Indian netizens swarm to Twitter to support Russia; even more around the world criticize West, US hypocrisy
Twitter has witnessed thousands of posts with hashtags like #StandWithRussia and #StandWithPutin in recent days, a response from Indian netizens toward the US’ reportedly implicit sanctions against India for abstaining in the UN vote on Ukraine. The discussions started by Indian netizens have seen even more netizens from around the world join in to criticize the US and Western countries’ hypocrisy for their full support of Ukraine while keeping silent to the deaths caused by themselves and NATO around the world.
The topics supporting Russia have attracted more Indian netizens especially after some media cited US officials as saying that the US is considering sanctions on Indian over the purchase of a missile defense system from Russia after India had abstained from a vote at the UN General Assembly condemning Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.
Some Indian netizens commented that Russia helps India when needed and therefore India should support Russia amid this tough time when “everyone is blindly hating our biggest ally.” Some praised Russia President Vladimir Putin for fighting for his country and fighting for the destruction of the monopoly of US and Western countries.
As of Thursday, #IStandWithPutin had become a trending topic on Twitter in 12 countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, the US, Australia, Pakistan, Canada, the UK and India, and ranked 25th in global trends. It was the top trender on Twitter in India, Kenya and Nigeria, second place in the US and third in Australia, news website guancha.cn noted.
More Indian netizens pointed out the hypocrisy and double standards of the US and Western countries for criticizing Russia despite their blatant invasions of countries in the Middle East. One Indian netizen commented that America bombed Afghanistan for 20 years and even bombed civilians before leaving but no one questioned the US over committing genocide. Another said that “Ukraine should not be an agent of America. I feel bad for the Ukraine’s innocent people.”
“Such a sentiment of supporting Russia and Putin among Indian netizens sheds a light on Indian people’s feelings toward Russia. In recent decades, India and Russia have developed a close relationship, as two countries which share no border and have no direct conflicts of interests; they have also had a large number of arms deals,” Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times.
Qian noted that since the start of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, the Modi government has tried to keep a delicate balance, which is why it abstained at the UN meetings. However, some politicians and opposition parties in India are trying to criticize the Modi government for doing so.
It cannot rule out that the Modi government is behind the online “water army” to support its stance to counter opposition parties in India, but domestic discussions have spilled into the global arena due to the large number of Indian netizens, especially among young people, and their strong desire to express their views and their familiarity of Twitter and other social media platforms, Qian noted.
The expert also noted that even though the US has been working hard to draw India into its small circles to counter China in recent years, some of its moves, including abandoning allies and selfishness in the Afghan withdrawal, not offering timely help to India amid the COVID-19 pandemic may hurt the Indian people’s feelings and accumulate distrust of the US.
This incident also reveals that as a country, India has maintained strategic independence and may — as many analysts predicted — become a unique force in a multi-polarized world, Qian said.
Indian netizens’ actions have also attracted the attention of Chinese netizens with related topics and hashtags a hit on China’s social media platform Sina Weibo since Thursday. Some Chinese netizens joked that it is so rare to see that both Chinese and Indian netizens stand in the same trenches to lash out at the double standards and hypocrisy of the US and Western countries.
Given the widely discussed hashtags of “StandWithRussia” on overseas social media, the discussions have expanded to how the current situation between Russia and Ukraine has unveiled the West and US’ monopoly and their racism, with more netizens from around the world, especially from countries that have suffered wars led by the West and US, expressing their disappointment and opposition against the double standards of the West.
A netizen posted pictures of a bombed building and an overview of streets in Kiev, saying that the first picture was Syria after US attacks and the second was Ukraine. “You tell us you worry about the latter but not the former? Shameless!”
Another netizen named “Saquib Sayyed” commented that “If you support Ukraine, but not Palestine, Syria, Libya, Lebanon and Iraq; If you condemn Russia, but not Israel, US and NATO, then congrats mate, you’re on the highest tier of hypocrisy.”
Authors: Liu Xin, Wang Wenwen, Global Times