Russia’s brazen lies mock the world. How best to fight for the truth?

Russia’s brazen lies mock the world. How best to fight for the truth?

Jonathan Freedland writes:

Comedy is now diplomacy by other means. A mighty nation has taken to conducting a grave international dispute by means of humour, expecting a similarly comic response in kind. How else are we to view the interview granted with RT, the state propaganda outfit formerly known as Russia Today, by the Morecambe and Wise of the east, the two men who identified themselves as Ruslan Boshirov and Alexander Petrov?

Posing as Russian sports nutritionists, a professional fraternity whose record is not entirely unblemished, the comedy duo told the channel that they were indeed the men the UK authorities had identified as visiting Salisbury in March, but they hadn’t made the trip to kill the former spy Sergei Skripal. On the contrary, they were there as wide-eyed tourists, lured by the prospect of seeing a cathedral “famous for its 123-metre spire”. Wasn’t it odd that they had visited Salisbury so briefly on the first of two consecutive day trips? Not at all, the TV funnymen insisted: these strong sons of the Russian winter had had to abandon their first attempt to see the sights, deterred by the impassable Wiltshire slush.

Titter ye not, as fellow TV comedian Frankie Howerd might have put it. But titter we have, as the Boshirov & Petrov show has spawned a thousand parodies. Their purported explanation was laughable and we have duly laughed. But is it the right response? [Continue reading…]

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