A debate on Qatar’s state-owned Al Jazeera news channel was temporarily rescued from an indignant display by the calming words of respected journalist Vladimir Pozner. The multi-lingual Pozner has appeared on international television in multiple countries and on multiple channels ranging from Russia’s Channel One to CNN in the United States.
On an Al-Jazeera programme, he was invited to discuss the forthcoming Presidential elections in Russia alongside Evgenia Albats and Vladimir Kara-Murza. Both Kara-Murza and Albats have been highly critical of the incumbent President as well as his most popular opposition opponents Pavel Grudinin of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation as well as political veteran Vladimir Zhirinovsky of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.
During an opening segment, Kara-Murza delivered a tirade against the incumbent President, Vladimir Putin that was rife with inaccuracies regarding self-appointed “opposition leader” Alexi Navalny, namely that his illegal rallies bring “hundreds of thousands” of people to the streets. In reality, the numbers are generally far lower.
Pozner, who is not a Putin supporter was having none of it. He stated,
“When I was asked to participate in this program, I said I was not interested in getting into a debate. I am not a debater, I am a journalist. I am not opposition… I am not a big fan of Putin’s, but I like to try to be objective.
People do go to the poll and they do vote. And for whatever reasons, Putin has a very high percentage of support. And it’s not because people are stupid. I say again, I am not a Putin supporter, but either you have to see things the way they are or you describe them the way you want them to be or want people to believe them to be.
Pozner later stated that he felt misled by Al Jazeera, into thinking he was invited to a show to share his expertise on the Russian electoral process with an international audience, but instead was tricked into appear on an “ideological debate” show.
After making his objections known, Pozner calmly left the studio, allowing the other guests to “agree with each other”, as he explained it. Pozner should be commended for refusing to allow himself to be drawn into a dishonest debating programme when all he sought to do was explain some basic facts and figures regarding a much misunderstood electoral process. In reality, Vladimir Putin’s high levels of sustained popularity throughout the country will likely result in a Putin victory in the first round of voting. The more interested part of the election will be which one of the opposition parties comes second. Will it be the Communists led by the politically inexperienced agricultural worker and activist Grudinin or will it be the foreign policy expert Vladimir Zhirinovsky whose party was the first opposition party in the Soviet Union?
Below is a video of Vladimir Pozner making his thoughts known to an arrogant Al Jazeera host. It should be of note that Qatar is a hereditary Emirate whose leader Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has never faced and will never have to face an election so long as he lives.