Letter From the Editors: March 27-April 2, 2017

Irate Putin Remonstrates; Europe’s Embattled Far Right Commiserates; Fed Up Russian, Belarussian Citizenry Demonstrates.

Putin is sick and tired of being portrayed in the West as a bad boy and accused of foul play in last year’s US presidential election. He made that abundantly clear at the March 30 Arctic Forum, where he called the endless accusations against Russia groundless and expressed hope that Russian-US relations would normalize as soon as possible.

Columnist Dmitry Minin says it is US Democrats who are pushing the Russian election interference allegations with a McCarthy-like vengeance, but ultimately to their own detriment. And, he says, the Republicans had better not succumb to the "myth of Russians’ almost intrinsic hostility to Americans or the unrelenting threat to America’s security supposedly emanating from Moscow," if they know what is good for them.

But the Russian witch hunt in US press and political circles shows no signs of abating, and Trump himself is showing more ambivalence - to put it mildly - toward the Putin regime. Be that as it may, Putin is still very much the darling of some European conservatives who are rallying behind him and what he stands for, ahead of forthcoming European national leadership elections. Many right-wing party leaders think Putin is getting too much of a bad rap from their leftist colleagues. NG writes: "Apparently, he is the embodiment of a strong leader who protects his country’s interests, opposes illegal immigration, supports traditional values and morals, and finally, fights liberalism."

At the Arctic Forum, CNBC journalist Geoff Cutmore pressed Putin on Russia’s human rights record - in particular, the detention of demonstrators. In response, Putin harped about Western double standards. Russia has quite a bit of experience dealing with protests. In fact, the weekend before the Arctic Forum, thousands of people took to the streets all across Russia to protest official corruption. The ...

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