Russia Hating, by David Bromwich

The hatred so much of the media and political establishment have for Russia is neurotic, bordering on psychotic, and bizarre. From David Bronwich at

Ukraine is a country we are just getting to know. What is more important is to hate Russia: an emotion in which Americans have been well trained. Media workers and the experts they interview, one notices, can’t help stumbling occasionally: “the Soviet Union – I mean, Russia.” A history of contempt takes us back to an entity at once exotic and primitive, suspended in time and space.

This Russia hovers between barbarism and modernity, between Asia and Europe, an uncertain profile that has long troubled the Western mind. But the task has now been simplified: Hate Putin, hate “Putin’s Russia,” hate Russia – before, during, and after the fact, and in excess of the facts. And the Russian people? We will come back to them.

The Western moral calculus that ramps up war fever can be detected in a headline like “Fear of Reprisal for Bridge Blast Dims Kyiv’s Joy” (The New York Times, October 10, print edition). You sense it, too, in the teacherly posture of news analysis: “Putin’s Plan to Bomb Kyiv Into Submission? History Says It Won’t Work” (the Times, October 11). Was that, in fact, Putin’s idea? Pretty clearly, he did not decide to bomb Kyiv until Ukraine blew up the bridge connecting Crimea to Russia. The tone of polite journalism on this subject hardly differs from that of the tabloids: “How Moscow Grabs Kids and Makes Them Russians” (ABC News, linked on Drudge Report, October 13).

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