The lack of transparency and allegations of fraud surrounding the website “Russia Insider” has energized many in the Russia-watching community. Sadly, I have come to the conclusion the debate (if it can be called that) sheds light on some the best and worse attributes of many among our members. What is more important: speaking the truth or protecting Russia at all cost – the so-called “cause?”
Throughout this debacle my email inbox and Facebook inbox have been inundated with seemingly endless good, bad, and ugly observations; personal attacks and friendly council. Much to my dismay the (unsolicited) advice I received dealt almost exclusively on how this dispute reflects on the perception Russia in all things – large and small. Only handful of messages appeared to have the slightest interest in facts surrounding the dispute. This is very disappointing – aren’t we in “our camp” the ones who champion facts over spin, a logical narrative over hyperbole?
The most common message I received more or less went as follows: this public dispute only furthers the agenda of the almost endless Russia-hating western propaganda machine. My public answer this is simple: nothing I can say will change the well-oiled and well-coordinated 24-7 media assault on Russia. My quest has only been about demanding transparency and honestly regarding a project and a person I once strongly supported and helped to establish in the first place. That support is part of the public record and not hidden from the reading public. I have also not participated in a public witch-hunt attempt to destroy anyone’s character. I am only interested in the facts.
Readers know very well I have spent a great deal of my life explaining Russia to audiences around the world – from the time I was a struggling journalist to today as program anchor at RT. My entire carrier has told me to call things as I see them – for better or worse. “Russia Insider” was also part of that endeavor. Alas, it was not to be. I could not and will not remain silent when I believe wrong doing attempts to wrap itself in the Russian flag saying it is for “the cause.”
The real “cause” is transparency and honestly and not Russia per se. This is why western political elites and its echo-chamber media so loathe us – we are not distracted by whimsical conspiracy theories, cheap person attacks and invented phantoms. We are the real deal and that is why we so effective – even if we are small in number. When we compromise our values and principles, we compromise what many of us claim to be so very important – Russia and the perception of her.
Peter Lavelle is anchor of RT political debate program CrossTalk. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.