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The Daily Vertical: One Man's Terrorist... (Transcript)

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

Ask a Russian official what is a terrorist, and you are likely to get a very interesting -- and a very revealing -- answer.

In a recent televised interview, Russia's Ambassador to Israel Aleksandr Shein said that Moscow does not consider Hamas and Hizballah to be terrorist organizations.

Why not? Well, this is where it gets really interesting.

According to Shein, Hamas and Hizballah aren't terrorists because they aren't attacking Russia.

Yeah, you heard that right. I'm not making this up. He actually said that.

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It's pretty remarkable when officials get caught telling the truth.

It's pretty amazing when a regime's double standards are exposed live on the air.

And the double standard is not restricted to terrorists.

Take one of the Kremlin's favorite words: the ubiquitous "fascist" slur.

Judging from the rhetoric coming out of Moscow, anybody who opposes Vladimir Putin's regime risks being labeled a fascist.

It could be Aleksei Navalny. Or it could be Ukraine's pro-Western government.

But what about violent right-wing extremists who would normally qualify for the fascist label, but who are pro-Kremlin?

Well, those aren't fascists, you see. Those are patriots.

Likewise, anybody who opposes Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea is a separatist.

But those who actually separated Crimea from Ukraine -- they're freedom fighters, or "polite people."

Welcome to the dizzying world of the Kremlin spin machine. Welcome to a world in which language has absolutely no meaning.

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