Russia’s foreign intelligence director alluded to cancel culture and claimed that Russia is suffering “a cancellation” as the world slaps sanctions on the nation for invading Ukraine.
“The masks have been dropped. The West is not just trying to surround Russia with a new Iron Curtain,” Russia’s Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin said on Thursday. “We are talking about attempts to destroy our state — its ‘cancellation,’ as it is now customary to say in a ‘tolerant’ liberal-fascist environment.”
Naryshkin’s comments appeared on Russian-language site RIA Novosti, which noted that they were initially posted on the website of SVR, the Russian intelligence agency. Paul Sonne, a national security reporter for The Washington Post, pointed them out on Twitter.
Sergei Naryshkin, head of Russian foreign intelligence: "The masks are off. The West isn't simply trying to close off Russia behind a new iron curtain. This is about an attempt to ruin our government – to 'cancel' it, as they now say in "tolerant" liberal-fascist circles."
— Paul Sonne (@PaulSonne) March 3, 2022
Naryshkin also noted that those describing a new Cold War between Russia and the West are mistaken. “Western politicians and commentators like to call what is happening a ‘new Cold War,'” he said. “It seems that historical parallels are not entirely appropriate here. If only because in the second half of the 20th century, Russia fought with the West on the distant approaches, and now the war has come to the very borders of our Motherland. So for us it is definitely not ‘cold’, but quite ‘hot.'”
Naryshkin’s comments come as commentators in the United States have invoked cancel culture to describe the international backlash against Russia.
Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Monica Crowley evoked cancel culture on Tuesday, telling Jesse Watters on Fox News that “Russia is now being canceled,” in part because of the sanctions. “Between the fierce Ukrainian resistance and the widespread international financial sanctions and boycotts and Russian teams being barred from international competitions, Russia is being canceled,” Crowley said. “It is a different world. This is not something that President Putin ever had anticipated.”
"Look, Russia is now being canceled."
— Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Monica Crowley, proving again that cancel culture is really consequence culture pic.twitter.com/Z2t9TN051w
— The Recount (@therecount) March 2, 2022
Jason Willick, a columnist for The Washington Post, invoked cancel culture in a tweet. “We are witnessing the first geopolitical ‘cancellation’ of the 21st century,” he wrote.
Crowley and Willick both defended the “cancellation.” Republican Arizona state Sen. Wendy Rogers did not, claiming in a tweet that the West “is trying to deplatform and debank Russia.”
Rogers’ tweet came as the U.S. and its European allies agreed to block Russian banks from accessing SWIFT, a financial messaging system that enables banks to make and accept payments. “This is just as wrong as invading Ukraine,” she added of the military operation that has resulted in widespread devastation throughout Ukraine and thousands of lives lost.
The West is trying to deplatform and debank Russia. This is just as wrong as invading Ukraine.
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) February 27, 2022
Regardless of the intentions of those cramming the fallout from a world-historical conflict into the rhetoric of American right-wingers trying to avoid accountability for bad behavior, it’s a pretty disconcerting that said rhetoric has now been co-opted by an official of the nation waging the invasion.
Well done, conservatives.