How did the Russian press view the rioting in Grenoble? With more honesty than much of the French press. And with no compunctions about calling the incidents by their true name–race riots. The following is an abridged version of an article posted at Suite 101. There is a warning that the article cannot be reproduced without permission from the author–Dimitri Vivodtzev, hence my decision to abridge:
Echo of Moscow is often considered in France to be the last free radio of Russia. But if France Info or Radio Monte-Carlo had published an article such as the one posted at the Echo website on July 19, they would have certainly received dozens of letters accusing them of being of the extreme-right.
The title alone would have created a furor:
“In the south-east of France, confrontations go on between African nationals and the local police.”
Further down in the article:
“( . . . ) Somebody is supposed to have heard the colored Frenchmen shout: ‘down with the whites’, but officially, the authorities do not use the term ‘ethnic confrontations’ to describe what happened.”
Another Russian source, rbc.ru, wrote on July 18:
“In France, African nationals are again burning cars and shops.” Then it speaks of “pogroms organized by gangs of immigrants.” ( . . . )
And on July 19, the famous Pravda published the following:
“The French suburbs are once again in flames. ( . . . ) The confrontations that took place recently between police and African and Middle Eastern nationals again remind the world of the problems linked to immigrants, who represent as much as 15% of the French population.”
Pravda even analysed the “question of the suburbs”:
“The events taking place this very moment in Grenoble show that the problem is not yet solved. And those who rule France are not to be envied. For if they increase the welfare subsidies of these immigrants who do not really want to work, that will mean a heavy burden for the taxpayer and would lead to a lowering in the quality of life for the majority of Frenchmen. And then, those who do work would be discontented. But if the rioters were to be severely punished, they would react with more and more acts of rebellion.”
Even other websites more neutral in their position chose their language carefully:
“The confrontations between the police and the ethnic groups . . .” (regnum.ru)
“Confrontations between the police and immigrants are going on in Grenoble . . .” (gazeta.ru)
“Criminal ethnic groups” is even used by a Muslim website in Azerbaidjan (news.day.az)
The article closes with the observation that political correctness does not exist in Russia, a social reality that has led to conflicts with “human rights” advocates.
In this case, I’m definitely on Russia’s side. Many French nationalists and sovereigntists, in particular those disenchanted with the United States, are looking to Russia as a kind of “big brother” ally. They are convinced that the Soviet past is dead, and that the future of France lies with the Russia that has been re-born, complete with its religion and its sense of national pride. How valid this position is I cannot say, but when you read an article like this one, you realize there may be some merit in it.