all of whom plan to stay permanently. What this crisis has done is to smash their faith in America. What is worse, Bush, Cheney, and Rice did so gleefully, without any regard for who was watching them.

Of course, I cannot predict the future for tomorrow, let alone 20 years from now, but, I would say that this is one of the gravest policy errors committed by the Bush-Cheney-Rice troika. At least some of these young people are going to go home with their dreams violated. That is, one has no enemy quite like the person who was once a friend, and then found their trust betrayed and tossed to the side. Some of these young people are going to be America’s bitterest foes, and they shall have an intimate knowledge of what makes the USA tick, so, their bitterness shall have a sharp edge.

Two people who have been foes from the first can come to a compromise. That occurred between Presidents Gorbachyov and Reagan in 1987. These two great men decided to end the Cold War, as both sides were mutually exhausted. President Reagan made solemn promises to President Gorbachyov, and I believe that Mr Reagan was sincere in his pledges of not stationing NATO troops in the former DDR and of not expanding NATO into the former Warsaw Pact states. After all, he had purged the loudmouth neocons from his administration. These two former enemies could bury the hatchet. The subsequent betrayal of Mr Reagan’s promises by the grasping neocons does not invalidate my point. Enemies can come to agreement.

However, someone who has had their dream violated, someone who has had their trust trampled upon, does not forgive. There is a bitterness that no human balm can assuage. That is why one must choose one’s friends with care. If you hurt them in any way, you have gained an enemy more bitter than any born foe.

I bow before Ms Ivanova, and all the others like her, and ask her forgiveness. We, the ordinary folks in America, did not betray your trust. However, our government acted abominably. There is no doubt on that score. All I can ask is that you do not lump us in with the chattering classes you saw in academe and in Washington. I can understand your detestation of the American government and the moneyed élite that sustains it. Please, do not think that the majority of the American people are like that. The Russian people were better than the Soviet commissars… likewise, the American people are better than the neocon junta now regnant in Washington.

Forgive us. We have failed you. S Bogom, raba bozhiya Olga.

BMD

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PM Vladimir Putin: “The Right is On Our Side” in the Georgia Crisis

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (1952- )

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, “The right is on our side” in regard to the current crisis with Georgia. Putin spoke on the Russian TV channel Vesti (News). “Whatever they might say there, the right is on our side”, Mr Putin said, in reference to Western criticism. Last Tuesday, Moscow recognised South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states despite warnings from Western leaders not to do so. The move came two weeks after Moscow announced the end of its operation “to compel Georgia to stand down”. The Russian military operation followed an attack by Georgian troops on South Ossetia on 8 August.

EU leaders are set to gather in Brussels for an emergency meeting on Georgia. The 27-nation organisation is expected to discuss future relations with Russia. A number of member states, including Britain and Poland, called for sanctions against Moscow, as well as the postponement of talks on a new partnership and cooperation agreement with Russia. “We are behaving in an absolutely moral way and within the framework of all existing international law”, Mr Putin said. “So, if any European country wishes to serve someone else’s foreign interests, go ahead, we cannot insist otherwise”, he said. Mr Putin earlier accused the White House of provoking the conflict in Georgia in order to give an advantage to “one of the US presidential candidates”. Washington denied the allegation.

31 August 2008

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/world/20080831/116421099.html

Editor’s Note:

Of course, Bush denied that one of the reasons for his support of the Georgian invasion and ethnic cleansing was to support John McCain. I would drop dead of shock if he did otherwise. He hasn’t told the straight truth for seven years… why should he start now?

Should I mention that John McCain has received thousands of dollars from the Georgians to act as a paid shill for them, as has some of his staff? Objective, isn’t he? The other side is the same, for Mr Biden is known as a violent and bigoted Russophobe. That is because some of his formative influences came from a Croatian priest who was a defender of the Croatian massacre of Orthodox, Jews, and Roma (Gypsies) in World War II. In short, Mr Biden has excused the Croatian concentration camp at Jasenovac where thousands of Orthodox, Jews, and Roma were murdered. Great choice, isn’t it? Do you wish Tweedledee… or Tweedledum?

Just the sort of people to put one’s trust in, aren’t they? Give me Vova and his straight talk any day of the week… by the way, you may keep your Kasparov, Bukovsky, Khodorkovsky, and Politovskaya. Taken together, they are less than worthless. They are nothing but (or were) apologists for western hedonistic nihilism, and I, for one, am not going to let such loud sorts attack our traditional Russian Orthodox culture. Russia has thrown back all invaders so far… I doubt that the neocons are going to succeed where others (much better than they) have failed.

BMD

The Events of the Year of the Family shall continue in the Central Urals in September

Filed under: domestic life,popular life and customs,Pro-Life,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Shudder! The Russians are coming… with flowers and smiles! Watch out! They might try to tell you about… God and His Love! OOOH!

In September, the events of the Year of the Family shall continue in the Central Urals. The oblast Ministry of Culture is taking an active role in the proceedings. A festival of the Family Club “Happy Together” shall take place as a part of the project “My Family, My Support”. Also, an exhibition of family crafts, “In Our House and From Our House” has opened as a part of the festival and it is being held at the Sverdlovsk State Palace of People’s Culture.

In September, the Division of Periodicals of the Belinsky Universal Scientific Library (15 ulitsa Belinsky, Yekaterinburg) shall run an exhibition, “I Was Sent by Fate to My Family”. In the Sverdlovsk Oblast Library for Children and Youth (8 ulitsa Karl Liebknekht, Yekaterinburg) the family events “We Learn Together” shall continue. On every Saturday in September, at the Ural Centre of People’s Trades and Crafts (10 ulitsa Chapaev, Yekaterinburg), the family event “We Make It with Mum” shall take place.

29 August 2008

Pravoslavnaya Gazeta Yekaterinburg (Orthodox Newspaper of Yekaterinburg)

http://orthodox.etel.ru/2008/33/29/29semya.htm

Editor’s Note:

Those nasty ol’ Russkies are it again! They’re plotting to… sit you down at table, push a highly-piled plate in front of you, and luv ya to death! Proshu, k stolu! (Please, to the table!) Whom would you rather hang with, the happy Russkies (Vanya promises to give you a glass of the good stuff, not the samogon he usually guzzles) or the desiccated and joyless secular humanists with their endless and tendentious psychobabble? I knew it wasn’t a hard choice…

BMD

The Pupils at the Novo-Tikhvin Convent Orphanage are preparing to start the School Year

Filed under: Christian,church in society,Orthodox life,religious,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

The girl’s orphanage at the Novo-Tikhvin Convent is preparing for the new school year. The girls eagerly await the beginning of the school year, for they not only receive the usual general education, but, they also get music lessons. The classes follow those of an ordinary school, but, they take place on the convent grounds. There is one difference, instead of classes in gymnastics twice a week; the students receive lessons in choreography. In addition, the girls are taught by master musicians, getting classes in solfeggio, lessons on the piano, and choral singing.

Everything that is necessary for the pupils is provided; the schoolrooms have utilitarian but beautiful furniture made to special order for each student. The desks shall “grow” together with the girls. Every girl of school-age at the orphanage receives a bright and colourful knapsack, textbooks, pens and other materials, and notebooks.

The first-class shall study reading and writing, the older girls shall study mathematics, history, Russian literature, and natural sciences. The “elders” of the schoolgirls have studied for some years and have learned patience and diligence. They feel very “adult” and they have a thirst and zest for learning.

The Day of Knowledge (Russian term for the first day of school, traditionally on 1 September, unless that date falls on a Saturday or Sunday: editor’s note) shall start with a molieben at the church of St Yelizaveta. The girls shall greet the trustees of the orphanage, the clergy, and the sisterhood of the convent. The girls shall have a holiday reception in the morning, and they shall receive gifts.

Pravoslavnaya Gazeta Yekaterinburg (Orthodox Newspaper of Yekaterinburg)

http://orthodox.etel.ru/2008/33/29/29priut.htm

Editor’s Note:

In Russia, the students still stand in respect when the instructor enters the room. That is why Orthodox Russia is going to defeat the secular humanists of the USA. Our teachers are treated with rude disrespect and it is the TEACHER who gets in trouble if they complain of it (especially if the culprit is from a “mascot group”). I confide that most Americans would prefer the Russian method to the secularist humanist method (I told you that ordinary Russians and Americans had much in common!). In fact, most Americans would like prayer in school, too, just like in many Russian schools.

Isn’t that ironic… Russia is where God is mentioned in school and America is where He is banned and often mocked… the worm turns…

BMD

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