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Vladimir Putin’s support of moderate Muslim education reveals difference between Russia and the West

‘Destructive ideas can only be tackled by other ideas’ said Putin, stressing Russian patriotism is an inclusive concept

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Vladimir Putin said that Russia will “definitely support” Islamic education via “major state universities” in a meeting with top Muslim clergy in Kazan, RT reports.

I can already hear some voices gasping, but rest assured, this is still Putin, the traditional Russian Orthodox man, who in some publications is portrayed as a communist, and likewise in others as a Czarist, in some as an anti-immigration nationalist, while in others as a friend to Chechnya. We have already covered how a variety of ideologies each like to claim Putin as being of their school of thought, when in reality Putin is far more moderate than people realize.

Putin tries not to divide people into sectarian or ethnic lines, but rather to unite the entire country for the greater good of the whole. Before we explain what this support of Muslim education means in the context of Russian culture, let us first listen to Putin’s words in full before immediately taking our favorite soundbites and appropriating him to justify our cause.

Putin spoke on the importance of education for young Muslim people, as there exist many harmful ideas which target them. Dangerous radical groups often seek to recruit new members among young people in the Muslim regions of Russia. The Russian president realizes the truth applies here that education is paramount. Far more effective than guns and tight border control, or the disastrous immigration policies we have seen in Europe, letting in murderers and rapists disguised as refugees, education is the key to turning young Muslim people into opponents of radical ideologies, rather than becoming radicalized by terrorists.

Education is preventative in nature. It is crucial to teach critical thinking skills which can actively prevent young people from supporting radical thought. Putin described this when meeting with Russian Muslim leaders in Kazan:

These ideas, even destructive ones, can only be tackled in one way – through other ideas. Those, which are being promoted and taught to the people in the Theological Academy, which was created here [in Kazan] and in other academies and educational institutions… in Moscow, Ufa and the Caucasus,” he said.

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Kazan

Putin also said that:

Traditional Islam is an important part of Russia’s cultural code and that the Muslim community is, undoubtedly, a very important part of the Russian multinational population.

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The Kazan Kremlin – where Orthodox Churches and a Mosque stand side by side

Russian Muslims from the core Russian territories like Kazan (Tatarstan), Bashkortostan, Chuvashia, (as opposed to the more volatile Caucasus) are some of the most peaceful and well integrated [into a European society] Muslims in the world.

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Kazan is fully Russified

Cynics who imagine Muslims are all terrorists should realize that the idea of a terrorist attack in Kazan perpetrated by local Tatars (as opposed to terrorists from the Caucasus, or abroad) is almost unthinkable.

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So why is it that a Muslim region of Russia can be quite peaceful, whereas there are around 3000 violent extremists in Sweden with Islamist ideology. What is the difference between Muslims who have lived in Russia for centuries, and those from abroad?

The difference between how Russia successfully deals with and educates Muslims vs the western model reveals a critical failure of education from every level of society, particularly in two fields:

  1. Very poor knowledge of one’s own European, Christian culture and history.
    How can anyone begin to respect a foreign culture if they have zero understanding of their own culture and history?
  2. Very poor knowledge of Islamic history, and Muslim cultures. Very poor experience dealing with ANY foreign culture.
    Most westerners have a very poor understanding of foreign cultures. Even those who wish to welcome Muslims often know very little about them, their languages, their histories, and often confuse the religion for a race. Comparing a shamanistic Tatar-Mongolian Muslim to a Saudi Arabian Sunni Muslim, to a most secular Azerbaijani is like comparing the English, Italians, and Russians. They have some basic religious and European roots, beyond which they are totally different.

Ignorance of one’s Own Culture

It is surprising and sad how many Western Europeans have fallen victim to internationalist globalism, which disdains local culture. It is simply not fashionable in Western Europe to be a patriot. One can talk about “European values” which allows Ukraine to tear itself apart, and Scandinavian women to fall victim to brutal sexual assaults, but it is considered almost extremist to be willing to defend one’s culture. You may find more French young people who sing American pop songs, and read Japanese comics than those who would proudly sing la marseillaise or read Les Misérables.

In Russia, the situation is quite different. The entire country isn’t filled with Cossacks riding bears on every street constantly singing folk songs and screaming “Glory to Russia”. Sadly, you can still find amongst some groups, lack of enthusiasm towards one’s own culture and history, but generally speaking, Russians are far more patriotic than western Europeans.

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I feel the number of Russian men and women who would fight for Russia is FAR higher than displayed, but Russians are a lot like Ilia Muromets. They sleep like him, passively, but once awakened i.e. once Russia is threatened, they arise and defend the Motherland. Even if they don’t have every aspect of their history memorized, many Russians will tell you Russia is the best country in the world with genuine Faith. That respect for own’s own culture is key to respecting others. How can you respect another if you don’t even respect yourself – better yet, how can you expect a foreign people to respect yours, if you don’t respect your own?

How the West Approaches Foreign Cultures

The West’s general lack of self-consciousness often displays itself in two opposite ways:

  1. A rabid, xenophobic, hatred of foreign cultures. Like all racist ideologies, it’s largely based on ignorance. These people are not unlike small dogs who bark and bite at strangers because they feel constantly threatened and insecure about themselves. Perhaps if they studied their own history and culture, they would find something to be proud of. These people claim to be patriots, though xenophobic racist suits them better.
  2. A naive, disingenuine professed love for all peoples, more the result of virtue signaling and a desire to fit in with the globalist elite and the PC crowd than a genuine understanding of another culture. These people are like prey animals that simply lay down and cower when threatened, and they’re allowing violent extremists into Europe by the literal boatloads all for the sake of proving to the world how tolerant they are, even unto death. These people claim to be cosmopolitans, with a hatred for nationalism.

Russia has an entirely different approach.

How Russia Approaches Foreign Cultures

Russian patriotism is one of the most unique and ancient in the world. Historian Egor Kholmogorov, a living legend amongst conservatives goes as far as to say Russia is the birthplace of patriotism, with the most primordial sense of continuous nationhood in Europe – and I agree.

Whether or not you agree with that statement, it is undeniable Russia approaches Patriotism different from the west. This is how Vladimir Putin is able to be a devout Orthodox Chrisitan, but support Muslim people in establishing schools for their children in Russia. This is how Russia is able to shake hands with the Prime Minister of Israel in one moment, and in another, the President of Iran, receiving both with statesmanship and respect, even if Russia does not agree with either. Russia, in fact, does not agree with one of those aforementioned “gentlemen”, more than the other, but I’ll leave our readers to guess who. You’re all smart, you’ll figure it out.

Of all the worlds superpowers, only Russia could do such a thing, as meeting two diametrically opposed powers, while maintaining it’s own strong interests and national pride. It is in this unique Russian mentality that reveals how Russia is able to reconcile itself, and Kholmogorov describes it perfectly:

Russian national awareness evolved in a different way. It was not directed against a neighbor…Russian self-awareness was based on a positive patriotism, on love for one’s own land, people, culture, and ruler. The rejection of others expressed itself not in hatred but in a good-natured gibe similar to the manner in which The Lay of the Ruin describes the neighbors of Rus’.

The “foreign” becomes a threat only if it is injurious and harmful to Russian identity. It is menacing not as an external but as an internal threat, as demonstrated by the Time of Troubles.

How Russia Approaches Muslim Cultures

That quote above is key to how Russia deals with Muslim cultures. Russians are able to be profoundly patriotic, but lacking the xenophobia and racism of western extremists like white nationalists and Neo-Nazis. Russia approaches Muslims from a position of gentile strength, like it does all cultures. Russia says “This is not your land, this is Russian land, it is ours, but you are welcome to share it. In time…maybe you will become Russian”

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Our Lady of Kazan depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary and The Lord Jesus Christ. The Lady is protectress of the city and all Russia.

Russia will respect all foreign cultures, but always honor Russian Orthodox culture above all else, teaching foreigners how to integrate into Russian society rather than teaching Russians “cultural sensitivity” and forcing them to adapt to strangers. American conservative Russophiles upset at finding a Spanish language option in their country may be surprised to know every republic in Russia with its own ethnic group has the right to use their own language on official papers together with Russian. The difference is the strength of the Russian culture in society means indigenous people often choose to use Russian above all by their own accord.

Russian foreign policy is epitomized in the words of Saint Alexander Nevsky

Those who come to us with the sword will die by the sword.

His example of allying with the Mongols to fight the German Catholic knights is touted by Eurasianists and Western Nationalists alike as proof Russia choose to be an Asian culture, but this is false. Saint Alexander preferred the Mongols because unlike the Teutonic Knights, who wanted Russia to convert to Catholicism, they simply wanted money, and did not pose a threat to the Russian culture. Russia welcomes all peoples, but she will always defend her culture.

In the 16th century, Czar Ivan the Terrible famously defeated the Khanate of Kazan destroying the last great remanent of the Golden Horde. His victory is depicted on one of the most famous Icons in the world “Blessed be the Hosts of the Heavenly Czar”

The icon depicts Ivan’s victory of Kazan as an army of Angles and Saints departing burning Sodom and Gomorrah towards a heavenly city.

Russians are not ashamed of this icon, even as Kazan is a major city in Russia. The idea of Russians apologizing to Tatars for conquering them hundreds of years ago is unthinkable. Russia abolished slavery amongst them, built their roads and cities.

Kazan

For centuries they lived together, they defended Russia together, and Tatar children learn in Russian schools. It is thanks to this education that Tatar people were uplifted to space, joining the ranks of Russian cosmonauts.

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Astana Kazakhstan, another country where Russia made peace with the local culture

This is Putin’s strategy, when he spoke to Kazan people about the need for Muslim education. Like it or hate it, the reality is Muslims have lived in Russia for hundreds of years…they’re part of the country. Putin refused to take the xenophobic approach which empowers the rhetoric of extremists, nor does he let radical Islam pose a threat to Russia. While the idea of radical Islam is Kazan is mostly unthinkable – the people there are heavily Russified and almost totally assimilated, more prone to agnosticism than devout Islam, the threat in the Caucasus is very real.

Unlike the more core Muslim regions in Russia like Tatarstan and Bashkortostan, where most of the population is Russian or mixed, the Caucasus were incorporated into Russia later in history, and lacked the centuries of Russian integration and education that pacified the Tatars.

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Kazan

Putin’s leadership proves that Russia will take a proactive role in educating young Muslims to be loyal Russian citizens.

It further demonstrates that the world should look to Russia to see a successful healthy interaction with Muslims rather than the “tolerant” west, as described in the RT report:

Among other things, the Russian Muslim organizations stage the annual International Muslim Forum, which brings together Muslim leaders from Europe and elsewhere. “They hear us; they see how we develop; how good the relations of the Russian Muslims with the country’s authorities are and how we are being supported by our president,” Russian Grand Mufti Ravil Gainutdin said.

According to Gainutdin, Russian Muslims are “a sort of a ‘soft power’ in promoting our model of development of civil society… I recently accepted the US ambassador, then his counterpart from Spain. We’re not politicians and diplomats, but we have our own people’s diplomacy – we talk to them, turning them to our side.”

Putin’s words and actions have touched the hearts of Russia’s Muslims in a real way. Just listen to how the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov supports Putin:

These are not just words, Vladimir Putin has constantly proven that he is fulfilling his promises. While the United States and their allies are bringing wars and destruction to the Muslim world, Russia is consistently defending the interests of the Islamic nations and peoples,” the Chechen leader wrote.

In his message, Kadyrov also drew attention to a more recent statement by the Russian president. Last Wednesday, Putin met with representatives of Muslim clergy in the city of Kazan, and said that Russian authorities would support Islamic education through major state universities and other means.

Kadyrov supported Putin’s stance on the issue. “In Chechnya alone there are two Islamic universities, six Hafiz schools [dedicated schools for studying and memorizing the Quran] and dozens of Madrasas. For this, we are sincerely grateful to Vladimir Vladimirovich. But all rights are tied to responsibilities, and I am convinced that Muslims must actively counter the destructive and anti-Islamic movements such as Wahhabism. Conciliatory positions never lead to anything good, and we will always adhere to our position that we must never allow Wahhabism to rear its head in any of the Russian regions,” the Chechen leader wrote.

Putin faced the issues head-on, standing firm to his beliefs, but offering a genuine partnership with Russia’s Muslims. As a result of his patronage and support, they have proven loyal to Russia, and many are fighting in the Russian armed forces against Islamic terrorists in Syria and abroad.

In conclusion, Putin’s policy on Islam, and the success of the Russian model as opposed to western one can be revealed in the microcosm of Chechnya compared to countries in which the west intervened.

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The picture above is Grozny, the Chechen capital during the war, not a building was left standing. Indeed, Russia raised it to the ground. The difference…

Russia Rebuilt Grozny

Grozny has been rebuilt into a beautiful, modern city, thanks to cooperation between Russians and Chechens.

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Russia assumed full responsibility for Chechnya. Russia didn’t simply bomb it into the stone age and say “Okay, here’s your new democracy. Enjoy! Oh, and do sell us your oil and or natural reserves! No hard feelings for the war…right?” To do that would simply create a breeding center for terrorism within Russia.

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Russia rebuilt the city, taking an active role in the construction of not only infrastructure, by civil society.

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When Chechens see beautiful squares, clean roads, and tall blue skyscrapers, they know who to thank.

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The situation in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc is…well…

We may as well add Ukraine to the list. Russia didn’t invade Ukraine, but Ukrainian nationalists should maybe…just maybe wish she did…if the pattern continues, Ukraine would be rebuilt by now.

The reality speaks for itself. The West only knows how to destroy, be destroyed (mostly by itself), whereas Russia knows how to educate and built real cities and communities for the national unity of the Motherland.

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Trump Demands Tribute from NATO Vassals

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO are a captive audience.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Tim Kirby via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Regardless of whether one loves or hates President Trump at least we can say that his presidency has a unique flavor and is full of surprises. Bush and Obama were horribly dull by comparison. Trump as a non-politician from the world of big (real estate) business and media has a different take on many issues including NATO.

Many, especially in Russia were hoping that “The Donald’s” campaign criticism of NATO would move towards finally putting an end to this anti-Russian alliance, which, after the fall of Communism really has no purpose, as any real traditional military threats to Europe have faded into history. However, Trump as President of the United States has to engage in the “realpolitik” of 21st century America and try to survive and since Trump seems rather willing to lie to get what he wants, who can really say which promises from his campaign were a shoot and which were a work.

So as it stands now Trump’s recent decision to maintain and build US/NATO bases across the world “and make country X pay for it” could mean anything from him trying to keep his campaign promises in some sort of skewed way, to an utter abandonment of them and submission to the swamp. Perhaps it could simply be his business instincts taking over in the face of “wasteful spending”. Making allies have to pay to have US/NATO forces on their territory is a massive policy shift that one could only predict coming from the unpredictable 45th President.

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO (and other “allies”) are a captive audience, especially Germany, Japan and South Korea, which “coincidentally” are the first set of countries that will have to pay the “cost + 50%” to keep bases and US soldiers on their soil. Japan’s constitution, written primarily by American occupation forces forbids them from having a real military which is convenient for Trump’s plan. South Korea, although a very advanced and wealthy nation has no choice but to hide behind the US might because if it were to disappear overnight, then Gangnam would be filled with pictures of the Kim family within a few weeks.

In the past with regard to these three countries NATO has had to keep up the illusion of wanting to “help” them and work as “partners” for common defense as if nuclear and economic titan America needs countries like them to protect itself. Trump whether consciously or not is changing the dynamic of US/NATO occupation of these territories to be much more honest. His attitude seems to be that the US has the possibility to earn a lot of money from a worldwide mafia-style protection scam. Vassals have no choice but to pay the lord so Trump wants to drop the illusions and make the military industrial complex profitable again and God bless him for it. This level of honesty in politics is refreshing and it reflects the Orange Man’s pro-business and “America will never be a socialist country” attitude. It is blunt and ideologically consistent with his worldview.

On the other hand, one could look at this development as a possible move not to turn NATO into a profitable protection scam but as a means to covertly destroy it. Lies and illusion in politics are very important, people who believe they are free will not rebel even if they have no freedom whatsoever. If people are sure their local leaders are responsible for their nation they will blame them for its failings rather than any foreign influence that may actually be pulling the real strings.

Even if everyone in Germany, Japan and South Korea in their subconscious knows they are basically occupied by US forces it is much harder to take action, than if the “lord” directly demands yearly tribute. The fact that up to this point US maintains its bases on its own dime sure adds to the illusion of help and friendship. This illusion is strong enough for local politicians to just let the status quo slide on further and further into the future. Nothing is burning at their feet to make them act… having to pay cost + 50% could light that fire.

Forcing the locals to pay for these bases changes the dynamic in the subconscious and may force people’s brains to contemplate why after multiple-generations the former Axis nations still have to be occupied. Once occupation becomes expensive and uncomfortable, this drops the illusion of friendship and cooperation making said occupation much harder to maintain.

South Korea knows it needs the US to keep out the North but when being forced to pay for it this may push them towards developing the ability to actually defend themselves. Trump’s intellectual “honesty” in regards to NATO could very well plant the necessary intellectual seeds to not just change public opinion but make public action against US/NATO bases in foreign countries. Japan has had many protests over the years against US bases surging into the tens of thousands. This new open vassal status for the proud Japanese could be the straw to break the camel’s back.

Predicting the future is impossible. But it is clear that, changing the fundamental dynamic by which the US maintains foreign bases in a way that will make locals financially motivated to have them removed, shall significantly affect the operations of US forces outside the borders of the 50 States and make maintaining a global presence even more difficult, but perhaps this is exactly what the Orange Man wants or is just too blind to see.

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High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

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President Putin’s anti-fake news law is brilliant, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. This law is brilliant, for it hits the would-be slanderer right where it counts – in the pocketbook.

We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

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