The conservative commentator calls treatment of Russians in the West ‘appalling,’ declares that ‘Russian Lives Matter.’
Conservative pundit Candace Owens has called out the growing xenophobia the Russian people have been facing in Western countries after the beginning of Moscow’s military offensive in Ukraine.
“Absolutely appalling the way Russians are being treated in America and abroad,” Owens said on Wednesday in a Twitter post. “That our leaders and government institutions are allowing for – and at times calling for – this discrimination following their global Black Lives Matter hysteria is quite telling.”
Owens ended her tweet by declaring, “Russian Lives Matter.” She has previously spoken out against the BLM movement. Last month, she drew criticism when she blamed the US government and its NATO allies for escalating tensions in Ukraine by breaking promises to Moscow and expanding onto Russia’s doorstep.
Russian expatriates in the US, Canada and Europe have faced increasing discrimination and hatred amid the Ukraine crisis, especially since President Vladimir Putin began a military offensive in the former Soviet republic on February 24. Police in Calgary this month launched an investigation after receiving multiple reports of Russian residents being harassed online, and vandals splashed a Russian Orthodox church in the city with red paint.
Even symbols of Russia that aren’t Russian-owned have been targeted. For instance, vandals reportedly attacked the iconic Russia House Restaurant, located a little more than one mile from the White House, the weekend after the invasion began. The assailants broke windows, damaged a door and scrawled messages on the exterior walls, including “House of murderers.” A Russia House eatery in Austin, Texas, changed its name to “House” to avoid any implication that it’s pro-Russian.
Some public officials and even diplomats have attempted to stoke anti-Russian sentiment as well. US Representative Eric Swalwell (D-California) suggested that all Russians studying at American universities should be expelled from the country.
In Europe, Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter fired Russian Valery Gergiev as conductor of the Munich Philharmonic for failing to meet his deadline to denounce Putin. Novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky was punished more than a century after his death, as a university in Milan canceled a course on his works, while the Cardiff Philharmonic in Wales canceled a Tchaikovsky program.
Michael McFaul, who was the Obama-Biden administration’s ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014, said last week that all Russians are culpable for the attack on Ukraine. “There are no more ‘innocent,’ ‘neutral’ Russians anymore,” McFaul said on Twitter. Many observers, such as podcast host Zack Beauchamp, criticized McFaul for adopting the terrorist ideology that all citizens of a state are responsible for the policies of their government.
Many Russian athletes have long been banned from international competitions, but they’re not alone anymore. The International Feline Federation barred Russian cats, too, from competing in overseas shows.