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The Moor Has Done His Duty
Russian Opposition Journalist Andrey Babitsky Discovers Western Freedom of Speech

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babitsky

Andrey Babitsky was the quintessential Russian democratic journalist.

A correspondent for the US government funded Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe (RFERL) since 1989, his star began to shine at the start of the Second Chechen War in 1999, when he was embedded amongst the rebel fighters in Grozny. He took a harshly anti-Russian line, writing the following about a summarily executed Russian POW:

It must be said that the Chechens don’t cut the throats of [Russian] soldiers because they are sadists inclined to treat them with brutality, but because in this manner they can make the war more visceral and visible to the public opinion, to explain that there really is a war and that war is cruel and terrifying.

He was detained by the Russian military when attempting to leave Grozny in January 2000. US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright personally appealed for his release in a visit to Moscow. In an ironic twist, he was freed, but to the Chechens, in exchange for several Russian POWs. His Chechen friends kept him locked up in a cellar until finally releasing him with a forged passport the following month.

Babitsky would continue being a thorn in the feet of Russian security forces thereafter, his biggest coup being an interview for ABC News with Shamil Basayev in 2005, the man who organized the 2002 Nord-Ost Theater Siege, the Beslan school massacre, and numerous other terrorist atrocities before his assassination in 2006. Needless to say, Russia’s siloviki weren’t fond of him either. Apart from the murky events of 2000, he was again temporarily detained in 2004, delaying him from going to North Ossetia to report on the Beslan crisis.

The rest of his reporting appears to have been much in the same general vein. He condemned “Russian aggression” against Georgia in 2008. He railed against Russian state media propaganda. The blog La Russophobe, a now defunct but once one of the most widely read Russia blogs in the Anglosphere, whose content was exactly what it said on the tin, habitually reprinted Babitsky’s scribblings and called him a “hero journalist.” Since 2009, he has been heading RFERL’s “Echo of the Caucasus” section.

Which makes recent revelations that he was fired from RFERL in 2014 rather… interesting.

Why? His troubles with the editors began with an article on his Russian language blog from March 2014. Just its first sentence, really. It has since been deleted, but the Internet remembers:

This is not about Crimea – on this question, I’m fully agreed with Vladimir Putin’s main thesis, that Russia has the absolute right to take the peninsula’s population under its protection. I am aware that a significant number of my colleagues don’t share this viewpoint. After the President’s speech, I am now a supposedly correct, officially approved citizen, while those who are disagree with Russia’s actions in Ukraine have become national traitors.

That’s it. The rest of the essay is his standard spiel about Russia’s never ending descent into authoritarianism and the persecution and denigration of dissidents. He affirms the absolute right to free speech, and expresses great concern for the fate of the 10% of people who disagree with Crimea’s incorporation into Russia when the other 90% so passionately supports it in an atmosphere of fear, suspicion, and demonizing rhetoric.

As it soon turned out, he might as well have been talking about himself.

A week later, Babitsky was removed from his position as chief editor of Echo of the Caucasus, and suspended from work for one month without reimbursement. The decision was condemned by Mario Corti, a former director of RFERL who had also ran into terminal disagreements with the senior American management and resigned in disgust. Although he stressed that he disagreed with Babitsky’s position on Crimea, he notes that the overall article was “harshly critical of Vladimir Putin,” and affirmed that opinion in a commentary is “legitimate journalism” and that his demotion goes counter to RFERL’s standing as a “paragon of free speech.”

Babitsky was reinstated as a journalist following his one month suspension, but was quietly dismissed in September 2014 after a stint as a war correspondent in the Donbass. He left without much fanfare, unlike, say, Liz Wahl, whose theatric resignation from and denunciation of RT live on air was carefully choreographed in advance with neocon waterboy and professional troll James Kirchick. Possibly Babitsky didn’t want to risk his Czech residency permit – RFERL is headquartered in Prague – until his daughter finished school. In any case, it was only a few days ago that we finally got access to the juicy details of his departure when he gave an interview to the Czech daily Lidové noviny (here is a Russian translation).

First off, here is a full annunciation of his views on Crimea, which basically reduces to an absolute but in his case principled stand on questions of self-determination and national sovereignty:

LN: Crimea became important to you in another sense: You were forced to leave RFERL after 25 years of working for them on account of your attitudes towards the annexation?

AB: One of my blog posts contained some words supporting Putin’s decision to incorporate Crimea into Russia. The rest of the content was critical towards Putin and Russia. For instance, I condemned the fact that it has became acceptable in Russia to call those who disagree with the peninsula’s incorporation into Russia – traitors to the Motherland. About Crimea itself and its incorporation into Russia there was just one sentence.

LN: Considering that you worked for an American, government-sponsored radio station, wasn’t it at the very least shortsighted to support Crimea’s annexation?

AB: We worked in Chechnya for many years, and even then I was completely certain – if there is some minority, some part of the population, that considers that its rights are in conflict with their host country’s territorial integrity, then there must be a divorce. This oppressed group, if its interests are harmed, has the full right to an independent existence, according to its own rules. As a journalist I supported this right, both when this concerned Chechens, and today in the case of Crimea, and also the Donbass.

LN: [You were fired] because your opinion on Crimea’s annexation differed from your employer’s?

AB: I have a special relationship with Crimea. We have a house there. My wife is a native of Crimea, and her parents – former military – still live there. We go there every summer. So I know that many Crimeans have always regarded Ukraine as a foreign state. Crimeans never felt at home there. They were annoyed by Ukrainization policies. They had the Ukrainian language forced upon them in place of Russian. Ever since its independence, Kiev has carried out an incorrect national policy towards minorities, first and foremost, in regards to the Russian one. During this time period a lot of insults accrued, and people felt it was injust and feared that in the future things would become even worse.

LN: Worse after the arrival of the new Ukrainian leadership?

AB: Crimeans’ feelings are informed by experience: Once again nobody knows what the hell’s happening in Kiev, and what awaits us. The reaction that followed was, in my view, completely normal and even legal. You see the hand of Putin everywhere, but in Crimea people simply revolted in defense of their rights. Just as, in your opinion, did the residents of Kiev. You, like the rest of my Western colleagues, like to argue that in Kiev people were genuinely fighting for their rights and freedoms, while in Crimea and Donbass it is all a conspiracy behind which stand Putin and the Russian secret services. But this isn’t true. The entire peninsula was overtaken in horror by what awaited it, so the separation was an unequivocal reaction to the threat that Euromaidan represented to Crimeans. Doesn’t Crimea have the same right to rebel against injustice and suppression as the Maidan?

LN: [Every minority might have a right to sovereignty], but surely not with support from big neighbors who use not only propaganda but also real weapons to grab territories. A free referendum is one thing, anything else is an incitement of separatism.

AB: Wait a second. Several weeks back the organization GfK Ukraine, a German sociological company – not Russian – published a telling study, according to which 93% of Crimeans are happy with their incorporation into Russia. 93! I do not view Crimea’s incorporation, unlike several of my Western colleagues, as the resurrection of the USSR. To the contrary, it is but a continuation of that entity’s collapse. It is the Soviet regime that created weird, unnatural, and historically unfounded borders, and divided them up into different oblasts and republics that were wholly artificial. …

This didn’t go over well with his Czech interviewer. Babitsky might be a pro-Western liberal who had spent his entire life struggle for “your freedom and ours”… but how dare he put loyalty towards liberalism in front of loyalty to pro-Westernism?

As the interview goes on, the questions gradually become more loaded and hostile. At first, he attempts to respond reasonably, but eventually gives up.

LN: It’s improbable how you, a person who was nearly killed by Vladimir Putin’s regime, and forced into exile, have today become a supporter of Putin…

But Putin isn’t Russia! Russia – it is history and rich tradition. Pushkin is Russia. Apart from that, it must be said that Russia today resembles a European country to a much greater extent than does Ukraine. Yes, Russia has its nationalists, but that is a problems of deviants. But in Ukraine, nationalism has become a state doctrine. Nationalism, be it Ukrainian or Georgian, leads to Hitlerian Nazism. Russia is a multinational country, where nationalism doesn’t have a future.

LN: Is there anything at all in Russia that deserves your criticism?

AB: It still has many Soviet aspects. First and foremost, a very difficult situation in respect to free media, with free access to information. Anti-Western sentiments are growing, there is a lot of belief in extreme conspiracy theories, restrictions on civil rights, and so on. But in Ukraine the situation is worse in all respects.

LN: So Crimea, according to you, ran away from those Ukrainian nationalists into the warm embrace of big, good, traditional Russia. Just as if it came from Russian state TV…

AB: Crimea escaped the bloody drama that Donbass didn’t. There were 20,000 Ukrainian soldiers on the peninsula, if some fool in Kiev had given the order, the conversation would have been overtaken by heavy artillery, and Crimea would have been completely destroyed.

LN: Czechs are always drawn to the Sudetenland comparison. Do you also believe that back then the German minority should have battled for its rights?

AB: This was, first of all, an act of external aggression. You didn’t persecute Germans. Or did you also wish to make them Czechs, like Ukrainians were doing in to Russians in Crimea? In Crimea, it was completely different. A big conflict was decades in the making. People were becoming cardinally disillusioned. And as soon as the revolution engulfed Kiev, they started fearing further restrictions on the usage of the Russian language and the promotion of Ukrainian… and not only this. You see, there is also historical experience to consider. My mother was born in Kiev. Seventeen members of our family were killed during the war by Ukrainian nationalists.

LN: I am not the only one with serious doubts that Russians’ rights in Crimea were likewise restricted under the regime of the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.

AB: Do you trust me as a journalist? If so, think about it – in the past ten years I have been to Crimea thirteen times, I spent every summer there, and it is from this position that I tell you: Go to hell with your doubts.

But interesting as this all is, the Crimea sentence wasn’t what he was fired from RFERL for.

He was fired by a US government funded media outlet for exposing possible Neo-Nazi atrocities.

LN: Fear about the consequences of the Maidan were mostly spread by Russian media. Surely you, as a journalist, know the power of information…

AB: When I was still working at RFERL, I asked the managers to send me to Donbass. I went there and worked as I usually do in a warzone. On September 2, 2014, I filmed the exhumation of four corpses: Two civilians, and two insurgents. According to the locals – not the militias, but ordinary residents of Novosvetlovka – these people had been executed by Ukrainian volunteers from the Aidar batallion. I didn’t provide any commentary on this, just filmed it and sent it to the Moldovan division of RFERL. The video was published online. After this, the nationalists in the Ukrainian division of RFERL became hysterical. There was a big scandal. All this, just because I had published a video, which only recorded what I saw with my own eyes, without any additional commentary.

LN: But sometimes the specific selection of facts, presented without context, can create a cardinally false version of events…

AB: The video was deleted. On September 26, I returned to Prague. I was invited to the office and was told that my position has been removed. RFERL has clearly and definitively become nothing more than an instrument of American propaganda.

Who could have imagined it?

Now don’t get me wrong. RFERL is funded by the US government, so in principle, the US government can dictate how it uses its resources (although ideally, if not in practice, subject to electoral accountability and journalistic ethics). If that involves kicking out journalists whose opinions and reporting overstay their welcome, then so be it. After all, virtually all state-sponsored international media, in some capacity or other, serve the interests of their sponsors: Al Jazeera – Al Jazeera, the BBC, CCTV, France 24, Deutschewelle, and… RT.

But it is primarily the Western media organization that tend to have the chutzpah to deny this and instead claim an altruistic and universal dedication to truth, objectivity, free speech, and fluffy pink rabbits. Maybe it’s just a case of people talking on about that what they don’t have. RT at least is honest enough to admit its blatant pro-Russia biases. As its director Margarita Simonyan put it, “There is no objectivity – only approximations of the truth by as many different voices as possible.” This brutal honesty annoys the Western establishment real bad, because they view their social arrangements and global hegemony as a revealed truth, and anything that even so much as suggests that it may be just one of many truths is equivalent to heresy, and calls upon the rage of the chiliastic monotheist in battle with other faiths. Hence the vilification of RT, and even calls for it to be banned, with several investigations against it already launched by the UK’s Ofcom media watchdog.

RFERL is, in this respect, the quintessential Western MSM outlet. Not only does it supposedly strive for objectivity, but it even has a quotation from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as its motto (Article 19: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression”). That’s even better than The Guardian’s “comment is free”!

But RFERL’s response to concrete questions about its treatment of Andrey Babitsky and their commitment to his freedom of opinion and expression is… a bit more laconic.

Namely, zero, zip, zilch, nada.

I made an inquiry to Brian Whitmore, a blogger at The Power Vertical, RFERL’s Russia blog. No reply, though I had interacted with him on several occasions in the past. Okay, so I’m a Putin lackey, and RFERL is possibly keen to avoid “exploitation by the pro-Kremlin media in Russia.” Why not, then, answer Ben Aris, a journalist who supported the Maidan?

The answer is as simple as it is cynical.

The Moor has done his duty, the Moor can go. In the big scheme of things, it is just a minor iteration of what happened to Solzhenitsyn after he rejected neoliberal capitalism, or Gorbachev after he came out in support of Russia’s incorporation of Crimea. It’s either their way, all the way, or the highway.

But don’t mention this, or we’ll hound you out of our mutual agreement societies too, because you’re biased and hate freedom.

 

50 Comments to "The Moor Has Done His Duty"

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  1. An important piece; it’s quite simple. Ukraine & Belarus should have been EU candidates but never a part of NATO.

    The demonisation of a strong Russia (while the lionisation of a defeated one) is a recurring Anglo-Saxon trope (I don’t call it Anglo-American simply because I see Imperial continuity from English hegemony through to DC’s current Yankee-tinted arrogance).

    Finally I disagree with the journalist’s contention about the sovereign right to secede to any minority (otherwise we shall have global chaos – we need to find better ways to co-exist) but I was struck by his eloquent contrast between Russia’s multi-national (and ergo tolerant attitude) versus the extreme parochialism of the Western Ukranian leadership etc.

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  2. From interview of Babich (the subject of the post) with Czech journalist. Babich:
    .
    “But Putin isn’t Russia! Russia – it is history and rich tradition. Pushkin is Russia.”
    .
    I especially like ” Pushkin is Russia.”, and support it.
    I remember absolutely disproportionately large number of ethnical J**s,
    who worked at and did research in conjunction with
    Pushkin’s memorial museum in Moscow
    (not to be confused with nearby Museum of Fine Arts, named in honor of A. S. Pushkin).
    Devotion to Pushkin was (and probably still is, I have no info) extremely strong,
    from people of any ethnicity in Russia.
    .
    Октябрь уж наступил — уж роща отряхает
    Последние листы с нагих своих ветвей;

    Translation (to show that I do not send any secret handshake):
    .
    October has arrived – and grove sheds down quiet
    The last remaining leaves from those naked arms;
    … .
    I do not remember ever hearing about Babitski.
    Good post, Mr. Karlin!

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  3. Russians hate us for our freedoms.

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  4. RT at least is honest enough to admit its blatant pro-Russia biases. As its director Margarita Simonyan put it, “There is no objectivity – only approximations of the truth by as many different voices as possible.” This brutal honesty annoys the Western establishment real bad, because they view their social arrangements and global hegemony as a revealed truth, and anything that even so much as suggests that it may be just one of many truths is equivalent to heresy,

    Very revealing article. It’s ironic that a supposedly right-wing, state-sponsored media outlet like RT, professes such a post-modern perspective while it seems that most of the supposedly liberal and independent Western media, claims objective truth even when the evidence contradicts that truth. Are they making news or reporting it?

    Even so, I don’t fully trust RT. It may be less hypocritical, but that doen’t make it any more credible than the competition.

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  5. Another masterpiece AK. Evidence that being merely 99% anti-Putin is not enough these days. It has to be 100% all the time; or you’re fired.

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  6. The editorial narrative loses credibility unless all the news that’s printed fits.

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  7. I’m willing to concede a region like Crimea has legitimate reasons to be rejoin its historic nation. No one said East Germany was no longer ‘Germany’. I think Angela Merkel has gone a bridge too far to insist that Crimea be restored to Ukrainian sovereignty before Germany normalizes relations with Russia. I even think that Putin, where he a sane man, could have obtained the return of Crimea peacefully had he not been a psychotic killer. Of course. Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy could have seduced or raped their victims too but that wouldn’t have satisfied them.

    To listen to Russian media carry on about neo-Nazis in Ukraine while Putin allows Golden Dawn and every other extremist right wing group to meet in St. Petersburg is beyond hypocrisy, and I am on the side of Golden Dawn. The lies and disinformation that eminate from Moscow as well as the threats are so disheartening.

    Putin is not a friend or an ally. He is a corrupt thug and it saddens me to see so many falling for such a man. He isn’t even the real deal.

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  8. Interesting article, I read it though because I thought it was about Barry.

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  9. You’re correct on at least one part: Neo-Nazis aren’t Putin’s friends or allies. They are either enemies or useful idiots.

    Personally, either one is fine by me. :)

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  10. Thank goodness is so against neo-nazis, so there’s no danger of him inviting a bunch of reactionary fascists to Russia.

    http://www.interpretermag.com/russia-hosting-europes-neo-nazis-nationalists-and-anti-semites-putin-supporters-all/

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  11. “I even think that Putin, where he a sane man, could have obtained the return of Crimea peacefully had he not been a psychotic killer.”

    You left out “new Hitler”.

    It’s simply amazing to believe how adults can use such terminology and be swayed by such sh**ty media as what we have in the West these days.

    Everything must be viewed in black and white terms, everything reduced to the language of comic books and the movies that they’re based on.

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  12. Putin is a “psychotic killer”. Do you have irrefutable evidence for this extreme claim? I do mean evidence which could be introduced in a court of law or a claim which would stand up under examination by the defense.

    Please explain who or what is the “real deal” to use what I feel is a very silly expression.

    You diminish yourself and your arguments when you employ hyperbole such as “thug” and “psychotic killer”.

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  13. There is no reason to “trust” anyone, including RT or any of the UR authors, without reservation. All you can do is read widely and analyze for yourself.

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  14. The real question is: How did it get this way? Is it a function of technology and its use for narrative control? Is it largely continuous with the past? Or is there actually something different about those who wield power in the US today that distinguishes this epoch from earlier ones?

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  15. Anonymous
    says:
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    Good thing for Babitsky that he voiced these views that resulted in his simply being unceremoniously let go. He matured in his thinking and understanding of the world and he voiced this. Good thing for that, because he outlived his usefulness and he could’ve easily found himself useful in being gunned down in order to propagate the “Putin is a thug and murderer” meme. And the NYT and Fox News would’ve started the story referencing 15-year old history.

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  16. Always remember unit472 is defective.

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  17. Unit472 is a product of Fox News….therefore defective.

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  18. I don’t think Putin, or the oligarchs in China for that matter, have schemes of world domination. This is not to say they are pussycats, but that their ruthlessness is tempered by the realization that conquered territories with unassimilable people are a liability to the homeland.

    Any of Russia’s neighbors with significant Russian population have very good cause for worry, but Europe in whole or in part would be way too much to swallow and I think Putin knows this. Kind of like the pythons in Florida that swallow alligators and die.

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  19. Of course Russian aggression over threw a pro-Russian government in Kiev and installed anti-Russian Nazis.. That’s the message and it makes perfect sense, since I have kin here in America that believes exactly that.. Anyone who denies it in the western media is fired, so it must be true..

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  20. Any of Russia’s neighbors with significant Russian population have very good cause for worry

    Not even that as long as they don’t try to push their Russian populations into rebelling against them.
    The Kremlin is rather conservative and knows that supporting separatists ruins relations with governments who fights them.

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  21. RUSSIA & UKRAINE: JRL 2015-#57 table of contents with links :: Monday 23 March 2015 | Johnson's Russia List
    says:
    • Website     Show CommentNext New Comment

    […] doesn’t believe in a “New Cold War.” 33. The Unz Review: Anatoly Karlin, The Moor Has Done His Duty. Russian Opposition Journalist Andrey Babitsky Discovers Western Freedom …. 4. New York Times: In Putin’s Nationalist Russia, a Tolstoy as Cultural Diplomat. 35. […]

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  22. If all Ukraine’s Right Sector wanted to do was “meet in Kiev” as Golden Dawn “meets in St. Petersburg” I don’t imagine there would be a problem for anyone. Sadly, Right Sector wants to field a private army in Kiev (and the rest of Ukraine).

    Don’t you think that Putin would suppress Golden Dawn if they showed up in St. Petersburg with guns and APCs?

    I would encourage both Putin and Poroshenko to disarm armed “citizen” armies like Right Sector. Since Golden Dawn isn’t toting guns and fielding an army (in St. Petersburg or anywhere else), there really is no comparison with Right Sector, however.

    Would you allow the creation, parading, arming, and fighting of an American “Right Sector” (independent of the US Army) in the USA?

    America had our own “Right Sector” once upon a time. They were called “Quantrill’s Raiders” and “Jayhawkers”as I remember. They operated in “Bleeding Kansas”. Somehow I doubt the US Government or US Army would tolerate such shenanigans now. Pity for the people of the Ukraine that Poroshenko not only tolerates Right Sector but embraces it.

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  23. Brilliant, Anatoly. Very quotable and very, very well done.

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  24. In the context of this profoundly revealing conversation your comment sounds plainly petty and not particularly intelligent.
    Babitsky is a courageous man living in a country of Truth. Whereas you live in a country of Russophobia.
    “LN: I am not the only one with serious doubts that Russians’ rights in Crimea were likewise restricted under the regime of the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych.
    AB: Do you trust me as a journalist? If so, think about it – in the past ten years I have been to Crimea thirteen times, I spent every summer there, and it is from this position that I tell you: Go to hell with your doubts.”

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  25. What’s the point of your post? The Russian Federation has been on a way to recovery after the bloodless dissolution of the Soviet Empire and after the wreckage inflicted by the Harvard Boys (the psychopathic idiots with over-inflated ego). The Russians want nothing more than to live in a “normal” state, to earn money, to travel, and to live in peaceful times. What kind of territories does Russia need? Have you given any thoughts about the fantastic mineral riches of Siberia and Arctic region? Or do you have any understanding of the horrific level of sacrifice the former Soviets suffered during the WWII? In short: Russians do not want and do not need a war. You look for an aggressor a wrong way.

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  26. anonymous
    says:
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    I wouldn’t feel too sorry for this person. After all, he got twenty-five years of paychecks out of his role, better than a lot of people have done. I’d have to see his bank account statement before I get out the hanky. It just proves that behind all this high-minded chit-chat about moral principles there’s just a raw cynicism that uses it as a cover to bamboozle the average person. Personally, I thought RFERL had fallen by the wayside. Do people actually pay attention to it? I thought everybody knew it was just a propaganda outfit.
    Perhaps I’m just better attuned to things as time goes on or maybe things have actually gotten worse but it seems the domestic media, print, movies, television, have gotten more and more propagandistic about just about anything and everything. It’s all-pervasive on every level; if a person were to start paying attention to it all actively as though they were a student of it taking notes then they begin to see the scripted manipulation inherent in all of it.

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  27. What a strange article. If Babitsky is surprised that RFE no longer wants to employ him or post his opinions once he comes out in support for the Russian takeover of Crimea, then he is naïve indeed, to the extent that perhaps journalism is not the best use of his talents.

    Yes, RFE has an editorial viewpoint and those who run astray on any number of topics can expect to have their paychecks and bylines terminated. That is a fact of life, but freedom of the press never meant that a journalism gig at a place like RFE was a sure thing.

    In contrast, here is a key problem with Russian journalism:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

    and it is the reason why Russian ‘freedom of the press’ is a joke, no matter how many people Crimea-for-the-Russians supporters RFE fires.

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  28. “Ukraine & Belarus should have been EU candidates but never a part of NATO.”

    Thank you, Belarus does not need the EU.You do not have enough toilet cleaners?

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  29. Good ‘un, Truth.

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  30. I cannot believe how many people take this troll unit472 seriously. Just ignore him, he contributes very little to the discussion and just makes disruptive statements such as “psychotic killer” and any similar rubbish he picks up from his neconservative (the Nazi Jewish) websites. Facts do not matter as long as you can make bombastic characterizations, very similar to the MSM owned by the same neconservatives, the same media that this character was raised on.

    Great article Anatoly, shows the amazing duplicity of the Western media. It is also amazing that so many people here were not aware of what RT has been promoting since its inception: “we at RT are not the truth (if such thing even exists), but we are the second opinion in the severely mono-opinionated Western mediascape”. Turn on or open any Western media and you will hear the same news almost world for word – as if they are all reading the same government communiqués just about everything. They are actually publishing or reading the wire-service news, e.g by Reuters, AP, etc, the news written by the Western intelligence services.

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  31. It’s ironic that a supposedly right-wing, state-sponsored media outlet like RT,

    RT rightwing? Have you ever watched it? It’s certainly pro-Russian, but rightwing?

    Even so, I don’t fully trust RT. It may be less hypocritical, but that doen’t make it any more credible than the competition.

    It is vastly more credible than US mainstream news outlets. What you get from US sources doesn’t even make rudimentary sense. It is a gobble of incoherent emoting.

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  32. You must have poor reading comprehension. Babitsky was not fired because of his views on Crimea; he was fired because he posted a video that documented Ukrainian army’s atrocities against civilians.

    Now, RFERL certainly has the right to fire him for any reason, including for reporting reality. And we have the right to draw conclusions about the credibility of RFERL and, by extension, the whole Western media.

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  33. “Now, RFERL certainly has the right to fire him for any reason, including for reporting reality. And we have the right to draw conclusions about the credibility of RFERL and, by extension, the whole Western media.”

    The whole Western media? Really? One guy gets fired (and you are correct, his support for Russian actions in Crimea is taken as the moment when his troubles with RFE began) and this suddenly becomes about the whole Western media?

    If that is true, what do all those dead journalists say about Russian freedom of the press? Who would you rather be: Babitsky, or the next journalist who gets close to uncovering why Nemtsov was really killed?

    Russians are rightly annoyed when Western countries complain about their treatment of gays when just a few countries over, people are beheaded or otherwise executed for indulging similar urges. That is indeed hypocrisy on the part of numerous gay advocates. But by extension, complaining about Babitsky losing his job given the number of journalists who have lost their lives in Russia is even more hypocritical. I know Putin’s true believers are unlikely to realize that, but I think more objective people will take note.

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  34. Please focus your attention on the main point of the article, which is the hypocrisy of the Western MSM that is claiming to be an arbiter of truth.
    “After all, virtually all state-sponsored international media, in some capacity or other, serve the interests of their sponsors: Al Jazeera – Al Jazeera, the BBC, CCTV, France 24, Deutschewelle, and… RT.
    But it is primarily the Western media organization that tend to have the chutzpah to deny this and instead claim an altruistic and universal dedication to truth, objectivity, free speech, and fluffy pink rabbits. Maybe it’s just a case of people talking on about that what they don’t have. RT at least is honest enough to admit its blatant pro-Russia biases. As its director Margarita Simonyan put it, “There is no objectivity – only approximations of the truth by as many different voices as possible.” This brutal honesty annoys the Western establishment real bad, because they view their social arrangements and global hegemony as a revealed truth, and anything that even so much as suggests that it may be just one of many truths is equivalent to heresy, and calls upon the rage of the chiliastic monotheist in battle with other faiths. Hence the vilification of RT, and even calls for it to be banned, with several investigations against it already launched by the UK’s Ofcom media watchdog.”

    Russia has been trying hard to get out from the morass of centralized everything. The RF has been looking for an example to emulate. And here we are, the US as an Empire of Federal Reserve and the Western MSM that prostitutes for the Plutocracy.

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  35. yes,but you have to have a modicum of a brain to see it

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  36. In contrast, here is a key problem with Russian journalism:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_journalists_killed_in_Russia

    and it is the reason why Russian ‘freedom of the press’ is a joke, no matter how many people Crimea-for-the-Russians supporters RFE fires.

    The problem is that currently the rate at which Russian journalists are getting killed now is an order of magnitude lower than under Yeltsin, which RFERL and its ilk view as Russia’s Golden Age of freedom and democracy.

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  37. “The problem is that currently the rate at which Russian journalists are getting killed now is an order of magnitude lower than under Yeltsin,…”

    That line might have worked up until the day before Nemtsov was killed, but not since (no, he wasn’t a journalist per se, but given his alleged plans to reveal a few things to the media, his death deserves at least a footnote on that list). And really, it was a lame argument well before then, because if you kill enough journalists who, for example, try and dig down into who really caused those apartment bombings (let’s not blame that one on Yeltsin, given the key players involved), then the rest will get the message and the chill will remain as long as the key players are still in power.

    Once the Nazi or the KGB or the Sharia enforcers move in, the ensuing blood bath does not have to be an extended affair. Eventually, people get the message, and the beheadings become more sporadic (at least while the regime feels secure). But that does not mean that things are getting better.

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  38. I read the first and last paragraphs of this piece, and received no information as to what the point was.

    Let my more than impressionistic conclusion based on scanty evidence, the evidence of the aforesaid first and last paragraphs, be:

    No Free Speech for folks/races who never invented Free Speech and for whom Free Speech is totally instrumental for accomplishing their selfish ends.

    Joe

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  39. I don’t know anything about the situation in Crimea, but that “interview” of Babitsky was beyond belief. I’ve seldom seen such hostile, loaded questions, worthy of TASS in 1975, or MSNBC interviewing a Republican. And yeah, RT is propaganda, and Putin is no friend of free speech, but RFERL is American – we’re supposed to be better than that. Or maybe I’m just nostalgic for the days when we could call ourselves the “Free World” and mean it.

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  40. Ah, the innocent fluffy bunny is afraid of the terrible Wolf of KGB and Sharia. How come that you have completely missed the actual initiators of the largest bloodbaths in this century?

    “Why the rise of fascism is again the issue:”

    http://johnpilger.com/articles/why-the-rise-of-fascism-is-again-the-issue

    “The US is Pushing The World Towards Nuclear War:”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/03/26/the-us-is-pushing-the-world-towards-nuclear-war/#.VRRJjYKC0bY.facebook

    “Nulands: A Family Business of Perpetual War:”

    http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/23/4831

    And the cherry on the pie: ” Too many rats, not enough cheese – TTG:”

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2015/03/too-many-rats-not-enough-cheese-ttg.html

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  41. Ah, the innocent fluffy bunny is afraid of the terrible Wolf of KGB and Sharia.

    As an example of state terror, yeah. Guilty as charged. You got me.

    How come that you have completely missed the actual initiators of the largest bloodbaths in this century?

    What, you thought I was compiling some exhaustive list? That’s the level of your reading comprehension? That’s your gotcha moment? I stopped at three because it seemed like nice round number in order to make my point. I could have gone on to mention Robespierre and the Jacobins, the Cambodian killing fields, Japanese imperialists at Nanjing, and any number of other terror-states, but those of us not fixated on Jews will get the point. I am still not sure which of those TLDR links you keep posting detail the perpetrators of “largest bloodbaths in this century”, but I’m guessing the answer is going to be Jews again. Am I right?

    None of that changes my point that it’s the initial reign of terror that sets the tone for the duration of the regime, and the fact that the killings level off at some point is no indication that things are getting better, but rather, an indication that things are just as bad as they ever were.

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  42. Le nègre a fait son devoir : le journaliste d’opposition, Andrey BABITSKI, découvre la liberté d’expression occidentale
    says:
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    […] ANATOLY KARLIN , the Unz review […]

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  43. The Western “free” press and how it enables and encourages ignorance | Journalitico
    says:
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    […] I’ve read many pieces — and written some — about the failure of the Western press in how it chooses to cover not only Russia, but Russian media, like RT. None have hit the nail on the head quite as much as this one. […]

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  44. The Ukrainian Army You Don’t Want to Hear About | Republic of the East
    says:
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    […] for Radio Liberty, Babitsky was an outspoken character. Considered by the Unz Review as the ”quintessential Russian democratic journalist”, Babitsky had been suspended for his comments on Crima’s annexion, citing the right of […]

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  45. And Google is still doing.

    https://medium.com/@DanSanchezV/don-t-see-evil-148ae18bc9fe

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  46. The creators of the media narrative are also the creators of movies and comic books.

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  47. “the days when we could call ourselves the “Free World” and mean it.”
    And when was that again ?

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  48. Yemen, Ukraine, and “Legitimacy” | offguardian
    says:
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    […] Well, this goes back to my point about Westernism being a revealed truth, and deviation or opposition it being essentially a religious crime. As Alexander Mercouris puts […]

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  49. The Moor Has Done His Duty | offguardian
    says:
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    […] Read the full interview in Anatoly Karlin’s original. […]

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  50. Wonderful article! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our site.
    Keep up the great writing.
    web site; Belen,

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  51. RF Sitrep 20150326 – Russia Observer
    says:
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    […] WESTERN VALUES™ PART 1. Andrei Babitsky, once a certified hero journalist speaking truth to Putin, has been fired. It’s not enough to be 99% anti-Putin, it must be 100% all the time. Read this. […]

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