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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, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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