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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

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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