Russian President Vladimir Putin watches downhill ski competition of the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Roza Khutor mountain district of Sochi, Russia. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Nikolsky, Presidential Press Service)
Russian diplomats have launched a major verbal offensive against Washington over America’s criticism of Moscow’s aggressive stance on Ukraine on the popular Chinese microblog website, Sina Weibo.
Abandoning any pretence of diplomatic niceties, the Russians laid into American foreign policy in Eastern Europe, leaving no stone unturned.
It’s interesting that Moscow has chosen Weibo as the preferred social media platform to launch its tirade against Uncle Sam. Russia’s aggressive foreign policy has a much more sympathetic audience in China, where Vladimir Putin is admired by some pundits and nationalists as the kind of strongman who has the courage to say no to America (From Beijing with love: China’s infatuation with Putin 5 March).
The series of Chinese-language verbal attacks were posted in response to a statement issued by the US department of state last week, President Putin’s Fiction: 10 false claims about Ukraine.
The first salvo says: “the American state department has ignored substantial evidence of mob acts by ethnic radicals (Ukrainians), including vendettas against opponents and the killing of opposition members by sniper fire under the full glare of television cameras. It attempts to give a shameless one-sided explanation to the Ukrainian crisis and tries to clear the path for the usurpers of the government in Kiev”.
“It is beneath us to engage in debate with such low class propaganda. We just want to say that we don’t want to accept your arrogance over the truth and we don’t want to have anything to do with your narcissism. With regards to following international laws and respecting other countries’ sovereignty, the United States does not have the right nor should it ever have the right to interfere. How could you explain your bombing of the former Yugoslavia and fabrication of evidence in order to invade Iraq?” said the Russian embassy one minute after its initial post.
The Russian diplomats did not stop there. They then went on to reach back into history to find further examples of American transgressions.
“Only if we pay more attention to more distant history, can we find more evidence of American military interventions that were well beyond its own borders and took place without threats to itself. Examples include the Vietnam War that robbed two million people of their lives, as well as irreparable damage to the country and the total destruction of its environment.”
They then went on to cite a litany of American “invasions” into foreign countries under the pretext of protecting their own citizens.
“The invasion of Lebanon in 1958, of the Dominican Republic in 1965, the invasion of Grenada in 1983, the bombing of Libya in 1986 and the invasion of Panama three years later.”
The embassy’s Chinese language microblog then stated Moscow’s rationale for its aggression in Ukraine, citing protection of ethnic Russians in the Crimean peninsula.
“Russia is ready to hit back at claims of armed invasion because we want to protect the majority of residents in Crimea who are ethnic Russians. We want to nip in the bud any opportunity for extremist nationalists to create another ‘Maidan’ massacre,” they posted.
Business Spectator has consulted a former Middle East war correspondent about the meaning of “maidan” which literally means square. It could be a reference to the blood shed at the Independence Square in Kiev, which was the epicentre of the Ukrainian uprising against the pro-Moscow president, Viktor Yanukovych.
“Clearly, Washington simply does not understand events that unfold if they don’t follow the American rules of the game. They can’t help themselves, and cannot accept that they can’t get their way all the time. They want to impose their will everywhere and have grown accustomed to their role as the undisputed judge.”
The Russian diplomats signed off in their typically subtle way: “You can be pathologically insane, but that’s no reason to blame others.”
These six posts were ‘liked’ more than 11,000 times, re-tweeted close to 60,000 times and received more than 15,000 comments since yesterday.
Chinese netizens have started a mini civil war over the Russian allegations against the Americans. One camp is showing its support for Putin’s aggressive policy in Ukraine, while another is slamming Moscow’s past invasion of China, which resulted in the loss of a large tract of territory to Tsarist Russia. In an apparent reference to Communism, one Chinese blogger commented: “return our territory and take back your ism”.