Chronicles of collapse: info battles

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April 15, 2015
@Mikle1
Translated from Russian by Kristina Rus

 U.S. Information Forces

US is deploying informational troops in Russian social networks. Furthermore, on the TV mass media front American governmental organisation BBG intends to strengthen its ties with RBC holding.

According to “Izvestiya” this year a digital media department, DIGIM, will be created on the basis of the Czech office of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Radio Svoboda, funded from the US federal budget). This division will employ social media experts tasked with “countering disinformation in the Russian media sphere through various social media platforms (in particular: Facebook, Twitter, “Vkontakte” and “Odnolassniki” (“Classmates”))”.  The detailed application of the American government organization of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)  for the next fiscal year, which begins on October 1, 2015 talks about the creation of cyber staff in Prague. The application was filed on behalf of the President of the United States in Congress last month.

BBG combines Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA) and other US public media channels; main objective of BBG – dissemination of information “in countries where there is a lack of independent media”.  An entire section is devoted to Russia’s in the 160-page BBG application, called “Combating Revanchist Russia”. It talks of plans for 2015-2016 and describes the reasons for information warfare against Russia. BBG indicates that “Russia launched a global mechanism of disinformation with the goal of not to convince (as in classic public diplomacy) and to earn trust, but to sow confusion with conspiracy theories and spread lies.” BBG is convinced that “the Kremlin is using the freedom of information for the implementation of disinformation”, applies information “to confuse, demoralize, to pervert, to paralyze and create an alternate reality”.

[Sounds familiar? – KR]

BBG in their annual reports and funding applications in recent years indicated that “democracy in Russia is in danger and it faces instability”.

“International US media (USIM) is the driving force in the battle with the information pressure of the Russian government… aimed at Russian and Russian-speaking population in the post-Soviet space, Europe and the world,” – writes BBG, calling Europe “vital to U.S. national interests”.

BBG, talking about the ban on operating on the Russian radio, indicates the expansion of its activity on the Internet, in particular in social media. After the annexation of Crimea by Russia RFE/RL multiplied the volume of Russian-language content and will create DIGIM to further increase the coverage.

On the list of targeted social networks there are “Classmates” (“Odnolklassniki”), users of which are most actively engaged in defending Russia’s official position on many issues. BBG materials say that in addition to the battle in classic social networks the new team will use “”WhatsApp messenger “as a mobile platform with push messages to attract a new audience.” 

The RFE/RL website recently posted  14 vacancies in the online front of DIGIM. For example, the position of “social media producer for Russian-speaking audience” – the job description specifies that social media team will work under different brand names and generate a variety of content for social networks and promotion of RFE/RL. The responsibilities will include developing popular content for social networks, searching for the main topics of the day and notifying journalists.

A primary weapon in the information war against Russia will become original programming and political satire, says the BBG. In the framework of the new mission of the USA in Russian social networks a video project “Footage vs Footage” is in the works. The DIGIM application says that this daily product will expose “Russian television propaganda”. The vacancy for producer of “Footage vs Footage” on the website of RFE/RL offers identifying the main news of the day, following their coverage in the Russian and foreign media, and creating videos to expose the differences [with the goal of blaming Russia, of course – KR]. Among the responsibilities for the editor of “Footage vs. Footage” – is “consulting with owners/stakeholders in the pre-production and post-production stages”. 

DIGIM is implementing another project – a YouTube channel and website Rus2Web, “a “digital samizdat”, a platform for Russian journalists and filmmakers, whose work is now blocked by the Kremlin.”

On the American portal of public procurement “Izvestia” found the March order from BBG for the promotion of Russian-language services by Google – the Internet giant is owed $100 thousand for advertising “Radio Liberty” and “Voice of America” in the Russian segment of the Internet.

The main achievements for 2014 and 2015 in the information war with Russia BBG calls the provision of objective news about Ukraine, coverage of the annexation of Crimea to Russia. The main BBG initiatives in the Russian space are several programs: “Donbass Reality”, a weekly 30-minute program about the events in Donbass, broadcast on Ukrainian “Donbass-TV”; “The Crimean Reality” – a weekly 20-minute program about the news from “the peninsula annexed by Russia” shown on the Ukrainian TV channel “24”. 

In the application for the current fiscal year BBG pointed out that “CCTV (China), Russia Today and Al Jazeera invade Western news space and skillfully form a loyal audience” stealing the viewers and listeners from the American media.

[add Press TV to the list! – KR]

For the next fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2015, for the project to combat the “revanchist Russia” BBG is going to spend $15.6 million. This project is defined by BBG as a priority above the opposition to the fundamentalist ideology of the “Islamic State” (ISIS) – for that BBG requested only $6.1 million. Just for the 2016 fiscal year, BBG has requested from Congress a budget of $751 million (+1% to previous year). The BBG applications for funding for the foreseeable period have been satisfied in full, so the department does not have to worry. The budget of RFE/RL will grow by 13% to $116 million (in 2015 – $103 million, in 2014 – $95 million), the number of employees in this unit shall increase by 10%, up to 720 people. In general, Russian-speaking broadcasting of RFE/RL will be allocated $250 thousand more – $7.4 million.

[How many American roads could be paved with that money? – KR]

RBC-TV will expand its cooperation with “Voice of America”

The budget of another horn of democratic values – Voice of America – as a whole will be reduced from $212,1 million to $206,7 million. Reducing the funding of Latin American and English units, the budget of the Russian broadcasting will grow from $4.09 million to $4.14 million. BBG indicated future expansion of cooperation with Russian media as justification for their financial needs. 

Recall that neither “The Voice of America” or “Radio Liberty” currently do not, in fact, broadcast in Russia. “Voice of America” lost frequency 810 kHz in early 2014, “Radio Liberty” ceased to broadcast in 2012. The stations completely moved to the Internet.

“Television is the most influential type of media in Russia, forming the views of the audience. “Voice of America” uses the Russian media outlets offering unbiased information. The issues of world economy, American business and relations between the U.S. and Russia have become an instrument of audience growth of U.S. international media in Russia. “Voice of America” and RBC-TV plan to expand airtime of jointly produced content to 60 minutes per week using the studios of “Voice of America”, and journalistic resources in Washington and New York”, – says BBG.

The partnership with “Voice of America” and the Russian holding company RBC are regarded as key events in 2014 – emphasizing access to 11% of Russian TV audience. From corporate presentation of RBC-TV in July 2014 the monthly coverage of the channel is of the order of 22.4 million people in Russia and 5.4 million people in Moscow (RBC-TV refers to TNS data). Average daily share (average number of people watching the channel as a share of the total number of TV viewers) was at the time of 0,5%, indicated in the presentation.

Joint content implies the involvement of journalists of “Voice of America” as experts on certain topics, according to BBG. For example, the program “Babich. The trend” his expert opinion was shared by the correspondent of “Voice of America” Michail Gudkin or his colleague Vladimir Lensky a few times a week. On average the conversation with the expert in “Babich. Trend” took about 20 minutes. In the series “The Cold War?” aired in September 2014, an observer of the Russian service of “Voice of America” in Washington, Alexey Berezin, was involved as an expert. It is worth noting that now all the archive editions of this program are removed from the site of RBC-TV. 

“The Voice of America” provides videos of RBC-TV, which include four weekly live broadcasts from the New York stock exchange since 2012.

– Our cooperation with “Voice of America” is not of a political and financial nature. We only used the experts from “Voice of America” who work on the New York Stock Exchange and promptly tell us about the results of the trading, – told “Izvestia” the chief editor of RBC-TV, Andrey Reut. –  I know nothing about the extension of cooperation with them, in the current situation we are not planning any expansion. As for the “Cold war?”, we really tried to run this project, but it failed. We decided that from an editorial point of view we are not interested in doing a politicized project in this case.

Radio “Svoboda” also plans to increase its presence in the Russian television

“In partnership with affiliated TV stations in the Russian regions RFE/RL will increase airtime on Russian channels up to 4 hours a day. Among the new programs there will be documentaries, analytical talk shows, VIP interviews, and comedy shows,” – stated the application. “Moreover, Radio “Freedom” is developing a Caucasian version of its [joint with the “Voice of America”] 30-minute program “Current Time”. “

BBG strives to squeeze the American view to the Russian TV channels, choosing for partnership, as a rule, opposition TV channels and news websites. For example, in the application for the 2014 fiscal year it was also mentioned that the “Voice of America” has launched a video program, “Share”, which is aimed at “young audience of future leaders” and offers “a modern debate about America and its values, US policy and post-Soviet era for a modern audience”. Among the partners of “Voice of America” BBG indicated “Grani.ru” and channel “Rain” (“Dozhd”).

According to experts, BBG operates in Russia in the framework of the cold war using information tools which are ineffective.

– “Radio Svoboda” and “Voice of America” along with other BBG media outlets are now subjected to serious criticism in the U.S. because they are inefficient. Western propaganda relies on the asymmetric strikes – they don’t try to form any alternative picture, but just aim to demonstrate that the Russian propaganda is lying and presents a distorted picture. Such publications have become mainstream in the context of relations between Russia and the West. The overall goal of the American media – forming opinion of social leaders, intellectuals, who will then relay these critical views to a wider audience, – says Director of the Center for Political Studies at the Financial University of the government of the Russian Federation, Pavel Salin.

According to the Director of the Franklin Roosevelt Foundation for the Study of the United States, Yuri Rogalev, Americans are haunted by the fact that Russia has stepped up its activities abroad and is successful there. 

– The US mistake the alternative point of view, not aspiring for any ideology, for propaganda. “Russia Today” is, apparently, very different from Soviet propaganda, everything is different – it focuses not on ideology, but on the popularization of view, the spread of certain views. “Voice of America” has not changed. Today similar media outlets in the USA and Europe, like  Deutsche Welle and “Radio Svoboda” are largely lagging behind “Russia Today” and similar media, and thus they need to look for a new audience by all means. This is the reason for the creation of the digital department, – explains Rogalev.

According to “Izvestia” , the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications (Rospechat) from 2010 to 2014 funded opposition media in Russia. Among them were the partners of the “Voice of Russia” and “Radio Liberty” – TV channels RBC-TV and “Dozhd”. Their funding cost Rospechat 4.5 million rubles and 30.6 million rubles, respectively. Another 15 million rubles was allocated the radio station “Echo of Moscow”, the newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” – 17,9 million.

***

For those who use social networks it is no secret that the information war in full swing, “Crimean officers’ daughters” flooded VK and Odnoklassniki, Facebook and LiveJournal. But it turns out that the U.S. was conducting a simple battle reconnaissance, determining the main directions of attack on Russia and the tactics of warfare. The end of 2015 and beginning of 2016 will become a major test of strength.

What I see as the main issues in this direction.

Ukraine today is most important, if we defend the information space, we will complicate the life of the United States and Petya with his fascist aspirations. Important, in my opinion, now is the emphasis on constitutional changes envisaged by the Minsk 2. In it, like in Koshchey’s egg [reference to a Russian fairytale hero – KR] rests the needle, breaking which means the end of the junta. Yesterday’s meeting of the foreign ministers revealed this, and the reaction (silence about the matter) in Ukrainian media only confirms this. No wonder the junta and its overseas owners run away from any discussion of these issues like the devil from the Holy water.

Again the lying media repeats the accusations that “crazy” rebels shoot themselves. The truth about the provocations of the UAF must be known to all inhabitants of Ukraine, and not only Russians.

The rest in this area is  done well by putnik1, varjag_2007, mikle1, da_dzi, yurasumy. They are all from Ukraine and are masters of their craft, to whom the subjects and “disease issues” of the country are familiar not by hearsay, we can only follow suit.

Don’t forget to read our friends of Russia: marina_yudenich, ctakan_divanych, mir_mag, ivanoctober, takeshi_katana, tanya_mass, kagemushanatako

All who are not indifferent to Russia’s future and who speak foreign languages should continue to attempt to break the information blockade of the Western media and bring the truth about what is happening to ordinary people living in the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, and primarily Europe. Just Graham Phillips and RT can not do it alone. (zergulio focuses on this issue and his network of patriotic bloggers)

Those who are older need to pay special attention to the communications with the younger generation online and try to light a spark in them of love for Russia, and most importantly to try to protect them from “European values” (drugs, pedophilia, early and non-traditional sex, pictures of life of “rich” and “beautiful”, permissiveness, sects).

Don’t forget about the fifth column, exposure of its brightest representatives remains at the moment a priority for all patriotic bloggers. (Zergulio pays great attention to this issue).

The material is prepared by comrade algari.



Kristina Rus:




I think that America throwing reserves into the info war is a sign of Russia’s victories and America’s agony in this theater. After all fighting with the truth is a loosing battle.


If you would like to join the Fort Russ international battalion of Russia’s information defense, please send me an email (see contact info above – translators, writers and analysts are welcome) or simply share our content in social media or translate it into other languages, as many of you are doing.

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