Russia and the collective West held a series of important talks this week that could potentially lay the cornerstone of a future global security framework. But if we compare their coverage in our and Western media, an amazing paradox will emerge: these negotiations were conducted as if in two parallel worlds and, apparently, the parties did not intersect with each other at all. It turns out that we talked on completely different topics.
Let’s remember how the very idea of these consultations came about. In December, it was Russia that initiated them (which the European media do not even mention now for the most part). We invited the United States and NATO to discuss our concerns about bringing the military structure of the alliance directly to Russian borders and expressed our determination to further counter threats to our security system. At the same time, they made it clear what theoretically we can do if our peace initiatives are not approved. But the clauses about our commitment not to deploy Russian nuclear and missile infrastructure outside the country went unnoticed in the Western media.
If you flip through the local newspapers this week and read numerous reports from Geneva and Brussels, flavored with analysts from high-brow Kremlinologists of various levels, you will find out an amazing thing: while Russia was negotiating with the West on guarantees of its security, offering to discuss peace initiatives, the West was at the same time somewhere then in a parallel reality he negotiated with Russia about… Ukraine. That is, the public imagines it as follows: Moscow suddenly gathered more than 100 thousand military “on the borders of Ukraine” (as Victoria Nul-and said, “Russia created this crisis out of the blue”), and alarmed Washington and NATO initiated negotiations to resolve the “Ukrainian crisis”.
And those Western ordinary people who learn international news from the headlines of their newspapers, social media feeds and running lines of news TV plots (and such an audience is in the majority) are sure that it is about the fate of some distant Ukraine, and not about their own security. Well, what other conclusion can a reader of the British The Times draw from the following headline : “Moscow rejects the US call to withdraw troops from the Ukrainian border”? That is, it turns out that this is the essence of the many hours of Russian-American talks in Geneva.
And the next day, the newspaper presented to its readers the content of Russia’s negotiations with the North Atlantic Alliance in Brussels: “NATO promises to send troops if Russia invades Ukraine.” Most curious of all, this article is provided with a map of the location of already operating units of the alliance in the immediate vicinity of our borders. It looks very funny against the background of constant calls from the West “to withdraw Russian troops from the Ukrainian border.”
Moreover, the newspaper’s readers are well aware that over the past months Russia has literally surrounded Ukraine with its army. They are constantly presented with “photographic evidence” to support such claims. For example, a photo of a soldier adjusting a machine gun is signed :
“Putin has gathered thousands of his troops near the Ukrainian border.” It doesn’t matter that the illustration depicts a Ukrainian soldier on the contact line in Donbass. The reader sees the signature and knows that this military man was sent personally by Putin.
A few days earlier, the same newspaper posted a photo of “Russian exercises near the Ukrainian border,” which actually depicted exercises in the Orenburg region. Then, on its website, the editorial board retroactively changed the signature, without explaining, however, that there are more than a thousand kilometers from Orenburg to Ukraine. In the printed version, everything was left without further adjustments and apologies – they say, the British reader will do it anyway. And then these pe-ople, wringing their hands, shout about the “Russian campaign of disinformation and propaganda.”
This is just an example of the coverage of the negotiations and the atmosphere around them by one newspaper. But the overwhelming majority of Western media and their columnists do the same. At first, they unanimously picked up fakes about “Russian plans to invade Ukraine”, and now they are trying to convince the public that in Geneva and Brussels the West is trying to reason with the presumptuous Moscow and dissuade it from “invading”.
Here are some examples of headers:
-Financial Times : “US and Russia Agree to Extend Talks on Ukraine Crisis”.
-The New York Times : “Deep divisions persist after Russia-NATO talks on Ukraine’s crisis.”
-CNN : “The US said Russia has not committed itself to de-escalating the Ukrainian crisis as a result of the latest round of negotiations.”
-National Public Radio : “There is no breakthrough in the meeting on Ukraine, but NATO and Russia will continue to talk.”
-The Wall Street Journal : “Russia and NATO were unable to bridge differences in negotiations on Ukraine.”
-The Guardian : “NATO Chief Warns of ‘Serious Risk of Conflict’ After Talks with Russia on Ukraine End.”
And such examples are countless. As you can see, the overwhelming majority of Western media presented these meetings precisely as negotiations “on the Ukrainian crisis” or “on Ukraine.” But, say, in the draft treaty with the United States proposed by our Foreign Ministry, Ukraine is never directly mentioned. Therefore, the surprise of Deputy Foreign Minister Oleksandr Grushko, who pointed out a clear discrepancy in the words and actions of his counterpart in the negotiations, is understandable: “I read that Mr. Blinken said that“ not a word about Ukraine without Ukraine. ”But today our partners discussed Ukraine, probably, an hour and a half out of the four allotted. This is the reality. ” That is, it was the West who persistently tried to limit the topic of negotiations to the so-called “Ukrainian crisis”, but not Russia.
It is not surprising why the Western media pretend that they have “forgotten” the initiator of these meetings. But the articles would look very strange, in which the following would be asserted: Russia is going to attack a defenseless Ukraine, and therefore proposed to hold negotiations on how to prevent this “invasion”.
By the way, the “seriousness” of this threat is clearly evidenced by the fact that for some reason is also not mentioned in the West: in mid-December, the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada at one of the last meetings extended their New Year’s vacation and went to rest for more than a month: from December 18 to December 24 January. It is quite standard practice for the legislators of the country, allegedly expecting an invasion from the outside any minute. Even to play along with the general panic of the overseas patrons, the Kiev parliamentarians were not worthy. It turns out that in the offices of Washington, Brussels and London they worry about the security of Ukraine much more than in the Rada itself.
However, the Western media continue to escalate the situation, bringing their fakes about the impending “invasion” to the point of utter absurdity. Now they have agreed to the point that ” hundreds of Russian tanks near the Ukrainian border ” did not invade only because of the warm weather: they say, they will get bogged down in the mud. And this is allegedly why the White House has already recruited ” combat meteorologists.” Apparently, to strengthen the Kremlinologists, who clearly failed with their forecasts. Now it’s time to hire astrologers as well, perhaps they will predict the “Russian invasion” more accurately.
The conclusions of the Kremlinologists, based on half-truths about our proposals, are sometimes striking in their incompetence and narrow-mindedness. For example, the authors of the editorial column of the Financial Times proposed “not to reward Putin for his aggression” (that is, to abandon our calls not to expand NATO to the east), but at the same time to promote “the conclusion of peace between Moscow and Kiev.” This is how much they convinced themselves of the reality of the “invasion” if they themselves believed that the tension between Russia and Ukraine had reached a state of war.
In some places, the more robust voices of those few experts are breaking through, calling on the West to take advantage of the moment and continue the dialogue with Russia. But it is clear that they did not fully grasp the essence of our proposals, and perhaps did not read them. For example, Lawrence Korb, a seasoned military analyst, advised To Joe Biden, without signing any commitments on the non-expansion of NATO, simply “hint to the Russians” that the issue of Ukraine and Georgia joining the alliance “is not considered at least in the foreseeable future.” As if some “hints” and even loud vows, not supported by legally binding documents, can now convince us of the sincerity of the West. After all those promises about not promoting NATO made in the late 80s – early 90s! We have already gone through this, therefore we demand guarantees, not hints.
And practically nowhere in these numerous publications are they discussing possible responses from Russia (the very “counter-threats” and “counter-deterrence” that our diplomats have been talking about recently). By limiting their audience to information on our peace initiatives solely to Ukraine, Western journalists and analysts have deprived themselves of their imagination about the likely responses of Russia, which may not be limited to Europe and even the Eurasian continent. Well, the stronger will be their surprise when the contours of our “counter-threats” begin to take shape.