CENSORSHIP: YouTube Shuts Down a Russian “Fox”

By Rhys Jones

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By Rhys Jones – Originally at OffGuardian – Published Aug 12, 2020 FRN

Tt has been worrying to read about Off-Guardian’s recent difficulties with it’s Facebook news feed, where posts have been blocked and denied propagation. Another very similar situation has been brought to my attention that reinforces the view that the US deep state is behind the steering wheel at Google, Facebook, YouTube and likely every other western social media platform as well.

Tsargrad TV is a Russian channel owned by Konstantin Malofeev, one of Putin’s biggest supporters amongst Russia’s wealthiest entrepreneurs. A renowned Fox News producer Jack Hanick shared Fox’s production prowess with Tsargrad and the channel quickly became something of an Internet phenomenon, as has AJ+, Al Jazeera’s YouTube channel.

Like AJ+ it was following a YouTube-centric (rather than a conventional TV) model. Besides becoming known for the best production values amongst Russian broadcasters, it unashamedly supports Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and the Donetsk People’s Republic.

The Google subsidiary blocked Tsargrad’s YouTube account on July 28th over “a violation of the law on sanctions and trade rules”. The channel’s owner, Konstantin Malofeev, was under EU sanctions for his alleged involvement in the civil war in Donbass (on the pro-Russian side that is supported by the overwhelming majority of the people of Donbass).

Naturally, Western support for the other side, the Ukrainian far-right, is considered “kosher”. For some reason it enjoys a “license to kill” and those, like German-based Sergey Loznitsa, who produce Goebbelsian hate films about the people of Donbass, may fear no such sanctions from their hypocritical hosts.

Konstantin Malofeev has been under EU sanctions since 2014, so why was Tsargrad’s YouTube account suddenly struck off six years later? The move reveals more about US internal politics than about the US-Russia feud. Tsargrad must have hit a nerve within the US “deep state” mafia when they interviewed Alexander Korobko (above), the co-author of Vladimir Putin’s most thorough biography (authored with Chris Hutchins).

A native of Donetsk and the author of “New York to Donetsk and back”, approached Donald Trump by letter with an offer to engage in a no-nonsense conversation about his native Donbass. Alexander had produced a documentary about Joe Biden’s involvement and direct role in the war with Donbass and wanted to share with Trump what he had learnt during his investigation.

Alexander Korobko and his Russian Hour production company had uncovered a major scandal, which could potentially bring Biden to a Senate Committee hearing similar to Watergate and bring his presidential dreams down in a New York minute.

Tsargrad was planning to keep covering the story and Korobko’s new feature film “Alpha R”, about the events in Donbass. Alexander sent the letter to Trump flagging up his findings and it was officially received by the White House. It was probably this letter that was the last straw for the US deep state as it must have then ordered Google to strike out Tsargrad’s YT channel “out of the blue”…

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Alexander Korobko described his plans to show his “Alpha R” film in the US during the US presidential election in November during a TV interview.

At the same time Tsargrad was about to launch an English-language micro-channel dedicated to that endeavour and to Donbass in general.

With over a million subscribers in Russia and with the prospect of becoming an influential foreign player in the US media realm, following the example of Qatar’s AJ+, Tsargrad became too much to handle for YouTube, that “beacon of freedom” that is filled with disturbing channels and videos under the pretext of giving a voice to the voiceless, as long as those voices are weak, strange and not threatening to the Western “Ministry of Truth”. Tsargrad’s YT channel just didn’t fit that bill.

Alexander Korobko, as the guest of the TV show to which the closure is “owed”, commented:

“Well, I totally agree with the President’s spokesperson (Dmitry Peskov) who said, “There is a solution – that is not to depend on Western platforms” […] Any Western platform is a private platform, which can throw you out along with your account at any moment […] We shall develop our own alternative to YouTube […] like China’s Youku, but geared to the entire world.

Korobko says that the idea of YouTube first appeared in a Russian sci-fi novel Battle in the Ether by Alexander Belyaev published back in 1928(!), in which he described “the central film archive operating automatically”:

Belyaev predicted (and described) the Internet with YouTube as part of it, albeit the writer didn’t use our modern tech lingo, obviously. I am sure the YT founders, along with Google’s Moscow born Sergey Brin, were inspired by such Russian visionaries as Alexander Belyaev and studied their predictions. A pity they don’t fully share their values such as our universal empathy.

[…] The Tube has become too narrow and hollow, we need a video platform which is truly open yet not ochlocratic […] for instance, those who make comments should be identifiable as YouTube comments’ “anonymity” brings out the worst in people, poisons and dumbs down any conversation and promotes frivolity not freedom.

YouTube has become the “Kunstkamera” of the world; a freak show, where the downright sick, ugly, bizarre and horrible is thrown into a mix with the curious and amusing, a place where knowledge is far outweighed by half-knowledge and fakery.

We all agree that there’s a ton of good stuff there too, but it’s not produced by YT, the latter uses and abuses creators and robs them of income and the ability to make a living unless they buy into a ridiculous “numbers” game and a clickbait “culture”. It doesn’t offer content creators a real pay-per-view model or other sophisticated tools such as “pay to continue watching” etc. The world needs a YouView platform where “you” will be treated like a person, not a number.”

YouTube seems to have had enough of Russia. Well, it should be afraid that Russia, a huge audience, has had enough with YouTube.

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