Why are the SNP so relaxed about dancing to the Kremlin’s tune?


It isn’t hard to imagine how Russian President Vladimir Putin is feeling right now. His ally in Ukraine has been kicked out and as a consequence the country is expected to gravitate away from the Russian orbit and into the arms of the EU.

RTjUntil now Putin has been using Russian money to anchor Armenia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine in a Russian-led bloc. However the jewel in the crown, Ukraine, now appears on the verge of breaking away from the Moscow line.

To say that Putin is displeased would be the understatement of the year. He is most likely indignant.

But Putin has been taking a two-pronged approach to the advancement of Russian interests. On the one hand this has involved the projection of power in places like Eastern Europe and Syria; but it has also meant undermining the West’s resolve in the face of unscrupulous Russian advancement.

Anyone who has ever tuned in to RT (Russia Today), the Kremlin’s propaganda channel, will understand perfectly well what I am talking about. RT is engaged in a wholesale misinformation campaign aimed at bolstering the prestige of the Russian Federation and discrediting enemies of the Russian state at home and abroad.

As I have previously written, Western commentators who appear on RT are unwittingly giving succour to a homophobic autocracy which behaves in a far more undemocratic and demagogic manner than our own government could ever dream.

That being so, one can understand RT’s enthusiasm for Scottish independence: the break-up of the United Kingdom would undeniably be in the Russian national interest. Russia fears the projection of Western power; and Britain is far greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to an international presence. Divide and conquer is not simply a worn-out cliché.

What is surprising is that the Scottish Nationalists are so keen to dance to the former KGB man’s tune. Why else would senior SNP figures choose so repeatedly appear on RT?

Here, for example, is Scottish first minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond doing a set piece interview with RT just last year (at a time when Putin was ramping up his government’s anti-gay rhetoric):

As well as Salmond, Scottish health secretary Alex Neil, justice secretary Kenny MacAskill, external affairs minister Humza Yousaf, and Pete Wishart MP have all appeared on RT.

In a stunning piece of irony, Humza Yousaf likes to make a lot of noise about the UK’s human rights record. According to Yousaf, Scotland needs independence in order to expunge itself from the abuses perpetrated by the UK government. And yet he is happy to appear on RT!

Pete Wishart MP appears to think along similar lines. “With Independence, Scotland can make its own mark on the world, including the upholding of human rights,” he said in a recent interview.

What he did not disclose is that he has appeared on RT and – even worse – Press TV, the media wing of the Iranian theocracy.

The hypocrisy is breath-taking.

As Eric Lee recently noted, when RT describes itself as ‘news with an edge’ it literally means the edge of a Russian bayonet. The stories RT focuses on are “invariably ones in which the West, and in particular the USA, comes out looking bad”. When RT turns its attention closer to home the progressive mask drops, and is replaced by “the strident tone of late-Stalinist Soviet propaganda”.

In appearing on RT, the SNP are unwittingly endorsing the loathsome regime propaganda which appears alongside agreeable anti-coalition programming. They are also bolstering the foreign policy agenda of a government that is whipping up a tidal wave of prejudice against gay people and propping up Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.

Russia is quite clearly lobbying for Scottish independence. The question is, why are the SNP so relaxed about dancing to the Kremlin’s tune?

Cyber natj

A Yes Scotland staffer watching RT at their HQ

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  • John H Newcomb

    Margarita Simonyan’s Russia Today was given marching orders from Putin to use its no-limits budget to build global con-job and to lasso-in European political parties currently at fringe, whether SNP or French far-right Front National of Marine Le Pen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulpo1K493P4
    – Critical view of Putinist – Le Pen chumminess: http://imrussia.org/en/russia-and-the-world/645-putins-far-right-friends-in-europe

  • Chrisso

    I love the James Bloodworth regular puny efforts to take any opportunity to have a swipe at Scottish independence. It all helps the YES campaign, so carry on!

  • Paul Taylor

    ” RT is engaged in a wholesale misinformation campaign aimed at bolstering the prestige of the Russian Federation and discrediting enemies of the Russian state at home and abroad.”

    If you are going to make faciile allegations of this nature, the burden of proof is on you. Substantiate it or stop polluting the web with your prejudiced opinions.

    RT (and Al Jazeera) in my opinion provide an essential redress to the bias towards western imperialist interests in our own media institutions.

    This is not the first time I’ve wondered what the hell James Bloodworth is doing writing for Left Foot Forward.

  • Derick Tulloch

    Is this actually a real person ‘Bloodworth’? Sounds made up to me.

    Still, there may be Reds (in kilts) under the bed.
    ZZZZZZzzzz

  • Bugger (the Panda)

    “Why else would senior SNP figures choose so repeatedly appear on RT?”

    Are you really so unaware of the bias in the BBC in Scotlan?

    Try Googling “SNP” or “Alex Salmond accused”

    On the SNP accused search I received 343,000 hits and on AS accused it was 391, 000.

    The inky fingered press and the BBC are all that stands between the No campaign and oblivion. If the No lot had been a horse or a dog it would have been humanely put down some time ago.

  • Craig

    The SNP are scum who play some very transparent games but this article reads rather like something their side would come out with. That they give interviews to RT doesnt mean they’ve got anything to do with Russia

  • Alec

    Yes it does, Craig. Are you aware of what Russia Today is?

    ~alec

  • Alec

    James is disreputably real.

    “Reds under the bed”… that’s about as topical as Agents of Tsar! Pussy Riot, for all their disgraceful treatment, hailed from previously well-connected Soviet families who had had their noses put out of joint by the new regieme.

    ~alec

  • Alec

    Bloodknot is the editor of LFF, you numpty.

    Now, as dougthedug has remembered a prior engagement and left rather than actually bloody well defend his position, I’ll repost my comment to him:

    At least you’re acknowledging it, even if it does come across as special pleading… or a five year old who’s been caught doing summat disreputable, and now is bleating about others being “just as bad”.

    The thing is, nothing in the West is “just as bad” as PressTV or Russia Today. Not even Fox which, for all its faults, remains a professional organization run according to industry standards.

    PressTV even had its broadcast licence in Blighty revoked! You’d know that if you’d given any thought to this beyond a reflexive sigh and bone-headed syllogism that anything which is not the “Westminster Establishment” is to be embraced. This has nowt to do with the referendum, as the OPed author links to the wider objections to them which exist beyond your truncated Scotland-focused worldview.

    What are the SNP to do? How about showing some bleeding principles and not getting in hock with these revolting organizations? And accepting
    responsibility for their own actions by dropping the self-pitying tosh that
    everyone, even foreign Western organizations are against them.

    In addition to having had control of the Scottish Parliament for seven years, they also could have gone to CNN or ABC and the like… Western-orientated broadcasters which dealt with regions sharing a common history with Scotland, instead of the propaganda arms of the Kremlin and Khomenists which are watched by an irrelevant minority of those who have a vote in the referendum.

    ~alec

    ~alec

  • Alec

    Anyone else think that the sudden spike of activity on this thread is down to an attempt to deflect from what Russia Today‘s controller is doing?

    ~alec

  • Alec

    What? Seriously, what?

    When Humza “Irn Bru boy” Yousaf was last on Russia Today, he made a devastatingly insightful comment about there being more of your lot in Scotland than Tory MPs. Not MSPs, or even MEPs ‘cos that would have ruined his point.

    ~alec

  • S&A

    When the SNP was looking for ‘observer’ status at the UN NPT talks, it asked for support from the likes of Iran, Zimbabwe and Myanmar (whilst the latter was still under the military junta).

  • S&A

    ‘You really don’t know too much about Scotland’s struggle for self determination do you?’

    Clearly it hasn’t occurred to you that any Scot who does not support independence is also exercising his or her right to ‘self-determination’.

    If your side loses (and I hope they do), it will be because of arrogant attitudes like that.

  • Alec

    To be fair, Fish-heid McMoonface sent that plea out to every UN recognized State… it all was rather pathetic.

    ~alec

  • Derick Tulloch

    Right then. If he’s real, can I ask if he shares a flat with Jezerna the Fake Slovenian? Or did he learn his editing skills from Comrade Zinoviev? Ghost writer on ‘Scotch on the Rocks’?
    Joking aside, this article is Utter Pish

  • Alec

    Again, what? Sorry, what?

    ~alec

  • Paul Taylor

    Yes, I know he’s the editor, but presumably LFF, and certainly the “Left” part, have a life beyond him?

    I don’t see what your recycled comment has to do with mine. I merely note that our own media institutions also have an inbuilt bias (which you are perhaps impervious to?). Which western media have you heard denouncing US or UK military occupations in the same terms that they are prepared to denounce Russian ones?

    I see RT as a necessary adjunct to western media simply because the latter’s perspective is also restricted and distorted by ideology. However, how often have you seen a western current affairs anchor break ranks like RT’s Abby Martin:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHYUPbnSs_0

  • Alec

    Yes, I’ve seen that Martin vid. I even have seen other vids of her appalling views.

    It’s being bandied about because of the congruity of a RT anchor breaking with the message… even one on the Anglophone outlet which always has been given latitude to hide what would – and does – happen on the Russian-speaking street.

    I see RT as a necessary adjunct to western media simply because the latter’s perspective is also restricted and distorted by ideology.

    A meaningless word-salad which, in any case, could more accurately be directed at Russia Today.

    There are only two types who take it seriously… idiots or anti-democratic ideologues. Which are you, boy?

    ~alec

  • Craig

    No it doesn’t.
    Of course I do. Do you?

  • Alec

    Yes it does. If you do, you’re showing a remarkable indifference towards it. Yes.

    ~alec

  • Bugger (the Panda)

    and your point Caller is?

  • Alec

    Made there and elsewhere in this thread.

    ~alec

  • Brian Nicholson

    I seem to remember a wee man who asked his diplomats to call Putin’s diplomats to get them to oppose Scottish Independence. That wee man was David Cameron. When challenged, three other wee man support Cameron. They were Ed Balls, Ed Milliband and Vince Cable. The article seems to want to smear Salmond and the SNP for talking to RT because they writer feels RT is Putin’s Puppets. If so, should he not be more upset that his Leader and the other wee men did not speak to the puppets, but to the puppet master. Rightfootforward has a lot of explaining to do on this article.

  • Alec

    You ‘remember’ wrongly, and are basing it on a report from Itar-Tass which might be wholly unreliable. And even if it were accurate, it still does not negate criticism of the SNP’s judgement.

    Carry-on trying to deflect attention from the SNP’s grotesque judgement in appearing on RT… your lot are doing a terrible job thus far..

  • Alec

    I repeat Wales and Ireland were not countries at the time the UK was formed

    Yeah, so what? The Irish and Welshes certainly think of themselves as distinct nationalities which is all that matters.

  • Brian Nicholson

    I remember quite accurately as do many others, but feel free to continue to deny reality.

  • Bill Cruickshank

    Wow Alec, I admire your persistence, two weeks on, respect my man. Now to return to reality. At the time of the Treaty of Union i.e. 1707 both Wales and Ireland had been conquered and had been subsumed into England’s Empire. They had no say in the Treaty of Union of 1707, similar to ordinary Scots at the time. Thankfully nowadays 26 counties of Ireland are independent and Wales is developing its’ own nationhood. As I say, I admire your persistence but get the facts right both historically and currently before you engage in a debate you know little or nothing about. As always Saor Alba. P.S. as always take care!

  • Alec

    Then you’d be able to provide us with a link.

    ~alec

  • Alec

    You were under no obligation to respond, so your attempt to project your obsession/determination onto me fails.

    At the time of the Treaty of Union i.e. 1707 both Wales and Ireland had been conquered and had been subsumed into England’s Empire. They had no say in the Treaty of Union of 1707, similar to ordinary Scots at the time.

    Wait a minute, you’re dripping with supercilious disdain ‘cos I responded a scant three weeks later, and here you are bringing-up something from three centuries ago? You couldn’t make it up! But you did! For free!

    Quite apart from the the matter of their statuses not being the same (Ireland required an Act of Union in 1801) with only Wales having being brought to the pass she was at without heavy Scottish involvement, and Scotland’s joining the UK following a decision by her own appointed government [which hardly was a beacon of social democratic enlightenment] entirely in keeping with conventions of the time, what is coming loud and clear is is an anti-human preoccupation with power.

    The Irish and Welshes were their own countries. That they didn’t have a tangible ruling chamber onto which you could project your delight in Big Man politics does not change this.

    Thankfully nowadays 26 counties of Ireland are independent […]

    The other six wish to remain part of the UK, even amongst those with a common culture with the other 26. So much for your respect for self-determination.

    […] and Wales is developing its’ own nationhood

    And doesn’t wish independence either. Nor does Scotland at this juncture, no matter how many vague unverified anecdotes you come out with.

    ~alec