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Russia Reacts to U.S. Riots, Claims of Meddling

A wave of outrage broke out in the U.S. over the death of an unarmed black man after he was arrested. Julio Cortez / AP / TASS

Violent clashes have erupted in major U.S. cities and outside the White House between law enforcement and protesters taking to the streets against police brutality. 

The nationwide wave of outrage was triggered following the death last Monday of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, after being arrested by Minneapolis police. The officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, Derek Chauvin, has been charged with third-degree murder.

Cities including Washington and Los Angeles deployed National Guard troops and imposed nighttime curfews as reports came in of property damage and looting. Around 4,100 people were arrested over the weekend.

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice told CNN that the violence that overshadowed the peaceful protests came “right out of the Russian playbook,” a statement that drew ire from Russian officials. Acting chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio tweeted, without naming Russia, that social media accounts linked to at least three foreign adversaries were “actively stoking and promoting violence and confrontation from multiple angles.”

Here’s a look at the reactions from Moscow:

Russian Foreign Ministry:

The United States has certainly accumulated systemic human rights problems: race, ethnic and religious discrimination, police brutality, bias of justice, crowded prisons and uncontrolled use of firearms and self-defense weapons by individuals, to name a few.”

We are urging the U.S. authorities to take effective measures to improve the current state of affairs, resume good-faith efforts to honor international commitments and tailor national legislation to the UN basic principles on the use of force and firearms by law enforcement.

And, of course, they should meticulously investigate the murder of George Floyd.”

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova:

Dear Suzan [sic] Rice, Some time ago your party colleagues made a fatal mistake when they decided to blame absolutely everything that was not to their liking on Russia. Hillary Clinton and the Obama team convinced themselves and tried to convince the world that the domestic problems in the United States were created and encouraged by an external force: Russia.

Your interview with CNN is a perfect example of barefaced propaganda. I would like to remind you that the social media, which you believe are being used by Russian agents to fuel protests in American cities, were registered in the United States, belong to Americans and are regulated by American laws.

Are you trying to play the Russia card again? You have been playing too long; please, come back to reality. Go out and face your people, look them in the eye and try telling them that they are being controlled by the Russians through YouTube and Facebook. And I will sit back and watch 'American exceptionalism' in action.

Konstantin Kosachev, senator:

“What Susan Rice has said is a direct insult. Not so much to Russia, which is simply non-existent and can’t be in this situation, but to its own people and the memory of U.S. citizen George Floyd.”

“The American fake news machine screeched, huffed and puffed and finally burst into a long-predicted act.”

“It would have been very funny. But it will be sad because this may be the first sign of what to come. But it’s not Russia that smells bad.”

Oleg Morozov, senator:

“[Rice’s] task is once again to divert the attention of American society to the swamp of Russophobia, routinely shifting the search for an outside enemy, deflecting the hit from the White House and the American elite as a whole.” 

“The principle is ‘who else but Russia?’”

“These statements sound like the ravings of a madman, but I’m sure that no one will believe this joke. The motives and reasons for what’s happening are too obvious.”

Pro-Kremlin pundit Dmitry Kiselyov:

“This is America, and such attitudes toward blacks are an accepted practice. So no one in the world is batting an eyelid.”

“Add to the mix 30 million unemployed and a sea of homelessness and you get a picture of life in the U.S. today. And this same America is constantly trying to teach the planet how to live?”

Kremlin spokseman Dmitry Peskov:

Of course, we are very closely watching what is happening in the United States. But everything that is happening there is an internal affair of this country.”

We have never interfered in American affairs and are not going to intervene now.”

“Any insinuations like [Rice's] are of course absolutely wrong and erroneous. As far as we understand, such insinuations can in no way reflect Washington’s official position.”

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