Just a week ago, on March 15 to be precise, the Belgian French-language weekly “Le Vif” carried an interview with Xavier Follebouckt, a geopolitical expert and research assistant at the University Catholique de Louvain, where he works in an interdisciplinary department dedicated to EU-Russia relations. In academic and EU diplomatic circles, Follebouckt is well known for his Russia-bashing, evident in this interview as well. To sample the unscrupulousness of the propaganda that passes for objective and unbiased scholarly analysis he does, the reader can check out any of his essays on academia.edu, for example. Here’s one such paper of his from 2014:
What makes this article worthy of note, therefore, are three things:
- The quotation from the interview “Le Vif”’s editors chose to highlight in the headline
- The fact that Follebouckt himself no longer wishes to completely ignore and/or misrepresent the growing sense among the European electorates that Russia is a victim of a foreign policy that makes no sense and which they don’t support
- The fact that “Le Vif” chose to publish the interview at all
It’s clear from a couple of remarks Follebouckt made a week ago to “Le Vif” that there’s now a body of empirical research by social scientists which shows a spreading realization among the people living in the EU zone that the West, both their governments and the media, has been indulging in an orgy of Russia-bashing while conducting a policy directly inimical to the basic existential interests and needs of the Russian people – the chief one of those being their legitimate security and economic interests.
As Follebouckt put it, a growing number of European political parties on both the right and the left are now challenging the official Western narrative on Ukraine because they have nothing to lose by doing so.
Au sein de la population européenne, la vision négative de la Russie n’est plus aussi prédominante qu’auparavant. Les opinions divergentes foisonnent et de plus en plus de gens considèrent ce pays comme une victime de la politique occidentale.
The negative view of Russia is no longer as prevalent among the European population as it was before. There’s now a proliferation of differing opinions [on the matter] and more and more people see this country as a victim of Western policy.
What’s noteworthy about this news item — and the fact that a mainstream newspaper commissioned and published it — is that “Le Vif” is considered a politically non-partisan weekly, one that doesn’t serve as a mouthpiece for any of Belgian’s political groups. The weekly comes out in Brussels every Friday and is owned by the Roulata Media Group, who also publish papers in Flemish. The Roulata Media Group also owns papers in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and Serbia. To learn more about them, you can check out their Internet Mission and Strategy page.
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