Russia is adopting an aggressive new propaganda strategy to undermine relations between the world’s leading democracies, the Wall Street Journal’s Anton Troianovski reports:
A Russian official in Berlin briefed on the media plans for Germany said a significant portion of the German public was receptive to Russia’s message. They included people with antiwar, antiglobalization and general leftist views. Conservatives, including opponents of “homosexual propaganda,” were also targets, the official said. “One can do some pretty powerful work with this segment,” the Russian official said.
RT, launched by the Kremlin as Russia Today in 2005, is a news channel now available in English, Spanish and Arabic that positions itself as an alternative to Western international media such as CNN, the BBC and Germany’s Deutsche Welle. While viewership is relatively small, observers say that by airing increasingly shrill criticism of the West and comments from anti-American conspiracy theorists as well as far-right and far-left Western politicians, RT has sought to undermine the authority of Western media.
In the Ukraine crisis, for example, RT has accused Western media and politicians of hiding evidence opposing the view that pro-Russian separatists shot down the Malaysia jet. “The biggest success of the Russian propaganda is to create confusion about what is true or not,” said Marieluise Beck, a member of the opposition party Greens who is one of Mr. Putin’s most prominent critics in the German parliament.
On Thursday, Russian police upgraded from ”vandalism” to ”hooliganism” a recent stunt in which four activists raised a Ukrainian flag on a Moscow skyscraper (above), the Moscow Times reports:
Under this new charge, the four could be sentenced to as much as seven years in prison.
If they are convicted, it will certainly send a pointed message to all Russian activists. But fear of punishment, not punishment itself, may prove to be the greatest lid on dissent in Russia. A raft of recent legislation on the Internet, especially the so-called blogger law, encourages many to police themselves.
Rossiya Segodnya now says it will employ hundreds of journalists around the world to produce local-language news reports, radio shows and social-media content, the Journal’s Troianovski adds:
According to a Rossiya Segodnya brochure that provides an overview of the organization for the German public, the organization planned to build up hubs in about a dozen cities, with a goal of participating “in shaping public opinion and the news agenda.” Mr. Kiselyov said financing for the expansion was still being worked out. ……
“The U.S. was always the symbol of the good, democracy, freedom, alliance, defense, while Russia generally represented the opposite,” Mr. Tulchinskiy, the Rossiya Segodnya bureau chief in Berlin, said. “It turns out the first statement isn’t so true, so it’s logical to think that the second statement isn’t so true.”
One of the most important moments of the perestroika era was when the secret additional protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact were made public, notes analyst Ivan Sukhov:
These secret additions assigned the Baltic states to the Soviet Union and divided up Poland into German and Soviet spheres of influence. These protocols were a real shock to a country that had been proclaiming itself the defeater of fascism since 1945.
That uncomfortable moment of closeness between the Soviet leadership and the Nazis explained, for example, much about the way in which the Baltic republics left the Soviet Union. That is, it was an explanation for those who wanted to understand, but those people were and still are few and far between in Russia.
Even today, the leaders of the ministries of culture and education are seriously discussing ridding the school curriculum of the paragraphs about the secret protocols. This part of history too obviously contradicts the official propaganda on the war with Hitler, which, as we know, is so significant in today’s manipulation of public opinion.