In his Oct. 25 Sunday Opinion commentary, “Unplug Putin’s P.R. machine,” David J. Kramer of the McCain Institute for International Leadership launched into a tirade of anti-Russia vitriol. He reserved particular contempt for the RT cable network, extolling the virtues of freezing its assets. Ostensibly, this would punish Moscow for two international court rulings “involving the multibillion-dollar Yukos oil company.”
Mr. Kramer suggested that the U.S. government should seize RT’s assets in the United States as compensation for Yukos shareholders. Given that RT’s property is not Russian state property, this would be highly illegal, as RT, while publicly funded, is not state-owned. But why bother with facts or legality? When silencing RT and punishing Russia are at stake, anything goes. Ironically, calls to restrict RT often come from the same quarters that exalt the virtues of diversity and democracy. Now, they wish to silence a rare voice that dissents from their favored delineation.
It has long been apparent that individuals selected to write about Russia in mainstream U.S. media are measured on their willingness to attack the country. Published in an institution such as The Post, these pronouncements have the potential to greatly influence policymakers. It is alarming that it is precisely these kinds of voices that are increasingly dominating U.S. foreign policy discourse where Russia is concerned — those itching for a confrontation, rather than understanding.
Margarita Simonyan, Moscow
The writer is editor in chief of RT.