I have drawn blood. One of the posters of what certainly appears to me to be propaganda has disparaged this post as ridiculous, off target, etc. etc. In other words, on target.
Since I composed this I have discovered that there is indeed a well-orchestrated, wide-front propaganda war in support of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. I recommend that you google “Moscow Times opinion propaganda 2014” for several op-ed pieces, and read this especially insightful piece by a Polish think tank. I invite that poster, who knows my real identity and follows this blog, to post a reply here. As long as it is done in civil language I will be pleased to approve it.
The original article
The Soviets were notorious for their use of propaganda. Lenin co-opted a great many “useful idiots” such as the New York Times bureau Chief Walter Duranty to spread Soviet propaganda. American liberals sang the “Internationale” and demonstrated for Cuba when I was a kid. This time they are using the American right to spread their message. Can this be a surprise?
The relentless propaganda broadcast by all Ukrainian media in support of the Yanukovych regime up until February was ultimately unpersuasive: the Internet told the truth. The new government has had no time to put together a PR shop capable of countering the Russians. The propaganda war is totally one-sided. A few anti-Yanukovych publications such as the Kyiv Post survived. They are vilified as partisan, but they have established credibility over more than a decade in operation. And, they are all there is.
How can you identify Russian propaganda? It is professionally done, and the average reader cannot check the facts. There are some commonsense controls that anybody can apply.
1. Does it make historical sense? Ukraine was controlled by Putin ally Yanukovych until February. Yanukovych is a native Russian speaker whose Ukrainian is embarrassingly bad. If there had been any fascists, anti-Russian language activists, one would be sure that he would have rooted them out.
2. Does it make geographic sense? Look at a linguistic map of Ukraine, available online, and you will find that at least half the country speaks Russian natively. More than half the books published here are in Russian. Russian speakers are not persecuted. They are not even a minority.
3. Listen to the tone of the propaganda. Russians are arrogant, condescending to Ukrainians, treating them as uninformed bumpkins. This has been the Russians stance to toward Ukraine for centuries. Only by regarding them as sub-humans could they have justified starving millions to death. Russian bloggers condescend to us as well.
4. Examine the bloggers on the Internet. See if they have been in cyberspace for any length of time, and see if they post on other subjects.
5. Look for hypocrisy. Russia is busing in uneducated thugs from Russia and Transniestria to foment trouble. One has to look no further back than the demonstrations in Maidan to witness Yanukovych busing in thugs called titushki. Yet, Russia constantly blames the thuggery on the Ukrainians. The most blatant of paid shills accuse me of being a – paid shill. Russians, as they put the Nazi playbook for taking over Poland into practice once again, call Ukraine a nation of fascists.
6. Look for motives. Why would Ukrainians want to stir up trouble in their own southeast? They are attempting to put together a nation. It would be extremely stupid to offend the Russian speakers. Russia’s motive, on the other hand, is transparent: conquest.
7. Do they seem to have an endless supply of talking points? As if somebody in Moscow had done extensive research and broadcast it to them?
8. Do they show any sense of humor? Aside from their snide put-downs?
9. Do they ever have a negative word to say for their boy Putin? We free men certainly do for Obama, Bush, Cameron and every leader in the west. My opinion is that Moscow cannot allow even a single bit of deprecation, even to make the blogger appear human. Giving a blogger such freedom would be dangerous.
10. Do they change the subject? Do they respond with how awful the CIA is when you accuse them of spreading propaganda? The issue is the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It has nothing to do with the US.
We bloggers tend to express ourselves honestly and expect integrity from others on the Internet. We at least expect that they are speaking for themselves. Not so – Putin takes advantage of our sense of fair play. The strength of Russian propaganda, paid for and posted by useful idiots, is in its slick preparation, relentless repetition and emotional appeal. Subject it to analysis, and it falls apart.
Here are links to web sites about Russian propaganda
Google “moscow times opinion propaganda 2014”