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Sunday, March 11, 2007

More Ridiculous Lies from the Bozos at Russia Blog

Someone named "Nick Slepko" posted a claim recently on Russia Blog, that infamous fountain of Russophile disinformation, which stated:

Using census data from 2005 and rates of homicide given by Russian and American government sources, Moscow’s rate of homicide is 9.13 per 100,000 inhabitants, whereas Washington D.C.’s comes in at a whopping 35.42 per 100,000 inhabitants. Knowing this, perhaps it is understandable why some aspects of emulating America can be troubling to foreigners who grow weary of the “rule of law”-mantra when these invectives are lobbed from a glass house.
Mr. Slepko is, to put it mildly, an outrageous liar, and his editors at Russia blog are either incompetent fools or equally dishonest propagandists.

Where shall we begin in illustrating his manifold dishonesty and propaganda, victimizing the unwary explorer of the blogosphere?

Let's start with this: The source material Mr. Slepko links to states that Moscow had twice as many murders as New York City and five times as many as London, two cities with comparable populations to Moscow. Yet, Mr. Skepko does not mention this fact. Readers would only know it if they clicked his links and read them. His source material also shows that Moscow’s murder rate increased by a shocking 20% from the prior year. Yet, Mr. Slepko ignores that fact too. Perhaps not surprising that he would ignore the information about Moscow's murder rate, since murders declined in Washington DC from 264 in 2002 to 195 in 2005 (the year Mr. Slepko is discussing), a drop of over 25% over the course of three years. Murders were down to 195 in 2005 from 198 in 2004.

Next, consider this fact: Washington DC is a tiny city with a population under 600,000. It had 195 murders in 2005, but the Washington Metro area, with a population of 5 million still only half Moscow’s size, had a murder rate of just 8.3 per 100,000, significantly lower than Moscow’s. The source material Mr. Slepko cites to does not give a murder rate for Washington DC, he had to calculate it based on its population. The source was giving conclusions about the Metro area, obviously because it felt that was the more meaningful sample. Moscow is a city of 10 million. So Washington DC is comparable to the highest 600,000-person crime REGION of Moscow (just as it’s the highest crime region in DC metro area), not the whole city. Mr. Slepko doesn't mention this fact because he's not interested in truth, he's interested in propaganda, attacking America to deflect attention from Russia and make himself feel better, just like the old Politburo used to do.

For that same reason, Mr. Slepko doesn’t mention that Russia as a country has the #5 murder rate in the whole world, while America is #24, five times lower. Russia's murder rate is 0.201534 per 1,000 while America's is 0.042802 per 1,000 people -- nearly five times safer. Given the fact that Americans enjoy almost limitless personal freedom while Russians live in a draconian dictatorship presided over by a proud KGB spy, one might think the results would be opposite, that Russians would buy safe streets with the loss of personal freedom, but it’s not the case, clear proof of the utter failure of the Putin regime at the most basic level. At least in the Soviet dictatorship, there were safe streets. Russia has the worst of all possible worlds. The whole point of Mr. Slepko's post is to argue that both George Bush and Vladimir Putin preside over equally high-crime cities. In fact, that's a blatant lie. Neither Bush nor Putin run the cities they work in. Moscow is run by mayor Yuri Luzhkov, while Washington DC is run by mayor Anthony Williams (a Democrat George Bush likely has little influence over; the city voted overwhelmingly against Bush in both his presidential elections). Obviously, if you want to compare Bush and Putin on crime, you have to compare the national data, since they are national leaders. But if you do that then Bush kicks Putin's ass all over the place, so naturally Mr. Slepko doesn't.

Finally, as a commenter to the Russia Blog post pointed out: "You cannot compare USA and Russia in crime rates because USA is honest with statistics and Russia is not: According to Russia’s Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov, the registered number of crimes in the country underestimates the real number by three times." In other words, Russia's position as #5 in the world is almost certainly an understatement, and the same is true for data concerning Moscow's murder rate. As if to confirm this, the source relied upon by Mr. Slepko for America's data is a formal scientific report of data, while his source for the Russian data is a brief news blurb from a state-friendly wire service.

This kind of shocking dishonesty and incompetence ought not be tolerated by blogosphere consumers. To their credit, a number of Russia Blog readers jumped on the outrageous content of this post, but this likely won't be enough to stop the villains at Russia Blog from continuing their relentless campaign of pro-Kremlin propaganda.

Mr. Slepko, you may recall, is the same lunatic whom LR mentioned last Sunday in regard his amazing burst of dishonesty and propaganda in regard to a cartoon showing Vladimir Putin taking on the Soviet Bear's fangs. Apparently, his chief claim to fame is writing letters to the editor at the eXile. We who favor honesty and accuracy in the blogosphere must do all we can to out propagandizing maniacs like Mr. Slepko before they mislead unwary lay people and undermine our ability to achieve democracy in Russia.

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