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Vera Graziadei. The Cunning Demons of Russian Propaganda, or what the BBC forgot to warn us about

 

Статья от 25 июня 2014 г. Грациади в ответ на скандальную публикацию британской журналистки Б.Кендал на сайте вещательной корпорации BBC, посвященная <<беспрецедентному уровню российской пропаганды>> в освящении украинского кризиса.

 

“Russian propaganda machine ‘worse than Soviet Union‘ has gripped the whole of Russia” concluded Bridget Kendall, BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent, after visiting Moscow at the beginning of June 2014.

 

Bridget Kendall is a highly-respected acclaimed British journalist, with a deep knowledge and understanding of Russia that comes from years of work experience there (1989-1995), for which she’s been awarded the James Cameron Award and MBE. In the wake of the Ukrainian political crisis, which was  explained by most western media as a Russian aggression against Ukraine, it is puzzling why the majority of Crimeans, East Ukrainians and Russians see events in a different light and are anti-Kiev government. Voices of authority like Bridget’s provide us with a confirmation that none of the attitudes, opinions and beliefs of the above-mentioned people can be taken seriously, as they are victims of Russian propaganda.

 

Thus, when I read something like Daniel Sandford’s BBC report on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, which describes Donbass people killed and towns ‘completely destroyed’ by the Ukrainian Army shelling, I take it for granted that local people who have taken arms against Kiev’s government are not acting in self-defence, trying to protect their land from the army that is shelling them or fighting for their right to self-determination, but they are thinking and behaving as mere automatons, fuelled by Russian propaganda, which has convinced them that in Kiev’s government there are fascists, who hate Russian-speakers. Because I believe that their cognitive stance is essentially faulty due to propaganda brainwashing, I do not feel a sense of indignation about the Ukrainian government suppressing their rebellion. In a sense, I agree with the Ukrainian ‘anti-terrorist operation’, because I KNOW that the people fighting the government are misguided and delusional tools of the Kremlin. All their beliefs about the US coup, fascist nationalism and war crimes of Kiev’s government are mere fabrications, created by Russian propaganda.

 

This narrative, which emerges from the BBC and other British media reports, would be consistent, if those “Russian propaganda” views on Ukraine, would only be held by those, who watch Russian TV. However, there are people around the world, including Australian-British journalist John Pilger,  Guardian columnist and Associate Editor Seumas Milne, US investigative historian Eric Zeusse, British Convenor of Stop the War Coalition Lindsey German, US author and former Republican politician Ron Paul , US journalist/academic and former Assistant Secretary of Treasury for Reagan’s Administration Paul Craig Roberts and many other thinkers, writers, politicians, journalists,  activists around the globe, who presumably do not watch Russian TV, but hold the same views.

 

This is very troubling, as it means that either holding those views has nothing to do with Russian propaganda and reporters like Bridget are misleading us or Russian propaganda is such a powerful force that it can reach people’s minds without them tuning into Russian media. Given that the BBC is our National Institution of Truth and Impartiality, we should trust that the latter is the case and that there are some paranormal forces that can penetrate people’s brains from a distance and inculcate messages of Russian propaganda into them.

 

Demons of Russian Propaganda are on the loose and they are so cunning, they will possess you, even if you don’t watch Russian TV!

 

As a BBC license payer, I’m disappointed that the BBC hasn’t informed us of this threat. Therefore, I propose to investigate the demons of Russian propaganda ourselves and find a way to battle them.

 

Buddhism teaches us that the best way to battle demons is to face them, so I propose that we brace ourselves and, before it’s too late, stare right into the ugly face of Russian propaganda, so that we are able to recognise its demons when they come to us. And as most of us do not have Russian TV at home, we can look at it through Bridget Kendall’s eyes, analysing her thorough investigation titled “Russian propaganda machine ‘worse than Soviet Union‘, which she published on BBC’s website on the 6th June 2014.

 

At this point I have a confession to make, which might deter you from reading further: when it comes to Ukraine, I share the views of Pilger, Milne, German, Zeusse and all the other unfortunate souls who have been possessed, but I must not be totally lost, as I’m still able to write this and to think how the BBC rightly wants us to think. However, I have a suspicion that once I start analysing Bridget’s findings, the cunning demons will smell the spirit of their brethren and might start possessing my thoughts. I will not try to fight them, I will let them say what they want to say, but I will highlight their voices in bold to expose them, so that you will see how demons do their pernicious work in the brain.

 

Before we begin, I encourage everyone to read Wikipedia’s entry on propaganda, paying particular attention to propaganda techniques:

 

“Propaganda is a form of communication aimed towards influencing the attitude of a population toward some cause or position. Propaganda is information that is not impartial and used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively (thus possibly lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or using loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. Propaganda can be used as a form of ideological warfare.”

 

Now that we are all on the same page as to what propaganda is and what its tools are, let’s have a look at Moscow through the eyes of Bridget Kendall.

 

The BBC is bound by Royal Charter to be as impartial as they can be, so Bridget arrives in Moscow with an open mind without knowing what her findings will be. The poetic beginning of her report suggests that she didn’t have a tunnel vision, which would produce a partial report. Instead, she was fully present, with all her senses wide open and ready to receive all the information that would flow through them:

 

“Moscow was in the midst of a heat wave when I arrived. The heady scent of lilac on the long warm evenings brought people out on to the streets.”

 

Having set the scene, Bridget reports on where she started her investigations of Russian public attitudes, beliefs and opinions – ‘on the embankment of the Moskva River’, the heart artery of the city, from which Moscow takes its name. There, she encounters a ‘drunken band of students’. (that’s strange – as a person, who used to be a London student myself, I’ve never seen or been around any drunken bands, especially not in the centre of a city on a hot summer’s evening. I promise!) Then, as if the alarming appearance of this drunken band was not enough, Bridget informs us that this odd congregation tried to engage her in a conversation! This equally, NEVER happened to me, as a woman, wandering the streets of London alone. What did they want from her? Were they threatening? Friendly? Bridget does not fill us in on the topic, tone and length of this encounter, which I gather are not important, but she does quickly reassure us that they ‘staggered off down the street’. Phew!

 

“One night on the embankment of the Moskva River, a drunken band of students tried to engage me in conversation, and then staggered off down the street.”

 

This short account establishes Moscow’s celebratory mood, which sounds much wilder than anything you would have to deal with on the streets of London’s Soho on Saturday night.

 

Then Bridget shows her familiarity with Russian seasonal cycles, gained though years of living in Moscow, and acknowledges a likely possibility that this festive spirit could be due to summer’s arrival:

 

“There is always a slightly celebratory air at this time of year – a realisation that winter is over and a few precious months of sun are here.”

 

However, she instantly intuits some menacing undertones in this celebratory spirit:

 

“But this year’s euphoria is underpinned by a sense of having proved to the world that Russians can come out on top. A surge of self-confidence, after the humiliations of post-Soviet collapse.”

 

- Ha! Unsubstantiated inferences! - Excuse me?  - Groundless claims! I’m smelling propaganda and it’s coming from Bridget! - There you go, that’s the demon I was talking about. What do you mean? –  Bridget provides no evidence whatsoever for claiming that ‘this year’s euphoria’ is underpinned by ‘a sense  that Russians can come on top’, so her claim is unsubstantiated and, by definition, is propaganda. - Not quite. The proof is coming, just see the next paragraph.

 

To prove that ‘national euphoria’ wasn’t just a projection, Bridget recounts her conversations with TWO people she must have met accidentally on the streets, as we are not given their names or occupations. However, we can deduce that they were not drunk, like all the other stereotypical Russians in Moscow on that evening, and didn’t stagger off, because Bridget engaged with them and they have provided us with the crucial evidence we were looking for.

 

- Haha! Two people to prove euphoria of the entire nation! Propaganda Trick number 2 – Generalisation: drawing broad conclusions from a small number of perhaps unrepresentative cases.  Such as deducing euphoria from a band of drunk students and two people on the street. 

 

Sorry, I did warn you that this ‘demon’ might start speaking. Just ignore it. Anyway, first, Bridget comes across ‘one Russian TV editor in chief’, who said: “We’re on a roll. No-one can stop us now.”  

 

- Solid piece of evidence! It’s clear that this man couldn’t have been commenting on his TV work or his country winning medals in the Olympics, it must have necessarily been about Russia invading Crimea and then setting its sights on the rest of Ukraine and Eastern Europe. Sounds like “Quote out of context” – can be fitted into many arguments to fit different meanings. Propaganda trick 3!

 

Whatever. The second witness was  ‘another man’, who Bridget was very lucky to meet on Red Square and who has said to her: “First the Sochi Olympics, then we got Crimea back. And now we’ve won the World Ice Hockey championships as well.”, but I bet he said it in a smug and impudent way that brutish Russians are capable of.

 

This is hilarious! ‘Another man’ to feed in the facts that we already know. Another man that ‘we know must exist, therefore, we invent him’. That definitely looks to me like “Imaginary Evidence” – trick number 4.

 

Come on,  Bridget is a respectable journalist she wouldn’t just invent people!

 

- Aha. You are free to think whatever you want and I’m free to think and say that it sounds like ‘exposition of facts that we already know through dialogue’ –  fictional writing technique.

 

Well, even if that’s the case, there’s nothing’s wrong with that. We need to be reminded of certain facts, especially when they are true.

 

- But then why didn’t she remind us about them through her own voice? Why hide behind the voices of imaginary people? Once again, it’s a pretension of an impartial attitude. As if, those facts, were totally out of Bridget’s poetic mind, when she was wondering the embankment of Moskva river, and it’s not until she walked all the way to Red Square and encountered ‘another man’ that she remembered about them!

 

Just picture a highly acclaimed British journalist with an MBE walking from the embankment of Moscow to Red Square, asking passersbys: “What’s going on? Why is everyone in such a celebratory mood?” A noveu-riche lady, carrying a Pekinese dog named “Gucci” in one hand and five shopping bags in the other hand, answers “Everyone is in a celebratory mood, because GUM’s summer sale is on!” Bridget thinks to herself: “No, that’s not it. I know it must be something else” And continues her search. She stumbles across a drunk beggar with a burn scar on his face and he answers: “I’m in a celebratory mood, because it’s Wednesday or Thursday, I can’t remember which, but it’s time to driiiiink!”  “No, that’s not it either”, thinks Bridget to herself and carries on with her quest for truth. A babushka in a kerchief, who’se come from the Moscow’s outskirts to visit Lenin for the day replies “I’m in a celebratory mood, because my pension was paid on time”, but that does’t satisfy Bridget either. Then comes a stern-looking middle-aged woman in a suit and says “I’m in a celebratory mood, because my annoying colleague Ivanov is finally fired”. “No, no, no!”, thinks Bridget, “These are not the answers that seem to capture the underlying truth of what’s going on”. As a highly experienced journalist with many awards, she can tell the difference between real reasons and superficial ones. Bridget starts loosing hope, as it’s getting dark. She dismisses yet another answer given to her by a young tattooed woman “I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m in a celebratory mood, because my boyfriend finally proposed!” Bridget is about to give up completely and go home without finding out the true reason for the celebratory spirit of people on a hot summer’s day, when she comes across “another man” – a nondescript Russian, dressed in bland clothes, with no remarkable physical characteristics worth mentioning (even by a person in a creative ‘poetic’ mood), which doesn’t seem to have any personal, social or work life and who’s totally fixated on his nation’s achievements on an international stage, who gives her the following answer: “Why are we in a celebratory mood? Well… First the Sochi Olympics, then we got Crimea back. And now we’ve won the World Ice Hockey championships as well. That’s why EVERYONE in Moscow is happy, even that cat over there”. Bridget turns to look at the stray cat and, as she places her gaze on the black creature of such enormous proportions he resembles Behemoth from Master and Margarita, it dawns on her: “Yes! That’s it! That’s what everyone is celebrating on a hot warm June evening! Winning of Olympics, then annexation of Crimea and Winning of Hockey! Even people, who do not like sports, must be ecstatic about Russia’s sporting achievements! This answer really captures the truth of the matter, therefore, I will put it in my article”. She turns to the nondescript man to thank him for his answer, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Disappeared, as if he’s never existed. 

 

What do you think about this story? Sounds credible? Or it is more likely that either a) this nondescript ‘another man’ is an invention or b) Bridget did indeed pose a leading question like: “What do you think about Russia’s international performance recently” and then got the answer that she got, which has nothing to do with either that man’s or anyone else’s real reasons for being in a celebratory mood. I choose a). You?

 

Well, I maintain that a journalist of such high standing will not twist reality to fit her agenda. I think we should treat “Russian TV editor in chief” and “another man” as real people, whom Bridget encountered.

 

Who happen to have attitudes and opinions that Bridget was looking for? Propaganda trick number 5: ‘observational selection’, also known as “cherry-picking” – see only what you wish to see. Overlook and ignore evidence you don’t wish to see. And encourage your audience to be equally blind. You are just blind!

 

Don’t call me blind! I might be myopic, but not blind yet. Well, if statements of ‘another man’ and ‘one Russian TV editor in chief’ are not satisfying for you, Bridget kindly provides us with photographic proof of ‘nationalistic euphoria’. Here it is: two drunken Russians (they must be!), dancing on the embankment of Moskva river, where Bridget started her investigations. What can this photo be other than a representation of a national euphoria?

 

Image

 

Erm, two people in love dancing? Two friends, happy about the beginning of their holiday? Brother and sister, celebrating their parents birthday? Do I need to go on? 

 

I don’t know! I just look at this picture and it makes me feel so angry! How could any self-respecting Russian dance ever again after their government have acted in an aggressive manner towards their brotherly peaceful nation? How could they have annexed Crimea, breaking every single international law?

 

You mean the brotherly peaceful nation, that has been bombing  its own civilians? The peaceful nation that has been spouting Russophobia left and right? Indeed, how could Russian people dance ever again in their lives, after Crimeans have themselves voted for this re-unification with Russia, thus escaping civil war?  Anyway, this is not what we are talking about. Let’s go back to the photograph. Does this picture of two dancing people represent ‘national euphoria’ to you, caused by ‘coming on top’at the Olympics, in Crimea and Hockey Championship?

 

In short, yes. And it makes me feel annoyed, if not MAD!

 

Well, let me make you even madder! There is photographic evidence, that google reverse image search has produced, that proves that these very same two Russians were performing their nationalistic euphoria dance FOUR YEARS AGO, and were caught red-handed by photographer Alexander Nemenov and then placed in a photographic exhibit of DenverPost’s blog “The Last Days of Summer”.

 

Image

 

This couple must be psychic and must have known that Russia was going to get Crimea all the way back in July 2010, and so they were shamelessly celebrating it in 36 degrees heat on the very same embankment of the Moskva river! Fooled readers of Denver Post were thinking that they were looking at a photograph of two Russians relaxing, but instead they were exposed to Russian nationalistic orgy! How disgusting! This outrageous imperialistic Bacchanalia lasted FOUR YEARS, as Bridget was lucky to catch this couple, dancing in the same pose on the same embankment in June 2014. Either that or Bridget went back to 2010 in a time machine to catch the beginning of this outrageous revelry, because a DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT of BBC wouldn’t just use RANDOM IMAGES from FOUR YEARS AGO to prove to us what she wants to prove to us about Russia TODAY, as then that would be ‘British propaganda’, right?

 

It could have just been an inexperienced intern, who included that picture by mistake. Could be nothing to do with Bridget! Anyway, we are supposed to be talking about Russian propaganda.

 

We are supposed to be talking about Russian propaganda, which might or might not exist, but all I see in this article so far is evidence of British Propaganda. Or rather BBC propaganda or to be even more specific Bridget’s propaganda, which is reflecting badly on our “Ministry of Truth”. We are looking at one specific article, so I can’t generalise and say that Bridget’s propagandistic methods are used by all BBC journalists. That would be unfair on everyone, who is trying to be more objective and impartial.

 

Using a random image from the past to represent the claimed ‘national euphoria’ for which we’ve seen no credible evidence is FABRICATED EVIDENCE – Propaganda trick number 6. And we’ve only gone through one photo and six paragraphs!  Every single paragraph in this ‘report’ so far has been a perfect example of one of the main techniques of propaganda! 

 

What about this second image of Russians celebrating winning World Ice Hockey Championship on 26th May 2014? Don’t you think Bridget’s interpretation of it is correct?

 

“It’s as though everyone is a spectator at a sporting event, or watching a game show on TV – a detached enjoyment, as though this orgy of Russian patriotism carries no consequences, so there is no point in thinking where it might lead.”

 

Image

 

Propaganda trick number 7: Use Inflamatory Language – terminology and words that are guaranteed to excite passions and raise emotions. How hot and dangerous does ‘Orgy of Russian Patriotism’ sound? The whole city engaging in something extremely pleasurable but SO WRONG! 

 

Strange that when Bangkok Post published the same image on 27th May 2014 they didn’t seem to see the hidden political poverty underneath it:

“People greet buses with Russia’s ice hockey national team players in central Moscow, as they ride toward the Kremlin to attend a ceremony honouring their victory at the IIHF International Ice Hockey World Championship”

 

Image

 

Until I’ve read Bridget’s article, I never realised that celebration of sporting events are deeply intertwined with people’s attitudes towards their nation’s foreign policy! Now I’m glad that England didn’t win any matches at this World Cup, lest I’d lay my eyes on a photograph of Brits cheering a winning team, because then I would know for sure that, while our government is grooming us for another war in Iraq and Syria, we are all just ‘spectators at a sporting event,  watching a game show on TV with a detached enjoyment, as though this orgy of British patriotism carries no consequences, so there is no point in thinking where it might lead.” 

 

In fact, I might never be able to look at a photograph of people celebrating sporting events ever again, especially if those people come from countries with aggressive foreign policies. This one is the last one I will ever lay my eyes on. “Chelsea fans greet the team as they return to a victory parade in west London after winning the Champions League final. Photograph: Paul Hackett/Reuters, Sunday 20th May 2012″.

 

  Image

 

Do you see “orgy of British patriotism …with no no consequences” in it?

 

That was Propaganda Trick Number 7, one of the most popular amongst propagandists –  False Analogy, when two concepts or events are associated with each other without any specific evidence indicating an interactive relationship. 

 

Ok, I think you’ve been a little bit exaggerated. Bridget is trying to be impartial. I’m pretty sure she’s right and Russian TV is full of propaganda. We all know that!

 

I’m not in Russia, I’m in the UK and British media is my primary concern. There’s nothing more ugly and hypocritical than propaganda pieces accusing others of propaganda. In fact, HYPOCRISY, is one of the most common features of propaganda and Bridget’s report is full of it.

 

OK, lets carry on. After her condemning observations, which she coined ‘orgy of Russian patriotism’, Bridget decides to pretend to be impartial yet again, by starting her next condemnation with the words ‘to be fair’. Yes, some fairness would be useful for a journalist to have. “To be fair, lots of people are watching events unfold on TV”, so this ‘nationalistic orgy’, represented by ‘one Russian TV editor in chief’, one ‘another man’,  one psychic dancing couple and fans greeting a hockey team, is supposedly fuelled by RUSSIAN TV PROPAGANDA.

 

Ok, I’ve had enough of you! It’s a well recognised fact that Russian media is full of propaganda. As Bridget states “The sheer volume of different state-controlled channels is overwhelming.” Do you expect these channels to be anything else than ‘tools of foreign policy’?

No, not really, but neither do I expect anything different from other countries’ media. Most of it is connected to governments. And if we are concerned about this in Russia, we should be concerned about it everywhere else – China, India, America, Ukraine. For example, let’s compare BBC’s representation of Russian and American media on their website – how condemning the former is and how forgiving is the latter.

 

Russia’s media profile on BBC’s website:

 

“Russian TV is dominated by channels that are either run directly by the state or owned by companies with close links to the Kremlin (government). The government controls Channel One and Russia One – two of the three main federal channels – while state-controlled energy giant Gazprom owns NTV. Critics say independent reporting has suffered as a result.”

 

USA’s media profile on BBC’s website:

 

The US has the most highly-developed mass media in the world. Its dramas, comedies, soap operas, animations, music videos and films have a global audience and are part of the staple fare of broadcasters worldwide.”

 

What was offered on the USA’s profile as a compliment:

 

“Mainstream TV is slick, fast-moving and awash with advertising.”

 

in Bridget’s account of Russian media was presented as a criticism:

 

“All glossy and well funded, each with their own slightly different but ultimately similar versions of the news – hours of slick, punchy and emotionally charged reports, set to thumping music, making your heart race.”

 

As far as I’m concerned the above description could equally apply to American media. Check out ‘Fox News Propaganda Against Iraq‘ or Fox New Propaganda Before the Iraq War or Fox reports about East Ukraine Referendum. Are there any BBC articles on ‘American propaganda’? Nope! 

 

Propaganda tool number 8: Double Standards – a well known propaganda technique, where one set of rules applies to one group, and a very different set of rules applies to another group.

 

So if the BBC is concerned about ‘the sheer volume of different state-controlled channels’ in Russia, why not be concerned about ALL US media’s external broadcasting, being government-funded? 
 

External broadcasting

  • Voice of America – government-funded, programmes for global audiences in many languages
  • Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty – government-funded, targets eastern Europe, former Soviet Union and the Caucasus in local languages
  • Radio Free Asia – government funded, targets China, North Korea and southeast Asia
  • Al-Hurra – government-funded, satellite TV for Middle East
  • Radio Sawa – government-funded, Arabic-language radio for Middle East
  • Radio Farda – government-funded, Persian-language radio
  • Radio and TV Marti – government-funded services for Cuba

 

Also the BBC  gives a list of the press and TV channels without revealing who owns them, because MOST of the press and TV channels are owned by companies with lobbying interests, i.e. with close links to the government, which, once again, seems to worry BBC so much in Russian media, but not in US media.

 

Have a look at the press and TV channels listed on  USA’s media profile on the BBC, where I’ve added ownership and lobbying interests in bold (sources: FreepressOpen Secret. Org and Wikipedia)

 

 The press

 

Television

 

As you can see the majority of American press and TV is either funded by the government or owned by companies that have lobbying interests in the government. The BBC does not flag this up with us. 

 

Almost every sentence in Bridget’s article is an example of propaganda techniques. Hopefully, by going through every single of her sentences and analysing them, I’ve shown that calling it ‘propaganda’ is not just an unsubstantiated claim on my part. It is propaganda that tries to discredit another propaganda thereby invalidating itself. For if no true statements can be expressed through propagandistic media, then it means that there’s no truth in Bridget’s article either. 

 

However, even if we accept that Bridget’s article is propaganda, most of us know deep down that Russian TV has propaganda on it.

 

This proves my point. Even if we accept that Russian TV has propaganda, we cannot deny that there is truth in its message, just like we cannot deny that Bridget’s propagandistic article is based on some truth. The purpose of this article is not to defend Russian media against claims of being propagandistic. I wanted to remind the readers that all media can use propagandistic techniques, but still can carry truth in it. 

 

From now on everything I will write will be in bold. I’m going to mute the voice, which I started writing this article with. That voice is still part of me, but as I’ve been observing the Ukrainian conflict, it has been fading, along with my belief in objectivity and impartiality of western media. I called this new voice ‘demon’, because most western press has tried to demonise any voices, which are interpreting events in a different light from them by associating them with Kremlin. I’ve chosen Bridget’s article as a prime example of planting an idea in people’s heads that the following views are just outcomes of Russian propaganda, as she writes: 

 

And on Ukraine there’s one message – that the violence in eastern Ukraine is all Kiev’s fault, that Ukraine is crawling with Russia-hating neo-Nazis and fascists, and that it’s the US government which is fuelling the crisis behind the scenes, while Russia tries to act as peacemaker.”

 

 If this is true, than how can Bridget explain these voices from outside of Russia that have the same message?

 

Yes, violence in eastern Ukraine is all Kiev’s fault: 

 

In Ukraine, fascists, oligarchs and western expansion are at the heart of the crisis by Seumas Milne (Guardian)

Maidan, Ukraine…Tahir, Egypt. the square symbolises failure, not hope by Simon Jenkins (Guardian)

How William Hague deceived the House of Commons on Ukraine by David Morrison (Huff Post Blog)

The Ukraine Crisis: what you are not being told (SCG News)

 

Yes, Ukraine is crawling with Russia-hating neo-Nazis and fascists

 

Meet Svoboda Party, introduced in this 2012 European Parliaments Document as racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic, which goes ‘against the EU’s fundamental values and principles’ and with which no pro-democratic party in the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s parliament) should ‘associate with, endorse or form coalitions with’  

 

In 2014, the European Parliament contrary to its previous position supports the new Ukrainian Government consisting of 6 Ministers from Svoboda Party (Vice Prime Minister Oleksand Sych, Prosecutor General Oleh Makhnitskyi, Secretary of National Security and Defence Council Andriy Parubiy, Minister of Defence Ihor Tenyukh, Minister of Agriculture Ihor Shvaika, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Andriy Mokhnyk)

 

Yes, there are bad guys in the Ukrainian government by Andrew Foxall & Oren Kessler (Foreign Policy)

The Media’s Disinformation Campaign on Ukraine: “There are no neo-Nazis in the Interim Government” by Prof. John Ryan (Global Research)

Rein in Ukraine’s neo-fascists by David Speedle (CNN)

Ukraine’s New Leaders: From Neo-Nazis …to a Heavyweight Boxer by Jessica Elgot (Huffington Post)

You decide: Are Claims of Fascism in Ukraine True or Russian propaganda (Youtube)

Ukraine Crisis Today: Democracy caught on camera: Mass genocide at the heart of Europe (Youtube)

Neo-Nazi Threat in new Ukraine (from BBC Newsnight! on Youtube)

 

Yes, US government is fuelling the crisis behind the scenes:

Victoria Nuland’s leaked ‘Fuck the EU’ call, where Nuland describes what post-coup government will be (Youtube)

Meet the Americans who put the coup together by Steve Weissman (Reader Supported News)

Part II: Meet the Americans who put the coup together by Steve Weissman (Reader Supported News)

Washington’s Role in the Ukrainian Coup (SCG News)

How the Ukraine civil war started by Eric Zuesse (Washington’s blog)

US support of violent Neo-Nazis in Ukraine (Youtube video)

Civil War has begun in Ukraine; US back Neo-Nazis against the Democrats; US media suppress that News by Eric Zuesse (Washington’s blog)

The Clash in Crimea is the fruit of Western expansion by Seumas Milne (Guardian)

War in Ukraine: US Coup Authorizes Military Force (AMTV on Youtube)

 

Yes, Russia tries to act as peacemaker:

It’s not Russia that pushed Ukraine to the brink of war by Seumas Milne (Guardian)

Russia calls on UN to support Ukraine ceasefire (ITV)

Russia seeks ‘humanitarian corridors’ in Ukraine (IOL News via Reuters)

Ukraine’s Poroshenko sets out ceasefire plan after call with Putin (Reuters)

In Ukraine, the US is dragging us towards war with Russian by John Pilger (Guardian)

 

A suggestion that these views are just Russian propaganda is propaganda in itself.  Most of the writers of above articles have links to evidence, which support their views, and that evidence is not coming from Russia. A lot of the evidence comes from Ukraine itself, as filmed by local people and then put on Youtube and Twitter. 

 

And now I’m coming to the main objective of this article. I would like to defend the voice of East Ukrainian people, who are anti-government because of the above-mentioned views, and who Kiev and western media try to silence and dismiss on the basis of those views being a product of ‘Russian propaganda’, thereby justifying Kiev’s actions that lead to atrocities. 

 

I’ve already shown that those views are shared by people around the globe, so they are not views held exclusively by Russian media.

 

However, this logical inconsistency would not scare off propagandists, who would use special propaganda techniques to plant these ideas into people’s heads by appealing to their emotions rather than reason.

 

Example from Bridget’s article:

 

First she lists what Russian TV says about Ukraine:

 

“And on Ukraine there’s one message – that the violence in eastern Ukraine is all Kiev’s fault, that Ukraine is crawling with Russia-hating neo-Nazis and fascists, and that it’s the US government which is fuelling the crisis behind the scenes, while Russia tries to act as peacemaker.” 

 

and immediately after she includes ‘the verdict of of Lev Gudkov, the director of the Levada Centre, Russia’s most well respected polling organisation.':

 

“Aggressive and deceptive propaganda… worse than anything I witnessed in the Soviet Union”

 

Propaganda technique number 11: Appeal to authority – cite prominent figures to support a position, idea, argument, or course of action. Lev Gudkov, who happens to be always in battle with the Kremlin (last year he was appealing against registering his polling station as ‘foreign agent’, because it receives funding from abroad) and therefore ‘a friend of the west’ is the perfect voice to condemn Russian TV, but it’s questionable whether he was commenting on Russian media generally or specifically Russian media’s coverage of Ukraine.  Propaganda trick number X (which has already been used): Quotes out of context . 

 

However, a less-informed reader of Bridget’s article will assume that Lev Gudkov was talking specifically about the way Russian media presents Ukraine. By placing these two paragraphs together, Bridget used Propaganda Trick number 12: TRANSFER (aka association) – projecting negative qualities associated with Soviet propaganda unto certain views about Ukraine, in order to discredit them (even though they are unrelated, as I’ve tried to show with the above-mentioned examples of western thinkers that hold the same views, but do not watch Russian media). 

 

As if the words ‘aggressive and deceptive propaganda …worse than anything I witnessed in the Soviet Union” were not enough to put off people from taking those views about Ukraine seriously, Bridget places a photo of  “A military parade passing posters of Lenin and Stalin in Moscow, 1947″

 

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Propaganda Trick number 13: Appeal to Fear –  instilling anxieties and panic in the general population, thereby seeking support of one’s own message, coupled with another application of Trick number 12 ‘Transfer’ – transferring the anxieties and panic associated with Stalinist Russia unto views about Ukraine. 

 

To solidify this scare-mongering, Bridget once again goes back to Technique number 11: Appeal to authority, who this time happens to be cultural historian and publisher Irina Prokhorova, sister of Russian billionaire M.D.Prokhorov, who’s lost out to Putin in the presidential elections of 2012. Irina, hardly an unbiased person, confirms our worst fears: 

 

“Stalinist”, reminiscent of the anti-Western hysteria which marked the grim repressive years of the late 1940s.”  

 

I’m not going to continue with the rest of the article, as it deals mainly with Russia and Putin and my primary focus and concern is Eastern Ukraine. 

 

In her propagandistic article, where with my inexperienced eye I’ve counted 13 Propaganda Techniques in 13 paragraphs of text, Bridget tries to discredit and dismiss East Ukrainian views about Kiev’s government shared by Russia and other people around the world, which for some reasons are not shared by BBC and other western media, by associating them with Russian propaganda, Soviet Union and Stalinism.

 

I wonder whether Bridget has read about any of these events or seen any of these videos:

1) MARIUPOL KILLINGS

2) ODESSA MASSACRE

3) LUGANSK BOMBINGS

4) SLAVYANSK SHELLINGS

5) KRAMATORSK SHELLINGS

6) How Slavyansk looks like now. 

 

East Ukrainian people, have been killed daily through bombing and shelling, as ordered by the Ukrainian government. The rare reports that come up about Ukraine avoid any condemnation of Kiev’s actions, and try to either hide all together or distance themselves from the real suffering that these people are going through. I understand that the BBC has to keep in line with the British government’s stance on the Ukrainian crisis (and if that’s not the case, then why BBC are being so denigrating of East Ukrainian position?), but on a purely human level, setting aside any political allegiances and geopolitical goals, how can any journalist with conscience and heart, ignore the catastrophe that these people find themselves in? How can they not report what Kiev’s government is doing to them?

 

I’m deeply shocked and upset that an institution that I have always regarded as relatively impartial and with which I have worked myself on many occasions, are trying to discredit totally legitimate views of East Ukrainians (held by many other people around the globe), who are being oppressed and killed for holding those views. Is this a way of justifying those killings? The thought of it makes me shiver.

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