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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

Tuesday, Oct. 21


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


Take the opportunity 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 Centers 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 months lessons being visual arts.



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