Propaganda · Public Diplomacy

Russian Truth

Spend ten minutes in a pro-Russian chat room about Ukraine and you’ll find it impossible to understand most of what they are saying, even if they’re in English. I take part in one pro-Russian and another pro-Western chat room on Facebook and my mind is constantly being blown.

Here in the US we have absolutely no concept how poorly America is perceived by Russia and much of the world. Kosovo was a huge disaster and it is constantly flashed as absolute proof that the US is evil. Americans are perceived as constantly taking over other countries – despite that we don’t rule or annex them. We are then said to dominate them economically and tell them what to do. Supposedly we have killed millions in our wars, we are warmongers. We are constantly suppressing the rights of others outside our countries and doing the same to minorities within our country. Sometimes I hear about how we used the Atomic bomb.  On and on and on… They use terms like Fourth Reich (for Germany and the US), Third Carthage and Fourth Rome, I’m not exactly sure of the meanings, and frankly my dear… 

I have good Russian friends who now won’t speak with me because of all the lies that the Western media is supposedly spreading about Russia, Russian leaders and their close friends.

I suspect that many of my former Russians friends thought it advantageous to not agree with what I shared with them, the FSB reads everything they receive and especially what they write.  The NSA is playing powderpuff football compared with the FSB’s brutal professional football.  They play for keeps.

What most of us forget is that Russia not only controls the media that Russian citizens see and hear but they also control the coverage by journalists and reporters in places like Crimea and in places where they have de facto control, like Donetsk, Khirkiv and Luhansk. They also recently increased their “news services”, what most of the world calls propaganda, by a recent ten-fold increase while the US and others have decreased spending. The US spends a total of less than $3 billion on Public Diplomacy, the Chinese reportedly spend $8 billion. Russia has Rossiya Segodnya (Ria Novosti + Voice of Russia), their official state sponsored news service, but they are augmented by the following, all subsidized by the Russian Federation. RT, ITAR-TASS, Pravda, Moscow Times, Interfax, Rossiya 1, NTV, RTR Planets and PBC are either totally or to a great extent subsidized by the Russian government. Much of what they say is based on real world events but with a decidedly pro-Putin twist. Moscow Times is a strange one.  Every day they seem to print one story which is damning to Putin or Russia in its overall demeanor.  It attacks Putin and accuses them of lying, of corruption and so on. 

Then there are what used to be called Soviet Active Measures, in the days of the USSR.   Downright lies that Blackwater, RT calls them Greystone, is operating inside Ukraine since Crimea, is one whopper of a lie. The balaclava covered “Crimea Self Defense Force” is another whopper, the force in Crimea turned out to be Russian Naval Infantry. Now they’re turning up in other Ukrainian cities. Now protestors are turning up, supposedly hired by the FSB, out of work Ukrainian coalminers paid to carry Russian flags. 

But the basic concept is “The Big Lie”.  Here is an exerpt from Hitler’s Mein Kampf, the originator.

But it remained for the Jews, with their unqualified capacity for falsehood, and their fighting comrades, the Marxists, to impute responsibility for the downfall precisely to the man who alone had shown a superhuman will and energy in his effort to prevent the catastrophe which he had foreseen and to save the nation from that hour of complete overthrow and shame. By placing responsibility for the loss of the world war on the shoulders of Ludendorff they took away the weapon of moral right from the only adversary dangerous enough to be likely to succeed in bringing the betrayers of the Fatherland to Justice.

All this was inspired by the principle—which is quite true within itself—that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily; and thus in the primitive simplicity of their minds they more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation. For the grossly impudent lie always leaves traces behind it, even after it has been nailed down, a fact which is known to all expert liars in this world and to all who conspire together in the art of lying.

—Adolf Hitler , Mein Kampf, vol. I, ch. X

Construct a lie that is so big that all smaller lies can easily fit within ‘that truth’.  Don’t forget, most of this is pointed at the Russians themselves, they are restricted from other sources of information.  They are purposefully blinded.  RFE/RL was just kicked out of Russia,the US now has few means of inserting ‘our truth’, which is is considered “fair and objective”.  

Combine all this and you have one helluva combination. FSB and Spetznaz are working together, planning, recruiting and so on. When this is all said and done, it is going to be one heckuva difficult time to find out what is real and what was fake and or staged.

I just wanted to let you know.

Thank you, to Laurie, for the inspiration for this blog.

5 thoughts on “Russian Truth

  1. Thing is Joel. What is average American getting today? Is our administration really held to task

    Going the distance, Norm Balchunas Sent from my I-phone, so excuse my grammatically deficient thumbs

    1. In my humble but honest opinion, most people in the US Government believe something must be done, but they do not know what or how to do it.

      In 1999 the US dismantled the US Information Agency, which actively countered Soviet Active Measures, or disinformation, for decades. The late Herb Romerstein was a central figure in that long term struggle.

      Now the US finds itself battered and bruised, unable to defend, counter or even take the initiative in this information war. I hope, and the operative word is hope, that my proposal to create a counter-disinformation effort is received warmly and hopefully approved and receives the necessary funding. So far everyone is receptive and says “yes, we need it”, but progress is exceptionally slow.

      If anyone reading this can help, advise or otherwise support, please leave a comment and I’ll contact you post haste!

  2. I do appreciate your blog. However, I want to ask, have you ever read Golitsyn’s “New Lies for Old”?

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