Staunton, May 15 – Moscow’s hysterical reaction to articles in British and American newspapers documenting how the Russian authorities have lied about the pandemic reflect both a longstanding tradition in Russia and a new effort by the Putin administration to force everyone else in the world to play by Russian rules and lie as well, Aleksandr Skobov says.
That the Russian authorities are playing games with coronavirus numbers is no surprise to any resident of Russia because he or she knows that “in Russia, they lie and falsify” and that in order to make a career or even survive, they must do the same, the Moscow commentator continues (graniru.org/opinion/skobov/m.278927.html).
“Deception, shamelessness and groveling before those who higher up is the foundation of all foundations of the culture of ‘the Russian world,’” Skobov says. “It has been formed by centuries of alien rule, serfdom, and despotic power.” To deceive others was a requirement “under severe historical conditions.”
Russians accept this as a fact of life in their country. But what is new now is the concerted effort of those in power to force other countries to play by its rules, to lie as Russians do or at least not to challenge Russian lies on key issues. And under Putin, this has taken an even more dangerous form.
“The Kremlin is not trying to fore the Western world to believe it. Therefore, it isn’t even especially concerned about the plausibility of its lying. What it needs is something else: to force the West to give the impression that it believes [Moscow], to force it to hypocritically turn its eyes to the side and remain silent.”
Those in the Kremlin “call this ‘to take into account our national interests.’” But despite that euphemistic language, what is really going on is a Russian effort “to force Western society to retreat from its own basic principles” and accept what are Russian ones.
“With this goal in mind, the Kremlin is actively using the positions it has won as a result of the infiltration of its agents into Western society. It is seeking to use the institutions of Western society and international institutes” against the West and for Moscow. And it is doing so “with the goal of destroying them.”
What it is not doing, despite its own claims and the claims of its agents in the West is to conduct “a civilized dialogue” or engage “in constructive cooperation.” Those are simply more lies to cover its insidious efforts to destroy the West by destroying its commitment to truth and inserting in its place the Russian tradition of lying.