Russian president Vladimir Putin recently participated in a summit with his American counterpart Joe Biden on the 16th of June at Geneva. The summit was regular for the most part without any discernible benefit to either side on the face of it.
The summit did present Joe Biden with an opportunity to score political points with his domestic audience since Russia has become a major flashpoint in American politics. It was obvious to most that Democrats had invented the Russian collusion hoax theory to undermine then president Donald Trump.
But in doing so, they also condemned any chances of improvement in ties between the two countries. In many ways, one of the objectives of the latest summit was to bridge the gap between Russia and United States on key issues while for the American president, it was political necessity to take into account the domestic situation in USA as well.
Nevertheless, the western media, which serves as the propaganda wing of western nation states, engaged in partisan politics as well and attempted to cast Vladimir Putin as the ‘Big Bad Guy’ during their interactions with him.
But the Russian president handled them in a very sophisticated manner and on numerous occasions, leading up to the summit and in the press conference after it, eloquently exposed American duplicity.
Here, we shall take a look at the specific issues and instances where Putin rebutted American propaganda and other instances where he deviated from the narrative embraced by the American elite.
‘Predictability and Stability’
In the days leading up to the summit, Vladimir Putin gave an interview to NBC’s Kier Simmons. During the interview, the host subtly implied that while Joe Biden wanted predictability and stability in the world, his Russian counterpart wanted chaos and anarchy.
Simmons asked Putin, “President Biden wants predictability and stability. Is that what you want?” In response, the Russian president replied that predictability and stability are the most important values in international affairs.
It was then that he exposed USA’s double standard with respect to the matter. He said, “What kind of stability and predictability could there be there if we remember the 2011 events in Libya where the country was essentially taken apart, broken down?”
He added, “What kind of stability and predictability were there? There has been talk of a continued presence of troops in Afghanistan. And then all of a sudden, boom! The troops are being withdrawn from Afghanistan. What, is this predictability and the stability again?”
Putin also took a jibe at the USA for attempting to overthrow the Assad Government in Syria. He said, “I’ve asked my U.S. counterparts, “You want Assad to leave? Who will replace him? What will happen when somebody— he’s replaced with somebody?” The answer is odd. The answer is, “I don’t know.” Well, if you don’t know what will happen next, why change what there is? It could be a second Libya or another Afghanistan. Do we want this? No.”
The Russian president also mocked BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg when the latter accused Russia of creating instability. Rosenberg asked during the post-talk press conference, “Joe Biden calls for a stable and predictable relationship with Russia, however, the west believes that unpredictability is a trait of the Russian policy. Are you ready to forego instability to improve the relationship with the west?”
Putin shot back, “Well if the west believes this then it doesn’t mean that this is the objective truth.” He added, “You said that the west believes that Russian policy is unpredictable, well let me reciprocate. The US withdrawal from the ADM Treaty in 2002 was unpredictable. Why would they do that and undermine the basis of strategic stability?”
He continued, “The INF treaty withdrawal in 2019, is that what you call stability? The Open Skies Agreement withdrawal, is that what you call stability?” For good measure, he added that there was nothing stable about orchestrating a coup in Ukraine either.
Political protests: Alexei Navalny, Capitol Hill riots and the Black Lives Matter movement
Vladimir Putin made it pretty clear during the interview with Kier Simmons and the press conference that he is not fond of the Black Lives Matter movement. He told Simmons when prodded on the matter, “I think that, of course, this movement was used by one of the political forces domestically in the course of election campaigns. But there are some grounds for it.”
He added, “But no matter how noble the goals that somebody is driven by, if it reaches certain extremes, if it spills over into — if it acquires elements of extremism— we can not approve this. We can not welcome it. So our attitude to this is very simple. We support African Americans’ fight for their rights, but we are against any types and kinds of extremism, which unfortunately sometimes, regrettably, we witness currently these days.”
An American reporter asked Putin what he was “so afraid of” that Russia has outlawed Alexei Navalny’s organisation and prevents people who support him from running for office. Putin responded, “The organization in question, publicly, has called for riots and public disorder. It has openly instructed people in how to make Molotov cocktails so to use them against law enforcement. It called for the participation of underaged persons in riots.”
He stated further, “America has just recently went through a grievous chain of events after a certain African-American individual was killed and an entire movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, appeared. I’m not going to go into details, I will spare you of them. But we’ve seen programs, we have seen looting and violations and riots. We sympathize with the Americans but we do not want for the same thing to happen on Russian soil, and we’ll do anything possible to prevent this.”
The reporter went on to say, “If all of your political opponents are dead in prison, poisoned, doesn’t that send a message that you do not want a fair political fight?” Putin responded, “All right. About my opponents being jailed or imprisoned. People went into US Congress with political demands. 400 people now facing criminal charges. They are facing prison terms of up to 20, maybe 25 years. They are called homegrown terrorists. They are being accused of many other things. 70 people were arrested right there on the spot, 30 of them are still arrested. On what grounds? Not quite clear.”
He also brought up the killing of Ashli Babbitt. He said, “One of the participants, a woman, was shot dead on the spot. She was not threatening with anything. Why am I bringing this up? Many people are facing the same things as we do. And I am stressing this. We are sympathizing with the United States, but we do not want the same thing repeating here.”
During the interview with Simmons, he was asked, “Did you order Alexei Navalny’s assassination?” Putin responded, “Of course not. We don’t have this kind of habit, of assassinating anybody. That’s one. Number two is I want to ask you: Did you order the assassination of the woman who walked into the Congress and who was shot and killed by a policeman? Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress? And they didn’t go there to steal a laptop. They came with political demands.”
He added, “450 people have been detained. They’re facing— they’re looking— they’re— they’re looking at jail time, between 15 and 25 years. And they came to the Congress with political demands. Isn’t that persecution for political opinions? Some have been accused of plotting to topple— to take over-government power. Some are accused of robbery. They didn’t go there to rob.”
Finally, he said, “If somebody is actually using political activities as a shield to deal with their issues, including— achieve their commercial— goals, then it’s something that they have to be held responsible for.”
During the press conference, a reporter asked Vladimir Putin if he committed to “ceasing” cyber attacks on the United States. Putin said, “US sources, I don’t want to make a mistake here as to the name of this organization, but the US sources claim that the majority of cyber attacks are made from the US territory. The second one is Canada, then two Latin American states, and then the UK. As for Russia, it is not listed in this ranking of countries that see the most significant number of cyber attacks from their territory. That’s one thing.”
Putin then mentioned that Russia had received 10 requests regarding attacks on US infrastructure in 2020 and two this year. Conversely, Russia had sent 45 requests to US authorities last year and 35 this year. While Russia responded to every request by US authorities, they have themselves not received any answers from their American counterparts.
Kier Simmons also relied on claims by US agencies as gospel truth to allege that Russia had indeed engaged in cyber attacks against USA. To that, Putin said, “Dear Keir, you have said that there is a weight of evidence of cyber attacks by Russia. And then you went on to list those— official U.S. agencies that have stated as much. Is that what you did?”
When Simmons then backtracked and claimed that he was only “conveying information” regarding who said what, the Russian president replied, “Right. Right. You are conveying information to me as to who said that. But where is evidence that this was indeed done? I will tell you that this person has said that, that person has said this. But where is the evidence? Where is proof? When there are charges without evidence, I can tell you, you can take your complaint to the International League of Sexual Reform.”
He added further, “It’s becoming farcical, like an ongoing farcical thing, never-ending farcical thing. You said “plenty of evidence,” but you haven’t cited any proof.”
Western imperialism through NGOs
The most significant statement, however, was the manner in which Vladimir Putin exposed western imperialism in the garb of ‘civil society’ and NGOs. As was to be expected, there were numerous questions about Alexei Navalny during the press conference.
He said, “The United States declared Russia as its enemy and adversary, and the Congress made it back in 2017. The US legislation have provisions that the United States should support the order and rule of democratic order in our country and support democratic organizations. And it is all contained in your legislation.”
He emphatically stated, “Let us ask a question. If Russia is an enemy, then what kind of organizations would be supported by the United States in Russia? I believe these are not organizations that make Russia stronger, but those who deter Russia, and that is the goal of the United States that they made public. These are organizations and people that help implement the US policy on the Russian track.”
Putin further went on to add, “The United States has a law that spells out that the United States will support specific candidates and organizations in Russia. At the same time, the Russian Federation was labeled as an adversary. They went on the record and said publicly that they will stymie the development of Russia. It begs the question, what kind of organizations the United States and the West will be supporting and pay them if we are an adversary?”
It is an undeniable reality that western countries promote ‘civil society’ organisations and NGOs abroad in order to further their interests in those countries. It is very obvious in India where foreign-funded activists and NGOs file petitions in Courts to stop infrastructure projects and interfere in the domestic politics of the country.
During the UPA regime, the extra-constitutional National Advisory Council (NAC) that used to report to Sonia Gandhi was filled with such west funded activists. Since the NDA Government came to power, the Indian Government has cracked down on such foreign funded NGOs which has attracted grave criticism from their western masters.
Western organisations such as Oxfam even urged the Congress party to form an ‘alliance’ with civil society groups, which can only be interpreted as a direct interference in the domestic affairs of India. But it is not just in India that bears the brunt of American imperialism. In other countries as well, western countries, especially USA, uses NGOs to further their imperialist intentions.