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6 More Russian Myths About Crimea

Published: April 16, 2014 (Issue # 1806)


Russian leaders often look uninformed or desperate when they try tojustify abuses ofpower byclaiming that theU.S. is guilty ofsimilar infractions.

Take, forexample, President Vladimir Putins comparison ofRussias selective legal assault against Yukos andthe subsequent expropriation ofmost ofYukos assets intostate-controlled Rosneft with theU.S. prosecution ofEnron in2003.

InSeptember 2012, Putin, responding tointernational criticism ofthe prison death oflawyer Sergei Magnitsky, said that theU.S. had no right tojudge Russia because it executes convicted criminals athome. TheForeign Ministry took this argument further, saying inits 2012 report onU.S. human rights violations that theU.S. executes minors, which is ablatant falsehood.

Russian authorities also fired back atU.S. criticism ofRussias record onfree speech byasserting that theU.S. violated therights offormer Private Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, jailed forleaking 700,000 classified documents toWikiLeaks.

Now, theKremlin has adopted thesame flawed look whos talking argument tocounter criticism ofits annexation ofCrimea. Here are six more myths that Russia is fond ofspinning.

1. All great powers annex territory. Look atthe U.S., which unabashedly annexed Texas andHawaii.

It is true that theU.S. annexation ofTexas in1845 was avivid example ofmanifest destiny, imperialism andpromoting theinterests ofthe powerful, slaveholding class inthe South. TheTexas annexation, which extended thestates border tothe Rio Grande river, was aclear act ofprovocation against Mexico, which had historical claims toparts ofTexas. Theannexation sparked theMexican-American war of1846-48, which theU.S. won, giving it ownership ofa huge swath ofwestern territories fromColorado toCalifornia.

Similarly, Hawaii was annexed in1898 after theU.S. orchestrated acoup overthrowing theHawaiian monarchy in1893. Themain economic motive ofthe coup was toexploit Hawaiis sugar wealth andpromote theinterests ofthe five largest U.S. sugarcane-processing corporations working onthe islands.

But it is odd that Russia is pointing toa 19th-century U.S. imperialist model ofexpansion tojustify its annexation ofCrimea. Is Russia still living inthe 19th century, pursuing its own form ofmanifest destiny? Clearly, thepost-World War II world order, which is based onUnited Nations-based system ofinternational law andrespecting theterritorial integrity ofother nations, rejects these crude 19th-century andearly 20th-century land grabs.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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