Wednesday, 17 December 2008

'Old stereotypes and caricatures' - Guardian's Russia report demolished.

Dmitry Peskov, from the office of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, has taken a welcome hatchet to a lazy Guardian article entitled (inevitably) ‘Back in the USSR’. Luke Harding’s piece was inconsistent and silly, attempting to draw comparisons between VV Putin and Brezhnev and likening the current difficulties which Russia’s economy faces to the USSR’s stagnation in the 1970s.

The kernel of Harding’s argument is demolished in Peskov’s very first paragraph.

“The central charge in your article, that Russia is fast turning into the Soviet Union, is as unsustainable as it is unfair (Back to the USSR, 10 December). Indeed, your report's grudging admission that Russia now has a market economy and that our citizens have freedom of speech and travel - three fundamental differences between modern Russia and the Soviet Union - undermines any serious suggestion of a comparison between the two eras.”


It is a pleasure to read a calm, measured and reasoned rebuttal of any piece of hysterical scare-mongering and this is no exception. Peskov points out that the very reason Russia’s financial system is currently under pressure is due to its integration with the world economy. Russia faces difficulties, but it is perhaps more equipped to cope than other economies, given the surplus gathered during boom times.

“We fully accept that we still have plenty of problems to overcome in Russia. But it would be nice to think we might see a change in the way our country is reported, and an end to the use of old stereotypes and caricatures.”


Hear hear.

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