With every passing week more evidence comes to light of Russian state involvement in the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury. The OPCW has confirmedEnglish expert findings that the chemical weapon used in Salisbury was Novichok.
We already know that one of the Kremlin’s favourite manipulation techniques is to deflect blame by accusing the accuser. Thus, Russia tries to discredit individuals, organizations, institutions, and states which provide evidence of Russian misdeeds. In so doing, Russian propagandists challenge the credibility of their opponent and seek to undermine their moral authority to accuse Russia.
Last week, Maria Zakharova provided a masterclass for everyone interested in mastering this technique. With arguments criticizing Britain in this century running out, Zakharova conveniently turned to British history:
“Let’s put aside morals and the law and talk about something different. Maybe the UK Ambassador does not know his own country’s history, role and involvement in processes that took place in other countries over the past centuries […]
Let us talk about state contracts, assassinations and Britain’s reputation […]
The impact of colonial rule in India was extremely devastating […]
Africa has also suffered its share of British abuses. Some 13 million Africans have been removed from the continent as slaves […]
The British were among the first to invent concentration camps for civilians in the Boer War of 1899-1902 […]
In the 1870s, on the orders of the British authorities, a genocide of Zulus was perpetrated in the Cape Colony and in 1954-1961 of the Kikuyu people in Kenya […]
Remembering the notorious Opium Wars would not come amiss […]
The Greeks, too, got their share of British brutality […]”
And so on and so forth. The Russian MFA Communications Department has apparently studied British history books well, given Zakharova’s mention of so many episodes. How any of this relates to the specific issue at hand – the Skripal poisoning – would be a surprise to anyone. In any case, we’ll be waiting impatiently for the Russians to start talking about the dinosaurs.