Russia’s Concern-Troll

Better Opinion Columnist than Donn Esmonde

Last night, a New York Times opinion piece penned by Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s D.C. based public relations and/or lobbying group hit the Times’ website. I’m not particularly concerned with his last-paragraph indictment of American exceptionalism, because frankly the Russian President would be expected to believe in Russian exceptionalism. Yet what he actually writes is that no nationality is special. Don’t believe it, given the existence of what can only be called the Putin Youth, which uses a mix of Russian nationalism and Soviet imagery to lend support to the regime. 

What Putin’s Times piece really amounts to is the most prominent concern-troll in history. Putin lecturing the US about international shit-stirring and democracy is like Kim Jong Un lecturing the world about prisoners’ rights

The United States isn’t perfect by any means. Its government isn’t perfect, either. But of the countries qualified to lecture the US on good government and democracy, Russia is in maybe the lowest third. Since 2000, Putin has been the de facto dictator of the Russian Federation. Ask Chechnya about his democratic peacekeeping. Look how he bypassed term limits by switching between the President’s office and Prime Minister. We’re led to believe that a former KGB agent is a champion of openness and liberty because he is harboring fugitive thief Edward Snowden while actually monitoring communications for political means. 

All the things the tea party right and ultra left criticize centrist Obama for being or doing, Putin is actually being or doing. But, you know, Putin hunts with his shirt off, and he’s tight with the guy who gasses his own people with Sarin, so it’s all good. How many bands critical of the President has Obama thrown into labor camps? How many businessmen has Obama exiled or killed/attempted to kill? How many state-owned industries has Obama “privatized” into the hands of his friends and supporters? Has Obama promoted the cause of LGBT rights in the last 5 years, or deliberately rendered homosexuality illegal? How come people like Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and their supporters don’t criticize the Russian surveillance state

Anyone – including my own Congressman – who has nicer things to say about Vladimir Putin than President Obama is being an idiot, pure and simple. Swallow the propaganda all you want, but don’t pretend like Putin’s Russia is the model for America unless you’re into neofascism, autocracy, tycoonism, and mass surveillance for political, rather than security, ends. 


  • Not impressed….dude needs to hit the gym more often…….

  • Alan, you need to bone up on your alleged expertise on international affairs. Read Carla del Ponte’s report from the UN that in fact the rebels used sarin gas months ago. The real interesting question is: Where did they get them? The US and CIA via the Gaddafi overthrow? By the way who was in charge of that fiasco?

  • Great blog today Mr. Bedenko. One thing I found wholly absent from the “Syria” debate is this: Being that Putin and Russia are the primary power behind Syria both economically and militarily and have surveillance and intelligence capacities comparable to our own… why, as the U.S and France presented evidence upon evidence in addition to all the real time evedince from the people of Syria on the scene…does Mr. Putin simply call the evidence “not convincing” while at the same time seemingly have none of his own? None at all?
    That is, however one fine equine Mr. Putin is riding in the pic.

  • As usual you respond incorrectly with silly emotionalism. Answer the charge. I have heard not a single person attack Carla Del Ponte, even a stubborn emotionalist such as yourself. I feel for you now that you must defend “no boots on the ground Barry”. Face it, the experiment is an abject failure. Poor Barry doesn’t know what he’s doing. Let’s hope he doesn’t bumble his way into a nuclear war.

    • Between the largest and most active intelligence agencies on the planet, and a former prosecutor otherwise known for conspiracy theories about organ trafficking, I think I’ll trust the guys who can read the newspaper from orbit.

      It’s hilarious the lengths you guys have to go to these days to try and discredit the guy who got Bin Laden, ended the war in Iraq, and is getting us out of Afghanistan, none of which his predecessor was capable of.

      • Take the first flight to Damascus. Barry will need thousands of volunteers for at least ten years – on the ground!

  • “How come people like Edward Snowden, Glenn Greenwald, and their supporters don’t criticize the Russian surveillance state?” Maybe because they’re Americans and feel it’s their responsibility to deal first with the authoritarianism of their own country. Civics 101. Alan, Why haven’t you been denouncing the Singapore authoritarian regime, Congo warlords, or Genghis Khan lately?

    This is a very helpful column for all those people saying, “Hey, Vlad, you’re a great leader and we love you–thanks!” But politics isn’t a matter of deciding who the nicest ruler is and who the naughtiest, shaking your first at the latter and blowing kisses at the former. A peculiar combination of an authoritarian Russian leader, an anti-Obama Republican right, and a stumble-tongued US Secretary of State may have spared the Syrian people from a murderous cruise missile attack. Any thoughts about those Syrians who continue so impudently to go on living? About Obama’s manifestly criminal threats to wage war on a sovereign nation? As usual, you have trouble focusing on those swarthy people on the receiving end of Obama’s missiles.

    As to the sarin gas attack: we don’t know if it happened yet, and if it did, who conducted it. The Obama “proof” is simply a four-page evidence-free statement asserting, “They did it. Probably.” Remember Iraq. Remember the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. And remember the Maine. In the meantime, Thug Putin has bought us all some breathing space.

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