Paul J. Saunders, a well-known US political scientist and Director of the Nixon Center think tank, has taken exception to the latest in the fiercely critical series of The Washington Post editorials on the Russian government, warning against double standards in the US-Russian relations. Saunders wrote that the editorial "demonstrates the paper's reckless writing on Russia." While claiming that "Russian authorities have tried to shut down the country's last independent television network", Saunders points out, the paper neglects to mention that the TV6 network "is owned by Boris Berezovsky, an exiled tycoon who spent much of the 1990s bragging about the degree to which his ill-gotten wealth allowed him to control the Russian government." "Today, Berezovsky openly admits that he is in the media business not to make money, or to ensure that Russian citizens enjoy access to independent and impartial media, but rather to engage in political combat with the Putin government," the political scientist continued. He then criticized the Washington Post's stand on the Russian government's Chechnya policies. While positive that "civilian casualties have occurred" in Chechnya, he countered that "there is no doubt that Chechen rebels - whose leaders have expressed sympathy for Osama bin Laden and Afghanistan's Taliban regime - have killed not only Russian soldiers, but also local residents cooperating with the Russian government, including clergy and teachers." "It is worth remembering that the US has vehemently denied any responsibility for civilian casualties under similar circumstances in Afghanistan and, not so long ago, in Yugoslavia," the political scientist added.
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