Society

Russia Covers Ferguson Riots, Paints U.S. As Hypocrites

| by Jared Keever

Russia is using the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri to paint the United States leadership as a group of hypocrites. From state-run media outlets down to users of the social media platform Twitter, many Russians are poking fun at the perceived failure of the U.S. to deal with the racially-charged unrest in Missouri. 

As reported on BuzzFeed, Russian news stations have rushed to run stories about the Missouri grand jury’s failure to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown. The protests that have followed the decision have provided fodder for what some are calling internet and news “trolls.”

“The conflict in Ferguson isn’t a one-time event, but something profound,” reporter Alexander Khristenko said on the state-run Rossiya channel. “Race relations, social inequality, a black ghetto — the fragile world that hardly held itself together through a belief in just a little bit of fairness, it seems, has finally collapsed.”

It’s nothing new. The New York Times reported on the phenomenon in August. Russian news outlets, back then, were managing to get images on the airwaves every hour, of police, clad in riot gear, swarming the streets of St. Louis suburbs.

(via Lev Sharansky)

For the Russian government, it seemed, the protests were a chance to hit back at the U.S. — proving that its record on human rights was less than stellar. 

Konstantin Dolgov, Russia’s special representative for human rights from the Foreign Ministry, said as much in a statement.

“While urging other countries to guarantee the freedom of speech and not to suppress antigovernment protests, the United States authorities at home are not too soft with those actively expressing discontent over persistent inequalities, actual discrimination and the situation of ‘second class’ citizens,” he said. “American human rights activists are sounding the alarm.”

That statement was seen as a direct response to the U.S. opposition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the ongoing dispute over Ukraine. 

That dispute provided the subject for a number of so-called Twitter trolls who compared the protests and subsequent police response in Ferguson to U.S. coverage of Ukraine’s earlier protests.

“Ferguson self-defense forces have spontaneously appeared and are ready to defend its restless citizens against the repressions of the Washington junta!” joked one “nationalist” blogger, Egor Prosvirnin.

Another photo, circulating on Twitter, was a parody of a CNN newscast that showed a black woman holding a sign, with riot police standing behind her. The message underneath read: “Americans Ask Vladimir Putin To Send Troops.”

Sources: BuzzFeedThe New York Times / Photo Credit: Twitter via BuzzFeed