WaPo Does Battle with the Russian Government

It must be tough to work at the Russian Embassy in Washington DC. Every morning your breakfast would be ruined with the sound of the daily newspaper hitting the doorstep; a heavy ‘thump’ of a publication loaded with critical views on the Russian government, be it an excoriating Anne Applebaum column, a denunciation of the injustices committed against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, or a pesky protest of the shooting of an American security analyst a few days after appearing in a television documentary about Litvinenko.


But after reading an August 9th editorial in the Washington Post titled “Russian Aggression?“, which called upon the United States and Europe to help Georgia bring their allegation of a missile attack before the United Nations, the bureaucrats at the Embassy decided enough is enough. Press Secretary Alexei G. Timofeev had a big letter published in today’s WaPo, which denounced the unfair reporting in the Georgia dispute (arguing that the Georgians don’t have evidence), and also complained about a May editorial with regard to the cyber attacks on Estonia. With devastating wit (not really), the Embassy bureaucrat writes, “Your audience deserves better than the half-truths and biased reporting it generally receives when it comes to Russia.” While this letter ran on page A10, it is exceptionally noteworthy that the editors choose to run yet another stinging op/ed article on the very same page, which included, among others, this little tidbit:

Over the weekend, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov repeated his country’s line so far, that the attack was little more than a “theatrical presentation” orchestrated by the Georgians. Russia has produced no credible evidence to back up this far-fetched theory, which, along with other Kremlin representations, only fuels suspicions of Russian involvement.

Such a decision by the newspaper seems to be an open declaration of a war of words. I would have not enjoyed being at the morning meeting today at the Russian Embassy!