is president of the American University in Moscow, Professor of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities. He is the author of the book "Operation Elbe”, which describes joint US – Russia anti-terrorist efforts.
Before we tell you how Vice-President Dick Cheney, Senator John McCain, former First Lady Michelle Obama, Professor Stephen Cohen and, of course, President Donald Trump plus over 2000 prominent American and European politicians, celebrities and intellectuals joined the group of "useful idiots” one needs a brief introduction.
In case you did not know, the "Mirotvorets” is the Ukrainian website which presents and constantly updates the list of people, often including their personal data, whom the local nationalists consider to be the undesirable elements. The list includes not only Russians but also Ukrainians and even prominent Americans and Europeans like actors Steven Seagal and Samy Naseri (French blockbuster Taxi), members of the famous German musical techno band "Scooter”, and others.
The website has been widely and strongly criticized by many journalists, human rights organizations, and even OSCE but this did not stop the "European Values Think-Tank” (EVTT) – a Czech based non-profit funded by George Soros, EU, American Embassy in Prague and some other sources - to produce a report entitled "The Kremlin's Platform for Useful Idiots in the West: An Overview of RT's Editorial Strategy and Evidence of Impact.”
This report contains a spreadsheet with the names of 2327 people who have appeared on Russian TV channel RT and, says the report, "either due to unawareness of RT's political agenda, or indeed explicit support of it, lend their names and credibility to a pseudo-news network and proxy agent of the Kremlin.”
Well, one could say that all the people mentioned in EVTT report are pretty lucky since some of them like President Trump and Professor Cohen have been called other names in the mainstream media comparing with which the "useful idiot” definition sounds like a compliment.
The research done by EVTT did not require a lot of deep analysis, as its methodology was very simple: as long as one appears on any of RT’s program his or her name is added to this "shameful” list.
The reason, as the report reveals, "RT uses guest appearances by Western politicians, journalists and writers, academics, and other influential public personalities to boost its credibility.”
So, according to EVTT, the current US Ambassador to Moscow Jon Huntsman, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and former CIA director James Woolsey have also joined the "Kremlin stooges” fraternity.
I am not sure if Senator McCain saw this report, but if he did he might have experienced mixed feelings like a man in the old anecdote observing his mother-in-law flying over the cliff into abyss in his new Ferrari.
We also do not know if this report played any role in the almost immediate follow up demand by US government to RT to register as a foreign agent, but the timing was perfect and the folks at EVTT must be jubilant. Their hard work is appreciated and therefore a continuous flow of financial and moral support among the followers and advocates of western values in high places is guaranteed.
One wonders if some lawyers like Harvard’s Alan Dershowitz whose name is on the list and who usually does not mince words will say something but so far, he is quiet despite the EVTT’s accusations being rather strong.
According to the report, "Appearing on RT is not harmless, it enables and legitimates RT's subversive agenda... It is therefore impossible to appear on RT without being ultimately complicit in its efforts to undermine Western democracy and pollute the information space.”
Well, some folks did express outrage. For example, Fred Weir who covers Russia for Christian Science Monitor calls the report "mostly ridiculous, hyperventilating nonsense….creating blacklists is a dangerously fraught operation in almost any circumstance, but this collection of "useful idiots" who have appeared on various RT shows is a travesty of everything the people at this "European Values" think tank claim to be upholding.”
Professor Mark Galeotti from New York University in Prague goes a bit further calling its authors "the witch-hunting charlatans of European Values.”
The only thing I’d replace in Mark’s statement is the word "European” for "Western” as its sponsors and authors definitely want to speak not just for Europe but for the whole western civilization.
Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow, Professor of Moscow State and National Research Nuclear Universities. He is the author of the book "Operation Elbe”, which describes joint US – Russia anti-terrorist efforts.