Remembering John McCain, Moscow’s Enemy No. 1


“As a superb Christian, I want peace and relaxation to all of the irreconcilable enemies of my Motherland,” mentioned Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Russian tv community RT, on Twitter. “After all, within the subsequent world.”

Andrei Medvedev, a Russian journalist, shared the same view.

“John McCain was an actual enemy of my nation,” he wrote on Fb. “A straight, honest, Russophobe to the underside of his coronary heart.”

In Russia, Medvedev argued, McCain “noticed a risk to America, his nation, and subsequently needed with all his would possibly for Russia to vanish as rapidly as attainable. And he himself tried — and urged others to assist him — so we might not be on the map of the world.”

John McCain was viewed by many Russians as the ultimate Cold Warrior.

Professional-Kremlin politicians and Russian state tv additionally piled on, vilifying the person and his political legacy, notably when it got here to Russia.

State-run channel Rossiya-1 known as McCain, “the primary image of Russophobia” on the Sunday night time broadcast of the information program Vesti. No point out was made from McCain’s principled stand towards torture, his willingness to carry the US protection trade to account or his o

ther legislative accomplishments. However Vesti did notice that it was a Soviet-made missile that knocked McCain’s A-Four Skyhawk out of the sky over North Vietnam in 1967, ensuing sooner or later senator’s prolonged keep on the Hanoi Hilton jail.

‘Hatred of Russia’

In loss of life, McCain was forged as an adversary, albeit grudgingly acknowledged as a robust one.

“Trustworthy in his hatred of Russia,” mentioned Oleg Morozov, a senator, the information company RIA-Novosti reported. “A extremely ideologically pushed politician,” mentioned Konstantin Kosachev, the chair of the overseas affairs committee within the Russian senate.

It appears simple to guess why some Russians did little to disguise their glee over McCain’s loss of life. In spite of everything, this was the person who slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin in a 2017 Senate speech as a “killer,” and “that butcher and thug and KGB colonel.”

However antipathy towards McCain ran deeper. In Russian state media and in official pronouncements, McCain was often portrayed as the last word Chilly Warrior, the personification of an anti-Russian national-security institution in Washington bent on encircling and undermining Russia.

Therefore the obsession in Russia with McCain’s help for regime change in Iraq, Libya or Syria. Alexey Pushkov, one other outstanding Russian senator, recalled partaking in a debate with McCain on the Syria disaster on the World Financial Discussion board in Davos.

“He was preoccupied solely with regime change in Syria,” Pushkov mentioned on Twitter. “At what value, and what forces would come to energy in Damascus after that didn’t concern him.”

McCain did not dwell to see the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Pushkov added.

“Politics and destiny determined in any other case,” Pushkov mentioned. “McCain’s plans to restructure the world underneath the overall hegemony of america won’t come true.”

That time — that McCain sought to impose some type of Pax Americana on the remainder of the world — is the thread that unifies a lot official Russian commentary about McCain. And it speaks volumes about how the Kremlin views Washington, even within the period of President Donald Trump.

Apparently, the Vesti obituary targeted partially on McCain’s tenure as chairman of the Worldwide Republican Institute, a democracy-promoting group that’s funded by grants from the US State Division, US Company for Worldwide Improvement, the Nationwide Endowment for Democracy and quite a few European foundations and help businesses.

The group’s work on election monitoring and democracy promotion could appear innocuous, however the work of IRI and related nongovernmental organizations is usually depicted in Russia as one thing sinister. Within the official view, these NGOs are little greater than a thinly disguised cowl for US-led efforts to intrude within the politics of different international locations, together with Russia.

Maybe greater than something, it was McCain’s help for pro-democratic revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine that provoked the Kremlin’s ire. Russian media instructed that the senator was in the end directing his efforts at a bigger goal: Russia.

Mourned in different post-Soviet international locations

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called McCain's death "sad news" for the people of that country.

Sunday’s Vesti broadcast confirmed a clip of an interview with the senator by a Russian tv crew during which he warned that there could be penalties for Moscow if it interfered in Ukraine’s inside affairs following the Maidan protests there.

No shock, then, that among the largest outpourings of help got here from these post-Soviet international locations.

“Unhappy information for all Ukrainian individuals,” mentioned Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The “world is worse place with out him,” tweeted former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

In life, and in loss of life, McCain touched a nerve within the post-Soviet house. One has a tough time imagining who will take his place within the Kremlin’s creativeness because the Russophobe-in-chief.

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