US media launch campaign to delegitimize Russian elections

30.12.2017, Russia.

Dozens of publications about the barring of Navalny from running for president in Russia continue to be published in the US media. A correspondent of the Rossa Primavera Information Agency made a media review on December 27.

The tone of the publications is almost always the same: the barring of Navalny, who has a criminal record, from running for president is called “political revenge”; Navalny who was convicted for fraud is called “an anticorruption crusader”. While recognizing Putin’s high rating, it is alleged that “the regime fears Navalny”; hints are made of street protests to follow in a situation when the economy is undermined by sanctions and falling oil prices.

The New York Times published 8 columns related to Navalny in the period starting from December 24. On December 26, The New York Times published an article calling Navalny “a Russian anticorruption activist” and presenting Navalny’s conviction for fraud as a politically motivated persecution appealed against in the European Court of Human Rights.

The article cites a statement made by the European External Action Service that the barring of Navalny from running for president casts a serious doubt on the prospect of democratic elections. The journalist recalls the unrest in the streets in 2011-12, and he suggests that barring Navalny from running for president can result in street confrontations (this means, a Maidan in Russia is openly discussed). The journalist writes that Navalny has proven his ability to mobilize “young, well-educated Russians” [apparently referring to the underage schoolchildren whom he tried to engage in mass in his street actions ― Rossa Primavera Information Agency].

The author compares Putin to Stalin in terms of the length of their tenure as leaders of the country; he has no doubt that “the Kremlin is afraid of Mr. Navalny”. The journalist cites Levada Center’s data that Navalny has no chance to win election against Putin: 66 percent of respondents who said they planned to vote would choose Mr. Putin, with only 2 percent favoring Mr. Navalny. The author says that Putin apparently does not trust the surveys, in part because he witnessed Donald Trump’s “unexpected success” in the US.

At The Washington Post web site, the query “navalny” returns over three hundred materials, with 14 stories published in the period starting from December 24. For example, in a story titled Putin may be in more trouble than we know it is suggested that Navalny who campaigns against corruption was “proscribed” on the basis of trumped-up fraud charges. The journalist repeatedly mentions an anti-corruption investigation against Medvedev bringing out “tens of thousands of [Navalny’s ― Rossa Primavera Information Agency] followers in cities across Russia to denounce the regime”.

The author points out that due to falling oil prices and Western sanctions, “the regime is failing to deliver the rising living standards it once offered Russians in exchange for their passivity”. The article ends with a statement that the Western governments and Russia’s democrats have a common cause in countering the “undemocratic” Putin.

The CNN front page features an article with Navalny’s photo and a title Putin files re-election bid as Kremlin critic calls for protests. This article calls Navalny the “only serious opponent” who was barred from the election for campaigning against corruption. Navalny is said to play an important role in a political awakening of the country’s youth frustrated with a sluggish economy and under endemic corruption. It is noteworthy that after December 24, 5 articles about Navalny have been published at the CNN web site.

The Chicago Tribune featured three articles about Navalny starting from December 24. An article dated December 27 calls Navalny “the anti-corruption crusader” and “the most serious challenger” that Putin has faced in all his years in power.

The Los Angeles Times published two articles about Navalny on December 25 and 26. It calls Navalny “the anti-corruption crusader”, while the reason for barring him from the election (Navalny was convicted for fraud) is called “political retribution”.

The Wall Street Journal published four stories about Navalny since December 24. A story dated December 26 titled Democracy, Putin-Style says that, according to the rules of presidential campaign in Russia, if you are someone whose popularity holds the potential to “embarrass” Putin, you’re not going to be allowed on the ballot.

On December 26, Fox News published a video report about Navalny and Ksenia Sobchak calling for “more democracy in Russia”.

Aleksei Navalny was convicted on a criminal charge, and he received a five-year suspended sentence. According to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, he cannot campaign for the presidency.

Editorial comment

One cannot pass over the bellicose vein of the publications and their clearly manipulative nature. The law, the Constitution, and Russian court rulings are completely ignored as groundless a priori. Navalny, who was convicted for fraud, is presented as an “anti-corruption knight”. Underage minors (i.e. often lacking even a secondary school education), who were recruited for unlawful street actions, are called “well-educated young people”.

A journalist writes that, given Putin’s 85% rating, Navalny has no chance to win the election; and right in the next paragraph, he continues that they fear to allow Navalny to run in the election. And so on. This kind of rhetoric is typical of the Cold War, with its barely veiled propaganda having little in common with the reality. Expectations of a Maidan in Russia, which clearly seen in these publications, are noteworthy, and they must be taken into consideration.

Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency

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