Russia's Pathetic Defenders

To its credit, the Washington Post has run a number of op-ed pieces in recent days from Russophiles (including Mikhail Gorbachev) who wish to rationalize and support the Russian invasion of Georgia.

Not only does doing so remove any attempt by the Post's critics to claim it is biased (it's one of the world's leading voices in opposition to the Putin dictatorship and has issued a series of blistering editorials condemning Russian aggression), but the very best way of destroying the Russophile position is to simply let them try to state it. Every single time, they come off looking either like morons or maniacs, often both.

Take Olga Ivanova, for instance.

She's a master's degree candidate at Duquesne University and an intern at the Post.

Last Friday, the paper ran an op-ed column from Ms. Ivanova in which she struggled with every furiously vibrating fiber of her being to attack those who reported on Russian atrocities during the Georgian invasion.

Here's her quite literally insane thesis: "Many Russian youths come to the United States for college and then go back to Russia to help build our own democracy. Russians believe in democracy. ... But I don't know whether many Russians will ever trust American media reports again."

Ms. Ivanov doesn't name one single such person who is "building democracy" in the Russia by means of her U.S. education, nor does she describe any action "Russians" have taken to show their "belief" in democracy since Vladimir Putin came to power.

And how could she name such a person? If a Russian journalist committed to democracy and schooled in the U.S. were to return to Russia, where would they work? Certainly not in state-owned and operated TV. Surely not any of the major circulation newspapers, which are also controlled by the Kremlin.

Indeed, such American credentials would be extremely suspect in the Kremlin's halls of power -- that is unless the bearer was actually planted here by the Kremlin to increase its "understanding" of us as an enemy. Perhaps this hapless child has yet to discover that fact by returning to Russia and trying to put her degree to work. She's in for a rude awakening, if that's the case.

And build it from what? All opposition parties have been liquidated from the Duma; all local government has been obliterated. Anna Politkovskaya has been shot and killed, and nobody has been punished for giving the order to do it.