The Power Vertical Up to Its Old Tricks? Or…? NYT confoosed about Russia. So confoosed.

Lots of coverage today (and someone thought to call Mark Galeotti, who gave his Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty-friendly analysis.)

The interesting thing is that the theses of the three main articles seem to be as follows:

Article 1: “Russia is Quick to Bend Truth About Ukraine,” by David Herszenhorn.  Thesis: Well Medvedev is just a wacky Kremlin propaganda CRAZY person to say that there is violence in Ukraine and that there are threats of more violence!  Wacky Medvedev.

This is the line that Brian Whitmore, Galeotti, Nina Khruscheva, Kirill Kobrin, and other RFE/RL type Kremlin-watchers have been consistently taking.  How goofy, they say, how paranoid, Putin is to say that there are neo-Fascist far-right groups involved in the Ukrainian nationalist movement!  How utterly bizarre to think that the US might have some kind of stake in destabilizing Russia’s hold on the area!  And how goofy to paint Eastern Ukraine as some kind of Mad Max -like landscape!  “It’s all lies,” Herszenhorn quotes Carnegie Moscow Center analyst Lilia Shvetsova as saying.  And the article makes fun of the “breathless,” “alarmist” Russian news claims of imminent hostilities by the Ukrainian government.

Herszenhorn does, it is admitted, take a half-pargraph to be Fair and Balanced, mentioning that “There is no question that the new Ukraininan government and its Western allies, including the United States, have engaged in their own misinformation at times,” but that the silly-Medvedev line might be an aspect of this misinformation is not something that is taken seriously.  Which makes it all the stranger to turn to:

Article 2: “Ukraine Sends Force to Stem Unrest in East,” by Andrew Kramer.  Thesis: The new Ukrainian government is sending more military units to the East, preparing to crack down even more on the “Russian special forces, terrorists, and hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian citizens…who were tricked by Russian propaganda,” as Kramer quotes Ukrainian acting president Turchynov, which situation, says Turchynov, constitutes a “colossal danger.”  And meanwhile, the head of the Ukrainian National Security Council, Andriy Parubiy, is tweeting about rallying veterans of the Kiev uprising, including members of Right Sector, a neo-Nazi group. (Right Sector itself is highly tech-savvy, having recently launched a sort of fascist-tactical-rallying-and-kickstart-fundraising smartphone app, available for your downloading pleasure through Google Play.)

And when he’s not shouting out to his “Maidan self defense” paramilitary buddies, he’s shouting out to Damon MacWilson of the Atlantic Council.  “We have to stop Putin together!” he tweeted on March 27.

Hey, I’m all for strategic coalition building, but don’t then go calling poor Dmitry nuts for seeing some kind of pattern of far-right-and-Western-establishiment-thinktank-facilitated pressure campaign against Russian-speaking Ukrainians.  Especially given:

Article 3: “General and Former Defense Official Urge Nonlethal Military Aid for Ukraine,” by Michael R. Gordon.  The upshot of which is…. ok, we probably shouldn’t give weapons, but if we’re NOT already doing what Medvedev says we are, we SHOULD be.


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