Brittany Griner, misconceptions caused by rampant Russophobia

Common misconceptions caused by rampant Russophobia in the US concerning Brittany Griner’s arrest in Russia.

– She was arrested for political reasons because of the Ukraine conflict.

Actually she was arrested before the military operation started. As of now her court case has been treated like any other. There is yet no indication that she will be treated unfairly in sentencing although we will soon see. There was a US embassy employee caught with marijuana who received a sentence of 14 years. The difference is that this person had more and was a state department employee.

– Russian courts are unfair because they have a 98% conviction rate.

US Federal Prosecutors have above a 95% conviction rate. Conviction rate being high doesn’t indicate unfairness necessarily.

– Marijuana laws in Russia are oppressive!

I agree, but marijuana is illegal federally in the US as well and prosecution in Russia is similar to many states in the US with lighter sentences for possession of small quantities than in some states. Griner had just barely more than the lowest posession level and while she could have a long sentence of years she might not.

– She will be treated unfairly because she is a black lesbian woman!

Russia, unlike the US, was never a colonial power that participated in the slave trade in Africa. On top of that the government has a hundred year history of promoting antiracism towards black people. Women in Russia are also treated with greater equality. After WW2 when the USSR defeated the Nazis in which 27 million men gave their lives in the struggle to defeat fascism, women rose to greater equality and that never changed. Russia is majority culturally against LGBT but legally there aren’t laws against LGBT except in promotion of LGBT, in other words being LGBT is not criminalized.

– She will be treated worse because she is a US celebrity sports star!

Griner isn’t just a WNBA star but is also a star in Russia where women’s basketball players makes 4 times as much money as they do in the US.

As of now there is nothing unusual about her arrest or the court case to say that she is being treated unfairly because of her US citizenship. That could change if she gets an exceptional sentence but until then there isn’t much to say about this other than we should decriminalize marijuana around the world.

Promoting Russophobia is hateful and dangerous. There are many Russians in the US right now facing extreme hostility and persecution. It’s not much different then the treatment of Muslims after 9/11.

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