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6 More Russian Myths About Crimea

Published: April 11, 2014 (Issue # 1805)


Russian leaders often look uninformed — or desperate — when they try to justify abuses of power by claiming that the U.S. is guilty of similar infractions.

Take, for example, President Vladimir Putin's comparison of Russia's selective legal assault against Yukos — and the subsequent expropriation of most of Yukos' assets into state-controlled Rosneft — with the U.S. prosecution of Enron in 2003.

The U.S. annexed Hawaii and Texas, so why can't Russia annex Crimea? Russia is living in the 19th century, pursuing its own manifest destiny.

In September 2012, Putin, responding to international criticism of the prison death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, said that the U.S. had no right to judge Russia because it executes convicted criminals at home. The Foreign Ministry took this argument further, saying in its 2012 report on U.S. human rights violations that the U.S. executes minors, which is a blatant falsehood.

Russian authorities also fired back at U.S. criticism of Russia's record on free speech by asserting that the U.S. violated the rights of former Private Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, jailed for leaking 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Now, the Kremlin has adopted the same flawed "look who's talking" argument to counter criticism of its annexation of Crimea. Here are six more myths that Russia is fond of spinning.

1. All great powers annex territory. Look at the U.S., which unabashedly annexed Texas and Hawaii.

It is true that the U.S. annexation of Texas in 1845 was a vivid example of manifest destiny, imperialism and promoting the interests of the powerful, slaveholding class in the South. The Texas annexation, which extended the state's border to the Rio Grande river, was a clear act of provocation against Mexico, which had historical claims to parts of Texas. The annexation sparked the Mexican-American war of 1846-48, which the U.S. won, giving it ownership of a huge swath of western territories from Colorado to California.

Similarly, Hawaii was annexed in 1898 after the U.S. orchestrated a coup overthrowing the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. The main economic motive of the coup was to exploit Hawaii's sugar wealth and promote the interests of the five largest U.S. sugarcane-processing corporations working on the islands.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Oct. 20


Amateur pictures from World War I are on display for only one more day at Rosphoto’s exhibition “On Both Sides,” chronicling the conflict through the eyes of observers on both sides of the trenches. The price of entrance to the exhibition is 100 rubles ($2.50).



Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organization’s office.


Take the chance to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Center’s series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this month’s lessons being “visual arts.”



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