Mark MacKinnon, the feature writer of the Canadian national daily Globe and Mail on all things Russia and Ukraine, penned a March 6 article purporting to provide an overview of the political situation in Russia. The article script was pre-ordained – Russia’s economy and government are headed rapidly downhill. But what is interesting to read in MacKinnon’s article is its opening premise concerning Russia’s military and diplomatic intervention in the Middle East and, especially, how readers of the Globe and Mail have commented.
Two hundred and eighty readers of the newspaper have commented on the article. Enclosed below is a selection of the comments by readers reaacting negatively.
One reader commented that MacKinnon’s article was translated and published by a Russian media outlet, here.
MacKinnon begins his article with: “The appearance of a foreign war being halted [in Syria], however briefly, by Washington and Moscow – the two superpowers of old, alone at the bargaining table – delivered a massive boost to Russia’s prestige on the world stage.”
The article then goes on to try and dismiss any significance to the “massive boost” to Russian prestige, arguing, variously, that the Russian economy is falling apart; domestic political opposition is “trembling”; Vladimir Putin’s 85 per cent domestic approval rating is just a passing fad; etc.
MacKinnon also writes that the supposed ceasefire in eastern Ukraine is “holding”, a claim contradicted by reports of the past several months, including those of the United Nations human rights office and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Violations of the ceasefire by the armed forces of the governing regime in Kyiv are on the rise.
Coincidentally, an very detailed and informative counterpoint to the Globe and Mail‘s simplistic presentation of Russia’s economy and present political situation has been published by the Moscow-based writer John Helmer. Read his March 10, 2016 article on his website Dances With Bears.
Mark MacKinnon writes in his Globe and Mail article, “Much of what passes for the news on the television here is outright propaganda.” Which is ironic because that sums up how growing numbers of Canadians and Americans react to reports such as that of MacKinnon concerning Russia and so many other matters Is it any wonder that Canada’s mainstream media is going through a crisis of declining readership?
Comments by Globe and Mail readers:
* Usual anti-Russian stuff brought to you by Mark M. The sanctions have only hurt EU exporters, from agriculture products to industrial suppliers in Germany. Entirely instigated by the U.S., but the pain only felt by EU farmers and German industry. There are over 6000 German manufacturers that have been affected. Meanwhile, the US has been left untouched. In fact, they still import Russian built rocket engines for Orbital Sciences boosters…. can’t ban the import of those now…can we?
Meanwhile, the sanctions have forced Russia to diversify and expand its economy. No more French cheese? No problem as Russian suppliers are filling the gap. They are also turning towards China to make up for loss of trade. EU’s economic position is growing worse as the QE money printing goes on. Russian economic collapse is greatly exaggerated: Russia has no sovereign debt (US has 18 trillion) and no trade imbalance.
* Do the stupid leaders in Europe not realise that, if it had not been the U.S.’ anti-Assad regime change machinations, the refugee crisis would have never happened, and the EU would not be cracking at the seams with the seeming abrogation of the Schengen agreement?
* MacKinnon’s quoting of NATO commanders on the weaponization of immigration is rich, considering NATO’s track record in Yugoslavia and Libya.
The first round of refugees were due to civilians fleeing the Saudi, Turkey, U.S. backed rebel and ISIS takeover of large swaths of Syria. Now that Assad and Russia are chasing them out, naturally those who collaborated with the rebel groups will also want to flee. Blaming Russia for that is rich, put that blame squarely where it belongs – n those that supported the rebels with money and weapons, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the good ole USA.
* The article is predicated on the assumption that if the economy of Russia deteriorates, then the masses of people will be disconcerted enough to overthrow the government. Perhaps. But on the the other hand, the smug West, this author and the Globe and Mail face the same fate if the economic woes in the West explode. And this is closer than this author or the Globe and Mail are willing to even contemplate, never mind mention. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/mar/07/gathering-storm-for-global-economy-as-markets-lose-faith
* It could very well be that it is Russia that rides this storm – it is ready for it and undergoing it now – much better than the west. He who laughs last, laughs best.
* Mark of course is the unofficial spokesman for the U.S. State Department. The Department make a little phone call, Mark jumps like a puppet. Consider this: From 2000-2016, the era of Putin, what have been Russia’s progress on all fronts? Now what about U.S.’s progress of the same period? The era of Bush and Obama. The facts speak for themselves. No propaganda or ideology needed.
* Putin works not only for his country, but for the Russian people. Everything he does is for Russia. We may quarrel with some of his authoritarian techniques. But they are quite normal for the Russian culture and character. He gets results. He enjoys very high approval ratings and elected 3 times with majority.
* Who do American politicians work for? Well, to answer this question, we only need to see the rise of one The Donald. Putin wiped out the oligarchy, a word frequently associated with Russia. He took care of terrorists for real, for sure. American politicians took oligarchy and fascism to a new level. They created, nurtured and try to profit from terrorists.
* 2000: “Putin won’t last another year.”
2005: “He’s finished. Kaput.”
2010: “The Sochi Olympics were the final nail in his coffin.”
2014: “Ukraine, sanctions. It’s all over for Putin.”
2016: “Cracks are beginning to appear…”
* Pundits, including this writer, basically the all of the western corporate controlled media, and some distinguished comments contributors in here, have been burying Putin and Russia for the past 4-5 years, at least. Provocations by U.S. run NATO, a million people of Eastern Ukraine, who moved on the Russian side to escape the CIA Kiev onslaught, without any financial assistance from United Nations, EU, IMF and all the rest of so called “humanitarians”, and the Russia is still here.
When you talk about someone’s imminent demise, the chances are they will live a long life !
* More of the same wishful thinking from the globalist oligarchy’s media.
* Putin might die of old age . . . in about thirty years . . . but I know you’re eager to write his obit.
* The mess media of the “West” is pathetic. You cannot believe Mark Mackinnon.
* For some reason, Globe & Mail chose to delete this comment:
Mark M’s information appears to be pretty off base. Putin’s domestic popularity is pretty close to being at an all-time high – and that’s according to the independent and traditionally critical of the government Levada Center: http://www.levada.ru/eng/indexes-0
Also, Mark M’s article mentions an “annexation of Crimea”, but there was no annexation of Crimea by any literal, or technical definition, but instead there was a secession from Ukraine (though Crimea had also declared its independence from Ukraine once before), and then a legal accession to Russia. Whenever somebody uses the term “annexation” when referring to Crimea’s 2014 reunification with Russia, they are either wilfully spreading propaganda, or are ignorant.
Crimeans despised being given to, and being identified as a part of Ukraine. And in 1991, Crimea officially became an autonomous region within Ukraine following a referendum. Crimea had been operating with independent infrastructure, independent schooling, independent policing, Russian as their primary language… And even then, Crimeans wanted to rejoin Russia, and tried to hold a referendum in 1994 to do just that: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/01/31/world/separatist-winning-crimea-presidency.html
Crimeans have been primarily Russians since before Crimea was given to Ukraine in 1954, and overall never accepted Crimea or themselves as being Ukrainian, but as Russian And the outcome of the 2014 Crimean referendum made clear just how united Crimeans were in their desire to rejoin Russia.
That referendum was entirely legal by international law, and didn’t violate any Ukrainiane law, as Ukraine was defunct at that time, its government overthrown in a non-constitutional coup. As well, the right to self-determination is an internationally-recognized right, also recognized by the UN as a fundamental right, and Crimeans successfully enacted this right.
So please, journalists, stop using the false and propaganda term of annexation when referring to Crimea’s accession to, and reunification with Russia. If you wonder why journalism is dying, maybe it’s because there are so few actual journalists, as opposed to propagandists, or plain ignorants.
* By some estimates 50% of migrants are from Syria. So these are the ones that General Breedlove refers to as being weaponised by Russia. However 27% are from Iraq and Afghanistan who weaponised these? The rest are from many other parts however what sticks out is Lybia. Who weaponised those?
* As usual, the HUGE FONT indicates enhanced superficiality.
* This propaganda make all Canadians look bad and it’s beneath us.
* “Much of what passes for the news on the television here is outright propaganda.” Call the kettle black. If you really want to know what’s going on in the world, RT and Sputnik are a much better bet than the western MSM, which rival Pravda back in the day for their slavish devotion to the neo-con line.