The Russian government loves to throw the word “hypocrisy” around when it is faced with criticism from the West. And if we’re honest, there’s certainly a grain of truth when you say the West, especially the United States, often holds hypocritical positions about issues such as human rights, for example. That being said, the Russian government has zero grounds to accuse anyone of hypocrisy. And today we have a reminder as to why.
Today a Russian court in the annexed Crimean peninsula sentenced Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov, a man who suffers from diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, to two years in a labor colony for the crime of…get ready for it…separatism! Yes, if special forces from another country take over your local parliament, force a vote on a referendum, and then rush people to vote on a ballot that has no status quo option- this is “self-determination” and “historical justice.” But if you have a problem with any of that and express your dissatisfaction, you’re engaging in extremist separatism, which is not allowed. But if you think the hypocrisy ends there, let’s take a trip down memory lane.
Back in May 2014, Russia quickly passed a new law providing criminal punishment for “calls to public action for the violation of the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.” Hmmm….May 2014. That date seems significant for some reason. Oh wait, I remember now- this was around the same time that Russia was calling for public action for the violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
You see folks, when a small minority of your citizens, at the instigation of a foreign country and its paid agents, rises up and demands independence (or bullshit “federalization” where their region gets to decide foreign policy, or annexation by a neighboring country), you should respect their right to self-determination and give them whatever they ask, no matter how unreasonable, otherwise you’re a warmonger who doesn’t value human life. But when it comes to Russia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, well that is something so precious and inviolable that even a Russian citizen can be locked up for questioning it via retweeting or sharing a post on social media. And of course a Crimean Tatar like Umerov, who displays justifiable skepticism towards the goodwill of a nation that once deported his people en masse and then lies about it to this day, is fair game.
Indeed, it’s not only okay for Russia to crack down on those within its claimed territory, but they can also violate neighbors airspace with near-constant military drills and threaten other countries with nukes because the Kremlin is afraid of a “color revolution.” That’s not warmongering. They feel “threatened.”
The Kremlin alone gets to determine who has sovereignty and self-determination. Just another reminder that those labeling everyone else as hypocrites are the biggest hypocrites of them all.