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Sunday, April 23, 2006

Flawed New York Times Coverage of Russia

Reporting on the upcoming visit of President Ilham H. Aliyev of Azerbaijan, the New York Times states: "Aliyev's government maintains a distinctly Soviet-era state television network and has elevated Heydar Aliyev to the status of a minor personality cult figure. "

But we can say the same thing about the Putin regime in Russia. Putin still controls the television stations and the main one, RTR, is government-owned and operated. And nobody can dispute that Putin has been raised to a "minor personality cult figure" in Russia, even being the subject of a pop song singing his praises.

Throughout the Cold War, the New York Times always criticized the right-wing of American politics for provoking Russia. It always said that deep down inside Russians were fundmantally benign democrats, and it always admired their socialist state's left-wing social policies. So, of course, the Times must have been rather suprised and disappointed when Russians freely elected a proud KGB spy as their second president, a spy who proceeded to crush the independent media, abolish the election of governors, prosecute a bloody war against tiny Chechnya and rehabilitate the Soviet anthem written to glorify dictator Josef Stalin (all after coming to power in obviously rigged elections)

But the Times found itself in a quandry. Because to condemn all this activity would mean admitting that the Times was wrong during the Cold War, that if America had followed its advice doom would have resulted. So the Times chooses to minimize bad news coming from Putin's Russia and to argue that Putin is a necessary transitional figure while Russia moves towards real democracy. But it has no hesitation in attacking other countries for the same faults Russia has, and this article is a perfect example of that

Aliyev's visit also points up further alienation by Russia of the former Soviet slave states. As the Times states: "Mr. Aliyev is a secular Muslim politician who is steering oil and gas to Western markets and who has given political and military support to the Iraq war. "

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