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As it happened: Biden-Putin talks in Geneva

After his meeting with Joe Biden in Geneva, Vladimir Putin held a presser where he adeptly aped some of our partisan hyperbole to deflect attention from his own authoritarianism.

“People are shot and killed every day [in the U.S.],” Putin told reporters when asked about his crackdown on domestic political opposition. “You don’t have a chance to open your mouth and you’re shot dead.” Shooting a person for any reason other than genuine self-defense, despite what gun-controllers might have us think, isn’t sanctioned by the state or supported by any organization in America. Though people are also murdered every day in Russia, which has a substantively higher homicide rate than the United States.

Putin had also preposterously suggested that Ashli Babbitt, shot when she joined a mob that stormed the Capitol, was a victim of “assassination” by the police — which, I suppose, is also a tacit admission that he was behind the attack on the now-imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and numerous journalists.

“America just recently had very severe events, well-known events, after the killing of an African American,” Putin explained. “And the entire movement developed known as Black Lives Matter. I’m not going to comment on that but here’s what I do want to say. What we saw was disorder, destruction, violations of the law, etc.”

Russia has been using racial tensions in the United States to deflect attention from its widespread, sometimes genocidal, actions since the 1930s. Riots do break out from time to time in the United States. Riots, though, rarely break out in police states. Not long ago, Russian police arrested 3,000 people and shut down thousands more for peacefully attending “unauthorized” events.

Putin also brought up enhanced-interrogation techniques and the extrajudicial jailing of terrorists. If you don’t believe Russia engages in both — with terrorists, and its own citizens — I have news for you. Here, both issues were vigorously debated by politicians and reviewed by an independent judiciary. Here, the state does not liquidate domestic political opponents.

Here, we decry alleged fascism to millions on cable-news networks, in newspaper editorials, in best-selling books, and in the halls of Congress — not from a jail cell, where one may or may not recover from a state-sponsored poisoning.

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