Without apologizing, he began attacking the American mother for leaving her child unattended on the playground steps from his front door. “I think that a criminal inquiry will be opened anyway because even if she is not found guilty of murder she will face negligence charges,” Astakhov told Russian television. He referred to no facts of any kind establishing such negligence.
Meanwhile, Astakhov completely ignored the common Russian practice of failing to disclose serious medical conditions that are typical in adoptive children, which could have led the boy’s mother to be oblivious of serious risks to his health and life. He did not pause to consider whether his credibility in making a new set of allegations might not have been fatally destroyed after his first set of lies had been exposed.
In Astakhov’s eyes, and in the eyes of many Russians, Americans are simply guilty until proven innocent. And maybe they’re guilty even then. Russians like Astakhov spend their lives waiting for any excuse to lash out at the United States, maintaining the same attitude towards the U.S. that the USSR had.
And why would anyone think it would be any different? If Americans had “lost” the Cold War, would they have adopted the USSR’s worldview and rejected democracy? Or would they have continued to struggle for their cause, as did the Polish and French underground movements during World War II? Some of us imagine that the Soviet system was entirely out of favor with Russians, who secretly yearned to breathe free just like Americans. It wasn’t true. We’ve seen Russians choose to hand unchecked power for life to Vladimir Putin, a proud KGB spy whose every waking moment is spent seeking to restore the Soviet dictatorship and to wipe out American values within its borders.
Astakhov likely believes he can get away with acting like he never accused an American mother of murdering her child because of the success Putin has had in liquidating critical media and opposition politicians. There is literally nobody left who will challenge Astakhov’s actions on broadcast television, the main source of news for Russia, permitting him to essentially create a parallel universe in which the vast majority of citizens know only what the government wants them to know.
And Barack Obama’s policy of appeasement towards the Kremlin means that nobody outside Russia is going to mount a serious challenge, either.
Little wonder, then, that anti-Americanism is so pervasive in Russia, with most Russians supporting a ban on adoptions by Americans and viewing the U.S. as a force for evil in the world.