Russia is the world’s final bastion of freedom. That’s according to the State Duma speaker, who pointed to the decline of leftist politics in the US and the restrictions on Russian-language media in the Baltics and Ukraine.
“Democracy is a procedure, with norms and rules,” Vyacheslav Volodin said, speaking to parliament on Wednesday. “Do you see what is happening in the United States? The country is dying. They canceled everything.”
“Where is their labor movement? Where is the socialist party? Where is the once strong Communist party? No. Just like in Ukraine, there is no free media. All the opposition media has been shut down.”
Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a ban on three nationwide TV channels – NewsOne, Channel 112, and ZIK. The outlets, owned by opposition politician Taras Kozak, were accused by Zelensky of being funded by Russia and being opposed to Ukrainian values.
Sanctions is a difficult decision. #Ukraine strongly supports #FreedomOfSpeech. Not propaganda financed by the aggressor country that undermines Ukraine on its way to #EU & EuroAtlantic integration.Fight for independence is fight in the information war for truth & European values
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 3, 2021
On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine and its backers of having double standards, noting that the country shut down three leading channels, and nobody complained, with many even giving their approval, including much of the Western press covering the country.
After the decision was made, the Kremlin opposed Kiev’s decision, whereas the US offered support for “efforts to counter Russia’s malign influence.”
“As for freedom of speech, everything is clear to us. The so-called double standards have become perfectly clear recently, and there is no doubt about how our so-called opponents are working against us,” Putin said.
As well as pointing the finger at Ukraine, Speaker Volodin also noted that Baltic nations have recently cracked down on Russian-language media.
“The Baltics have eliminated [Russian media]. They also have no communist movements – they are banned. Russia is the last island of freedom,” he said.
Earlier this month, Latvia’s National Council for Electronic Media banned the broadcasting of 16 Russian-language TV channels in the country, including REN TV Baltic and NTV Mir Baltic.
The restrictions have been justified by Riga as “protecting the information space,” but have been slammed by Russian diplomats as “in the best traditions of dictatorship.”
Like the other Baltic nations, Latvia has a considerable Russian-speaking population, with the 2011 census revealing that 37.2 percent of the country uses Russian as their primary language at home.
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