Sixty-six percent of Russians think that Moscow should support Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad (picture) if the US starts an open war against him, according to polls.
Sixty-six percent is a lot, since only a couple of years ago most Russians had no idea exactly where that nation’s located.
Also, we are talking about a possible war of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers — so, let us say it’s a matter of moral siding with Syria, rather than of an actual desire to launch a global war.
There is a historical parallel to that. The Second World War was preceded by a civil war in Spain in 1936-1939. One half of that nation had been supported by Nazi Germany and Italy, and won. The other got itself support from the Soviet Union and a lot of private people from the US or England, in spite of their governments’ neutrality.
The most important result of that episode was a moral attachment that different nations have developed to the sides of that civil war. Most Western governments could not easily support Adolf Hitler after the ugly and destructive war in Spain. While in Russia, all the people cared about Spain and were looking at the war maps daily, wishing the Nazis to lose.
The Russian public today has a lot of first-hand information from the core part of Syria, which is firmly on the side of Al-Assad. After all, we have fighter pilots stationed there, our experts are organising humanitarian effort in the cities liberated from all kind of Jihadi rebels — and these people talk to their relatives and friends in Russia. So, we don’t even need mass media to know the truth.
At the start, we loved Syria purely as a symbol of our military success. Our planes and missiles managed to win the war for the good guys, and all that — without a wholesale destruction of cities and without harming the non-combatants.
But there is another kind of victory that Syria symbolises for us right now. It’s the media victory. The Russian public has long been furious about a typical global blockade of facts in a lot of Russia-related events.
We follow closely the global “mainstream media”, and we fume at the totally misreported and distorted facts there. And then along came the case of the 103 missiles, lobbed in April at Syrian targets by the US and some of their allies, ostensibly to punish Al-Assad for “chemical attacks”. Only 32 missiles survived, going astray or hitting an absolutely innocent pharmaceutical institute.
The rest have been intercepted by Syrian missile defence systems, which are Russian-produced and 30 to 40 years old.
US President Donald Trump was careless enough to tweet that “all the missiles have reached their targets”. That made the Russian military see red. They organised a display of parts of intercepted missiles in Moscow, inviting foreign media to have a look.
You cannot mistake an intercepted missile for one that had detonated as planned. In the first case, it falls apart instead of exploding. To add, any expert can see what kind of missile it was and what happened to it, just by looking at the photos.
What’s especially humiliating to some was to see the almostintact electronic brains of these killing devices, left open for studies of Moscow’s technicians.
And then another informational coup came along — about the “chemical attack” itself. To remind, the only piece of notvery- hard evidence of such was a movie, done by a London-based Syrian opposition group. Moscow had warned about that provocation beforehand, and still the “mainstream media” decided to ignore the warning.
There must always be a suffering, or even dead, boy or girl starring in such movies. That was true this time, too. But Syrians and Russians managed to locate Hassan, the boy in question, alive and well, and bring him to international audience in the Hague, the Netherlands.
He told everyone how a group of people with cameras took him to a hospital, doused him with water and made him put on a mask. Then he had been set free, rewarded by dates and rice.
Needless to say, he never felt any symptoms of poisoning. And there are no traces of any “chemical attack” anywhere.
The American delegate, invited to that hearing, tried his best not to let any Western colleagues attend it, and succeeded.
But the rest did attend, comparing the footage with Hassan’s smiling face.
And then there were discoveries made of the rebels’ chemical laboratories, with supplies from Great Britain and other European nations.
Needless to say, the “mainstream media” did its best to ignore even the obvious evidence, be it the missile parts or a cheerful Syrian boy. And still Syria, in Russian eyes, stays the place where we win the global war of facts.