Once again, during the Geneva Summit, Russian president Vladimir Putin had the nerve to compare Russian freedom-seeking movements to the January 6 insurrection.
In another chutzpah act of despicable dishonesty and ludicrous whataboutism, the Russian dictator compared his customary, brutal – even deadly — treatment of demonstrators and opposition leaders, including the attempted murder of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, to the January 6 defense of the Capitol, our democracy and Constitution by Capitol police against violent rioters.
While Biden could have used much stronger words to condemn Putin’s audacity, he merely called the comparison “ridiculous.”
Some Republicans have characterized the January 6 brutal assault on the U.S. Capitol and on our democracy as:
“Not an insurrection.”
“A normal tourist visit.”
“By and large, peaceful protests.”
Other Republicans have called the rioters and insurrectionists:
One very influential Republican called the insurrectionists, while the riots were going on, “special people,” and — afterwards — people who were just “hugging and kissing the police and the guards,” people who presented “zero threat.”
In the weeks and months thereafter, some Republicans have accused the Justice Department and law enforcement authorities of persecuting and harassing “peaceful patriots.”
Finally, on May 28, a majority of Republican Senators decided to sweep the attack on the Capitol under its expansive political rug.
This week, support for the views of so many Republicans came from a sinister, powerful source.
During an economic forum in St. Petersburg on Friday, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said the Capitol rioters and insurrectionists were not “just a crowd of robbers and rioters,” but rather people who had come to the Capitol “with political demands.”
Putin’s words of support for the insurrection come three days after his Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, claimed the U.S. was violating the human rights of the rioters and that the January 6 insurrectionists are being “persecuted” by the US government – just as some Republicans have said.
This comes from a regime that will not tolerate a word of dissention – let alone demonstrations, God forbid a riot – and that will persecute, imprison, torture, and kill those who would dare to “present such political demands.”
Wake up Republicans! “The alarm bells are sounding on American democracy again.” For Putin to put his seal of approval on your words and actions can only mean that something is very rotten in Washington.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.