Pity The Russophobe Journos Whom No One Believes
The "western" reporting on the World Cup in Russia is a stream of continuous Russia bashing. Some positive remarks are made about the obviously excellent atmosphere and organization. But no piece gets published that does not include a reinforcement of the official anti-Russian propaganda lines.
Alec Luhn is the "Russia correspondent for The @Telegraph". Shaun Walker is a correspondent for the British Guardian who is "Covering central and eastern Europe for The Guardian." This week both were in Volgograd, the former Stalingrad, to report on the World Cup game between England and Tunisia.
On Monday Alec Luhn wrote about the excellent welcome the English fans received:
“It’s been brilliant,” said Adam Haimes, 29, a geologist and Plymouth Argyle supporter drinking in the fan zone, set up on the west bank of the mighty Volga River. “I have had absolutely zero problems. All sorts of Russians have come up to us and are being friendly and just wanting to have drinks with us. I didn’t expect it but they are so lovely.”
That positive picture of Russia can of course can not stand alone. Luhn thus mentions: the "threat of violence", the "attempted assassination of the Russian spy Sergei Skripal", "ratcheted up tensions", "Russian Ultras" and "Volgograd’s local hoodlums".
On Tuesday evening Shaun Walker wrote a piece for the Guardian which followed a similar scheme:
[T]hose who came were almost uniformly positive about the experience so far. At a central Volgograd bar in the early hours of Tuesday, Craig and Tommy, two Sunderland fans, were practising Russian phrases with obliging locals and said they had spent three days in “fantastic” Volgograd, bonding with the locals and taking military history tours.
“We’re sick of people talking about trouble. If you’re respectful there won’t be any problems,” said Tommy.
Reading Walker's piece would make Tommy even sicker. It repeats all the usual propaganda points: "unprecedented tension", "strongly critical of Russian authorities", "poisoning of Sergei Skripal", "1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany" and "safety of LGBT fans".
After having delivered their propaganda routines Luhn and Walker joined the English fans in a local pub.
Alec Luhn @ASLuhn - 00:02 UTC - 19 Jun 2018
Harat's Pub, Volgograd, 3am. 100 or so drunk British fans, some Tunisians, and some Russian guys who just chanted something about "jugend SS." What could wrong?
Shaun Walker @shaunwalker7 - 00:32 UTC - 19 Jun 2018
3.30am, dawn breaks over this pub in Volgograd - English, Tunisian, russian fans all hammered and having a good time. Zero security or police, surprisingly. Did hear a group of three Russians sing a "Hitler Jugend, SS" song. Otherwise all very peaceful and friendly.
The Shaun Walker and Alec Luhn tweets show pictures of a Harat's Pub, an Irish franchise, in Volgograd. On its Facebook page the pub posted a Euronews video of the after-game party in which happy English fans dunk lots of beer. There is nothing remarkable in it.
But Alec Luhn sees Russians chanting about "jugend SS" and a half hour later Walker "hears a group of three Russians sing a "Hitler Jugend, SS" song".
Or did they?
It is difficult to believe that any Russian in Volgograd/Stalingrad would sing some Nazi song. Stalingrad was where one of bloodiest battle of World War II was fought, where immense Russian sacrifice stopped Hitler's armies. Besides that what please is a "Hitler Jugend, SS" song? As a German I have never heard of a song that mentions both or is even typical for both. The Hitler Jugend was a party youth organizations modeled after the Boy Scouts of America. The SS (Schutzstaffel = protection squadron) was a gang of Nazi streetfighters which were later turned into a brutal military. The Songbook of the Hitler Jugend has mostly traditional hiking songs while the typical SS songs were militaristic marches.
As of now the Walker tweet received 249 replies. The people who responded doubt that the incident happened as described. They ask for evidence. Why can those journalist post pictures of the pub but no pictures of the incident they claim? This obviously can't be another Shaun ‘wish I’d brought my camera’ Walker moment. So where is the beef?
The next morning Shaun Walker retweeted his original assertions and lamented about the responses he received:
Shaun Walker @shaunwalker7 - 9:28 UTC - 19 Jun 2018
Shaun Walker Retweeted Shaun Walker
Volgograd has been fun and friendly and a great World Cup host, as I've been tweeting/writing for past two days. The chant below was three people, once, at 3am. And so weird - in Volgograd of all places! - I thought worth a mention. The state of the responses, God.
The Guardian's Moscow Bureau Chief joined in and also retweets the Walker claim spreading it further and further:
Andrew Roth @Andrew__Roth - 14:37 UTC - 19 Jun 2018
Andrew Roth Retweeted Shaun Walker
Absurd the responses to this incident that multiple correspondents saw. And their point is that it was an outlier in what sounded like a fine night at the football. Context is all here, should they ignore it instead?
If two British scribes say they heard something, which each describes differently, then it must be true. "Evidence? We don't report with evidence. Trust us."
This morning a Russian blogger posted some evidence (machine translated from Russian):
Borisenko @amdn_blog - 7:58 UTC - 20 Jun 2018
Remember yesterday there was a lot of talk about the English journalist who wrote about the alleged Russians who sang Nazi songs in a bar in Volgograd? They found them. But they were not Russian, but... British. Actually, for that, it's e... Lo must be beaten. This is Volgograd! Stalingrad!
The attached a video shows three drunk British blokes in an 'Irish' pub where the menu is written in Cyrillic letters and World Cup flags hang from the ceiling. The blokes sing a line about putting someone to Auschwitz, give the Hitler salute and shout "Sieg Heil!" The pub where the video was taken seems to be a different one than the Harat's Walker and Luhn visited. But the point was made.
Fact is that the Guardian and the Telegraph are full of anti-Russian propaganda. There is no piece in them about Russia or Putin that does not include snide and fear mongering or repeats long refuted claims about this or that incident for which Russia is claimed to be responsible. The military industrial complex gave order to condemn Russia and the "western" main stream media follow through.
Both of the scribes quoted English fans who lament about the false picture they had when they arrived in Russia. Might that have something to do with the constant stream of russophobe trash the British media provides? Should a British correspondent in Russia take some time to reflect upon that?
But the two scribes go off to have lots of beer to then send spurious, late-night, anti-Russian claims to their 100,000 followers without providing any evidence. Then they lament about being called out for that.
They are mediocre propagandists whom's words no one trusts or believes. One must truly pity these guys.