Voices from Russia

Friday, 2 January 2015

2014: The Year Russia-Bashing Got Ugly… and Dangerous

00 what the hell are you doing. russia-ukraine. 2014


The western media narrative blames Russia’s “aggressive” foreign policy for triggering the collapse of American-Russian relations. Nothing could be further from the truth, and two major events of the last year prove it.


00 Sochi Olympics 10. 10.02.14


The Sochi Games We Somehow Survived

In the weeks and months prior to the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Western mainstream media shifted into hysterical gear, spooking the public with every possible thing that could go wrong in Sochi (but didn’t) scenario. A non-stop, mass-produced litany of tales of wild dogs, strange toilets, and the looming threat of terrorism had the rather predictable effect of prompting many spectators and even athletes to take a pass on one of the most successful Games of modern times. Although every city that plays host to the Olympics is expected to endure some level of hostile media coverage… invariably over the sheer cost of hosting the international event… the type of criticism aimed at the organisers of the Sochi Games was exceptional for the political edge of the attack, including Russia’s decision to ban gay propaganda in the months prior to the event.

There was a deliberate effort to conflate Russian legislation to protect minors from being exposed to inappropriate sexual messages with some sort of government-sponsored attack on homosexuals. Even Human Rights Watch painted a hugely inaccurate picture of the law, turning it into some sort of state-sanctioned hit parade. Tanya Cooper, an HRW researcher, said, “Russian authorities are sending a dangerous message as the world is about to arrive on its doorstep for the Olympics that there is nothing wrong with attacks on gay people”. President Putin explained in a BBC interview that everybody “can feel free” in their relationships, that Russia only banned the promotion of “homosexuality and paedophilia amongst minors”. He pointed up, “We don’t have a ban on non-traditional sexual relations. We have a ban on promoting homosexuality and paedophilia among minors. You can feel free in your relationships, but leave children in peace”. That seems like pretty sound advice for children, who’ll have plenty of time later in life to consider such issues.

Despite the West’s best efforts to portray Russia as the perennial villain on the global stage, it actually remains one of the last bastions of family-oriented values in a world that is being swept away by a tidal wave of godless liberalism. Indeed, the Sochi Olympic Games, judging by its opening and closing ceremonies, was exceptional for the quality of the presentation, much of it aimed at the promotion of families and children. By comparison, such a concept has become totally foreign at many American events, including the 2014 Grammy Awards, which left many critics wondering if the event actually promoted Satanism. Yet the Western media latched on to Russia’s supposed “gay ban”, turning it into an anti-Russian hammer to bash the Games.

So, what was the real reason behind this assault on Sochi? Putin said that such efforts were part of an ongoing attempt to hinder positive developments inside of Russia. He told members of the Public Council for the Preparation of the 2014 Winter Olympics, “Whenever Russia demonstrates any positive development, the appearance of a new strong player, of competition, is bound to cause concern in the economy, in politics, and in the security sphere. We see attempts to deter Russia here and there. Unfortunately, this had to do with the Olympic project” as well.

Fortunately, in a sign that not everybody in the Western media writes about Russia with blinders on, there was this rare gem courtesy of Esquire magazine, “These Olympics were supposed to be many things. They were supposed to be a giant soft target for terrorists. They were supposed to be an anti-gay goosestep. They were supposed to be shoddy, unfinished, poor, and corrupt, with zero customer service, and rabid dogs chewing on baby arms. They aren’t… they’re fun, and they’re beautiful”. The Sochi Games would prove to be just the first episode of disastrous reporting on Russia in a very tumultuous year.


00 Igor Kolga. The Ukrainian Government. 2014


MH17 Malaysia Airlines Crash Over the Ukraine

Not only was the 17 July crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 a tragedy of human dimensions, it was also a tragedy of epic proportions as far as journalism is concerned. One day after the Malaysia-bound aircraft went down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew, Western media was already convinced it knew the identity of the perpetrator. Yet, every aircraft catastrophe requires painstaking investigation before you can make any conclusions. You must find and examine the black box, you must collect and fit together the pieces of the aircraft to understand how and what damaged the aircraft, you must hear witness testimony, and you must review satellite imagery. However, in the case of Malaysia Airlines MH17, which we should’ve allocated even more scrutiny given that it went down in a war zone, none of these details seemed to be of consequence for the Western media. Instead, like cheap propagandists, the Western mainstream media committed the cardinal sin of pointing the finger of blame without performing a single thread of investigative research.

Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid The Sun, with over 2 million readers, screamed in large-font print from its front page, “Putin’s missile”, whilst the UK’s most popular tabloid, The Daily Mail, said that America warned there’d be “hell to pay” if Russia (i.e. Putin) was involved in the downing of the aircraft. In the best-case scenarios, Russia remained conspicuously between the lines in the sloppily-crafted narrative. Once again, they glaringly overlooked a little ingredient known as basic facts simply because the subject at hand was Russia. Usually, such an oversight does nothing more bothersome than elicit a few chuckles at Russia’s expense. This time, however, the stakes were far greater, happening as it did in the middle of a Ukrainian civil war, the outcome of which had no small bearing on international relations and the geopolitical chessboard… which, we should add, has nuclear weapons all over it.

There were numerous questions posed by the Russian side that the Western media blatantly ignored media, including:

  • Why did the MH17 plane leave the international corridor?
  • Why did Kiev deploy Buk missile systems on the edge of Novorossiyan-controlled zones directly before the tragedy (especially considering the patriots have no planes)?
  • What was a Ukrainian fighter jet, detected by Russian radar, doing on the route intended for civilian flights?
  • Why haven’t European investigators released transcripts from the black box, or provided the public with a full report on the crash?

Not only is Russia asking these questions, but also Malaysia, which they actually excluded from the criminal investigation team. Was that because it was prepared to view the details of the crash with an objective open mind, not obsessed with blaming Russia? Dr Mohamed Harridon, associate professor in research and aviation at Kuala Lumpur University, told RT, “When the crash happened, we didn’t blame any parties, neither Russia nor the Ukraine, as we’d like to take a look at the concrete evidence. Unlike our western counterparts, [Malaysia] took neutral role, not pointing fingers at Russia”. This could be the reason for Malaysia’s exclusion from the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) permitted to apportion blame. Once again, a media that isn’t remotely interested in engaging in any sort of investigative journalism led the Western astray… even when the stakes involve nothing less than global security. Instead, as the pathetic reporting of Sochi underscored, the Western media would rather throw out misleading stories on Russia in order to achieve some kind of warped agenda.

Finally, as far as American-Russian relations go, the only time in recent history that Washington actually levelled with Moscow and told the truth was due to a wrongly-translated word that turned out to be surprisingly accurate judging by the “overloaded” realities. In March 2009, during the early moments of the Obama administration, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Foreign Minister S V Lavrov a symbolic “reset” button, which the two diplomats jokingly pressed for the photographers, signalling their intention of renewing bilateral relations between their respective countries. However, the State Department, as Lavrov himself explained, wrongly fixed on the button the Russian word for “overload” instead of “reset”, thereby providing Moscow… albeit thanks to a technical glitch… a much clearer picture of Washington and the West’s true intentions regarding its relationship with Russia than anything else to date.

01 Robert Bridge31 December 2014

Robert Bridge




Thursday, 19 July 2012

As John Robles Sees It… Media Bias: American Coverage of Russia


In the Western media, there exists a tangible and increasingly obvious media bias towards global events and countries around the world, in particular when it comes to reporting on material related to Russia. For the American media in particular, recent years have seen a decline in readership and a plethora of other problems such as scandals about manipulation, plagiarism, intimidation, falling profits, and obvious cases of reporting outright lies as fact. The reasons for this are many, and even though there doesn’t exist an official censorship body to control the media, most American media outlets are the victims of self-censorship, or “Market Censorship” as some call it. This occurs due to a desire not to offend or displease their advertisers, owners, or the government.

Regardless of the underlying reasons, it exists, and we must counter it. Most readers and consumers of information and news are intelligent and can often judge for themselves how much validity to give a particular source, but the majority don’t have the time to investigate and take a closer look at the information they’re presented. Most of their time is spent in digesting the information they’re given and this is exactly what those who wish to manipulate the media count on. Unfortunately, this occurs so regularly that it emboldens media-manipulators and they rely on this fact.

One shining example of “less-than-honest-media”, and that’s putting it lightly, would be Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News, an outlet so blatantly dishonest that anyone who even slightly opposes their views or seeks a balanced source of information rarely takes them seriously. The practises of Fox News include everything from having their own goon squad, or “Fox Security” as they call it, which they use to harass and physically intimidate people who oppose the organisation, to doctoring photographs of people they target so they appear less attractive (click here, here, here, here, and here for more detail).

When investigating Western media bias toward Russia some recent shining and blatant examples are impossible not to mention; too often, Fox News is right in the middle of them. The most-recent outright falsifications and attempted cover-ups involve the events in South Ossetia and the recent demonstrations by the so-called “opposition” here in Moscow. Other areas that are continuously the object of censorship and manipulation include Iran, Syria, conflicts in the Middle East, and events in the Balkans. One good example of manipulation by the media was coverage of the invasion and bombing of South Ossetia and the murder of civilians by the Georgian Army. The false reporting quickly became clear and obvious as witness reports began to come out, the clearest example being the scandal surrounding the then-12-year-old Amanda Kokoeva, who was stopped from telling her story in an interview on Fox News after she began relating how she and her family were saved from the Georgians by Russian forces.

The numerous doctored photos and even video coverage of the recent demonstrations in Moscow are also another clear example of Western media manipulation. These include the use of Moscow crowd photos from 1991 and footage of Greek riots passed as being in Moscow, also by Fox News. All of these attempts had the intention of showing that the level of violence and the amount of the people involved were much greater than they were in reality. The reality was that many of these events were attended by more western reporters than demonstrators, and that, even though they were being funded by the USA, through NGOs and their agents, and people were being paid to attend the anti-government demonstrations, the actual turnout was nothing to write home about. The fact that the USA attempted to interfere in the election of President Putin and organised anyone it could to do everything possible to de-legitimise his election is just one more example of American meddling into the internal affairs of sovereign nations.

For its part, the internet has helped in offsetting many attempts at media manipulation. Many incidents would never come to light if it weren’t for media watchdogs, bloggers, and alternative media outlets. For this reason, the USA has aggressively pursued anyone who does damage to its media manipulations or is too successful in getting out the truth. This was clear after 9/11, and the attacks on 9/11 truth sites has been epitomised by the American reaction to the efforts of WikiLeaks. The truth is something that criminals and tyrants fear. It’s also something that they can’t allow when it interferes with their plans for geopolitical domination, resource wars, or the military takeover of the planet. We saw this on 9/11 when the authorities prevented reputable experts, witnesses, and even engineers, by the hundreds, if not thousands, from telling the truth. We saw this in the invasion of Iraq, with yellowcake, WMDs, and fake atrocities. We also saw this in the former Yugoslavia, with fake atrocities and the continuing media blackout in Serbia. Unfortunately, that isn’t all; we continue to see this in Syria and Iran, and in other locations where the West has plans in place, and they must make the reality on the ground coincide with their scenarios, even if it means creating complete and total fabrications.

As the falsehoods continue, so do the number of dead, this is most obvious in such places as Afghanistan, Syria, Bahrain, and other “hot-spots”, even in Egypt, where the USA recently did a 180-degree about-face and supported the Muslim Brotherhood. Once again, we see that, for the USA, the truth is a very inconvenient thing, and if it doesn’t please them, they’ll attempt to create their own.

18 July 2012

John Robles

Voice of Russia World Service



Saturday, 19 May 2012

19 May 2012. A Little Something from RTÉ on Maggie Thatcher… and How the Queen Mum Reacted to Her “Reforms”

In this super cartoon by Martin Rowson from Tribune, Gordon Brown‘s attempting to repair a monument to Margaret Thatcher with plaster. The statue is beyond repair, however, and it seems a hopeless task. An inscription on the base of the monument reads “She Vanquished The Miners And Brought Freedom And Prosperity” (oh, the irony!). A dog cocks its leg and urinates on the step, whilst a chav in a hoodie smokes a joint. The meaning seems clear enough… Mrs Thatcher‘s legacy lies in ruins, despite Gordon Brown’s futile attempts to preserve it. It’s the end of Neoliberal “conservative” laissez-faire capitalism as we know it.


Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

The Gospel according to St Matthew 19.23-24


A friend sent me a quote from an RTÉ show (no, I ‘m sorry, I don’t have a URL or video link):

According to leaks from the Royal Household Staff, more than once, The Queen and Thatcher had vociferous “discussions” on the PM‘s conservative “reform” policies. Her Majesty… who together with the Queen Mother had political memory and experience reaching back into the 19th Century… sternly argued for strong Trades Unions and social welfare benefits. The Queen Mum especially feared a return to the blight and poverty that these two movements had successfully stemmed. Both queens remembered the poverty of the pre-War time, especially that of the Welsh miners and Scottish urban dwellers. Furthermore, the Queen absolutely felt it was such poverty and exploitation that wrenched Ireland out of the UK and led so many Irish to repudiate the United Kingdom. The secession, in both queens’ opinion, would never have occurred if the necessary political and social reforms had been implemented. But Thatcher’s ideological precursors had scuttled that. And the high price was paid.

If Thatcher’s policies took hold it would be only years, maybe decades, the Queen said, before poverty and unemployment would haunt the land, virulent nationalisms would fester (including in England), and Scotland and Wales, too, would rise against the Union. She was right. Thatcher once howled, “That woman! Thank God, she isn’t allowed the vote. Why, she’d vote Socialist Labour! I just know it! Disgusting!”


You can have rightwing punks such as Dropout Scott Walker and Miss Maggie… or you can have human beings like the Queen Mum. I’m certain that had he lived on, St Nikolai Aleksandrovich would’ve agreed with Her Highness… NOT Saggy Maggie. After all, he was a ROYAL (and a good example of the breed)… not a grubby counting-house mercantile sort (don’t forget, Saggy Maggie’s father ran a VERY modest grocery shop… it’s the source of her money-grubbing and philistine habits, to be sure). Orthodox people should know that St Aleksei Toth blessed his parishioners to join the Wobblies. So, on two grounds, all decent people should reject the godless nostrums of the Republican Party… firstly, it’s wrong to take bread from the workers and stuff it in the boodle bags of the oligarchs, as the Queen Mum observed. Secondly, it’s right to for working people to band together and fight for their rights, as St Aleksei recognised through his blessing.

God is NOT the Protector and Benefactor of the Wealthy… don’t forget, Our Lord Christ CHOSE to be incarnate in the family of a carpenter… NOT in a lawyer’s family… NOT in a priest’s family… NOT in a landowner’s family… NOT in a merchant’s family… do ponder that. I seem to remember something about a camel and an eye of a needle…

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Saturday 19 May 2012

Albany NY

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Is US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul in Danger?


McFaul should get real… for instance, invasive publishers like Rupert Murdoch aren’t in Russia, but they’re rife in the West. After one looks at the late News of the World and Fox News Channel, one realises that NTV was pretty tame. Get a life, Mikey… and stop instigating the local soreheads. If the Russian Ambassador did that in the USA, he’d be arrested… and rightly so.


On Friday, the USA formally complained to Moscow about possible danger to Ambassador Michael McFaul, a day after he described Russia as a “wild country” and charged repeatedly that a state-run broadcaster there may be hacking his e-mail, spying on his telephone conversations, and tracking his movements. The US State Department said in a terse written statement, “We’ve raised our concerns about the Ambassador’s security with the Russian government”. On Thursday, McFaul, a key architect of US President Barack Obama’s “reset” of relations with Russia, took to his Twitter feed  to charge that reporters with the Kremlin-controlled NTV television were stalking him and openly wondered how they obtained his confidential unpublished schedule. In a Tweet, he said, “Everywhere I go NTV’s there. Wonder who gives them my calendar? They wouldn’t tell me. Wonder what the laws are here for such things?” in another Tweet, he noted, “I respect press’ right to go anywhere & ask any question. But do they have a right to read my e-mail and listen to my phone?”

Also on Thursday, McFaul also made waves by engaging in a combative five-minute exchange in Russian with an NTV camera crew as he was on his way to a meeting with a human rights activist and critic of the Kremlin, Lev Ponomaryov. Agence France-Presse reported that McFaul said, “For me, this is a very serious question because this is against the Geneva Convention if you are going to get information from my telephone or my BlackBerry. This is a wild country, it turns out. This isn’t normal. It doesn’t happen in our country, it doesn’t happen in Britain, in Germany, in China. Only here, and only with you”. In the footage, a reporter seen on camera told him she heard of the meeting from “open sources” without specifying. McFaul later clarified his remarks on Twitter, saying, “Just watched NTV. I misspoke in bad Russian. Did not mean to say ‘wild country’. Meant to say NTV actions ‘wild’. I greatly respect Russia”. The incident came as Obama weathered a controversy over candid but caught-on-tape comments to President Dmitri Medvedev, promising he will have more “flexibility” on topics such as missile defence after the November election.

30 March 2012

Oliver Knox

The Ticket

Yahoo News


Editor’s Note:

Boo-hoo! Let’s all cry crocodile tears for Mikey McFaul! It’s news that the FSB follows the US Ambassador to Russia? C’mon… it’s gone on for years, and no other US Ambassador was a cry-baby about it. It’s no secret that the US special services watch the Russian Ambassador in the District, and that they watch selected UN delegations, too. Hell, everybody does it and its party-time at Langley big-time if they can “turn” an “unfriendly”. McFaul isn’t that stupid… so, why did he do it? It’s clear that Foggy Bottom shoved a rocket up his arse and lit the fuse… they forced him to make a public retraction of it all.

Oh… did His Holiness know of this contretemps at his meeting with McFaul on Friday? Cookie the Bookie will lay you even odds that he did… and I quite agree. His Nibs has FSB/SVR contacts, and he DID have contact with the foreign intel branch of the KGB in Sov times. Of course, he did, as a patriotic Soviet citizen… and after seeing the callous brutality and heartlessness in the West (“the race goes to the swiftest”, y’know), he had solid reason to help the Organs. This doesn’t mean that he aided the repressive side of the KGB… it was a large agency that included foreign intel and border control, not just repression. Many patriotic people worked in or with the KGB, but that didn’t mean that they were involved in evil at all. After all, Potapov works (or worked) for a Langley front-organisation, and no one says it’s bad. If it’s OK for him, then, what His Holiness did was fine, too. In fact, it was more innocent, as he merely passed on intel of interest to his country, he wasn’t a paid agent/official of the government, as Potapov is (or was).

Things aren’t so simple in the real world, are they?


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