Lots of the mass media write emotional stories about Russia's new anti-EU blacklist. For example, the BBC claims that there is The European Union anger at Russian travel blacklist.
The list of 89 EU politicians (list here) banned in Russia is clearly just a revenge for a totally analogous list of more than 100 people that was imposed by the EU. And I think it is totally sensible for Russia to say that Russia is being kind and building the mutual credibility when it makes the list public. If someone has missed that the EU, the U.S., and others have started with similar hostile exercises, he must be blind and deaf. If someone really doesn't understand that a revenge – reciprocal policies that are mostly analogous – is a matter of common sense, he is a complete loon.
If NATO decided to flatten Volgograd and soon afterwards, San Francisco would be flattened, would these people be also surprised? Are they also surprised that in this tense epoch, Russian warplanes are carefully monitoring U.S. destroyers in the Black Sea? And when foreign NGOs are starting color coups in other post-Soviet countries and a convicted ex-president of Georgia – a criminal on a "wanted" list – just became a governor of Odessa, are they surprised that Russia increased the regulation of NGOs?
It is a matter of common sense. Russia may sometimes be smashed in its face and remain silent. But as any other sovereign country, it obviously cannot behave in this way indefinitely. Continued masochism is a road to hell.
The list contains just a few names I know well – such as Clegg, Buzek, Verhofstadt, Cohn-Bendit (that staggering jerk would definitely be on the blacklist of my country if I had one, too) – plus four Czech names: Schwarzenberg, Ženíšek, Štětina, Füle. None of these Russophobic politicians is important these days. Thankfully, I would say. Russia could have had very good reasons to ban our intensely Russophobic foreign minister Zaorálek but it didn't – an indication that the revenge is meant to be symbolic.
Germany only has eight people on the list – twice as high as the Czech representatives, even though Germany is an 8 times larger country than Czechia – and they demand explanations. Do you really need explanations? What is there to explain? Some EU politicians behave in hostile ways towards Russia – so Russia puts them on a blacklist that just mirrors a similar, EU-penned list directed against the Russian politicians.
Karel Schwarzenberg, the old prince in Czechia, said that he was proud and amused and that's obviously the kind of reaction that people should end up with. Most of these people never go to Russia and have nothing to do with it, anyway. They must just be careful and ready for a detour while going to Japan so that their aircraft doesn't have to be shot down. ;-) But our prime minister said that the blacklist was a "unilateral act that contradicts the diplomatic conventions". Oh, really? The blacklists seem as bilateral or multilateral to me as you can get and they seem to follow the most characteristic diplomatic conventions that came from the U.S. and the EU in recent years.
The blacklist is also a top story e.g. at iDNES, a top Czech news server, but it's very far from being the only story belonging to the fresh anti-Russian propaganda wave.
Just two articles lower, we read an attempted character assassination against Dmitry Kiselyov, a particular Russian journalist who was named the boss of Russiya Segodnya, a news agency.
We learn that this guy is very well educated and "used to be" a West-oriented "liberal" with a house in the Western European style, and all these things. He has been hired by the BBC to do important things in the past, too. But he had to "dramatically transform". What's the evidence that he had to "dramatically transform"? The answer that we get is that he isn't a fan of homosexuals, he defends the Russian national interests on Russian TV, and he has pointed out that Russia was the only country that may turn the U.S. into radioactive ash.
Why should any of these things conflict with Kiselyov life-long values and opinions? And if one can find two potentially controversial monologues from the career of this guy – tens of years of daily production of news – isn't it obviously too little? And isn't it crazy that a guy is attacked for his right-wing views in a series of articles that want to suggest that Russia starts to resemble the Soviet Union again?
In his monologue about homosexuals, he said that it wasn't enough to ban pro-gay propaganda. One also needs to prevent gays from donating blood, sperm, and organs. He talks assertively and we're being told that it turns him into an extremist of a sort. Really? At least when it comes to blood, gays are not allowed to donate it in many countries including Germany. There are good reasons why countries may put such bans into place. Kiselyov's reasons seem to be more emotional but what? I wouldn't say similar things in a similar tone but there's obviously nothing extremist about his opinions. A hundred or hundreds of millions of Americans and West Europeans agree with such views, too.
This is exactly what drives the left-wing totalitarian propagandists in the Western mass media up the wall. They realize that what Kiselyov is saying is pretty much common sense and hundreds of millions of people in the West agree with such things, too. He is pretty much nothing else than a Russian counterpart of Western right-wing journalists. What's the remarkable difference between him and some of the top Fox News hosts? Why does Mr Kiselyov need to be selectively assaulted in a similar way? The real difference is that such opinions are really allowed in Russia and they may be mainstream while they're guaranteed to be ostracized in the West where the freedom of expression has partly become an illusion.
Kiselyov's comments about the radioactive arsenal are spot on, too. He says that there's a common sense explanation why Obama has to call Putin frequently, and so on. A drastic deterioration of the relations would mean a huge existential threat for the U.S. What's so shocking about this obviously true statement? What's so secret about the fact that Russia is the world's #1 nuclear superpower? And what's so sinful about Kiselyov's protection of his nation's national interests in general?
I needed to write this blog post because that hit piece by Mr Oldřich Mánert (whom I have never heard of) has greatly disgusted me. It's the very same kind of "official propaganda" that people were fed with during communism and that they were supposed to agree with it. Sorry, just like when it came to the lame anti-West and anti-dissident tirades during communism, I am still fully aware that the likes of Mr Mánert are corrupt, unethical inkspillers hired by someone to spread the only possible truth. But what they write isn't an impartial evaluation of facts. I didn't have any respect towards the authors of similar hit pieces during communism and I don't have any respect towards the likes of Mr Mánert, either.
iDNES.cz promises this hit piece to be just one part of a "soap opera" about Putin's men who are "hawks". Which of them will be the "next tsar", the web page literally asks? Lavrov, Shoigu, or others from the 9+ episodes we are promised? Holy cow, what is this supposed to mean? What is so "hawkish" about Lavrov, one of the most peaceful top diplomats in the world? And how does Shoigu's "hawkishness" go beyond his being a minister of defense? And what's wrong about tsars, after all? And why would one use this nonsensically feudal label for random Russian politicians in 2015?
And so many Czechs – and others – buy this cheap anti-Russian propaganda. How stupid one has to be to buy a self-evidently dishonest junk like this? How hopelessly messed up your brain and heart is if you can be affected by similar hateful verbal exercises and start to believe that there's something wrong about tsars? Or Lavrov? Or something illegitimate or shocking about the defense of Russia's national interests by Russian pundits? Or the existence of people who think that homosexuality isn't right? Or the fact that countries, when attacked, sometimes revenge for the attacks? It's just so flabbergasting.
The communist propagandists were distorting the facts and offering bizarre emotional and would-be ethical conclusions but they always had to do at least some work that made sense and they could have never assumed that the readers were this stupid.