The Guardian’s Anti-Russian Vax Propaganda plunges to New Depths

What a f****ing disgrace! I did develop a bit of a potty mouth while in the army, but I generally refrain from bad language on this blog. But there are times when it just spontaneously spews out in disgust at the sheer utter revolting vileness of the British press.

I know. It’s always been bad. But one could distinguish between the likes of The Sun and The Mirror on the one hand, and the more serious ‘broadsheet’ press on the other, treating the former not so as newspapers but as a type of entertainment while expecting some degree of seriousness from the latter. Alas, those days are long gone, especially when it comes to all things Russian. Instead of honest reporting, what we get from too much of the British press is a torrent of extreme Russophobic propaganda masquerading as news. It is truly a f***ing disgrace.

What brought on this rant? The answer is an article in today’s copy of The Guardian about Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine. Even by the rotten standards of The Guardian it plummets the depths of propagandistic nastiness, serving no purpose other than to incite hatred of Russia, while doing its darndest to undermine worldwide efforts to get us out of the covid pandemic. We’ve seen many (invalid) complaints about Russia spreading anti-vax propaganda. Well, here here we British anti-vax propaganda of the basest kind. It kind of makes you want to vomit.

The gist of the article is summed up in the headline and subtitle: ‘Is Russia’s Covid vaccine anything more than a political weapon? Observers say the Sputnik V jab is aimed more at sowing political division than fighting coronavirus.’

WTF? I mean, really. WTF? Russian researchers really went to all the effort of developing a coronavirus vaccine so that they could ‘sow political division’ in the West? Listen to yourself speaking, man. Are you serious?

Unfortunately, author Jon Henley is, and embarks on a long explanation of just how vile the Russians are for having developed a solution to a worldwide plague.

To do this, Henley resorts to one of the techniques for writing bad articles I mentioned in a recent post – namely, citing a bunch of people who agree with the narrative he’s trying to spread, while ignoring any other voices or alternative explanations. It’s a hatchet job, pure and simple, designed to discredit both Sputnik V and the Russian Federation.

The article, in other words, is just one Russophobic comment piled up on another – Bam, bam, bam. Take that, Sputnik V! What it isn’t is fair and balanced reporting.

So it is that Henley starts us off with a statement that

Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine has yet to win EU regulatory approval and is likely to play little part in the bloc’s rollout, but it has already achieved what some observers say is one of its objectives – sowing division among, and within, member states. “Sputnik V has become a tool of soft power for Russia,” said Michal Baranowski, a fellow with a US thinktank, the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “It’s planted its flag on the vaccine and the political goal of its strategy is to divide the west.”

Baranowski’s evidence for this claim? He doesn’t provide any. Of course, he doesn’t. It doesn’t exist. Has anybody associated with the Russian government or the Sputnik vaccine ever stated such an objective? No. Baranowski’s accusation is entirely speculation on his behalf.

But Henley thinks that there is some evidence, and so brings out his second quote, this time from an EU official:

“Russia’s low vaccination rate just doesn’t tally with it having a supposedly cheap, easy-to-make and effective vaccine,” one EU diplomat said. “Either Moscow’s being altruistic, which seems unlikely. Or it’s prioritising geopolitics over Russians’ needs.”

This is just BS. Total utter BS. Putting aside the idea that Russians are incapable of altruism, if Henley spent even a micro-second checking, he’d discover that a) Russia does have a ‘cheap, easy-to-make and effective vaccine’, and b) the reason for the low vaccination rate in Russia is not that Russia is ‘prioritising geopolitics over Russians’ needs’, by for instance sending vaccines abroad while not distributing them at home, but a reluctance by Russians to take the vaccine. In Moscow, for instance, the vaccine is freely available for all, and has been for some time, but only about 10% of the city has bothered getting a shot. You can walk into the GUM shopping mall any time you like and get the vaccine. I’ve read that the line-ups are minimal. People just aren’t doing it.

That means that there are some genuine criticisms that can make of the Russian government’s handling of the covid crisis. It has done a very poor PR job persuading its population of the merits of getting vaccinated. But the accusation that it is favouring geopolitics over its own people’s needs is just plain false.

Henley, however, ploughs on regardless, wheeling out his third rent-a-quote, the Prime Minister of Lithuania, telling us that:

The prime minister of Lithuania, Ingrida Šimonytė, tweeted in February that Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, saw the shot not so much as a “cure for the Russian people” as “another hybrid weapon to divide and rule.”

Well, if the Prime Minister of Lithuania says it, it must be true. Right?

To make sure we’re on ball, Henley next casts some doubt on the efficacy of Sputnik-V, though deigning to cite Russian health officials rebutting such doubts. But whether Sputnik works well or not isn’t really Henley’s topic. It could be 100% effective but still a bad thing, he implies, because it’s ‘dividing’ Europe (which is obviously more important than health issues – I find the callousness of the approach at this point rather startling). Thus the article tells us:

Whether or not the EMA –[European Medical Agency] approves Sputnik V and whether or not it ever arrives in sufficient numbers, observers argue it has already done significant damage, with EU national and regional leaders leveraging it for their own political ends. In some countries, it has caused mayhem: the Slovakian prime minister, Igor Matovič, was forced to resign this month amid a bitter dispute over a secret deal to buy 2m doses despite the disagreement of many in his four-party coalition. … Sputnik has also cost the health and foreign ministers of the Czech Republic – both opposed to the shot’s deployment without EMA approval – their jobs, fired by the prime minister, Andrej Babiš …  In Germany … three states including Bavaria have either struck or are negotiating Sputnik deals.

Obviously, Moscow somehow planned this all along! As if. And in any case, so what? Everyone and his dog is saying that EU’s vaccine program has been a mess. If states seek to go around it and vaccinate their people by getting Sputnik-V, isn’t that a good thing? But no, not for Mr Henley, who returns to his original source, writing that:

For Baranowski, Sputnik’s rushed approval, online propaganda and carefully selected destinations add up to a Russian strategy that is “neither innocent nor humanitarian. It is part of exactly the same game, of dividing the west, that we see in Moscow’s use of military power, cybersecurity, energy security.”

And it’s working, he said: “It’s dividing various European actors pretty well. Until Sputnik V has EMA approval – at which stage, of course, there’s no problem: the world needs vaccines – it’s become a political litmus test for whether you are for or against the EU’s programme. That’s eroding confidence. And that’s what Putin wants.”

 Ah, yes. ‘That’s what Putin wants’. Which is odd, because he’s never said so, nor given any indication that that’s what he’s thinking. But it seems as if Mr Baranowski has a means of getting inside Putin’s head. One of those Russian ‘directed energy weapons’ redesigned for a new purpose, maybe?

This isn’t serious reporting. It’s just an unsubstantiated thesis, with the author making up for the lack of concrete evidence by throwing in a bunch of quotes from hostile witnesses. It’s hateful. Insofar as it increase vaccine scepticism and may hinder the use of what appears to be a very successful medical product, it is also harmful. By publishing this, The Guardian has plunged so deep, it’s gone even beyond the lower depths. Shame on you, Guardian. Shame.

58 thoughts on “The Guardian’s Anti-Russian Vax Propaganda plunges to New Depths”

  1. The Guardian went from rogue to full on establishment soon after the Snowden stories. MI5 or 6 just assumed control and it has been anti Snowden, anti Assange, pro government lies ever since. Quite a shocking crumbling of the last vestiges of UK media independence.
    OffGuardian – written by a cast who might have read the Guardian once – is a lot better.

    The only newspaper that even touches on the truth now is The Mail. For all that is bad about it, it is the only English media in the world to cover the OPCW whistleblowers, or present any scepticism about the Novichok stories. I think it is just one or two aged journalists still there doing what they used to do decades ago.
    And The mail is almost the only place where you can read uncensored readers comments that prove just how much of the official media is not believed by ordinary folk.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OffGuardian – written by a cast who might have read the Guardian once – is a lot better.

      I admittedly have mixed feelings concerning the OffGuardians too, not that I check it often. Neither do I check the Guardian often anymore admittedly. Yes, it irritated me often on issues that concern me …

      That said:
      This is no doubt one of the worst examples I have seen so far. I cannot see any attempt at trying to discuss the topic fairly. While reading, I wondered to what extent it partly misuses the usual pyramid style of news. Appart from Paul’s obvious critique. Facts first, opinions later?

      I can understand Paul’s feeling to wanna vomit, I had that feeling too, a couple of days ago in a larger basically interesting context. Which needs more historical sensibility than was shown then. In cases like that Max Liebermann often pops up on my mind.

      I would translate it differently, relying on a less bowdlerized version of the original quote:

      “Ich kann gar nicht soviel fressen, wie ich kotzen möchte.” (“I could not possibly eat as much as I would like to throw up.”

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      1. sorry, didn’t realize that the quote by now is not bowdlerized anymore.
        But yes, how to translate fressen. 😉

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  2. I was watching a youtube video a few weeks ago, where someone (Khazin, or some such) said that in Moscow you can get a shot of vaccine in a supermarket. Do your grocery shopping, get a vaccine shot if you like, and go home. Here where I live (a EU country), I drove by a long line to a medical center today. A half-kilometer stretch of the road was blocked by parked cars, and people were standing in line that looked like it would take the whole day. Oh well.

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      1. It is crazy, Brtrain. I guess since the collapse of the Soviet Union, all sorts of anti-science sh*t came out of the woodwork and into the Russian mainstream. Astrologists, UFOs, faith healers, ghost busters, and yes, anti-vaxxers.

        My whole family got vaccinated with Sputnik V months ago. No one has had any side effects, apart from shoulder pain and low-grade fever for a day or two. My parents tell everyone they know that they’ve got the vaccine, and quite a few people react with horror and proceed to cite some stupid activaxx crap they read on the internet. And then these people get COVID and check themselves into hospitals, where they get free care and free meals for weeks!

        Now in Moscow they are offering gifts to entice the elderly Muscovites to vaccinate. In my opinion, they should announce that there will be no free care for those who got COVID because they refused the vaccine 😡

        Liked by 1 person

      2. @brtrain
        From talking to people I know (not Russians, small town Ukrainians, but I think it should be very similar), I detected a combination of two reasons, as follows:
        1. what I would call “inshallah”. People live and people die when their time comes. When it’s time for you to die, you die, end of story. Russian fatalism.
        And
        2. when the authorities are trying hard to convince you to do something, it’s best to avoid doing it. Traditional common sense wisdom.

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      3. Besides vaxxers being mainstream among the Russian population, you can attribute it to “the Russian soul” of being fatalistic. I ask anyone I meet, from taxi driver to university professor, if they are vaccinated, the answer is negative and that they don’t plan to do it. When I ask for a reason, they answer along the lines of “if it happens, it was meant to be.”

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      4. People in Russia are reluctant to get vaccinated because they don’t feel the need. They are not bombarded with the propaganda telling them how incredibly dangerous COVID-19 is, the infection numbers are pretty low and getting lower by the day, and there are essentially no restrictions on the daily life. So why bother?

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  3. Wow, don’t beat about the bush, say what you really think….I completely understand, I heard some reference to Russiagate claim no.983452 on CNN the other night and just lost it.
    However the idea that the Sputnik vaccine is some evil Russian plot, or that the obvious chicanery to keep people from getting it is anything other than appalling – yeah, that’s a whole new level of wretched evil.

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  4. There are many reasons why the Guardian, an otherwise excellent newspaper that actually does investigative journalism, is going off on anti-Russia screeds but I think my main objection has to be how incoherent and unintelligent this all is. I personally think Putin does want to use the vaccine to divide the Europeans but he wants to do this by actually offering an actual solution to a problem the EU currently is not being exactly brilliant at solving and in doing so building good will toward Moscow in European capitals and hopefully decreasing support for further sanctions against Russia. Now this is his motive. This action need not succeed in doing so if Berlin, the Berlimont, and for that matter every European country (of which I include even the relatively good Britain) were not scrambling to cover their own inadequacies in this respect and utterly panicked by the thought that people who they regard as ‘a gas station masquerading as a country’ to paraphrase John McCain and therefore inferior had somehow proved themselves to be their equals or better. But again this is nothing but anti-Russian hysteria. Some of the West’s vaccines are not 100% up to snuff, how could they be when a vaccine was needed and needed yesterday? It also need divide nobody. Just because Slovakia buys vaccines from Russia does not mean suddenly they will want to break away from the EU or support Russian tanks in Kiev. It’s a commercial transaction for a necessary health product not a declaration of loyalty. Indeed if European leaders wanted to pre-empt any Russian gloating while making use of Sputnik they could rightly point out Russia has a very low vaccination rate so we all have work to do on this.

    The Right has its own version of this, which is anti-Chinese sentiment I think that was inflamed by the incontrovertible fact that China, a country which botched its initial response to COVID terribly ended with a far more effective response than many richer countries which had more warning than China and that whereas western leaders often chose the economy over people’s lives, Chinese leaders – who have a deserved reputation for not being too sensitive about loss of human life – demonstrated that they knew this ‘choice’ was a false one. Beating the disease and ruthless quarantine were the only paths back to restoring economic normality. In doing so they also showed they did not regard the economy as their sole source of legitimacy but also protecting peoples’ lives. The indifference shown by many western leaders, most infamously Trump and Johnson, to human life meant that instead of COVID being China’s ‘Chernobyl moment’ it was actually the West’s Chernobyl moment and the Right is enraged that the despised Communists bested them and showed themselves as more competent and more effective than them so now they seek to cast all their sins and say it was China’s fault for not telling them enough. This despite China shutting down a major city and imposing a rigorous quarantine a full month before the disease really hit the West should have been warning enough.

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    1. the Guardian, that at one time in the past was an otherwise excellent newspaper

      corrected this for you. Don’t thank me.

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      1. I must. It is an excellent newspaper. The present tense use was intentional. It is an excellent newspaper on everything save Russia. We live in a febrile time where Channel One in Russia can seriously report that ‘dead souls’ voted for Biden, when actually he and the Democrats had to overcome the deck being stacked against them in places like Georgia – a state controlled by Republicans – to win.

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    2. I must. It is an excellent newspaper. The present tense use was intentional. It is an excellent newspaper on everything save Russia.

      Interesting statement.

      apart from the fact that it is going off on anti-Russia screeds but I think my main objection has to be how incoherent and unintelligent this all is.

      Are there other anti-positions you feel actually represent your own political choices? Elementary anti-positions any thinking human being should take for granted? Apart from …

      I personally think Putin does want to use the vaccine to divide the Europeans but he wants to do this by actually offering an actual solution to a problem the EU currently is not being exactly brilliant at solving and in doing so building good will toward Moscow in European capitals and hopefully decreasing support for further sanctions against Russia. Now this is his motive.

      I am not up to date, aging mind, but from what national perspective are you arguing? Peter seems to be arguing from the Portugal perspective, as former Canadian and born German.

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  5. I share your rage. I actually think the anti-Sputnik V disinformation campaign the West has been conducting is criminal. These killer clowns calling themselves our “leaders” are actually killing people. Their attitude is that you should die to show loyalty to the West and its Arya vaccines.

    I’m a Hungarian living in Germany. Most of my relatives back in Hungary have already been vaccinated, some of them with Sputnik V. I, on the other hand, have no idea when I will get my shot in Hamburg. My wife is a medical doctor here and I can tell you the vaccination campaign in Germany is a complete mess. Talk about German (in)efficiency.

    Russia has basically fulfilled its contract on time and delivered 2 million doses of Sputnik V to Hungary. China ditto, they have delivered 3.7 million doses. All data I have seen show that both vaccines work well. Quite a few celebrities and high-profile people, including the leadership of the top medical school in Budapest, have received Sputnik V and they even publicized their antibody count later. The vaccine works, period.

    I am convinced that the EMA will sabotage the approval of Sputnik V in the EU. They will stretch out the process until there is enough Arya Western vaccines and there is no point in ordering the Eastern ones. Prestige and the gigantic profits of Western big pharma are more important than people’s lives.

    The West is in deserved decline, but it cannot handle being replaced by China with Russia as junior partner. So they lash out in racist rage and conduct a hysterical campaign against anything Russian or Chinese. It’s like the Lysenko era in the Stalinist USSR, science has been replaced by ideology. It’s shameful and sad. But at least Hungary still has a modicum of common sense and prioritized saving its population over dying in solidarity with the racist West.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Lola, we have our NATO-lackey neocons, mostly turncoat former communists, who campaign against the “Eastern” vaccines. But they have failed and the government has made the right decision. In general, Hungary lacks the pathological anti-Russia hatred of the unhinged Poles and the Baltic midgets. We are against the EU sanctions, which cost us a lot. We would like to expand trade with Russia. Our nuclear power station in Paks will be expanded by Russia. Western Europe is of course against this, but we just have to ignore them.

        Btw, Hungary has been using Soviet/Russian vaccines for decades just fine. All the vaccines I got as a kid were basically Russian. Unlike the generally ignorant Westerners, lots of us also know about the USSR’s pioneering work on the polio vaccine led by Chumakov.

        The anti-Russian hysteria in NATOistan is beyond Cold War levels imho.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for your comments! I just happen to be something of a fan, ’cause for a country its size, Hungary produced quite a number of truly outstanding scientists and musicians. Hungarians clearly have a knack for independent thinking, and the situation with vaccines is another illustration.

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      3. Just wanted to second Lola’s appreciation for Hungarians. I don’t read Hungarian and don’t know much about Hungarian history, but, as an opera fan, I was really blown away by a Hungarian opera I saw a couple of years ago performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, it’s called Bluebeard’s Castle by composer Béla Bartók. OMG what a fantastic work of art. It’s creepy but profound, and nobody who sees it and listens to the music, will ever forget it.

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      4. Bartók was very modern for his time. When I ask my foreign friends to name three famous Hungarians, it’s usually Bartók the composer, Puskás the soccer player, and Rubik of Rubik’s cube fame. The irony is that these three are the products respectively of the pro-Hitler WW2 regime, Hungary’s 1950s Stalinist Rakosy regime, and the Kádár regime, our Brezhnev era. All of these authoritarian regimes managed to produce excellence.

        We are supposedly “free” now, but our post-1990 de-industrialized NATO regime fully embedded in Western capitalism as a second-rate service area will never produce anything close to the above. I think it’s pretty much the same for all former Eastern block countries.

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      5. and Moderna vaccines are based on was developed by a Hungarian-born scientist, Katalin Karikó. For years, her ideas were dismissed, and she even lost her job, but ultimately she was right

        Lola, discovered this too more recently, admittedly. Scientist standing on the shoulders of earlier ones, not divided by borders, just as artists? 😉

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      6. Bartók was very modern for his time.

        As modern as other artists at his time? I recall a lecture by one of my favorite profs in English on Modernism. He didn’t neatly draw distinctions in the diverse fields of arts, but yes was basically focused on literature. I also have to admit I struggled with labels occasionally too. What the hell could modern possibly mean for that period on the larger timeline/time beam (Zeitstrahl). Modern English?

        But yes, I love Bartók too. Lots of others come mind. Not least, the controversial by now, just asking, Georg Lukács?

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      7. Akos: My brother and I watched a fantastic production of Bluebeard’s Castle at the Metropolitan Opera, in a double feature with Tchaikovsky’s “Iolanta”, a rather brilliant pairing. Iolanta is an airy joyful fairy tale which the staging somehow managed to make almost as sinister as Bluebeard.
        Anyhow, Valery Gergiev conducted both pieces, and Russian bass Mikhail Petrenko sang the role of Bluebeard. Petrenko is absolutely mesmerizing in this role. They sang in Hungarian with English subtitles. It was really something to watch. Apparently Bartók wrote this amazingly modern piece as early as1911, wow!

        My brother and I were joking, when it got to the point where Bluebeard shows Judith his first room, and it turns out to be a torture chamber, that’s the moment she should have said, “I’m outta here!” and run away with all her might. Instead, she is intrigued and wants to stay for more… She insists on being shown all the 7 rooms behind locked doors.

        My brother and I play a competitive game with each other, if we watch a tragedy we compete to compose an ALT-ending that turns the tragedy into a comedy. And if it’s a comedy, then vice versa.

        My ALT-ending for Bluebeard, to turn it into a comedy is this: After being shown all the horrendous and scary 6 rooms, when they come to the seventh locked door, it opens to reveal a hidden camera crew laughing their asses off. Then it turns out the whole thing was just a silly episode of some TV show like “Impractical Jokers”, and Judith found herself amusingly pranked!

        THE END

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    1. I recently saw a comparison of statistics of numbers of people vaccinated with the different vaccines in Hungary, along with numbers of those vaccinated who were later infected and/or died. About 900,000 Hungarians have received a dose of Sputnik-V. Of those, just one person has died of covid. This makes it the most effective of all the vaccines used in Hungary (which include Astra-Zeneca, Moderna, Pfizer, and Sinopharm). In other words, Sputnik is saving large numbers of lives. But somehow, we’re meant to think it’s a bad thing that some Europeans are using it. I don’t often get cross, but this Guardian article really riled me.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, the government posted those statistics on their FB page, in response to the unhinged campaign the opposition, which for some reason calls itself “left wing”, has been conducting against Sputnik V and Sinopharm.

        Of course, those statistics were not meant for a peer-reviewed science paper, but for a quick rebuttal, so the numbers cannot be directly compared, because different populations received different vaccines. E. g. old people in care homes only received the Pfizer jab, which might have skewed Pfizer’s statistics.

        Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Sputnik V works and it is a very good and modern vaccine. And the tables comparing different vaccines published in the Western MSM are not more scientific either, they are also meant for mass consumption and lack nuance.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Ah. I’ve been watching this one relatively closely, getting the RSS feed from Hungary Today.

        Check out this article:
        https://hungarytoday.hu/hungary-vaccines-vaccine-effectiveness-inoculation-vaccine-effectiveness-comparison-pfizer-sputnik-sinopharm/

        This, I believe, is the beginning of the controversy. Notice the empty space in the middle? That, as I remember, is where the statistical table was (as an image). The statistical data table produced by the Hungarian government. Gone, censored away.

        And they say Viktor Orban (the fascist! the tyrant!) controls all the media in the country. How about that, eh?

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      3. I am not a fan of Orbán and have never voted for him, but what the so-called “left wing” opposition has been doing regarding the vaccines is criminal. The government has been right this time by ordering vaccines from the Russians and the Chinese. These countries are scientific powerhouses perfectly capable of producing good vaccines.

        Orbán has been following a strategy of closer trade relations with China, Russia, and Asia in general. I believe that’s correct too, the center of the global economy has moved East. We have nothing to be gained by being pawns in the West’s primitive new Cold War against these two. Plus, there are more than enough spineless NATO bootlickers in Europe ready to follow any marching orders. Poland, the Baltic midgets, Romania come to mind. It’s a buyer’s market when it comes to bootlicking services. One of the main reasons for Orbán being described as a dictator in the West is due to his occasional opposition to the most senseless attacks against Russia/ China.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. The statistical data table produced by the Hungarian government. Gone, censored away.
        Not for me. I could check diverse European VPN connections? But then? Would it be technically possible to just erase one image from the file?

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      5. hopefully this is the correct comment link.

        But yes, while I aren’t able to read Hungarian I do indeed, Mao Cheng Ji.

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      6. sorry, once again a curious mistake. Was pondering, isn’t Hungarian related to the Finnish language?

        I am not able to read Hungarian, unfortunately. Full discovery, based on the little I know I am not a fan of either the Polish or the Hungarian reigning parties.

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      7. Yes, Hungarian is related to Finnish and Estonian, very remotely. All three are Uralic languages but of different branches. We don’t understand a single word of any of these two and vice versa.

        I’m not a fan of any reigning parties in Europe. Orbán is not worse than your typical corrupt leader of any Western-style democracy. How is he worse than Merkel or Macron?

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      8. I too can see the table. It’s Facebook-embed, perhaps that could be a problem on your end?

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  6. The American government has seriously botched the whole pandemic thing, starting with the mask situation and ending with vaccines that are not nearly as effective as the Russian brand.

    In March 2020 Dr. Fauci explicitly told the American people that he did not want them walking around wearing masks. Some people now deny that he said this, but fact-checkers can easily find the video. I also personally remember seeing him that say on American TV, and I have a pretty good (almost photographic) verbal memory. I mean, I can’t remember dates or timelines, but I can always remember conversations in great detail, or hearing somebody say something. So, anyhow, I vividly remember hearing Dr. Fauci say that on TV: “Don’t wear a mask, it’s not necessary and even counter-productive.”

    I also remember that, around that time (this was around March 2020), I saw something on youtube produced by the U.S. army, demonstrating to their soldiers how to make their own masks out of t-shirts. My initial impulse was to laugh and think that was just silly. But then I went “hmmmm….” The guy in the video was saying there was a shortage of masks in the country, so soldiers should make their own, and he expertly showed how to roll one up out of a tee-shirt and attach rubber bands to put around the ears. Silly, of course, but again, hmmmmm….

    A couple of months go by, and it turned out, not only were masks really effective in cutting down infection rate, but Dr. Fauci damn well knew that and simply lied at the time. (Later he changed his story.) Reason being there was a shortage of masks across the nation, and, allegedly, they didn’t want to incite panic buying or hoarding; they wanted to save the masks for the immediate-care providers.

    I don’t believe that it is right almost ever when a government knowingly lies to its people. Fauci should have just said: “People should wear face masks, but there is a shortage. Please make your own masks from cloth or whatever, until we can jack up the production of the real ones.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reason being there was a shortage of masks across the nation, and, allegedly, they didn’t want to incite panic buying or hoarding; they wanted to save the masks for the immediate-care providers.

    That explanation makes a lot of sense. I remember in March 2020, I tried to order masks via Amazon. Lot of Chinese merchants, apparently the only ones prepared. Problem was, took weeks and weeks to get them over here. I had watched a niece from Hamburg carefully disinfecting the toys of her then 1,5 years old boy in late February. Felt a little paranoid then.

    But then, I also vividly recall in one of my then circles it was declared a hoax. Nothing but a flu. No vaccine needed, simply take Hydroxychloroquin or Chloroquine? That spread quite widely too. 😉

    A city in Eastern Germany, Jena, was the first to order people to wear masks in public space, closely followed by the Land/state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern up on the Baltic Sea. A couple of days ago their parliament decided to order Sputnik vaccine. They are actually doing comparatively well. And already have one of the highest vaccine rates in Germany.

    I got my first shot Monday. I wouldn’t have minded which vaccine, but apparently my wish to be able to visit my 93 years old mother again soon guided the decision. No side effects in my case. But apparently differences in time between in first and second dose concerning the vaccine.

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  8. Thanks for this; entirely agreed. As I Tweeted in response to the same article’s headline:

    ‘In reply to this irresponsible article I answer ‘Yes. It is an effective vaccine v Covid’. Russia is right to claim that ‘politicisation of vaccines is unethical & costing lives’. This article projects onto Russia precisely the politicisation it performs.’

    I’m an Associate Professor of English Literature and Head of English Faculty at the New College of the Humanities at Northeastern (based in London), and like you (I suspect) a lonely anti-Russophobe voice in academia at a time when it seems it is precisely the most educated who are most credulous of Western narratives, including the bizarre conspiracy theory that is Russiagate.

    You might possibly be interested in my (very outdated) broadside against Russophobia here:

    https://catherinebrown.org/deconstructing-russophobia/

    Удачи вам!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Catherine, thank you for the link above! What an excellent article. Everything you say is every bit as relevant today as when it was written, so it is anything but outdated! For a Russian spending a lot of time in the West, like I do, it is incredibly gratifying to read such an intelligent, sincere and unbiased account. While in the US, even walking down the street, I often can’t shake the feeling that every passersby probably believes some horrible nonsense about my home country. So every time I encounter someone like you, it’s like a bit of this constant burden is lifted. Thank you!

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  9. Sort of a complement to the outwardly vicious propaganda that I have see is that the US media is total silence about the Sputnik V vaccine.
    This silence is very much prevalent in discussions about suspending IP patents on the American vaccines so generics can be produced in developing countries. The assumption seems rather obvious that only the American vaccines can save the world. Although Bill Gates thinks the developing countries are too stupid to make the vaccines. However, if the vaccines represent mainly some sort of twisted propaganda campaign of subversion, then Russia is winning. India is gearing up starting this month to produce locally upto 850 million doses of Sputnik V per year. Sputnik V doses expected to start being available by summer.
    After Pfizer tried rob/extort the Argentine government, a local Argentinian pharma company will start making Sputnik V. By June the Argentine company expects to produce one million doses a month. This all is addition to the large number of doses sent to countries like the Philippines. In some cases, I think that Gamaleya will send large amounts of the vaccine where it is packaged locally.

    I figure the Guardian article is meant as a sermon about demons for the choir–that is an EU and UK audience. It was a foregone conclusion that the EU would not use the Russian vaccine. I am actually surprised that the EU/US/UK did not impose heavy sanctions on Gamaleya Inst. to stop the vaccine. Instead the US is having to use pressure on countries to reject the Russian vaccine.

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    1. Welcome, Catherine, appreciated.
      Anglo-Russian literary comparatist
      I discovered the field way too late in my studies, unfortunately, I recall stumbling across something we call an ‘orchid department’ or field of studies over here–off-mainstream studies–at one point in time. Exclusively following Péter Szondi? I wonder now? History of the department? Wonder too if it still exists in that specific university.

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    2. Thank you for this information. If you listen to even the most progressive outlets, which criticize the government for standing with Big Pharma on patent protection, you would think there are only two vaccines in this world: Pfizer and Moderna. Hello! There are also Sputnik V, Sputnik Light, CoviVac, and EpiVacCorona. Countries can buy it or purchase a license to produce it, and it is much cheaper than either one of American vaccines.

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  10. Speaking of atrocity propaganda, the situation is Syria could not be more clearly articulated than by Aaron Mate and Jimmy Dore.

    Jimmy gives a good summary from 5:00 and then Aaron explains how they manufacture consent.

    This perfectly illustrates how atrocity propaganda has been used to ferment and propagate war since the “Babies on Bayonets” in 1914.

    Same old lies, same old evil liars … Cui bono … ?

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  11. Знаете почему В России мало привитых вакциной?Потому, что лень. Вот лень и все. Это в нашей психологии. Мы до того ленивы, что выходные проводим на лежа на диване. Вот и все. Я в свое время задумался отчего так и пришел к выводу, что на эту лень влияет
    а) Климат, который вынуждает сохранять тепло, который привоцирует эдакое нежелание двигаться сверх необходимого.
    б) Отсутствие мотивации. Ну не ощущаем мы, что все настолько плохо. Мы не видим всех этих смертей от covid-19. У нас в россии официальная статистика учитывает только тех, кто умер от covid-19, а не от сопутствующих заболеваний. Этим правительство избежало паники, но это так же снизило мотивацию у населения вакцинироваться.

    Насчет пропаганды нашей вакцины. Так западные СМИ и пропагандируют нашу вакцину))) Благодаря им все больше государств начинают о ней задумываться. Как это работает? Очень просто. Все понимают, что между западом и Россией война. Поэтому после прочтения таких статей люди задумываются о том, что вакцину не просто так ругают, что она на самом деле хорошая, а СМИ просто хотят посеять сомнения. Мир изменился благодаря психотерапевтической культуре. Стал более осознанным, а СМИ работают по старому. Сеют сомнения – выдвигают предположения – эти предположения превращают в утверждения – На основе этих утверждений делают новые предположения – притягивают мнения экспертов.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. The way to convince Russian adults to get vaccinated is to mount an education campaign among schoolkids. That is what the Red Cross and UNDP/Gov. of Vietnam Disaster Management Unit did successfully to convince fishermen to wear life-jackets — and that strategy worked well in countering a suspicion that life-jackets are bad luck. Many lives were saved. The approach is the same as the successful anti-smoking campaigns in schools in the 1970s and 1980s. Kids harass their parents into making changes. It also shows the extent to which Russians remain suspicious of their government (a feature of all Communist and post-Communist societies, in my experience).

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  13. Anybody (16 – 65) could sign up for vaccinations in Russia starting January 16. It is an utter disgrace that the country that was FIRST to develop a safe and effective vaccine and FIRST to start mass vaccinations, vaccination rate is one of the lowest in the world. Shameful. The supply is obviously not the problem, as you can get the shot literally everywhere. BTW, anybody over 65 can get it, too.
    When I was growing up, vaccination was mandatory and had 100% vaccination rate. Now in this deadly pandemic Russia’s vaccination rate is a little over 5%. Mindboggling. Are Russians so used to being commanded that they lost all will and common sense to do anything themselves?
    May be COVID did not hit as hard as in the US, and definitely not as hard as some media sites would lead you to believe? Seriously, if information about “millions dead” were true, wouldn’t vaccination outlets be stormed by a mob with pitchforks and rakes?

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