It's time to announce a new award. The barrage of hysterical, completely O.T.T. articles/comments re 'the Russian threat', in the light of Russia's perfectly legitimate and proportionate action to stop ethnic cleansing and genocide in South Ossetia, made me think it's time to hold a contest for 'Russophobe of the Week'. The competition is intense and it's been a difficult task to draw up a short-list. Below are some of my favourites (I particularly love 'Stan anti-fascist's) ; if there are others you'd like to include, please post them in the comment box, along with your votes, in a 1-3 order.
May the best (or rather the worst) man win!
"This is the end. Columns of Russian tanks are heading Tbilisi. Georgians who are still alive retreat to their capital city to defend it and die. The president of the dying country is still heard pleading the world to save his country and people, whose only fault was to trust the West and have chosen democracy as way of life. In response, Mr. Bush repeates (sic) he condemns Russia. The other Western powers, in order to conceal their fear, keep pretending they believe the satanic Russian lies about the true situation that was cooked up for the start of long planned destruction of Georgia. This is the end. Evil and Lie have won. The world is near its end".
‘Stan anti-fascist’, comment left on Denis Matyjaszek's Daily Telegraph article- 'We must unite to resist Russian aggression'.('Stan'- many congratulations, you have redefined the phrase 'drama queen')
"For Georgia, read Czechoslovakia. For South Ossetia read Sudentenland. For Russia read Germany. For Vladimir Putin, read Adolf Hitler. For 1938 read 2008".By Bruce Burniston, comment left on Denis Matyjaszek's Daily Telegraph article.
(and for Bruce Burniston, read 'man who enjoys making absurd historical analogies')
"Today we are all Georgians."US Presidental Candidate John McCain. (what do Californians or Texans think of this???)
“This autumn will mark the seventieth anniversary of the Munich Agreement, when the democratic powers of Western Europe, Britain and France, weakened as they were by the self-hating, ’anti-war’ defeatism of wide sections of the Western chattering classes - on the left as well as of the right - allowed a fascist, expansionist imperial power to carve up a much smaller and weaker multinational state, using the excuse that it wanted to protect the rights of its co-nationals…... For the first time since World War II, the democratic West is faced by a brutal, neo-fascist, expansionist regime in command of an imperial state whose military might is comparable to that of Hitler’s Third Reich.”
Marko Attila Hoare, writing on his 'Greater Surbiton' blog (I must say I find Marko's boyish enthusiasm for the neocon cause quite endearing, in a funny sort of way. Marko once told me that he received no payment at all from The Henry Jackson Society, the neocon pressure group of which he is 'European director': I find that quite scandalous considering the amount of work he does propagandising for the cause).
"Vladimir Putin has dropped - literally - a bombshell. By ordering a full-scale military invasion of Georgia, he has revealed the true face of his autocratic rule. By flying in person to the scene as if he was field commander-in-chief, he is showing the world that Russia will revert to being a military power willing to bully and threaten its neighbours."
Denis Matyjaszek, Daily Telegraph (er....what 'full scale military invasion of Georgia, Denis?).
"As so often with bullies, the Russian government's behaviour disguises deep insecurity and a craving for respect. This makes it more susceptible to our opinions than we often think. Further aggressive steps against Georgia would certainly be a reason to reconsider whether Russia should continue to enjoy the prestige that comes with membership of the G8. Another possible response ties in nicely with our current Olympic obsession. Russia is due to host the Winter Olympics in 2014 at Sochi and hopes to use the event, like the Chinese, as an expression of its power on the world stage. There would be very good grounds for asking the International Olympic Committee to consider whether a country that was actively working to dismember a neighbour only a few kilometres from Sochi was an adequate standard-bearer for the Olympic ideal."
David Clark, from the (anti) Russia Foundation, writing in The Guardian. (David is no relation, I'm very pleased to say).
"You can talk about 1938; you can talk about 1914; you can even, if you want to show off, talk about 1811-12: what is in no doubt is that, several times in the modern era, the course of history has been changed by an escalation from the sort of opportunistic bullying we have seen in Georgia, and only a fool would say it would not be again. Faced with the choice of having to switch off the lights at 8pm in the winter while putting on a thicker sweater, or having a nuclear holocaust, I know how I would prefer the West to make its point against this aggressor".
Simon Heffer, Daily Telegraph. (Sorry Simon, but I don't think I'll be joining you in switching the lights out at 8pm).