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Owen Jones: Tough on meanness, tough on the causes of meanness

by Kit

OwenJones
A response to the Guardian article Putin is a human rights abusing oligarch by Owen Jones

In his latest piece on Vladimir Putin, Owen Jones demonstrates the weakness of the politically left-of-centre press in the UK – and indeed the Western world as a whole. A certain kind of chinless, sweater-vested, well-meaningness that achieves nothing but smugness and twitter shares. In this article – here – he sets out a political platform that is, in essence, tough on meanness and tough on the causes of meanness.
In its own way it is more insidious than the out-spoken right-wing nonsense of Trump or Farage. Let’s be friendly, he says. Let’s all get along. Everybody should be allowed to do whatever they want…
…and you should go to jail for saying otherwise.
His point is simple – Putin is bad and the left should not apologise for him – and he makes it pretty effectively. He just has to repeat massive geopolitical lies, whilst propping up his own public image as “the guy at the Guardian you wish your daughter would date”.
Let’s dive right in, shall we? The headline:

Putin is a human rights abusing oligarch.

Well, it’s direct at least. But seems to only demonstrate that Mr Jones doesn’t know what “oligarch” means. (Hint, it doesn’t mean “nasty man” Owen). The definition is very simple, and none of it applies to Putin who is not a business magnate and has never worked in anything but government. An Oligarchy is:

…a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people might be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, education, corporate, religious or military control. Such states are often controlled by a few prominent families who typically pass their influence from one generation to the next…

Russia is actually a democracy, though you’d be forgiven for not realising this if you only ever read the Guardian, and Putin is an elected head of state – and a popular one at that. Not an autocrat. Not an oligarch. You can’t force a lie to become true simply through repetition. Interestingly enough, according to researchers at Princeton (that well-known den of pro-Kremlin spies): the USA actually IS an oligarchy. But I digress.

A rightwing authoritarian leader who attacks civil liberties, stigmatises lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, indulges in chauvinistic nationalism, is in bed with rapacious oligarchs and who is admired by the European and American hard right.

My word, the inaccuracies come thick and fast don’t they?
Rightwing? In what sense? Economically speaking Putin would actually be considered rather left-wing in the UK or US. When was the last time a British government re-nationalised an industry? Russia has a far more socialist economy than we do. Is he right-wing racially? No. There’s no racial discrimination in Russian government. Russia has dozens of ethnic minorities, all protected under law unlike – and I’m just pulling a random example out of the air here – ethnic Russians in Ukraine.
Stigmatises LGBT people? Oh, this is about THAT law isn’t it? The propaganda law. The law which forbids the “promotion of non-traditional sexual practices to children”. Yup, that sounds pretty brutal. I mean, just listen to the guy talk here or read his statements here, he’s obviously a raging homophobe.
NB. For anybody interested there’s a breakdown of the Russian law written by a gay American lawyer here, and good discussion of it on the No Agenda show (about 10 minutes in).
Putin is “in bed” with rapacious oligarchs? The Russian government, under Putin, does business with all sorts of oligarchs. Like Berezovsky, who moved to London after Putin was elected. Or Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who was stripped of his assets and arrested for fraud. Or Sergei Pugachev, who is currently on the run after being prosecuted for embezzling. When Putin stripped the oil-based oligarchs’ control of Russia’s energy reserves, who was he in bed with then? When he re-nationalised those industries and poured the money into re-building Russian infrastructure…at which oligarch’s behest was that? We live in a country where Google, Vodafone, Amazon et al regularly dodge billions of pounds worth of taxes, with no repercussions, can we really afford to start throwing stones about government corruption? Is there any chance, at all, Cameron would permit the arrest of British bankster?
Jones, of course, does have a point – the involvement of billionaires in politics is dangerous, and possibly insidious. I mean you’d never see George Soros pulling political levers in the West, and God knows no big business ever gave money to Clinton, Blair, Cameron or anybody else. It’s not like there’s an oligarch running for President of America right now…
As for who Putin is “admired by”, it doesn’t signify. A man does not choose his admirers. A weak argument from a weak writer.

Now BBC One’s Panorama has broadcast allegations that the Russian leader has secretly amassed a vast fortune….a British public inquiry concluded that ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was likely to have been murdered at the personal behest of Putin….but we know that some of those critical of the government – like Anna Politkovskaya, who courageously opposed Putin’s war in Chechnya…”

Yes, with the recent (farcical) Litvinenko ruling, Russia-bashing is back in vogue. Well done Owen, it seems your moral outrage has peaked at the time most likely to get you thousands of shares on facebook. Lucky you.
There’s a common thread in all of the above accusations – there’s no evidence to back up any of them. In the case of Litvinenko, the court actually ignored evidence he was poisoned BEFORE November 1st in order to make their narrative fit together (see the video published earlier this week), and as for the BBC’s ludicrous Panorama episode, well, let’s just say it’s getting its own article.
Jones’ portrayal of the Second Chechen War as “Putin’s war”, and his later use of the phrase “[Putin’s] savage war in Chechnya”, are both quite interesting. Firstly it suggests an ignorance of military history on Owen’s part (not surprising considering his ignorance of economics, legislation and even the basic meaning of words) – the Second Chechen War was started as a result of theinvasion of Dagestan. In August 1999 Dagestan, a federal republic, was invaded by the “Islamic International Brigade”, this is their flag, it may look a little familiar. Just imagine it emblazoned on the hood of a brand new Toyota:

Remind you of anything?

Remind you of anything?


In response to an invasion by Islamic insurgents, Russia sent in the army – I’m not sure if Owen considers this savage, or not – and pushed the invaders back into the neighbouring republic, Chechnya. The constant, low-level insurgency in Chechnya then spilled over into all out war. The Russian and Chechen authorities on the one side, and Chechen rebels, IIB and Mujahideen on the other. Yes, THAT Mujahideen. The “Islamic extremists are fine as long as they are killing Russians” model, so successfully set up in Afghanistan in 1979 and deployed in Syria last year, was used in Chechnya too.
Is war bad? Obviously. Did the people of Chechnya suffer? Immeasurably. But to lay that at the Kremlin’s door, as if Chechnya were a vanity project of the Russian leadership, is so terribly dishonest that you wonder how Jones can sleep at night.
To then compare Chechnya and Crimea, as Jones does here:

…the west’s attitude towards Putin is hypocritical. When Putin prosecuted his savage war in Chechnya, there was none of the western outrage later meted out when the Russians annexed the Crimea.

Is to step sideways into madness. Putting aside the pathetic parroting of the “annexation” meme, I’m curious to know how much outrage defending your country from Islamic insurgents should merit, and – indeed – what course of action Owen would recommend in place of “savage” self-defence. I suppose the Western press is just of the opinion that, if an army turn up at your border, you don’t ask who they are or why they are blowing up your buildings, and you certainly don’t shoot back, you just let them in and apologise for the mess.
When you look at it that way, both the refugee crisis and the condemnation of Assad suddenly make a lot more sense.

We should express our solidarity with Russia’s embattled democrats and leftists. We don’t have to choose between critiquing our own foreign policy and opposing unjust foreign governments. In a sense, critics of western foreign policy have more of a responsibility to speak out. While supporters of, for example, the Iraq calamity can be more easily batted away by Putin apologists, nobody can accuse people like me of hypocritically failing to critique western foreign policy.

Once again, Owen, Russia’s “democrats” are in charge. They were democratically elected, they are very popular. I know Western definitions of democracy are shifting at the moment, but there’s nothing intrinsically more fair about being ruled by a government nobody voted for, it doesn’t mean the system works. And Russia’s “leftists”? The communist party is the second biggest presence in the Duma. They are the majority of Putin’s opposition – a role usually attributed to political no-names likes Nemstov or Navalny, in a British press that increasingly has little to no interest in physical realities.
There’s nothing alternative or liberal here, not really. Beneath the veneer of liking immigrants and the rainbow-facebook picture and sorting out his recycling Owen Jones is very much on The Right Sside. Our side. He’s against wars, but obviously OUR wars are better than THEIR wars. It doesn’t matter to him that, for several years now, Russia has been the only thing between America and the global chaos they’ve been trying to incite, it doesn’t matter that Washington continues to pursue policies that require Russian good-sense and judgment to avoid World War III.
He still, somehow, maintains the moral authority of the west. Its God-given right to dictate terms, and its duty to lead the world. He doesn’t question the Empire, only gently corrects it. We should all help the poor refugees, but let’s not think too hard about the policies of deliberate destabilization that lead us to this crisis. We should all resist ISIS, but let’s not publish (or even read) the reams of evidence that show ISIS is being funded by NATO allies and equipped by America.
Everything is basically fine, we should just be a bit nicer. At least we’re not Russians.
This whole article could have been written by Luke Harding, or Shaun Walker or Michael White or Jonathan Jones – it shows only that the spectrum of acceptable opinions narrows more and more each day, and that modern journalism is a lot like early model Fords – “Any colour you want, as long as Putin is the bad guy”. It is a laundry list of myths and bullshit and hot air. Sound and fury, signifying less than nothing. It could have any picture in the by-line, it just so happens it has the pasty pre-pubescent looking one. The accompanying apologetic subtext is the only thing that sets it apart. “I’m one of the gang!”, the weedy kid pipes up. “I’m cool too!”.
At least when Shaun Walker copies and pastes opinions from the GCHQ approved list, he doesn’t pretend it’s for anything other than money.
And here, it seems, we come to the crux of the point: In the above paragraph “people like me”, would perhaps better phrased as “People, like me!”. In short, Owen Jones prizes his perceived role as “the good guy” too much to question the official narrative of the Western press. Safeguarding his reputation as supporter of all things pleasant, he likes being invited to talk at LGBT rallies, and getting handshakes and being nice.
We get it Owen, you’re nice. You’re not good, you’re not right, you’re just nice.


Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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Kit Knightly is co-editor of OffGuardian. The Guardian banned him from commenting. Twice. He used to write for fun, but now he's forced to out of a near-permanent sense of outrage.

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Seamus
Reader
Seamus

Jones is a left-branded celebrity for the neoliberal age. His pretence at having a northern working-class background is belied by his being brought up in Bramhall – the most expensive Tory enclave in the country, north of Watford.

marknesop
Reader

I surely do like to see a good whuppin’ and this is a good one expertly administered. Splendid job, Kit.

David Sketchley
Reader

To the author: Do you actually realise that the journalist does not write the title, that is done by an editor. So to berate Jones for the title of a piece shoots yourself in the foot.
“Let’s dive right in, shall we? The headline:

Putin is a human rights abusing oligarch."
Petersen
Reader
Petersen

Who did bomb Libya in 2011, triggering big waves of migrants to Europe via Italy. Was it Mr. PUTIN ?
It is really a shame to have people like Owen Jones distorting reality to this extent ! Shame on him !!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_military_intervention_in_Libya

Kit
Reader

You may have a point, if the headline was at all contradicted by the content of the article – but since all Jones does is reassert those statements in the body of the text it’s safe to say he agrees with the flawed headline. Evenf if he didn’t write it himself – which he may well have done anyway.

brankabrankov
Reader

Excellent reply to Owen. Shame, I thought Owen is clever…
People are sooooo ignorant, they do not want to see where the destruction and danger for all of us is coming from. What has happen to Native Indians, Africans, Indians, Aborigines, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians… rapidly is coming to Americans, British, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and other Europeans who were involved in destructions of other nations and People. New Americans and many Europeans didn’t object the distraction of other People, their children and their countries, now, fascism and slavery is knocking on their doors.
President Putin is very, very clever, ethical, moral, spiritual man and brilliant leader of a GREAT Russia and Great Russian People. Western, sunset, ideology a.k.a New World Order will never win. RUSSIA WINS, WE ALL WIN! East, sunrise, will win.

Thesweetantithesis
Reader
Thesweetantithesis

I really enjoy this website and value the information it provides.
Having a go at Jones’ looks or styling hom as the ‘weedy kid’ devalues the critique. Don’t do it.
Thanks.

Alex
Reader
Alex

I was expecting this article to contrast his characterisation of Putin as ‘expansionist’ snigger and an oligarch (because only Russians can be oligarchs!) with his recent slobbering over Obama. Instead you took the unfortunate route of actually trying to pretend Putin isn’t a corrupt reactionary neoliberal. He’s certinaly not the uniquely evil bogeyman the BBC wants you to think he is, and obviously the hypocritical sanctimony from war criminals in the UK and U.S. is laughable but to suggest that he’s not right wing either is just ridiculous. As much as liberal left concern troll ‘Assad must go!’ types like Owen Jones are despicable you’re near falling into the trap of being the kind of binary leftist little Owen, Peter Tatchell etc. want to pretend all anti-imperialists are.

John Smith
Reader

One of the reasons I like Russia is its right wing culture that appears on a more modulated form in the Kremlin. Russia has a traditional Christian heritage that permeates public life.
However, Putin is a conservative in the Burkean sense of that word (NOT the Cameron sense). He built Russia from the ruins of the nineties by integrating elements of Tsarist authoritarianism (clampdowns on fissiparous protests), Western representative democracy (United Russia rules by overwhelming consent of the governed), socialism (Oil wealth is nationalism), classical liberal economics (low taxes non-oil corporations), and traditionalism (emphasis on traditional Christian morality).
Moral of the story. You can’t fit Putin and the Russian political disposition in general into neat little boxes of ‘anti-imperialist leftist.’ His economic leftism is subsidiary to his sovereigntism and moderate nationalism, which would place him on the right of the political spectrum. The average Russian’s view on social issues would make the average Western liberal blanch….

Kit
Reader

Corrupt and reactionary, in what particulars?

Anthony Hall
Reader

Vlad didn`t get where he is today by being a PC Diversity Luvvie. he had to trip the light fantastic around the Mayor of St.Petersberg, the KGB-Spetsnaz-Mafia -moonlighting scuffles in Moscow and Yeltsin and his Oligarch Bottom-Feeders. Yeltsin fed young green conscripts to Chechnya to be massacred and tortured by the Islamic Independence Fighters. Putin gave the Warlords Payback; Grosny became Stalingrad. Putin has a good laugh when Obama and Cameron puff themselves up and utter dire threats.

Eric_B
Reader
Eric_B

How old are you anyway Ellie? I would have said about 40, judging from your video?
So you understand what it’s like to have children. And as such, you should be more relaxed.

Eric_B
Reader
Eric_B

Oh and by the way Ellie, your presentation is garbled incoherent shit.
I guess that’s why not even the Russophobic loonies like Radio Free Europe or The Atlantic Council have picked it up and paid you a few dollars.
Pretty embarassing. Fatboy Eliot Higgins has done much better than that, with no degree at all.
You need to up your game.

Eric_B
Reader
Eric_B

Ellie Knott
February 1, 2016
“some Russian guy”? he’s the leader of Crimea. It’s not my fault you’re completely ignorant of everything you’re foaming at the mouth about.
The point being made, you muppet, was that you yourself attempted to deflect discussion by pointing to something else while accusing others of doing so.

michaelk
Reader
michaelk

The ‘problem’ with Russia and Putin isn’t really about the list of ‘transgressions’ Jones waves around so energetically, western countries have excellent relations with states all over the world, who crush human rights, are deeply corrupt, have fake democratic elections, imprison dissidents, control the media, invade their neighbours, occupy territory, slaughter civilians… of an scale that dwarfs the alleged ‘crimes’ committed by Russia. We turn a blind eye to much, if it’s in our interests to do so. Our moral outrage is highly selective, and at the same time we pretend our values are universal. Indeed we’re so charged by our ‘universal values’ and love of human rights, that we actually send armies to the other side of the world to topple states that transgress. We are, it would appear, virtuous to a fault, and we don’t even get thanked by the people we release from their chains.
Russia’s ‘problem’ is linked to its behaviour or Putin, or their elections, (which are arguably more democratic than those that take place in the UK, where a party with 35% of the votes is ‘magically’ turned into a government with a substantial majority in parliament, allowing it to rule with close to dictatorial power against the express wishes and votes of the majority of the electorate), the reason is because Russia is too independent, too ‘free’, and has the strength to say ‘No!’ to Washington and pursue its own interests even if they clash with those of Washington. That’s Russia’s ‘cardinal sin’ the will to follow a course that is at odds with Washington.

michaelk
Reader
michaelk

I saw Owen Jones on the television the other day. He seems, superficially at least, very sure of himself… indeed. Gosh, I thought, if only I understood the contradictions and complexities of the world so… clearly. What struck me though, was the perculiar idea he seemed to have in his head that the UK government and its ministers, didn’t really comprehend the consequences, how incredibly damaging, their own policies were for the lives of ordinary people. This seems to be a fundamental liberal/left conceit and applies to both domestic and foreign policy. Our politicians are only human and make mistakes… like Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq and poor, poor, Libya. Countries, apparently destroyed, by ‘mistake.’ Despite the terrible and horrific consequences of these ‘mistakes’, they seem to get repeated, over and over and over… ‘accidentally’… on purpose, deliberate ‘mistakes’ that virtually wipe countries off the map.
The problem for journalists like Jones, is that if the politicians in power, whether they are of the red or blue variety, don’t give a damn about the consequences of their policies and actions in relation to the lives of ordinary people, that ordinary people simply don’t matter, not in the UK or overseas, that the mass destruction and suffering is deliberate policy, then, if one was a leftist, that Jones says he is, one would have to radically re-evalutate the nature of UK democracy, because, if the country is run by politicians who resemble a criminal conspiracy akin to the Mafia, people prepared to use violence of various kinds to fulfill their sectarian policies and narrow interests; then how can we describe society as a democracy?

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

By the way, as an ex (modded) CiFer, this is a great article. The absurdity of the mainstream western position is very nicely framed (not that this is hard to do but nevertheless).
Sometimes i worry about the young generation of journalists, they seem so eager, i get a kind of “tommorow belongs to me” kind of vibe, dressed up as goodwill to all men or humanitarianism of course (how on earth does that work?).

Ellie Knott
Reader

Sorry, just seems like some of the people commenting aspire to be on the Kremlin’s pay roll.

Eric_B
Reader
Eric_B

If you can’t reply to any arguments then you’re not much of a PhD candidate, are you?

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

Do you actually ever post more than one line? I assume your PHD consisted of a one line quip. Well done (pulling that off).
Oh how education standards have plummeted.
I shall now cease to feed you.

Philip Roddis
Reader

Care to engage with the arguments?

jag37777
Reader

Young Owen is a disingenuous lad. Always has been. He’s no Seumas Milne by any stretch of his imagination.

Seamus Padraig
Reader
Seamus Padraig

I would like to congratulate Off-Guardian as well as the author of this piece, Kit. I think 61 comments (and still going!) is a record at this site. And above I see, not one, but TWO neocon trolls: Louis Proyect and Ellie Knott. Well done, Off-Graun! After barely a year in business, the neocons are starting to notice you–and they are starting to feel threatened. Just when they succeeded in taking over virtually all of the MSM, they are astonished to discover that, thanks to the internet, their propaganda is actually LESS effective than before… and they are starting to panic. You don’t believe me? Take it from Anne Applebaum:
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2014/12/02/the-war-against-the-trolls/

Francis
Reader
Francis

Welcome back.

Les Dittrich
Reader

Thank you for your article.
I too was outraged at the pathetic attempt to present utter bullshit as journalism worthy of a national newspaper.

Philip Roddis
Reader

I enjoyed this, Kit. I too was disgusted with his Grauniad piece and the next day wrote an open letter to him on my blogsite – http://steelcityscribblings.uk/wp/2016/01/27/open-letter-to-owen-jones-on-putin/ One of the readers of that letter sent me the link to your piece. I’ll be back for more.
I tweeted Owen Jones to alert him to my letter. He hasn’t got back to me; with a sizeable a fan base he perhaps feels little need to answer criticisms to the left of his rather smug views. But speaking of that fan base, it is truly dismaying – and strikingly reminsicent of the cold war on the USSR – how otherwise intelligent people can be so easily fooled by preposterous narratives.

Rob Tisinai
Reader
Rob Tisinai

My god, what a stupid ill-informed article.

Kit
Reader

Rob,
Care to go into more detail? I’d love to see links if you have them. This website is about promoting truth in journalism, so if you see any factual inaccuracies please feel free to point them out.

Ellie Knott
Reader

Russia is not a democracy. It hasn’t had free and fair elections since the early 1990s. Opposition has been stifled if not arrested.

brankabrankov
Reader

Ellie Owen Jones,sorry, I should say Knott, You are sooooo ignorant. Are you Owen sister?

Rusty
Reader

And if voting brought democracy in the UK we’d ban voting
And you might want to check out at least 2 doctored US Presidential elections..The worlds so called Greatest democracy LOL Sieg heil more appropriate than god bless America

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

Russia was led down the garden path by US advisors in the early 90s, the result was a gangster state under Yeltsin, something the US appeared to actively advocate, much like the chaos they have been creating in the middle east and now Ukraine. Putin was able to regain some semblence of stability in the country something the cititzens are grateful for. Unfortunately the west seams rather unhappy that order has been restored as they were doing good business and making vast sums of money in the chaos that Yeltsin helped create. As a result they have been abusing the idea of NGOs using the form to forment dissent and sponsor phoney opposition. People like you Ellie Knott are the useful idiots that seem totally unable to see the larger picture, the naive fools that were used to boost the propaganda that enabled the coup in Ukraine and cost countless lives. Your ignorance costs lives. Sometimes even apathy is better than eager zealous stupidity even if it does believe it is doing good.
And Rob Tisinal, my god what a stupid vaccuous comment you posted. Why bother if you have nothing to say? Why?

Ellie Knott
Reader

My ignorance costs lives? Wow, I’d like you to back that up with some evidence.
Have you…ever visited Crimea?

Eric_B
Reader
Eric_B

you’re a total muppet. your visits to Crimea in 2012/2013 and interviewing 53 people are absolutely worthless as any sort of indication of the overall mood of the millions of Crimeans following the Kiev coup in 2014.

Philip Roddis
Reader

Well said. I’d be glad if you’d read my open letter to Owen Jones – https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox/15283c7476bb18e8 – and, if you think it useful, forward and share. I too note how everyone seems to have forgotten Mr Yeltsin.

Philip Roddis
Reader

Oops. Wromng link in my reply just a moment ago. It should be http://steelcityscribblings.uk/wp/2016/01/27/open-letter-to-owen-jones-on-putin/

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

Thanks Philip, very interesting. Shock Doctrine gives a good insight into the Yeltsin years.
It seems some people just ignore what happened after the fall of the USSR and history for them begins at around 2003. Strange.
Cheers,
Paolo

Kit
Reader

Based on what? There was no evidence of electoral fraud, every independent poll predicted Putin would win the 2012 election with about 55% of the vote, and he won with slightly more than that. Every poll of the Russian public since then has shown that Putin is popular with the Russian people.
Who should have won the election, in your view? Who was cheated?

Ellie Knott
Reader

Can’t wait for your crackpot ideas on Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Frank
Reader

Can’t wait for your crackpot ideas on the annexation of Kosovo (done without a referendum)

Ellie Knott
Reader

Seems irrelevant when we’re talking about russia. Are you a kremlin troll too?

EmpireOfStupid
Reader

Hell yes. I bet it pays a lot better than JTRIG too. Sign me up.

Eric_B
Reader
Eric_B

yet when above I asked about Freedom House’s credibility you brought up some Russian guy.
so you’d agree your comment was irrelevent too.

Ellie Knott
Reader

“some Russian guy”? he’s the leader of Crimea. It’s not my fault you’re completely ignorant of everything you’re foaming at the mouth about.

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

Wow, the LSE has certainly slipped (or has it). So I assume you are one of these people advocating the “opening up” of Ukraine and Russia (and we all know what that means in the neoliberal mindset). Why cant Crimea decide for itself what it wants without busybodys like yourself obviously interferring?

Ellie Knott
Reader

By crimea you mean crooks like aksenov, I’m guessing?

Paolo
Reader
Paolo

I see, when all arguments are lost just call everyone a troll. Are you on some NATO stipendium or something? Do they teach you this at whatever crackpot college you studied at?

Ellie Knott
Reader

Funnily enough, I’ve never come anywhere near NATO at my crackpot doctoral school, London school of economics, and my doctoral fieldwork in Crimea.

Eric_B
Reader
Eric_B

Crimea was never legitimately part of Ukraine.
After a violent coup supported by the US and EU in Kiev which put extreme nationalist Ukrainians supported by armed bandit groups in charge, Crimeans opted to return to Russia after a referendum was held.
Whether Kiev or the US and its other puppets like that or not is immaterial.
If I were Crimean I’d be thanking my lucky stars I’d escaped from the Mad Max style failed state of Ukraine.

Ellie Knott
Reader

Oh I see you’re a kremlin troll.

Philip Roddis
Reader

Ellie, as moderator I ‘approved’ and replied to your comment on my own post on Owen Jones’s article:
http://steelcityscribblings.uk/wp/2016/01/27/open-letter-to-owen-jones-on-putin/
I always ‘approve’ comments unless they break rules any sensible moderator will uphold – sexism, racism, ad hominem attack etc etc. I’m now wondering, from your to my mind juvenile one liners, peppered with gratuitous terms like “crazy” and “kremlin troll”, whether I should have bothered.

Ellie Knott
Reader

Apologies, was confused. Now seen your full comment on your own blog.

Ellie Knott
Reader

How is pointing out the brutalities of the Soviet regime juvenile?

Kit
Reader

Ellie Knott,
Please don’t simply call people names, it is not conducive to rational discussion. It’s perfectly possible to believe that the majority of Crimeans were more than happy to be part of Russia without being a paid stooge. There is a wealth of evidence to support this belief, including polls carried out by the Ukrainian government since the referendum.
Secondly, and this is just a personal bug-bear of mine, google the word “troll”, look up what it means and then stop using it incorrectly.

Ellie Knott
Reader
Eric_B
Reader
Eric_B

Is Freedom House a US NGO? it appears to be advocating for ‘US leadership’.
We advocate for U.S. leadership and collaboration with like-minded governments to vigorously oppose dictators and oppression. We amplify the voices of those struggling for freedom in repressive societies and counter authoritarian efforts to weaken international scrutiny of their regimes.

Philip Roddis
Reader

Freedom House looks seriously dodgy to me:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_House#Criticism

Ellie Knott
Reader

Oh yeah, may be we should follow vladislav surkov ‘s school of sovereign democracy instead. I think not.

syria800
Reader

“.. the US State Department, paid for their first ever single being produced by The Guardian out of some images and sounds”.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/08/23/the-secret-history-of-pussy-riot/
You can’t call yourself a “Marxist” “Revolutionary” and consider these connections as bona fide and counter measures against them as anti-democratic.