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6 More Russian Myths About Crimea

Published: April 11, 2014 (Issue # 1805)


Russian leaders often look uninformed — or desperate — when they try to justify abuses of power by claiming that the U.S. is guilty of similar infractions.

Take, for example, President Vladimir Putin's comparison of Russia's selective legal assault against Yukos — and the subsequent expropriation of most of Yukos' assets into state-controlled Rosneft — with the U.S. prosecution of Enron in 2003.

The U.S. annexed Hawaii and Texas, so why can't Russia annex Crimea? Russia is living in the 19th century, pursuing its own manifest destiny.

In September 2012, Putin, responding to international criticism of the prison death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, said that the U.S. had no right to judge Russia because it executes convicted criminals at home. The Foreign Ministry took this argument further, saying in its 2012 report on U.S. human rights violations that the U.S. executes minors, which is a blatant falsehood.

Russian authorities also fired back at U.S. criticism of Russia's record on free speech by asserting that the U.S. violated the rights of former Private Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, jailed for leaking 700,000 classified documents to WikiLeaks.

Now, the Kremlin has adopted the same flawed "look who's talking" argument to counter criticism of its annexation of Crimea. Here are six more myths that Russia is fond of spinning.

1. All great powers annex territory. Look at the U.S., which unabashedly annexed Texas and Hawaii.

It is true that the U.S. annexation of Texas in 1845 was a vivid example of manifest destiny, imperialism and promoting the interests of the powerful, slaveholding class in the South. The Texas annexation, which extended the state's border to the Rio Grande river, was a clear act of provocation against Mexico, which had historical claims to parts of Texas. The annexation sparked the Mexican-American war of 1846-48, which the U.S. won, giving it ownership of a huge swath of western territories from Colorado to California.

Similarly, Hawaii was annexed in 1898 after the U.S. orchestrated a coup overthrowing the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893. The main economic motive of the coup was to exploit Hawaii's sugar wealth and promote the interests of the five largest U.S. sugarcane-processing corporations working on the islands.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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