March 22, 2018
In case pupils in the UK don’t understand the headlines on Russia and its president, a special publication for kids explains how “toxic Putin” is poisoning the West, without bothering to distinguish between fact and allegation.
The Day, a news website that produces short articles about current affairs meant to be used as teaching aids in British schools, has offered students two alternatives to believe about Vladimir Putin: he is either Europe’s “most dangerous leader since Hitler,” or a puffed up figure attacking other nations out of weakness.
The alternatives are a classic example of ‘Russophrenia’ – a popular notion claiming that Russia is both the biggest threat to humanity and a country on the brink of collapse. Apparently, some media in the UK want to impose the condition on readers before they even grow up. One in three schools is subscribed to the publication.
The article, titled “‘Toxic’ Putin on mission to poison the West,” recounts the many accusations against the Russian government, from shooting down the flight MH17 over Ukraine, to waging a “digital blitzkrieg” against Europe and ordering a chemical weapon attack against Sergei Skripal, while carefully avoiding making a statement out of each.
The article omits crucial context about all these instances and claims that “Putin merely smirks and denies everything.” He actually says “show the public your proof.” It also claims that Putin “sits on stockpiles of… chemical weapons.” Children are apparently not expected to double check the claims; otherwise they would find out that Russia destroyed all of its declared stockpiles last year.
The article offers two viewpoints on “Vlad guy” Putin – he is either strong and dangerous to the free world, or week and dangerous. The idea that he is being vilified to sell hostility towards Russia to the British public is, of…