Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Russian Ambassador to Norway criticizes media coverage.

Tonight I spent 40 kr, or 6 dollars to listen to the Russian Ambassador to Norway Sergej Andrejev complaining about the negative media coverage Russia has gotten lately. That is, the first thing he wanted to make clear was that “I’m not complaining”.

So what misconceptions did Norwegian and Western media have? Here are some other grains of gold which I think sums it up from the Ambassador:

"Media should stop interfering with internal Russian affairs."
"There is no more journalist killed in Russia than other people."
"Georgia started the war, and Medvedev defended Russian citizens."
"Several hundred civilians were killed by Georgian forces in South Ossetia" (Ed. comment: Official Russian numbers are 162 soldiers, separatists and civilians killed in SO)
"Western media does not take in consideration the kind of difficult situation Russia is in."
"Russia is a democracy."
"Politics and moral should not be mixed together."
"If it were not for the Red Army, Estonia, Lithauen and Latvia would have been a part of The Third Reich, so don’t complain."
"You see what you see" (About planting the Russian flag on the North Pole under water)

Difficult questions?
As this was a meeting with debate in the student society in Trondheim, students could ask questions. The difficult ones about the Georgia war and Russian media the Ambassador at large”didn’t understand”, and allowed himself to take an effort in humiliating one critical students in particular on his use of English language (the meeting was held in English). “Maybe the student rather would present his questions in his native language?”

A Newspaper man without “cojones”
To defend the Russian critic of Norwegian media coverage the Studentersamfundet had invited Kjell Dragnes, the news editor for foreign affairs in Aftenposten, one of Norway’s dominating newspapers. He spent most of his time speaking about his love to Russia. Part of his heart was still there after years living in Russia, he said. I think maybe the debate would have been a lot better if a sharp and “heartless” journalist had participated instead. Dragsnes’s defence of the media was, to put it mildly, like that of any newspaperman standing side by side with a Cremlin bureaucrat, more or less missing.

NUPI represented the science.
NUPI, The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, was represented by Elana Wilson Rowe. Now the truth would emerge, (at least I thought) but she presented only a mild general critique of Russian democracy, and was in a way very difficult to make much sense of. But she sounded great! I think she would become a great politician. She repeatedly made a point of how complicated the Georgia-Russia conflict was without making it much clearer to her self or the audience. She held an attitude that Georgia started the war, missing the fact that EU has set up a committee to investigate that particular issue, also taking in consideration that the war has it’s roots in the early nineties and later events building up to the conflict.

Same shit, same wrapping
I usually manage to get aggravated listening to debates about Russia, but this level was too low to even get the slightest excited. I don’t think Rusian officials have a clue about what democracy is, what media’s function is, and how to behave. Personally I think Vitaly Churkin and Sergei Lavrov present their dilutions with more style and assertiveness. But they also started to criticize the media when they were caught in lies on TV during the Georgia war.

The verdict
The audience at Studentersamfundet held a slightly tepid attitude to the Russian Ambassador if judged by the moderate applause he got. The opponents failed to present any critical view regarding the armed conflicts, the frequent embargos, and the ethnic cleansing Russia has been conducting in Georgia. Nobody confronted the Ambassador with the fact that their “defence” of Abkhazia also made it possible to relocate the entire Black Sea fleet from Ukraine to the “defended” and “recognized” Abkhazia. One thing is clear: Negative media coverage of Russia is something Russia have fully deserved, and in much larger amount than the commercialized western press have managed to cover. The Ambassador fails to understand that Russia’s own actions are the sole reason for negative media coverage, and by criticizing it he makes it clear to us all that Russia is everything that the press claims it to be.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can thrust the Russians and the "KGB/FSB Freelancers"

"The Russian Federation led the countries of the world as the source of spam messages that are filling up email boxes everywhere, just one of the ways in which computer operators in that country represent a threat to the users of the world wide web, according to the annual report of a leading Russian Internet monitoring organization."

Thursday, February 05, 2009 3:25:00 am  
Blogger Eistein G. said...

It seems to have spread inside the Cremlin too :-)

Thursday, February 05, 2009 5:52:00 pm  
Blogger TGKeys said...

I feel bad for Russian people who are blind or want to blind of what their gov is doing against its own citizens. Message should be clear.

Saturday, February 07, 2009 2:57:00 am  

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