Prominent Western media and political haters rush to blame Russia for the horrific Moscow terror attack — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

Prominent Western media and political haters rush to blame Russia for the horrific Moscow terror attack — RT Russia & Former Soviet Union

Many of the responses to the tragedy betray both the narrow-mindedness and meanness of some of West’s Russophobes

Only a few days ago, one of the worst terrorist attacks in recent history occurred in Russia. The perpetrators stormed concert venue Crocus City Hall on the outskirts of Moscow, systematically and in cold blood massacring as many victims as they could, then starting a devastating fire that destroyed much of the adjacent shopping mall.

Numbers cannot convey the depravity of the attackers or the suffering of the victims – and of their families and friends – but they can convey some of the scale of this horror: As of March 25, 137 were reported as killed and over 180 as injured. As always in such cases, many more will have to struggle with severe psychological trauma.

Like numbers, comparison is inadequate yet necessary to try to grasp the significance of this event. The 2015 Paris attacks that centered on a concert at the Bataclan venue, for instance, were similar in scope: They left at least 130 victims dead and more than 350 injured. The French government responded with an immediate countrywide state of emergency, massive security sweeps, and – as Encyclopedia Britannica sums it up – a dramatic escalation of French military intervention in the Syrian Civil War as well as an equally dramatic increase in domestic security spending.

There was also, of course, a great wave of international solidarity not only with the victims of the attack but, as was proper, with France as a nation. No Western or, for that matter, Russian commenters who care about their reputations would have dared make perverse claims about French authorities somehow being behind this horrific attack and prepared to sacrifice their own people and to, in effect, betray their country.

Yet, things have turned out differently after the Crocus City Hall massacre in Moscow. While the Russian security services and authorities got to work in a manner fundamentally similar to the French response in 2015 (capturing 11 suspects, four of them “immediate” shooters who’d mass-murdered innocents at a concert, on the run towards the Ukrainian border), a disturbingly large number of Western politicians and media figures responded with a combination of glee, generally transparently concealed but at times stunningly open, with hypocritical equivocating, and, last but not least, with insane conspiracy theories. In other words, with anything but genuine compassion and respect.

A German X user (here anonymized) with over 30,000 followers delivered an example of pure sadistic pleasure by posting a picture of the Crocus mall in flames, with the comment “May it burn, may all of Moscow burn.” Perhaps realizing he sounded as if tweeting from the Nazi Reich Chancellery, the over-excited user subsequently deleted this message. But without displaying any signs of remorse.

Some X user, even if with a substantial number of followers indicating a concerning popularity, may not strike you as very representative. But consider the case of Michael Roth, an extremely vocal member of the German parliament (for Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s SPD) and chair of its Foreign Policy Committee. He showed enough smarts to abide by minimum decorum, just enough to admit that Russia had suffered a “cruel act of terror” that cannot be justified.

But his real message was something else, namely that with Russia such a minimal concession to common decency (insincere as it may be) can and must immediately be accompanied by some Russophobic ranting: Roth carefully hedged that his “compassion” was (clearly: only) for “the innocent victims,” which translates into withholding any acknowledgement of the fact that – as with Bataclan in France – the Crocus attack is also an attack on a whole country and nation. He then proceeded to slander Russia as a “terror state,” caricaturing its war in Ukraine as a campaign of terror. (Roth, by the way, is a great fan of Israel, who has loyally stuck with Tel Aviv through its Gaza genocide with true Germanic “Nibelungentreue.” Go figure…).

Meanwhile, Roderich Kiesewetter, a militaristic foreign-policy hardliner from the CDU (Angela Merkel’s party and the conservative rivals of the SPD) has publicly fantasized about the possibility of a “false flag operation.” Bereft of any evidence or plausibility, the idea of Russia bizarrely launching a massive terror attack on itself, Kiesewetter had an urge to say, can nonetheless, “not be excluded.” In Germany, baseless accusations and insane speculation are bipartisan, as long as the target is Moscow.

If Kiesewetter and Roth, influential if not (yet) first-rank German politicians, illustrate the toxic brew of Russophobia, deranged conspiracy fantasies, and sheer lack of decency that is now ‘normal’ in Berlin, Germany has had no monopoly on perverse responses to the Crocus massacre. Let’s look at some by-no-means marginal representatives of Western media, traditional as well as social.

US-based Igor Sushko, a popular purveyor of deep-frosted neo-Cold War hype with over 300,000 X followers, raced into overdrive, rapidly promoting a black legend of Putin’s false flag terror attack at the Crocus City Hall,” as if he had to hurry to get the fake news out before reality hits. And that, come to think of it, may well have been the idea: As every propagandist knows, dirt flung first can stick around – at least with the badly informed – even once the facts have been established.

Alexey Kovalyov, formerly of ‘Meduza’ (a website based in Latvia, which has spent recent years waging information war against Russia – such as warning of imminent martial law which never happened) and a stalwart representative of that ‘liberal’ Russia that the West loves to promote, joined the monotonous ‘false flag’ chorus with a gratuitous display of a lack of logical acumen by absurdly concluding from a terror attack which did take place that the Russian authorities are not preventing any such attacks. He also sensed an opportunity to warm up old fairy tales, repeating the allegation that Putin was to blame for terrorist bombings in Russia in 1999. Never mind that the best – and very critical – biographer of Putin, Philip Short, has explained in detail why that old canard makes no sense.

Oliver Carroll, another staunch warrior on the (ideological) eastern front rushed to frame the Crocus massacre with aberrant references to the Berlin Reichstag Fire of 1933 and the Kirov murder of 1934. These incidents have in common that it’s either virtually certain (with Reichstag Fire) or at least a widespread belief (with Kirov murder) that they were staged by state authorities. In other words, yet again ‘false flag’ operations. Carroll, too, has zero evidence to offer. But then, he works for The Economist, so none needed. Not when it’s about putting the boot into Russia and its government.

It would be tedious to catalogue the full emerging swampish ecosystem of “Crocus Truthers.” Suffice it to say that it features famous old hands of the propaganda war, such as Garry Kasparov and, from Ukraine, Sergei Sumlenny (a lesser practitioner, conspicuous perhaps above all for combining an almost grotesque Russophobia with a very long stint as a de-facto point man for the German Green Party in Kiev) and, last but not least, Sarah Ashton-Cirillo.

In case you are blessed with not remembering him (or her? I admit, I have lost track), that is the person who volunteered as a clownish yet vicious spokesperson for the Ukrainian military – in a sadly transparent attempt to deploy a little “queer-washing” to please (some) Western audiences. In that capacity, Ashton-Cirillo launched a deranged, violent rant against the blogger Gonzalo Lira. Lira later died in a Ukrainian prison, abandoned by his own government in Washington and killed by a combination of massive medical neglect and – it is virtually certain – torture.

What to make of this odd alliance? Influential mainstream politicians and journalists, oddball (to put it mildly) social-media types, and a gaggle of eternally bitter Russian oppositionists in exile, who have never figured out how to square their intense dislike of Putin’s Russia with an adult sense of the West’s capacity to use them…

Two things seem certain: This degree of hatred of Russia makes the haters blind in a manner that leads to reputational self-damage, if not today, then tomorrow. And it also comes with an unsurprising inability to face the reality of the Zelensky regime in Ukraine. 

For, tellingly, the absurd ‘false flag’ accusations are almost always accompanied by an adamant refusal to even consider that the Kiev regime may have been involved, in one way or another, in the Crocus massacre. And yet, as a matter of fact, it could well turn out that there was some form of Ukrainian hand behind the attack.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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