Former U.S. ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul deleted and later apologized for a tweet in which he proclaimed there are no “innocent” Russians.
McFaul initially questioned what kind of support Russian President Vladimir Putin had for the war.
“Name one Russian, besides Putin, who genuinely supports this war?”
In a follow-up message, however, things turned a little darker when McFaul suggested nobody in Russia can be considered innocent.
“There are no more ‘innocent’ ‘neutral’ Russians anymore,” he wrote. “Everyone has to make a choice — support or oppose this war. The only way to end this war is if 100,000s, not thousands, protest against this senseless war. Putin can’t arrest you all!”
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Michael McFaul: There Are No Innocent Russians
Former Ambassador to Russia under Barack Obama, Michael McFaul, deleted the tweet shortly thereafter and blamed inartful wording as the reason.
“I used language in a tweet that I regret. I deleted it,” he tweeted to his followers. “I should have used more precise language. I made a mistake. But I have no regrets about the argument I was trying to make, however imperfectly.”
Contrary to McFaul’s initial claim, there are examples of Russian citizens opposing the war effort in Ukraine and being arrested for their opposition.
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On Wednesday, an elderly woman who took part in an anti-war protest in St. Petersburg to oppose the invasion was arrested.
A report by The Guardian alleges five children between the ages of 7 and 11 were detained by police for hours after protesting Russia’s actions by attempting to lay flowers at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow.
As for what McFaul was trying to imply by suggesting that your average Russian citizen, who has nothing to do with the war, can’t be considered “innocent,” you’ll have to draw your own conclusions.
Russia is increasingly using totalitarian methods to shut down any anti-war protests. Young kids in Moscow were arrested with their mothers for opposing Russia’s invasion. pic.twitter.com/W9CUAJWoc9
— Ukraine Reporter (@StateOfUkraine) March 1, 2022
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Not Guilty by Default
Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson used Michael McFaul’s tweet regarding ‘no innocent Russians’ as evidence that war hawks and the Biden administration are trying to hurt ordinary citizens.
“Putin may have given the orders to invade Ukraine, but 6-year-old girls in St. Petersburg should pay the price for it because they deserve it,” Carlson sarcastically said of McFaul’s tweet.
“Their 80-year-old grandmothers deserve it too. In order to fight tyranny, the United States must embrace collective punishment. Hurt the children to bring justice,” he continued. “These are our values, because Vladimir Putin is a moral monster.”
Watch below starting around the 2 minute mark:
Joe Biden delivered this country’s first ever “state of Ukraine” address last night. pic.twitter.com/av1MjKxh8x
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) March 3, 2022
“Now, these are not traditional Western concepts of justice, but Joe Biden wholeheartedly endorses them and so does a dominant bipartisan coalition in the United States Congress,” Carlson added.
By contrast to McFaul’s statement, a good portion of Russians are, in fact, entirely innocent and have nothing to do with Putin’s actions.
Bin Laden’s argument for why US civilians were legit targets was they choose their leaders and thus are responsible for their acts. That was widely (and accurately) viewed as reprehensible. Even more odd to claim Putin is a totalitarian dictator, but *all Russians* are guilty.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 2, 2022
There are plenty of people in Russia who are protesting the invasion and deserve respect for their courage.
But, considering the consequences for dissent under Putin, people who don’t oppose him are certainly not guilty by default.