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Snowden: Putin's Perfect 'Anti-Magnitisky' Weapon (Moskovskij Komsomolets, Russia)


"The presence of the great whistleblower gives Russia distinct opportunities, the likes of which the Kremlin could only have dreamed of a couple of months ago. ... Has Washington behaved as if it were a 'loyal friend and ally' to Moscow? No, no and no again. Only the most liberal minded in Russia can continue to convince themselves that the Magnitsky Act was a noble and altruistic gesture on the part of American politicians."


By Mikhail Rostov



Translated By John Amor


July 17, 2013


Russia - Moskovskij Komsomolets - Original Article (Russian)

Sergei Magnitsky: His death in a Russian prison, after implicating top officials in a major tax fraud scheme, is widely regarded as a murder-cover-up in the West, and resulted in the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which targets Russian officials. It may be that with Edward Snowden, the Kremlin finally has a way to strike back.


RUSSIA TODAY NEWS VIDEO: Legal Limbo - Snowden applies for temporary asylum in Russia, July 16, 00:04:29RealVideo

“I know of no other country, where a man can breathe so freely.” Seventy eight years after it was written, the saccharine fairytale of Vasily Lebedev-Kumach has finally come true. Albeit, only for a man named Edward Snowden.


Why "the great whistleblower" needs Russia is as simple as two times two. Snowden wouldn't make it halfway to Latin America without the prospect of a forced landing, whether for aeronautic or legal reasons.


China, having gained maximum propaganda and political advantage from Snowden's revelations, deftly stepped aside in its usual manner. So that leaves Russia, a country with very specific political traditions.


Our own "Snowdens" (that is, truth-seeking whistleblowers) are, in a time-honored tradition, wantonly "flushed down the shitter" by their government. But everything changes when the "genuine, imported, overseas" Snowden flies in. The very idea of sending this truth-seeker back to our former "arch opponent" is absolutely unthinkable. 


But aside from political reflexes and considerations of sovereign pride, does Russia have other motives for contriving this grand political game around Edward Snowden? To my mind, unequivocally, yes. Of course, the risks are high. For American law enforcers, the Snowden story hits below the belt. The Yankees are pissed off in the extreme. But the presence within our borders of the great whistleblower gives Russia distinct opportunities, the likes of which the Kremlin could only have dreamed of a couple of months ago.


On our own individual paths through life, each of us happen upon deeply unpleasant people of a certain sort. When such a person thinks he doesn't need anything from you, he behaves arrogantly and superciliously toward you. He says nasty things about you regardless of the situation, doesn't pass up the chance to spill your tea, drop a dead fly into your soup, and top it all off with a disingenuous good-natured laugh.


But tomorrow always comes. And the mocker of yesterday is suddenly in dire need of your help. He has suddenly changed! He now speaks so eloquently about "ties of friendship" that bind you, universal human values, and honor! His eyes are full of reproach and "the pain of unexpected betrayal!"


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Do you recognize this manner of speech and the "sad expression in his eyes"? If you've been closely following the statements of U.S. officials in regard to Russia and Snowden, then you cannot have failed to do so. When the great whistleblower first appeared at Sheremetyevo, Washington attempted to publicly threaten Moscow. But the tone of official U.S. statements has since changed. They have begun to politely request that Russia "behave like a loyal friend and ally."


But in recent months, has Washington itself behaved as if it were a "loyal friend and ally" to Moscow? No, no and no again. Only the most liberal minded in Russia can continue to convince themselves that the Magnitsky Act was a noble and altruistic gesture on the part of American politicians.


But as I've already said, my opinion on the matter is the complete opposite. To my mind, the Magnitsky Act has very little to do with the late Sergei Magnitsky. Moscow and Washington have practically no positive agenda. On the other hand, their negative agenda remains quite extensive. This being the case, Washington's attitude is: "when we don't need anything in particular from Russia, there's no need to stand on ceremony with them."

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The Magnitsky Act is the most blatant example of this cavalier attitude. The Americans used the lawyer's death as leverage over Russia's domestic political situation and diminish our standing on the international stage. What about Moscow's stance on Syria - what can one glean from this? Surely the Russian allies of the authoritarian regime, who are themselves under sanctions, might have something useful to say on the subject?


Conscious of all this, the mortally-offended Kremlin frantically looked for ways to appropriately respond. Until Snowden showed up at Sheremetyevo, however, there were no such options. Or, more accurately, what the Kremlin did to spite America looked more like a successful attempt to flog itself. Take, for example, the ban on Americans adopting Russian orphans.


Out of the blue, Edward Snowden lands here in Moscow, full of a sense of his own honor - and the Americans suddenly find their gums flapping less aggressively. Now it is Washington that looks foolish and humiliated on the global stage.


It is America that has incurred the wrath of the freedom-loving peoples of Europe, who don't want others eavesdropping on them. It is toward the U.S. that Latin America hurls its righteous fury, gravely insulted by the forced landing of the Bolivian president's plane.



Moscow, meanwhile, can sit on the sidelines and say, “What about us? We've done nothing! We are all for humanism!” Figuratively speaking, Moscow has found in Edward Snowden the ideal "anti-Magnitsky."


The fact that this "anti-Magnitsky" is of limited use is another matter. There is a proverb: "We are responsible for those we have tamed." Russia has not tamed Snowden. But we have taken care of him. And the question of exchanging him with the United States, even for something Russia really needs, is now absolutely unthinkable. The damage to our reputation on the international stage would more than outweigh any potential benefit to be gained through such an exchange.


So Snowden is no longer "imported." Until some way is found to get the whistleblower safely to South America, he's all ours. It is a small price to pay for the chance to bring America back to its senses.


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Posted By Worldmeets.US July 17, 2013, 6:29am





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