Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Ольга Савка

British press gets anti-Russian

One look at Western news websites gives a clear view of the continuing Russophobic stance of the Western press

Looking for an objective news story in the western press without a slant against or a jibe  at Russia is like looking for the Holy Grail. It would be easier to find a needle in a haystack.Western newspapers

The BBC website today, Monday 24th October, has three stories about Russia. What would these stories be? The growing standard of living of Russians and the increasing prosperity in the cities and countryside? Increasing productivity and better control by the Russian authorities over Russia's resources?

What about the free democratic electoral process in Chechnya, the increasing climate of transparency and accountability in Russian business circles or the optimism about settling the conflict in South Ossetia?

No, today as usual we have gloom and doom stories, complete with references to an autocratic Kremlin and an allusion to the Soviet era.

The story about Bird Flu in Russia was predictable, and it deserved a special box, on the left (creating more impact) under the main headline for world news. No mention of Croatia or Sweden, of course.

The second story is about Chelsea's billionaire Chairman, Roman Abramovic, appointed for his second term as Governor of Chukotka. The story starts well but becomes ever more manic, ending up with the strangest of conclusions to be read anywhere in the news in the recent past:

Abramovich's appointment was "The price for staying in favour with the Kremlin when the Government has used a variety of means to strip other wealthy businessmen of their riches."

Oh, so the Kremlin just decides to steal people's money, is that it? Nothing about why and the simple matter of breaking the law or forgetting to pay billions in taxes, of course?

The third story is precisely about one of these figures that the Kremlin stripped of his riches, the one whose YUKOS only owed some tens of billions in taxation, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, and his prison.

We learn that he has been sent to a "Soviet-era prison in Siberia". A GULAG perhaps? And obviously he will be chained to a gang of men, forced to do hard labour, all singing Yo-o heave-ho? And worse still, we learn, the temperature in winter is between minus 18 and minus 33 degrees Celsius.

Poor Khodorkovsky, freezing outside in the snow dressed in his underpants with nothing to eat and only a shovel for company.

How many British prisons were built during the Soviet period (1917-1991), or even before it?

It is interesting to see that this news corporation continues to harp back to imagery when dealing with Russia. Just as when Britain drew lines on maps, saying "this is ours" and "that is yours", the world is a comfy, cosy place where Africa is dark, full of disease, wars and corruption, the Middle East is full of brown people with moustaches (how horrid!), so they must be untrustworthy, Australia is full of beer-swilling macho men who always beat England at cricket (well, usually), and Russia or course, freezing cold, with Soviet-era prisons and Soviet-style nightmares of cities, with a defeated, sullen and sad people cowering under an autocratic Kremlin.

That nonsense was never the truth in Soviet times. To perpetrate this lie today proves that the BBC is an unprofessional organism which has as much credibility as the drunken village guttersnipe.

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