America is far from being the only country currently obssessed with presidential politics and national elections. After a year of astounding despotic topplings and revolutions, is Vladimir Putin’s reign over the vast territories of the Russian Federation finally coming to an end? For Russia’s Yezhednevniy Zhurnal, journalist and opposition activist Vladimir Kara-Murza bravely explains why a Russian Foreign Ministry human rights report critical of the United States shows that a typically absurd end to an authoritarian system is at hand.
A report on, “The Human Rights Situation in Several of the World’s Countries,” published by the Foreign Ministry this week, is a worthwhile read for anyone. Our “response to Hillary,” an obvious knock-off of the annual report by the U.S. State Department, fits into 90 pages. Twenty of them consist of a description of the American human rights situation, which, according to human rights defenders at Smolenskaya Square [the Foreign Ministry], “is far from the proclaimed ideals of Washington.”
By the way, countries like North Korea, Syria and China don’t appear on the Foreign Ministry’s list. However, it does contain such grave offenders of human rights as Great Britain, Finland and Canada. In fact, 14 of the 15 countries represented in the report are recognized democracies and members of the E.U. or NATO (with the sole exception of Georgia).
Aside from an annoying plethora of grammatical mistakes (“to undertake measures”), the report is replete with phrases that would be the envy of a Soviet Union propaganda master. Take, for instance, the “sins of the British authorities,” or the fact that the “human rights situation in Canada remains far from simple” (It brings to mind the classic utterance: “my merciless journalistic fate has brought me to Paris”).
The “long-standing systematic problems of American society” are attributed to, in particular, “corruption” and an “imperfect electoral system.” Especially touching, given the backdrop of many thousands of protests against the rigged Duma elections, the Foreign Ministry is concerned about, “blocked access to elections and elected positions for independent candidates” in the United States (no examples are provided), as well as restrictions on free speech. “More and more often, journalists in the United States are losing their jobs because they made ‘politically incorrect’ statements,” write the report’s authors. “In June of 2010, for daring to criticize Israel’s actions in respect to the ‘Freedom Flotilla,’ under pressure from the influential Jewish community (emphasis mine, VKM), the legendary Helen Thomas was forced to end her career.”
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