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  • From Russia with Hate: Anti-Americanism Rampant in Putin’s Kremlin

    If you sup with the Russian government, you’d better bring a long spoon. While some U.S.–Russian cooperation appears to be happening on the surface, behind the smiles, nasty surprises are often waiting. No one knows this better than U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul, who assumed his post in January.

    McFaul has been subject to systematic harassment by thugs belonging to the Russian youth group Nashi as well as the Russian media. The attacks started soon after McFaul’s arrival but have intensified in recent weeks. McFaul has even been accused of “arrogance” by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who, like his boss Vladimir Putin, seethes over U.S. missile defense plans.

    The response to the Russian provocations from the U.S. State Department have not made much of an impact, nor would one expect them to. McFaul understandably erupted in anger at being followed everywhere by Russian NTV, but he later apologized on Twitter. In a tough culture like Russia—and an even tougher city, Moscow—a much harder line from the U.S. government would be needed to make an impact, such as a credible threat to suspend cooperation, aid, or ongoing programs.

    In addition to the outrageous and unacceptable attacks on the U.S. ambassador, other examples of anti-Americanism include Putin’s reaction to the popular protests that erupted in Moscow after the Russian parliamentary elections in December and also in March following the Russian presidential elections. President-elect Putin actually blamed the demonstrations on Hillary Clinton and the U.S. State Department, accusing Clinton of “giving the signal” to the protestors. Putin further called opposition leaders “jackals scavenging near Western embassies” and “monkey packs.”

    Now, American officials have reportedly been assured that all this anti-U.S. rhetoric streaming out of Moscow was simply a populist tactic in the election. Is this really to be believed? Of course not.

    For the Russian government, using the U.S. as variously a whipping boy and a scarecrow is extremely convenient. Indeed, anti-Americanism is a long-standing and fundamental pillar of Russian foreign policy and public diplomacy. As noted by Heritage’s Ariel Cohen, “Anti-Americanism in Russia is rampant. Putin has relentlessly created an image of Russia under attack from Western enemies. It worked for the elections and is likely to continue as a pillar of Russia’s domestic and foreign policy.”

    Anti-American rhetoric is also a standard feature of the broadcasts of Russia Today, the Kremlin’s international news channel, which can be found on many American cable systems. However, while Russian commentators can spew allegations with impunity, the U.S. government’s Radio Liberty and Voice of America (VOA) are banned or severely curtailed in most Russian media markets. In fact, prior to the Russian presidential election, VOA broadcasters were warned against covering Russian election issues under threat of being kicked off the market altogether. The fact that the U.S. media market is free leaves it open to abuses. Nevertheless, a tougher approach to reciprocity in media access is clearly needed.

    Recently confirmed Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine has already met with Russian special presidential representative Mihkail Shvydkoy at the State Department to discuss future plans for U.S.–Russian collaboration on media, education, sports, and professional exchanges. This working collaboration was set up initially as part of the great Obama “reset” in relations, and the stated purpose is to promote dialogue and understanding between Russians and Americans.

    But surely, as long as the leadership of Russia sees fit to launch personal attacks on the Secretary of State and the U.S. ambassador, public diplomacy is not likely to do a whole lot of good. That should be the message from the U.S. State Department.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    10 Responses to From Russia with Hate: Anti-Americanism Rampant in Putin’s Kremlin

    1. Bobbie says:

      The President of America sets a good example of antiAmericanism. Reasonable minds will see through Putin!
      The influence of hate from world leaders will diminish as soon as people realize they have minds of their own and realize everybody deserves truth where one man's spew may only be his truth! Putin and Obama are good players and work well together for all the wrong reasons.

    2. Freedom fighter says:

      Anti-Americanism is not only rising in Russia but it's apparently a global trend. In the world today, to be Anti-American is to be Pro-Freedom.

    3. Charles Webb says:

      Putin goes way back; he does hate the U.S. and dreams of the" Russia of old ". Russia and China would be very happy if we did not exist. The only way we can co-exist with Russia and China is to be feared. Obama just wants to use his great charm or something. Maybe he can sit down with our enemies and just drink a beer. What bothers me is the fact that we really don't have anyone running that has the backbone to take on Russia, China and the U.N.

    4. James Brooke says:

      Helle Dale,

      Good column — it is interesting how RT (Russia Today) has a large bureau in Washington and studios in NY, Miami and LA; Launched about 18 months ago, RT America now reaches about 50 million Americans.

      Meanwhile, back in Moscow, President/PM Putin basically made sure that VOA in Russian and Radio Free Europe in Russian were pulled off Russian radio airwaves in the mid-2000s.
      Today, these two news services reach their Russian audiences almost entirely through the internet.

      So much for 'reciprocity.'

      Aside following a Soviet strategy of cultivating sympathizers in the West, RT's real role appears to be constantly attack the US in third country English language countries — think India, Pakistan, Malaysia etc. This foreign policy tool has been deemed to useful that RT now has a Spanish and Arabic channel.

      See my current Russia Watch column on RT content:
      http://blogs.voanews.com/russia-watch/2012/04/21/

      If you explore the RT website, you quickly reach the conclusion that key elements in the Russian government don't care a fig about the Reset with Washington.

      Jim Brooke
      VOA Russia/CIS Bureau Chief
      Moscow

    5. Robert S. says:

      I agree with President Ronald Reagan…Peace Through Strength…

    6. Andre' says:

      This is only half the story.

      McFaul has been his own worst enemy, he's handled his position poorly and has shown his inexperience. While some of the blame needs to go to Bush who preselected this position for McFaul, I also blame McFaul for not pulling any pages from Beryle's book nor has he seemed to acknowledge his predecessor's excellent work.

      Holding the keys to the Spago house is a large responsibility that has so far has been bungled by McFaul. From his first step of handing over his credentials to the wrong individuals to his insulting comments about his time inside Spago to his inexperienced handling of the Russian press and his own twitter acount, McFaul has one the most important roles in US Gov that lays outside of DC and he's failed time and time again.

      There is a reason why American's are not familiar with John Beryle, he handled himself perfectly and caused little to no waves between the White House & Kremlin, he was revered by the Russian public because he took the time to understand his surroundings and the time to earn respect of the Kremlin and the people of the Federation.

      Without the whole story being produced, this article is no worse off then the so-called slanted news that is provided by RT.

      I'm also disappointed with Mr. Brooke, above, to list a lengthy hit list against RT & NA. VOA has recently been apart of some nefarious reporting themselves.

    7. Romney's comments also help, don't they?

    8. yaro says:

      Why do you think Newton's physics isn't applicable to people's societies? The strength of reaction the same as action is. Anti-Americanism intensity in outer world is proportinal to US' prominent ego.

    9. Dmitry from Russia says:

      Are you afraid of us? This is good.

      • Bobbie says:

        Why would you ask? Are you afraid of freedom from government control and personal liberties? Something your birth gave you right to? Are good will people who aren't government tools who want better for the people of the world, mistaken? You don't want your birthrights or you'd rather have government control them? Is this a good thing? I don't know anyone afraid of "us"/Russia. Concerned for the good people of the world/Russia/America and the intolerant/inhumane/devious government regimes controlling them.

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