World’s Main Security Issue Today Is Russian Poisoned Public Opinion
I have posted before about how Americans seem to be unaware just how much Russians are being told to hate them.
In this article Andreas Umland, a Kyiv based analyst and Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, explains further how what we see in the West of Russian propaganda is just the tip of a very dangerous, nuclear armed iceberg.
Russia’s more and more neurotic collective mind represents a critical challenge to the integrity of the European and even world security system. Russian electronic mass media has turned from a platform of relative pluralism of interpretation and opinion, in the 1990s, into a dangerous propaganda and manipulation instrument. Over the last 15 years, Russia’s major TV channels, radio stations and newspaper have been resolutely re-designed to prolong as long as possible the rule of the kleptocratic clique around Vladimir Putin. Kremlin-controlled mass media achieves this aim through purposeful inception and radicalization of a fortress mentality among the Russian population. The Russian people are told, on a daily basis, that Russia is under a deadly attack from the US and its underlings across the world, ranging from far-away Australia and Canada to neighboring Estonia, Georgia and Ukraine. The propaganda machine’s constant repetition that NATO, the EU and their allies are after Russia’s lands and resources has made, for many Russians, the idea that they have to stick together for securing the physical survival of their nation a common place beyond dispute.
So far, the West has largely failed to address the core issue in its confrontation with Moscow - the deeply poisoned Russian public opinion. It does not systematically counter-act the constant spread of Manichean, conspirological and rabidly anti-Western misrepresentations of international affairs, by the skillful manipulators of Kremlin-controlled mass media. For instance, the English-language RT (Russia Today) state TV channel has, since 2005, been allowed to become a noteworthy factor in the formation of North American as well as West European public opinion, on the Wests contemporary domestic and foreign affairs. RT’s largely unchallenged pseudo-pacifist stance has only started to loose cloud, even among political radicals, with the start of the all-to-obvious Russian “hybrid war” against Ukraine. Especially, the downing of Malyasian flight MH17, by a Russian rocket on 17 July 2014, has dealt a blow to RT’s and various other Russian outlet’s international propaganda campaign strategies designed to muddle the waters of Western public opinion on the escalation in the Donets Basin. The Kremlin’s project to subvert the integrity of the West from within has largely failed.
Yet, a far more consequential and complicated challenge remains unmet - the ever stronger anti-Western infection of public opinion, inside Russia, by state-directed domestic television.