After St. Louis county police officers in full battle gear trained sniper rifles on peaceful protesters in the suburb of Ferguson last week, and then proceeded to douse the streets in tear gas and round up journalists, a Russia analyst named Mark Adomanis observed that images of a crackdown on dissent in the United States would make life easier for the man recently put in charge of propaganda for the Kremlin, Dmitry Kiselyov.
Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian foreign ministry’s commissioner for “human rights, democracy and rule of law,” also weighed in Tuesday on the police response to the protests in Ferguson over the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, on Aug. 9. Taking note of “the high degree of tension in U.S. society, which remains split along racial lines,” Mr. Dolgov said that the U.S. “should take care of large-scale internal problems and take effective measures to resolve them.”
The ministry’s official Twitter feed shared a report on Mr. Dolgov’s comments with a photograph of Hedy Epstein, a 90-year-old Holocaust survivor and political activist based in St. Louis, being arrested on Monday for protesting the Missouri governor’s decision to deploy the National Guard in Ferguson.
“While urging other countries to guarantee the freedom of speech and not to suppress antigovernment protests, the United States authorities at home are not too soft with those actively expressing discontent over persistent inequalities, actual discrimination and the situation of ‘second class’ citizens,” Mr. Dolgov added.
The “extreme mayhem” has also become a major focus for the Kremlin-funded news network Russia Today, or RT, which targets viewers abroad through broadcasts in English, Spanish and Arabic that often highlight America’s shortcomings with a neo-Soviet zeal.
This week, RT’s main English-language channel featured regular updates from the “war zone” by its correspondent Anastasia Churkina — a daughter of Russia’s United Nations ambassador, Vitaly I. Churkin.
Coverage that echoes the broadcasts from Moscow has also appeared on Iran’s state-run Press TV, in reports about the use of force “to suppress protests in Ferguson,” that also make no mention of how demonstrations are dispersed in Iran.
Other messages from Iran’s supreme leader were premised on the conspiracy theory that American leaders ignore the suffering of their own people because of “Zionist domination” and a preoccupation with the defense of Israel.
Not to be outdone, a spokesman for Egypt’s foreign ministry, Badr Abdel-Atti, told the official news agency MENA on Tuesday that his country was “closely following” the protests in Ferguson. According to the state-owned Ahram Online, Egypt “called on U.S. authorities to exercise restraint and deal with the protests in accordance with U.S. and international standards.” The statement came just days after the first anniversary of the massacre of hundreds of peaceful protesters by the same military-backed government.
As my colleague Austin Ramzy reported, China’s official Xinhua news agency also published a commentary this week attacking the United States for racism and hypocrisy when it comes to human rights. “The Ferguson incident once again demonstrates that even if in a country that has for years tried to play the role of an international human rights judge and defender, there is still much room for improvement at home,” Xinhua editorialized. “Obviously,” it concluded, “what the United States needs to do is to concentrate on solving its own problems rather than always pointing fingers at others.”
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