Alexander Odoevsky, the second secretary at the Russian embassy in Canberra, Australia, asserted the world needs to respect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because Syrians “elected” him in 2014.
“You should not change any leader just if you don’t like him for some reason,” he said. “We have seen what happened in Libya, in Iraq. Whether you like [Bashar al-Assad] or not, he was elected by the Syrian people and he’s there fighting ISIS.”
Odoevsky maintained that the elections, which were held in the middle of the civil war, were “not like the ‘so-called elections’ in ‘Liberal democracies.’” He added that “countries have their own traditions and their political systems and this should be respected.”
Assad “won” reelection in June 2014 for another seven-year term in the war-torn country. The Syrian Civil War will enter its fifth year in 2016. He received 10,319,723 (88.7 percent) votes while his challengers only received 4.3 percent and 3.2 percent.
Even though Odoevsky viewed it as legitimate, leaders in the West condemned his re-election. British foreign secretary William Hague said the win was an “insult” to the country.
“Assad lacked legitimacy before this election, and he lacks it afterward,” he said.
Secretary of State John Kerry did not approve of the vote, since a country could not hold “an election where millions of your people don’t even have the ability to vote.” The European Union agreed “it cannot be considered as a genuinely democratic vote.”
Russia is Syria’s largest ally. The Kremlin began airstrikes against “terrorists” in Syria on September 30. They claimed the planes targeted only the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), but insiders told Reuters the Russians bombed areas not home to the radical Islamic group. The attacks occurred a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama spoke about the ongoing conflict. They acknowledged they could not agree how to approach the subject. Putin insists Assad must stay, but the U.S. and the majority of the international community want him to step down.
To propel support, Russia is pumping out propaganda. Channel 1 is devoting coverage to nearly anyone willing to justify the attacks.
“This is more than just military strikes against Islamic State,” observed Igor Korotchenko, editor of National Defense magazine. “We are protecting the values of humanity and taking a stand against the most extreme forms of obscurantism and terror.”
“This is generally the holy land,” he explained. “It is for us [Russians] our land. It was from there came to us a civilization. Maybe someone forgot. Antioch gave us the first monks.”
He continued, “When we celebrated the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty all liturgy led not to Russian Orthodox Church, but to Antioch. Would not it be for Antioch, there would be no Orthodoxy and Russia. This is our land!”
Russian television station Rossiya 24 tailored their weather report to support Russia’s bombing of Syria, reporting that the weather was ideal for an airstrike campaign in the Mideast nation.
“Russian aerospace forces are continuing their operation in Syria. Experts say the timing for it was chosen very well in terms of weather,” described the forecaster.
Images flashed from the weather forecast “to aerial footage released by the defence ministry showing targets in the Syrian countryside being peppered by Russian bombs.” The report claims October is the perfect month to perform these airstrikes. The forecaster stated “the average wind speed is only 2.4 metres per second and rain typically falls once every 10 days.” The Middle Eastern country faces 13 cloudy days, but that, she said, should not affect the planes.
“In these meteorological conditions, planes can dive below the clouds and conduct effective strikes on ground targets, and only climb higher if there’s active anti-aircraft fire,” she exclaimed.