Information operations #UKR Update – 021400UTC July 2015


From Burning Hearts To Civil Unions: The Unlikely Evolution Of Dmitry Kiselyov

“Love can work miracles,” says Dmitry Kiselyov. “Who is against that?”

A Southern experession: As I live and breathe, I never…  I do declare!

Change Of Heart?

Russian Propaganda Chief Supports Same-Sex Unions

Dmitry Kasilyov has been the most anti-gay Russian propagandist imagineable.

I said it here, as recently as two days ago, that Dimitry is possibly gay-friendly or possibly gay.

Now this.  I’m shocked!


Somewhere around the 98th minute of his weekly news roundup and commentary for Russia’s Rossiya television channel this week, Dmitry Kiselyov got around to saying something truly unexpected.

In his coverage of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages, the head of Rossia Segodnya, Russia’s massive state-controlled media conglomerate, came out in favor of same-sex civil unions:

“We can figure out how to make life easier for adult people who want to take upon themselves — including in a contractual way — the obligations to care for one another.”

“After all, love can work miracles,” he added. “Who is against that?”

To be sure, it was a tepid statement from someone who is more famous for colorful pronouncements such as his March 2014 reminder that Russia is capable of turning the United States into “radioactive dust.”

In April 2012, Kiselyov raised eyebrows with this now-notorious declaration on homosexuals: “[Gays] should be prohibited from donating blood or sperm. And their hearts, in case they die in a car accident, should be buried or burned as unfit for extending anyone’s life.”

During the June 28 edition of his weekly Vesti Nedeli, Kiselyov urged people not to think about homosexual relationships in terms of sex and compared his vision of civil unions to existing laws that cover cases of guardianship. After all, it doesn’t matter what gender the guardian or the ward is, he argued.

Marriage, he said, must remain exclusively between a man and a woman.

“But civil unions are a different thing, a different level,” Kiselyov said. “And we don’t need to see men wearing white lace to weddings or throwing bouquets over their shoulders.”

Russia has been harshly criticized for its record on gay rights, especially since it passed a 2013 law banning the “propaganda” of alternative lifestyles to minors. Activists say that law has provoked a sharp increasein antigay attacks and vigilantism and a spike in Russians seeking asylum abroad fearing such violence.

In comments to Interfax on June 28,  Konstantin Dobrynin, a member of the Federation Council from Arkhangelsk Oblast, also struck a surprising note, urging Russia to “try to find a legal form that would ensure a social balance on this topic between the conservative part of society and all the rest.”

Dobrinin said “don’t ask, don’t tell” might just be “the optimal formulation” for the near future.

Asked about an initiative by St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov to ban Facebook because it allows users to decorate their profiles with the rainbow flag of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, Dobrinin was particularly blunt:

“We need to remove from the political sphere and from our lives these quasi-politicians who are openly speculating on homophobia and generating legislative spam — and the sooner, the better,” Dobryinin said. “It is precisely them — and not gays — who present a clear and present threat to Russian security and the government should fight against them.”


The Power Vertical: Russia’s Deadly Fantasy Politics

I like this author.  We think alike.  I actually got a few belly laughs from this article, intended or not.

What Brian says is true, however. There seem to be far too many certifiable nut jobs in Russia, hell bent on injecting the latest Russia propaganda straight into their veins. Forget reading, drinking or inhaling, they’ll mainline it.

For about 24 hours, it looked like Russia was about to do something truly insane.

Yeah, I know. What else is new? But I mean something even crazier than everything we’ve been witnessing the past couple of years.

Russian news agencies  reported on June 30 that the Prosecutor-General’s Office had opened an investigation into the constitutionality of the Soviet Union’s September 1991 recognition of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania’s independence.

It was, of course, patently absurd. Prosecutors were going to investigate whether the actions of a state that hasn’t existed for nearly two decades were constitutional according to a constitution that has been defunct for almost 24 years? Really?

And the issue at stake was whether it was legal for a Soviet Union on its deathbed to grant independence to three countries that it illegally annexed — under the secret protocols of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop pact with Nazi Germany — in the first place.

But beyond being the latest example of Vladimir Putin’s Russia descending into la-la land, it was also menacing and deeply disturbing. Given Moscow’s recent saber rattling vis-a-vis the Baltics — and given that the Baltics are all NATO members — it looked like a harbinger that something truly frightening could be on the horizon.

Could Moscow truly be contemplating an attack on the Baltics?

Fast forward one day.

On July 1, Russian officials scrambled to walk it all back.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin was unaware of the case and couldn’t make any sense of the idea. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted that Russia and the Baltics have mutual diplomatic relations and their relations are bound by a series of international treaties.

And Marina Gridnyova, a spokeswoman for the Prosecutor-General’s Office, said the inquiry into Baltic independence had no legal merit. Gridnyova said prosecutors had indeed opened a case but only because they were legally obliged to do so because two State Duma deputies had formally requested the probe.

She added that the request, which came from lawmakers Yevgeny Fyoderov and Anton Romanov of the ruling United Russia party, was“entirely ludicrous.”

So this wasn’t the opening act of World War III.

But it nevertheless does point to an unsettling and potentially dangerous trend: an inability on the part of many Russians — including top officials — to distinguish between the hyperpatriotic fantasies the regime has been constructing and reality.

An Alternative Universe

On June 19 in a village in Yaroslavl Oblast, a 45-year old engineer beat a close friend to death because he was convinced the man was an American spy. He believed this, according to a report in Komsomolskaya Pravda, because the victim frequently traveled abroad.

This little tabloid news item is a tragic example of the corrosive effects of the fantasyland the Kremlin has constructed — a world where fascists have taken over Ukraine, Russia is encircled by enemies, and American agents are lurking around every corner plotting to destroy the motherland.

The creation of an alternative universe, a meta-narrative to feed to the public, has long been a cornerstone of Putin’s rule.

During his first two terms, under the stewardship of Kremlin spinmeister Vladislav Surkov, the regime spun a convincing story of Russia rising from its knees. Putin was bringing order to chaos and establishing a “dictatorship of law.”

The narrative was powerful because it had the virtue of coinciding with a dramatic rise in living standards due to rising oil prices.

Together with this, Surkov masterminded a virtual political system.

There were fake opposition political parties that created the illusion of pluralism and stage-managed elections that reinforced the legitimacy of the regime.

There were set-piece dramas with recognizable villains — like the arrest and trial of MIkhail Khodorkovsky — to entertain and divert public attention from what the regime was really doing. (In this case, eliminating a political threat and expropriating his oil company.)

Tightly managed pro-Kremlin youth groups harassed, and state television ridiculed, regime opponents like Garry Kasparov.

The aim of it all was to soothe the masses, foster passive acquiescence among the intelligentsia, and instill hopeless resignation among the diehard opposition.

It was, as Andrew Wilson, author of the 2005 book Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World, “the society of the spectacle.”

But since Putin returned to the Kremlin in 2012, and especially since the conflict in Ukraine, the nature of the spectacle changed — and acquired a sharper edge.

Now the requirements of a less secure regime demand almost constant agitation and mobilization. With those fascists running around Kyiv and the West plotting Russia’s destruction, the very survival of the nation is at stake after all!

And as a result, Wilson wrote in a recent essay, “Russian politics is even more virtual than it was before.”

“And like all addictions, it has needed higher and higher doses to have the same effect,” he added. “It has become more toxic as the impact of its more prosaic methods has grown blunt.”

A Deadly Cocktail

All this has led to a spiralling dumbing down of Russian public discourse.

Vladislav Inozemtsev, director of the Moscow-based Center for Post-Industrial Studies, wrote recently that “Russian propaganda is incredibly inane and officials’ lie shamelessly and flagrantly” because the ruling elite has laid the groundwork to “first secure the same level of stupidity among the population.”

It’s all a potentially deadly cocktail. The longer you live in a fantasy, the easier it is to believe that fantasy is real.

That goes for a villager in Yaroslavl Oblast, who becomes convinced his friend is an American spy — and kills him.

And it goes for two State Duma deputies from Russia’s ruling party who thought it would a good idea to set in motion a process that could have led to a devastating international conflict.

Yevgeny Fyoderov and Anton Romanov’s crazy idea may have been dismissed by the authorities as the rantings of two lawmakers who were “dizzy with success.” Or it may have been part of yet another Kremlin spectacle designed to keep the West off balance and the public entertained.

In either case, it could be just a matter of time until somebody with real decision-making power gets caught up in the fantasy loop and does something truly insane.

“The dramaturgia has developed a logic of its own, one that long ago lost touch with reality or real-world consequences,” Wilson wrote.

“Russia is not sleep-walking into disaster; it is marching at high speed while drugged up to the eyeballs.”


Information operations News Highlights – July 1, 2015

CounterPropaganda, Propaganda, Russia, Ukraine

Counter Russian Propaganda Compilation for 30 June 2015

Russian nazis

30 June 2015

A LOT of Russian Propaganda today. I stopped after a page and a half, I got tired…

There was a noticeable increase in Counter-Russian-Propaganda but nowhere near the Russian volume.

Russian propaganda

Counter Russian propaganda




Of Interest


OPM Suspends Background Check Portal Due to Vulnerability

CounterPropaganda, Propaganda, Russia, Ukraine

Thank You, Russian Media

Peace, and here’s your half

I wish to thank RT and Russia Insider for helping me state the case, today, that US information and influence activities are weak, to say it nicely.

Notice the wonderful descriptions in each of the YouTube listings.  Peace and love, bro. Peace and love.

Here are the URLs and the speakers. (Secretary Kerry) (VP Biden) (Senator McCain) (Secretary Kerry)

Here is what we risk if we don’t ‘beef up’ our counter-propaganda efforts.
Representative Conyers (D-MI) (

Representative Rohrabacher (R-CA) (

I’m tempted to revert back to another old saying: “Peace, and here’s your half”.