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Media rejects Russia being isolated

Russia, US, Ukraine

Opinion

Media rejects Russia being isolated

US insists that Russia is isolated despite media rejecting the claim. Writes Ahmed Adel

Western media and leaders have encouraged the idea of an “isolated” Russia since the country launched its military operation against Ukraine on February 24. However, now more than five months since the start of the war, segments of the West are now finally acknowledging the narrative of an “isolated” Russia as a distorted view.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price could only say that Russia is “a pariah” state when a journalist on July 25 highlighted that Moscow is not exactly isolated since Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was touring Africa. The same journalist hit back by saying that recent dialogues with Turkey and Iran “doesn’t really compute” as a demonstration of Russia’s “desperation” to break its isolation.

It is recalled that in late June, US National Security Council Strategic Communications Coordinator John Kirby stated that the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to Iran “shows the degree to which Mr. Putin and Russia are increasingly isolated. Now they have to turn to Iran for help.”

In response to this claim, the Russian Embassy in the US said in a social media statement: “Attempts to present our country as isolated are the result of the ‘inflamed imagination’ of US officials who are increasingly losing touch with reality and it causes confusion among the American media as well.”

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World economists agree that the complete economic isolation of Russia is impossible. Russia’s economy is obviously being affected by the strengthening of sanctions due to the military operation in Ukraine and the effects of previous measures. However, not only is a complete blockade of the country’s economy impossible, even in theory, but economically aggressive states are now facing their own financial and industrial crises due to inflation and energy issues.

According to Italian newspaper il Fatto Quotidiano, in terms of purchasing power parity, currency illusion aside, China is the country with the highest annual production, followed by the US, India, Japan, Germany, Russia and Indonesia. In real terms, the Russian economy is comparable in size to Germany, a GDP higher than that of the United Kingdom, France and Italy.

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Spanish newspaper Público highlighted the false claims that Russia is isolated: “The EU insists that Russia is isolated, the same refrain that the Joe Biden Administration repeats on the other side of the Atlantic. However, the summit just held in Tehran with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his counterparts from Iran and Turkey seems to point the other way.”

In turn, Germany’s Die Welt writes that the West’s strategy to isolate Russia and President Vladimir Putin is not working, with the article concluding that the Russian leader enjoys more support across the world than the West expected:

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“It is a sad experience for the free world. Who, in fact, stands firm with the Europeans and the United States? Who supports the sanctions, the effects of which on the Russian economy have so far been much weaker than anticipated? Canada, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia. That’s it. Moscow has the support of China, Brazil, India and South Africa, four countries that, together with Russia, account for a third of the world’s production.”

Europe’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, already admitted that Russia cannot be isolated from the world community, writing in a July 10 European External Action Service (EEAS) article. “The G7 and like-minded countries are united in condemning and sanctioning Russia and in trying to hold the regime accountable. But other countries, and we can speak here of the majority of the ‘Global South’, often take a different perspective. The global battle of narratives is in full swing and, for now, we are not winning.”

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The National Interest columnist Mark Episkopos wrote: “Though Russia has been increasingly isolated from the West and certain Western-led institutions, Putin’s meetings in Tehran point to a different and altogether more unsettling phenomenon: despite ongoing attempts by European and US policymakers to marshal a united global front against the Kremlin, a substantial part of the non-Western world has maintained neutrality or, as in the case of China and Iran, explicitly endorsed Russia’s framing of the conflict.”

The Western propaganda campaign to create an image of Russia’s political isolation internationally has effectively failed. Although most Western leaders will continue with a false narrative that Russia is isolated, it is unlikely to deter Moscow from its relationship building with the majority of humanity.

Ahmed Adel, Cairo-based geopolitics and political economy researcher.

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