The Boomerang Effect and Other Technicalities of Anti-Russian Propaganda

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Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

20th May, 2016


No matter how troubled Ukraine is, no matter how much money the US pours into anti-Russian propaganda, the fact remains: Europeans are fed up with hysteria in the media. They are tired of everything on the demonization of Russia: ordinary people, which have all suffered from the sanctions, and from politics, are gradually beginning to come to realize their own self-failure.

Without realizing it, the European elite went for broke and lost. Neither sanctions nor propaganda worked against the crest of the wave of the opposition forces in the background of dissatisfaction with the authorities’ policies. All went according to plan, so now officials of Europe hastily begin to suffer the consequences.

Your Crimea 

Reports of these consequences, by the way, appear recently with enviable regularity. Only a month after the French Parliament discussed a resolution on the abolition of anti-Russian sanctions, the Council of the Veneto region in Italy adopted a resolution with a majority vote in which Crimea was recognized as Russian and in which the deputies appealed to the national government to cancel the sanctions against Russia.

Of the 51 representative of the Council, only 9 opposed. Calling the behavior of Italy and the West’s policy double standards, the regional authorities have promised to start working with governmental and parliamentary structures of the country, as well as with institutions of the European Union, to review relations with Russia. A special committee will even be organised for this plan, which will gather signatures.

Of course, there needs to be a disclaimer – these documents are advisory in nature. There is nevertheless an apparent change in policy. The active anti-Russian propaganda is no longer doing its job – it is less and less possible “to pray for forgiveness” in the eyes of the Europeans, and in the Old World there is a growing request for normalization of relations with Russia, which local authorities can no longer not respond to. It took two years for an adequate perception of reality to return to the EU, but the boomerang has already returned.

All the forces in the business community played a significant role in the reversal of the government to rationality. The Venice resolution, as noted by its author, MP Stefano Valdegamberi, is also the result of efforts of business circles. The visits of officials to Crimea had important value – it was almost the only way to get reliable information about what is happening on the Peninsula.

Valdegamberi was in the delegation of Italian MPs who visited Crimea in the summer of 2015.

“I visited Crimea and clearly saw the desire of the people of Crimea for self-determination,” said Valdegamberi.

Dumplings came in place of cookies

If the behavior of the Pro-Russian part of the French and the Italians is no longer a surprise, nobody is waiting for a change to the aggressive rhetoric from the main opponents of Russia. However yesterday’s “express visit” of Victoria Nuland has demonstrated positive movement in the relations with the Americans. A year ago her vocabulary constantly flashed charges in the direction of the Kremlin all over the place in Ukraine, but now her tone has become more gentle.

If in 2014 the European Union materially built ambitious plans in Ukraine, in 2015 the militia of Donbass was called “separatist puppets of the Kremlin” and accused Russia of occupying Crimea and violating human rights, now we suddenly hear consolidated appeals action in the spirit of: “It is very important to keep the conversation going, to try to resolve the problem together”.

With the failure of the multi-billion dollar anti-Russian “Ukraine” project, which was supposed to demonstrate all the delights of the West and NATO to unhappy Russians, Nuland swapped cookies for dumplings. And apparently, these encroachments are only the beginning of a great reversal.

Dead-end maze of anti-Russian propaganda

The official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova spoke about the first anti-Russian propaganda impasse:

“And the vote on the resolution in the regional Council of Veneto, and other political processes, such as surveys of public opinion, the referendum in the Netherlands — all show that the process of anti-Russian propaganda in the context of Ukraine is not so much an stalemate, but now many begin to spin in the opposite direction and work against those who launched it. And this is only the beginning”.

In reality, anti-Russian propaganda enters a dead end all the time just because it was originally limited. Nobody thought of this until it received a return slap.

As soon as the propaganda ceased to perform its tasks, Western institutions found Russia Today and Sputnik guilty of being “Kremlin projects”. First, US policy was limited to insulting RT and experts who expressed their opinion on the channel. But then a profile of American structures began to demand an increase to the budget, and even started to prepare the reorganization of the council on foreign broadcasting. Now the discontent and indignation literally degenerated into panic, and they proposed the idea of creating a separate agency for countering Russian and Chinese propaganda. As the Washington Examiner reported, the proposed structure will have to analyse and find ways to counter “disinformation efforts of these countries” against the American initiatives in the world.

Here only a few American experts say that the problem is not in the Russian propaganda, but in the media elite in the US. Their degradation has led to the fact that the lies and propaganda began to look like “ignorance and stupidity,” notes the analyst Paul Craig Roberts.

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“What we see is pure propaganda and lies constantly coming from media like Fox News, from the White House, and from the executive authorities and congressmen. The lies became a lot, even when compared to how the lies under Henry Kissinger,” he stressed.

Fluctuations in anti-Russian propaganda

In actuality the phenomenon of “Ukrainian propaganda” of the West against Russia is a solid contradiction, sometimes flowing into rambling nonsense.

The propaganda machine worked from the beginning of the “Maidan stir”, during which Yanukovych was strongly denounced, as well as, of course, Russia and Putin. For example, in February 2014, an article was published by the New York Times under the title “Deeply Bound to Ukraine, Putin Watches and Waits for Next Move.”

The author calls the Kremlin’s policy towards Ukraine an apparent collapse. Once the Pro-Russian government was expelled from Ukraine, Putin’s strategy of deepening relations with Europe was destroyed, he writes. In March 2014, the same publication wrote about the problems of the new government in Kiev. Among them in the first place is the military “dispute” over the ownership of Crimea, which supposedly Putin was going to have. According to the author, poor Kiev, even with the help of Washington and Brussels, cannot get out of the economic crisis, and now Russia is preparing a military offensive.

Although now thinking about it less frequently, the topic of Crimea is at the culminating point of anti-Russian propaganda. It literally is using the same lever that permanently launched the whole mechanism. If the writing about the support of the Kremlin towards Yanukovych was more or less restrained, after the reunification of Crimea with Russia, the Western media literally burst. Since February 2014, the constant repetition of the same words began, developing into a mantra:

“The United States does not recognize the occupation of Crimea”, “the illegal annexation of Crimea must be stopped,” etc.

In this case it is not possible for at least a moment to forget about the “annexation” of the peninsula – the American media are constantly reminding people about it. For example, Washington Post:

“Don’t forget about the Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea.”

The article tells a terrible story about how the Russian military invaded Crimea, held a false referendum, forcing people to vote almost at gunpoint. All of this, according to the newspaper, ended with terrible violence and violations of human rights. The article, of course, does not cite evidence for all of this.

But a classic of the genre remains the selection of opinions from the above mentioned The New York Times. Articles in the “wonderful” publication say on literally every feature of events:

“Putin’s Crimean crime”, “act of Russian aggression”, “a cynical and harsh way to treat Putin’s Ukraine.”

To the same collection belongs the quote:

“Why don’t we draw a connection from the invasion of Georgia to the arming of Syrian mass murderers and to the seizure of Crimea?”

There was a great variety of such material in the Western media since February 2014 until the summer 2015. However, they only occasionally appear now for anyone that’s interested.

The whole story with obvious signs of schizophrenia stopped with the beginning of the Russian military operation in Syria. During this period, Crimea and Donbass were forgetten and the focus was now on the connection of “aggressive Putin” with the “bloody tyrant” Bashar Al-Assad.

With the end of operations in Syria, the start of joint efforts to fight Daesh and the beginning of the peace process, the Western media tried to return to the Ukrainian issue. However, between them it is somehow very clumsy and unsuccessful. The theme of Savchenko was held in the media for a couple of weeks, now it hardly remembered.

The failure on the information front is accompanied by a decrease in the activity of foreign media in the Russian direction. In the period from 2nd to 8th May, for example, the activity index decreased by 15.8% when compared to the previous week. However, this does not mean that information warfare is coming to the stage of completion.

Starting in 2016, the index of aggressiveness in the information environment in the countries of the West towards Russia remains high. In the top five, according to the warring tradition, is Latvia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Poland, and the United States. But the media in these countries has quite adequate articles, although they occur rarely.

This means anti-Russian propaganda in general is rapidly losing its popularity: in the world and in Russia. For example, Estonian ETV+, which was created to fight against “Russian propaganda”, for the last 3 months lost 10% of the day’s coverage. And apparently, this is only the beginning. By and large, the Russian information work is effective against all the accusations in the direction of Moscow of “Kremlin propaganda” .

The present policy of the European Union is rapidly losing support with each new revealed fact about Western intervention in the internal affairs of Ukraine.

It is still unknown what the resulting perturbations will be from  the investigation by the German Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten, which revealed that Germany, together with the EU, funded the extremely anti-Russian Ukrainian TV channel “Hromadske TV” (from Ukrainian – “Civil TV”). But now more is known: the current European elites have to pay a high the price for their mistakes, and no amount of propaganda will help them with this.

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