Tuesday, February 2, 2010

France undercuts democracy in Eastern Europe

I have on a number of occasions written about the need for a quality independent Russian-language television channel which would be capable of balancing the propaganda transmitted by Russian channels into other former Soviet states.

This need is made obvious by, for example, the popular belief in Moldova that Georgia was largely responsible for the August 2008 war and the Russia responded as a humanitarian peacekeeper.  The facts of the case are rather different, as any well-read independent observer would acknowledge.  The gap is due to the fact that most Moldovans receive their international news either from Russian-government controlled TV or from Teleradio Moldova, which was under the thumb of the Russia-friendly communists.

Not surprisingly, it was the Georgian government that stepped up to the challenge, launching a Russian-language satellite channel called "First Caucasian".  Now that channel has been pulled off the air by French company Eutelstat under pressure from Russia.  (article here)

Come on France, you need to grow a spine once and for all.  It might be expedient in the short term to sell the Russians your Mistral warships and help them undercut freedom of expression in the former Soviet space, however in the long term this will cost you.  Do you not already see how your former protege, Romania, no longer looks to you for security and leadership, but to the US and the UK?  Do you really want Russia's sphere of instability and autocracy expanding deep into central Europe once again?  Do you really want Russia and Iran sitting on top of all the oil and gas transport routes from the Caspian?  Are you really prepared, as one of the world's leading democracies, to see millions of people in Eastern Europe fall under a totalitarian jackboot yet again?  Or do the principles of liberte, fraternite & egalite stop at your borders?

2 comments:

  1. I don't know if I would go so far as to call France a democracy, its more like two sides of the same coin. However, France has only had a spine once in it's life. Somehow, it was surgically removed and yet, left it living.

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  2. Drennen: Rightly or wrongly, the French are very proud of their democratic heritage. If referring to that heritage helps me make my point, I'm happy to oblige!

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