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5 Western Media Memes Which Turn Russians Against Us

The west lectures Russia about media professionalism, but Russians no longer trust western media when it comes to coverage of their country.

Peter Lavelle

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“If they only knew the truth”

The “If the Russians only knew” meme: The fact is Russian audiences interested in politics know a lot and certainly far more than their counter-parts in the west. This should not surprise anyone who has been watching Russia and watching western media coverage Russia over the past few years. The intentional distorting of “the Russia story” is breathtaking in its breath and depth – it is a propaganda war without historical peer. Rarely are there any facts used, there is an absence of chronology, missing is any sense of causality, and the overt willingness to deny any responsibility about things written or said about Russia.

Nonetheless, the west lectures Russia about media professionalism. Russians no longer trust western media when it comes to coverage of their country. This applies also to western media coverage of Iran, Syria, and, of course Ukraine. Russian audiences are aware and fuming at how the West uses and abuses journalism for crude geopolitical gains.

Sergey Lavrov is one of the most respected diplomats in the world and well-liked at home.

Who wins, who loses?

The “Who lost Russia” meme is one of the most arrogant and long-term western media and policy themes in play. Russia now and always will be a country not to be won or lost by anyone outside Russia itself. This meme needs to be re-worded to ask a more germane question: Why does the west’s policy toward Russia continue to go from bad to worse? Why do the West’s rhetoric and intentions become more shrill and violent? No one in the halls of power in Washington (and its supportive“stenography union” echo chamber media) has ever been held responsible for the catastrophic bi-partisan policy approach toward Russia since the end of the Cold War.

Over the past two decades there can be not doubt who has won Russia – it is the Russian people themselves. They are richer and freer today than they have been in their entire history. Washington and Brussels (and their pliant media) will continue to “judge” and “suggest,” and “berate” their behavior, but they are the real losers in all of this. Fortunately a solid of majority of Russians today no longer look to the west for inspiration. There is plenty at home to be proud of.

Empire: Who has already built one?

The most common fantasy meme regarding Russia is its alleged desire to regain empire. This claim is repeated 24/7 by western media and cited more times than not as the motive behind Putin’s “aggression.” However, there is scant evidence to support this wild claim. In fact it is often forgotten how Vladimir Putin during his first and second terms as president repeatedly reached out to the west to reform Europe’s security structures to encompass the interests of Europe and Russia as equal partners. The west, particularly Washington, would have nothing to do with any notions of security equality. Russia had to completely submit or suffer the west’s full spectrum assault.

That assault started after Washington’s minion in Georgia – Mikheil Saakashvili – attacked recognized peacekeepers and civilians in the breakaway republic of SouthOssetia in August 2008. Russia responded militarily, but importantly did not make any attempt to take and occupy Tbilisi. When faced with western-back military action on its borders Russia will react. Tragically this tenet of Russia’s security policy Washington refuses to take on board.

The Ukraine fiasco is further evidence that Russia does not have imperial ambitions. If Moscow wanted to take Kiev militarily, it could do so in a couple of days. However, this will not happen. The Russian Empire and the Soviet Union were a net loss for its core nation – the Russians. There is no national debate about regaining empire. Only voices in the west talk about this. Russians do not want to make the same mistakes of the past as the U.S. continues to expand its real global empire through the use of force.

Ukraine: Washington’s filthy hand

Ukraine is a media meme that has rapidly and widely become associated with the words quagmire, hopeless, senseless cruelty and insanity. The western designed and activated regime change in Kiev disgusts and unites the Russian public like no other issue sense independence in 1991. Proclaimed western values have been left in tatters in the destroyed homes and lives of the Donbas.

The west’s portrayal of this civil war as a Ukraine conflict with Russia rings hollow when put under scrutiny. With the exception of Moscow’s traitorous fifth column liberals, the vast majority sees through the lies of western propaganda. The truth is the people of the Donbas continue to defend themselves (and often with degrees of Russian help) against the aggression delivered by Kiev’s western-backed right-wing and even neo-fascist militias. It is interesting to note that among the media memes mentioned thus far, this is the one cracking under pressure.

Alternative and independent media (and some rights groups) have started to shame the corporate media shielding the corrupt and murderous regime in Kiev. Nonetheless, the west’s “ministers of propaganda” always have recourse to claim that all that is bad in Ukraine is “Putin’s fault.” Much could be said about the west’s policies toward Syria as well.

Putin, the one and only

Vladimir Putin is a media meme all on his own. The Russian president is widely liked and respected among his people. His foreign policy protecting and advancing Russia’s interests on the world stage has almost universal acceptance at home. This is what makes the west’s hatred of all things related to Putin of supreme interest to many Russians.

A great deal of western print media is instantly translated into Russian. The ahistorical and mindless missives written by Washington’s guardians of empire are all a click away (and the reaction is a mixture of laughter and seething anger). Russian audiences have access to CNN, BBC, France 24, Sky News, and Al-Jazeera. What is said about their president does not have to be censored or filtered. The lack of knowledge and transparent hatred of Russia is obvious for all here to see. The more the West tries to demonize and isolate Putin, the more his place in history as the Russian who said “NO” to the Empire is assured.

Another reason Russians have to be proud.

Peter Lavelle is anchor of RT political debate program CrossTalk. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.

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Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

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Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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