Staunton, March 19 – US-based Russian historian Irina Pavlova says that a new statement about the results of the Russian election by Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Russia Today television network, represents a clear example of what Pavlova called “a manifesto of modernized Stalinism.”
Simonyan’s position, she continues, is that of “a convinced opponent of the present-day West” who wants to blame the West for what she and the Russian population firmly supports -- Putin’s program of Russian fundamentalism – and thus strengthens that which she poses as a critic of (ivpavlova.blogspot.com/2018/03/blog-post_19.html).
The historian points to the publication of Simonyan on the Ekho Moskvy portal under the title “You are guilty in this, my Western friends” as evidence for her conclusions. Below are key excerpts from the Russia Today editor’s article, which is available in full in Russian at echo.msk.ru/blog/simonyan/2168470-echo/).
“In general,” Simonyan begins, “the West now should be horrified not by the 76 percent who backed Putin but by the fact that in the elections in Russia, conservative-patriotic, communist and nationalist ideas were supported by 95 percent of the population, leaving the liberal ideas with a pathetic five percent.”
“And you, my Western friends, are guilty of this.” By your hostility and sanctions, you have pushed the Russian people into the arms of the Moscow regime. Had you behaved sensibly and reached compromises, this outcome would not have occurred; but now that it has, the West must assume all responsibility.
As a result, Simonyan continues, “we no longer want to live as you do. for 50 years both secretly and in public we wanted to do so, but we don’t want to any more. We no longer respect you and all those you support among us” – the paltry five percent. “And you yourselves are guilty of this.”
“Our people can forgive a lot, but we can’t forgive arrogance, the same as any other normal people.” The West lost its empires because of arrogance: “White man’s burden, my ass,” Simonyan says. And now you have done something worse: “you have united us around your enemy” precisely by declaring that he was your enemy.
Earlier, [Putin]was simply our president and could have been changed. But now he is our leader [vozhd] and we will not allow him to be replaced. And you did all this with your own hands.” Patriotism and liberalism should not be mutually exclusive, the RT editor says. But that is what you have insisted upon. Give this “false dilemma: we have chosen patriotism.”
And we Russians have done so even though “many of us are really liberals. I, for one.” And this is not something that is going to quickly fade. It is “now in place for a long time to come.”