The latest spin (read: lie) from Moscow is that three activists boycotted President Obama’s meeting with Russian NGOs yesterday in St. Petersburg during the G20 summit.
Except of course, it’s a lie. Anyone surprised?
The disinformation was disseminated by Russian former gay advocate Nikolai “Jews are kikes” Alexeyev, who suggested on Twitter and Facebook that three Russian activists – Ludmila Alekseeva, Lev Ponomarev, and Svetlana Gannushkina – were invited to the meeting, but refused to meet with President Obama, and thus President Obama left Russia in “disgrace.”
Oddly, if you bother actually clicking on the link that Alexeyev, who has been rather unstable the past three weeks (to put it lightly), links to as proof of his claim, you find out that the activists wanted to attend the meeting with Obama, but were unable to go because of a timing conflict: The meeting time and day kept changing to the point that they could no longer attend.
The meeting was transferred many times and it has become almost impossible. We also buy tickets. Had we considered it very important that, you know – we do not overcome such difficulties. And in this case, I believe the meeting is a ritual . A similar meeting was already during U.S. Secretary – he also had to report back to Congress, which met with human rights activists. Ritual is a good thing, and if it happened in Moscow, we could come.
Note that Ludmila says “we” – she’s speaking for all of them.
Today in St. Petersburg will host a meeting of representatives of civil society in Russia with U.S. President Barack Obama. I also was invited to the meeting, but was forced to abandon it because the day of the meeting and I was transferred following ports are important to me the business of protecting workers related to the participation of other parties.
The translation is a bit hinky, but it’s clear that Gannushkina is saying that she was forced to not attend because of the day that was chosen for the meeting.
And while Ponomarev would appear to be covered by Alekseeva’s “we,” in any case, there’s nothing from him online that I can find suggesting that there was any other reason for him not attending.
In other words, yet again, embattled former gay activist Nikolai Alekseyev is alleging something that isn’t true, and his misinformation just so happens to inure to the benefit of the Kremlin. Whether it’s because Alexeyev is “being used as a spokesperson by the Kremlin,” as Russian journalist Masha Gessen now believes, no one really knows. Here’s what Gessen told Mike Signorile yesterday:
“I have great respect for some of the work Nikolai Alexeyev has done in the past,” Gessen said, offering her beliefs on what might have happened to him. “And I have had disagreements with him on many occasions in the past. What I do know is that he’s given every sign of working for the Kremlin right now. Whether he was coerced or blackmailed into doing that through threat of arrest, which exists, through the search of his apartment, which occurred, or seduced by money, at this point he’s being used as a spokesperson by the Kremlin.” (Alexeyev declined a request for an interview.)
What we do know is that the Alexeyev Rule holds true for yet another day: If he says it, believe the opposite.