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The West doesn’t realize how moderate Vladimir Putin really is

Who Vladimir Putin truly is, and why you should thank God he’s president and not a more extreme candidate

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Putin is a moderate. The western portrayal of President Putin as a dangerous extremist is based on lies; it’s a narrative which can only survive so long as people are not educated about the real Russia, and the result of profound hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy is the spirit which distinguishes politics of our age. Wherever you look, the Hypocrisy of western politics is far-reaching. The West supports wars in the middle east which kill millions and they can be described as “Humanitarian superpowers”, Russia allows Crimean people to reunite with their ancestral homeland in a transition which results in less than ten deaths, and somehow Russia is rebuilding the “axis of evil”.

To understand how a truly moderate statesman like Putin can be falsely portrayed as a radical, we must first understand how hypocrisy and split personality distorts one’s view of Russia.

Hypocrisy has created a madness in the west, an almost schizophrenic split personality, has taken root within the western soul. The split personality complex in the west has given rise to the two heads of the western establishment: The Neoconservatives and the Neoliberals. Together they form the Diarchy (rule of two) present in western governments, though perhaps the Latin synonym Duumvirate better describes it.

This split personality influences how they view reality.

Take for example their portrayal of Russia. There are two primary ways in which Russia is misrepresented in the west:

  1. As a toothless bear, a weak, anemic regional power nostalgic for old glory, incapable of letting go. A nation overall not unlike a destitute widow after the death of a great and powerful man, as Gogol described the Cossack lands of what we call Ukraine in Taras Bulba.

This is simply not reality.

  1. The dangerous bear, an Empire terrible and strong, ready to subject the world beneath the boot of an Imperialist, Fascist, Totalitarian, Communist, Soviet, Russian Orthodox Czar. If the West does not “do something” [the most terrifying words any third world country can hear] there will not be a free power in the world that will not kneel to the Czar of Moscow.

That statement is contradictory, primarily with the first image, but also with itself. You can not be a Communist or a Fascist, nor an Orthodox Tsarist for that matter all at once.

While the above examples are mutable to a degree, those are the prevailing stereotypes about Russia. They each serve two primary purposes:

  1. The portrayal of Russia as a declining power reduces panic when undesirable, for example when the Deep State feels comfortable with their position in society, and wish to promote their leadership as strong and stabilizing. It also reinforces overall pride and morale in the west. This is the favored personality of the Neo-Liberals.
  2. The portrayal of Russia as a resurgent, terrifying eastern horde on the verge of world dominance provides for the Military Industrial Complex, allows for increased military spending, and justifies both sabre rattling and adventurism, satisfying the warmongers. The portrayal of the Neo-Cons.

How does this split personality view Putin?

Putin is primarily viewed in a similar light by western pundits, though the dichotomy between two extreme portrayals is less pronounced – lines are blurred – to them, he is simply an Extremist. They cannot place him firmly on any end of the spectrum. Typically, when you do not fall on any extreme, that makes you a moderate.

They can call him a neo-Communist, nostalgic for Soviet power one moment and immediately compare him to the Russian Czars, saying he practically wants to create a Russian Orthodox Theocracy and rebuild the Russian Empire. Then they can compare him to Hitler, which is perhaps the most despicable and deplorable thing you can call a Russian. To the Russian people, Nazi is the worst “n-word”. His young brother died when the Nazis laid siege to Leningrad and killed MILLIONS in one city, show some humanity before you make such an insult to the entire Russian nation.

All of those ideologies are incompatible – you cannot be a Russian Orthodox Fascists Communist Statist Czarist Bolshevik all at once. Such an ignorance, a true lack of knowledge, to so easily throw these terms around in the same sentence proves those who do so fail to understand Russia and Putin. It also reveals the west is more interest in name-calling than in serious dialog. Find one moment where Putin outright insulted a western leader, in the same way as he was, to be called the most abhorrent of things – a Nazi.

So now that we have explored the falsehoods and hypocrisy, what is Putin?

The Truth:

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a devout Orthodox Christian, and the President of the Russian Federation. Period.

It truly is nobody’s right to apply a label to him that he did not ask for. We would all do well to stop viewing people as Conservatives, and Liberals, Monarchists and Socialists, Easterners and Westerners, and simply seeing each other as Humans. Russian Orthodoxy, the religion of Putin teaches us we are all created in the image and likeness of God, and as a result, we must respect the dignity within every human, even our worst enemy. By longstanding Cossack tradition, we must first respect our freemen, before we can have any dealings with them. This lack of mutual respect and understanding is a major roadblock in Russian relations with the west – and it is not Russia that shows no respect.

In the interest in a conclusion, I would like to humbly offer this perspective. Given how Putin has portrayed himself by his actions and words, perhaps the best label to apply if such a thing is necessary is that Putin is a moderate.

Putin the Moderate

What is a moderate? Simply put, in this context, someone who exists between two extremes. It is popular to place Putin at two radical ends by various groups, both to criticize him and even to praise him. For example, American socialists, liberals, and progressives have this view of him as an authoritarian, possibly misogynistic, far right dictator. They would be surprised to realize he leads a country FAR more socialist than America. Russia has government-funded universal healthcare for all citizens, free education even at university level for those accepted, and a strong heritage of women’s rights (first woman in space, long paid maternity leave, etc.) He shows no signs of wanting to detract from any of that, he actually is quite proud of those things.

Western conservatives stuck in the cold war view him as a “Commie”, a socialist KGB agent trying to restore the Soviet Union and destroy the “moral” west. If only they knew Russia is PROFOUNDLY more religious than the west…beyond compare. Russia is a country of millions of martyrs, and Putin can be seen praying piously in the Russian Orthodox way, a faith far more ancient than western protestant sects, with a direct line of succession to first-century church, described in acts of the apostles. Putin is aware of this, he has met with the leader of Syrian Christians, the Patriarch of Antioch, and taken a keen interest in defending Syria particularly, because of shared Orthodox faith.

A great example of western misunderstanding is when they jumped on Putin’s recent comment about Lenin’s body and Orthodox relics. The implication was that Putin is implying Lenin’s body on red square is just as Holy as the relics of an Orthodox Saint which people venerate. While it’s not my right to speak for Putin, it is clear to me this was a misunderstanding, perhaps due to poor understanding of the Russian language, by non-native speakers.

Having listened myself, I can say the connotation of his comment was more like “What the communists did with Lenin’s body isn’t an unheard of concept, we Orthodox people venerate saints. They just stole an ancient Russian tradition and hope no one notices”. That is a total paraphrase, but I believe it better explains what he said, than the connotation of the English translation.

Putin is right to make the comparison. I do not say Lenin’s body is equal to that of the Saints, certainly not! But the Bolsheviks copied what the church did. They were jealous of the Church, they wanted to be the new Church. This is entirely true. The way Lenin’s body was treated is indeed a form of mimicking and mockery of the holy relics.

The Bolsheviks took an approach of if you can’t beat them, join them almost. They even studied Orthodoxy to uncover knew means of self-promotion. Rather than destroying its role in Russia, they merely usurped it as a central ideology. Whereas before we had cross processions, then we march with Lenin pictures. Before we said God Save the Czar,  then we said Lenin lived, Lenin Lives, Lenin will live again!

In a way, they understood that no people can be without religion or a central ideology. Rather than destroying that thing all humans need, they just replaced Orthodoxy with communism. But of course, they failed. Orthodoxy is the organic ideology of the Russian people, the Faith which founded Russia, it can never be replaced by a pale imitation. That is why Putin was comparing communist things to Orthodox ones, because the communists coveted the zealotry Russians have for their faith. They mimicked Orthodoxy because it was familiar to the people, and in many ways, if it wasn’t for Orthodoxy teaching Russians how to be so loyal to a belief, Communism would not have been successful.

In many ways, Russian communism and the Soviet Union was more influenced by Orthodoxy than Marxism; the religious zeal with which they received it, the marching and the imperial loyalty to their leaders are all something they learned from Czarist Russia, not from Marx. It also doesn’t make you a communist or a bad Christian to note, as Putin did, Orthodoxy and Communist economic theory share some basic commonality – care for the poor and all the peoples of the world. The difference was communism was materialistic whereas Orthodoxy is spiritualistic.

Contrary to the McCarthyites, calling him a communist, there are also the Alt-Right, and certain conservative factions, who have this fascination with Putin as an ultra-macho strongman, what they wish their western leaders were like. They look to him riding shirtless or shooting guns, his judo skills, they enviously lust for his strength, wishing they hat it within them. These people look to the “anti-gay law” in Russia, as proof that Putin is a “tough, white, heterosexual man” putting the world back in its place, and women back in the kitchen.

While Putin is obviously white and heterosexual, and you’d have to be crazy to say he is not tough, he does not support their extremist borderline fascist view of the world. Putin is Orthodox both in the sense of the religion, and in his very conservative, non-alternative lifestyle, he is a traditional Russian man, not an edgy alt-righter living in his mother’s basement who can’t get a girlfriend. He exudes the philosophy “talk softly but carry a big stick”. He doesn’t feel the need to remind people he’s tough – everyone knows that. He would MUCH prefer solving issues with dialog than with fighting, even though he is capable of the latter if need be, much like his country.

When Russians think of him, they picture him well dressed (not riding a bear shirtless), leading the country in a responsible, ethical, diplomatic manner. Putin is a statesman of the old world – a modern Caesar, Peter the Great, or even Churchill (with regards to his iconic association with leading his homeland). He respects the past, takes what was good, rejects what was bad, and tries to make Russia strong in a responsible way.

He is the definition of diplomatic. As much as many of us hate political correctness, he IS politically correct, only in as much as he does his best not to offend any foreign leaders. Putin is a statesman, he puts Russia first, above his personal feelings and ambitions, everything he does, he does selflessly for the nation.

The so called “anti-gay laws” simply prevent homosexuals from either directly or indirectly propagating harmful perverted sexual lifestyles to minors. Putin does not support violence against gay people at large.

Putin is strong in the fight against terror. He helped Syrians save their country, raining down fire and destruction upon terrorists, and he lead the countries security forces when Grozny, the Chechen capital was raised to the ground. He also leads the country which REBUILT Grozny into one of Russia’s most beautiful, newest cities. He is not an enemy to all Muslims, only to violent extremists. Muslims fight in the Russian armed services, and Putin has allowed children from Syria to return to Russia freely. He won’t tolerate cynics who claim infants and toddlers are terrorists just as he won’t tolerate any terrorist stupid enough to attack Russia.

He is a practicing Orthodox Christian of good faith, he has spoken of the Church’s crucial role in Russia, but he does not support creating a theocracy. Neither does the Church for that matter. Putin also meets many leaders of other religions. He is a devout practicing Orthodox, so he primarily honors the prevailing role of Orthodox in Russia history and culture, but that’s it. The west constantly portrays him as this ultra-conservative man that wants to become Czar, but that’s not reality.

The reality is Russia has far more extreme political views to the left and right of Putin. You have people who think he’s not being conservative enough, and then of course the leftist—and I don’t mean the mythical liberal unicorns, I mean the communists are the primary leftist party in Russia. The west doesn’t realize how moderate Putin really is.

He has spoken very critically of the Bolsheviks, and is no communist by any means, but he at the same time does not speak of communists like they are evil people. Some Communists were evil, some were good, somewhere in between, capitalism is also a satanic ideology from a religious point of view, it advocates for worship of money just like Communism seeks utopia without God. Both are materialistic, and Putin neither loves nor hates both systems.

Putin once told Oliver Stone that Judo taught him to be flexible, and this is one of his defining characteristics. Russia itself can be a country of extremes for better or worse, and Putin is a flexible moderate at the core, bringing the people together, doing his best not to alienate any large group, and trying to help build “Sobornaya Rossia” a united Russia. Russia has had so many extremes come and go in the last century, Putin tries to be a stabilizing constant to help the nation stand firm in trying times.

Putin actually sits in the middle of a spectrum of extremes, a peacemaker with the rare gift of calling all to order for the greater good of Russia. Those that wish for him to lose the election should be careful what they wish for, the result they get may be more than they bargained for.

The fact is Russian westernizing liberals are largely unicorns, they don’t exist, and when they do, they aren’t by any means popular. An alternative to Putin would not likely be Pro-Western, but the west may actually get to see a real Russian Communist, or Czarist, or authoritarianist.

Popular candidate Zhirinovsky for example, describes himself as the “drum” to Putin’s “cello.” He represents a group of Russians who actually think Putin is too restrained, that he isn’t tough enough. That may surprise you, but it’s true. Some Russians believe Russia should have actively intervened with full military might in Ukraine. Let’s face it, Ukrainians aren’t friends…they’re family. Russia’s family is being slaughtered in the Ukraine…yes…primarily by other Ukrainians, but this wouldn’t have happened if western backed fascists did not take power.

Zhirinovsky advocated for an intervention and occupation to restore legitimate Ukrainian rule before the fascist Kiev regime would have taken power in what the first east Slavic Chronicles call “The Mother of Russian Cities” – Kiev. Likewise, some Russians wanted to see Russia’s military take the fight to enemies on the ground in Syria, which could have potentially risked conflict with US forces occupying territory there.

The Communist party also advocated for Russia to do more to save Russian-Ukrainian people from fascist occupation. If Zhirinovsky or a communist candidate was president, Russia could have occupied all of Ukraine, or be currently fighting a war in the heart of Europe. Russia and Ukraine are twins, as a result, they both have that tendency to be a land of extremes. The difference is Putin, who kept the extreme ends of Russia from tearing each other apart, like what is happening in Ukraine.

Putin’s Russia is an incredibly diverse country. Unlike in the west, were the only real variety approved by the Deep State is Neoconservatism, or Neoliberalism, where the Right and Left are all the same on core issues where it counts, Russia is a country that truly offers diversity. Many diverse ideologies coexist in Russia, unlike in the west which claims to be the capital of diversity, the offer truly divergent and profoundly different worldviews.

For those who believe the Russian media is all the same, take a look at: Tsargrad, Komsmopolskaya Pravda, Pravoslavie.ru, RIA Novosti, Radio Mayak, Vesti, Sputnik, and RT, not to mention the plethora of openly anti-Kremlin websites which exist freely like Radio Svaboda. If people only knew the amount of anti-patriotic and anti-Russian fifth columns that are allowed to operate freely. This also doesn’t include pro-Russian and anti-Russian news from Ukraine.

Putin’s Russia is ideologically and politically far more diverse than most places, and that’s because it’s run by a moderate who welcomes dialog, and not an extremist who wishes to silence all descending voices.

Putin was the moderate who saved Syria from destruction, got the legitimate government back on its feet, then handed over the reigns and said, “Take it from here”. He was the moderate who reunited Crimea with Russia, but allowed Donbass to fight for itself, providing only humanitarian aid and fully supporting the Minsk agreements. Whether or not it’s right or wrong, his actions may have prevented a greater war.

Putin is a moderate, because he has miraculously and flexibly reconciled almost all aspects of Russian society, getting them to work together. Under Putin, for the first time, Communist leaders were saying “Christ is Risen” on Easter. Under Putin, Crimea was reunited, and Syria was saved without provoking a dangerous war with another great power.

Putin is a moderate, because he has encouraged all ideologies in Russia to collaborate patriotically for the common good, setting aside their profound differences. Putin’s work has been to stabilize Russia after centuries of storms, to help lead her into the future, so future generations of Russians will be safe and strong. Then will Russians choose whether to pursue for Russia a Monarchist, Communist, Traditionalist, Leftist, or whatever future for Russia. Because of Putin, they may build something entirely new. So call Putin a moderate if you’d like, it seems to fit.

Above all, Putin is a statesman for the stability of the country. He knows the importance of Orthodoxy as the foundation of Russian culture, which co-suffered with the people since the beginning. He is also an Orthodox Christian of genuine faith, and the lawful president with the people’s support.

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Trump Demands Tribute from NATO Vassals

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO are a captive audience.

Strategic Culture Foundation

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Authored by Tim Kirby via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Regardless of whether one loves or hates President Trump at least we can say that his presidency has a unique flavor and is full of surprises. Bush and Obama were horribly dull by comparison. Trump as a non-politician from the world of big (real estate) business and media has a different take on many issues including NATO.

Many, especially in Russia were hoping that “The Donald’s” campaign criticism of NATO would move towards finally putting an end to this anti-Russian alliance, which, after the fall of Communism really has no purpose, as any real traditional military threats to Europe have faded into history. However, Trump as President of the United States has to engage in the “realpolitik” of 21st century America and try to survive and since Trump seems rather willing to lie to get what he wants, who can really say which promises from his campaign were a shoot and which were a work.

So as it stands now Trump’s recent decision to maintain and build US/NATO bases across the world “and make country X pay for it” could mean anything from him trying to keep his campaign promises in some sort of skewed way, to an utter abandonment of them and submission to the swamp. Perhaps it could simply be his business instincts taking over in the face of “wasteful spending”. Making allies have to pay to have US/NATO forces on their territory is a massive policy shift that one could only predict coming from the unpredictable 45th President.

The one thing that we should all understand, and which Trump perfectly and clearly understands, is that the members of NATO (and other “allies”) are a captive audience, especially Germany, Japan and South Korea, which “coincidentally” are the first set of countries that will have to pay the “cost + 50%” to keep bases and US soldiers on their soil. Japan’s constitution, written primarily by American occupation forces forbids them from having a real military which is convenient for Trump’s plan. South Korea, although a very advanced and wealthy nation has no choice but to hide behind the US might because if it were to disappear overnight, then Gangnam would be filled with pictures of the Kim family within a few weeks.

In the past with regard to these three countries NATO has had to keep up the illusion of wanting to “help” them and work as “partners” for common defense as if nuclear and economic titan America needs countries like them to protect itself. Trump whether consciously or not is changing the dynamic of US/NATO occupation of these territories to be much more honest. His attitude seems to be that the US has the possibility to earn a lot of money from a worldwide mafia-style protection scam. Vassals have no choice but to pay the lord so Trump wants to drop the illusions and make the military industrial complex profitable again and God bless him for it. This level of honesty in politics is refreshing and it reflects the Orange Man’s pro-business and “America will never be a socialist country” attitude. It is blunt and ideologically consistent with his worldview.

On the other hand, one could look at this development as a possible move not to turn NATO into a profitable protection scam but as a means to covertly destroy it. Lies and illusion in politics are very important, people who believe they are free will not rebel even if they have no freedom whatsoever. If people are sure their local leaders are responsible for their nation they will blame them for its failings rather than any foreign influence that may actually be pulling the real strings.

Even if everyone in Germany, Japan and South Korea in their subconscious knows they are basically occupied by US forces it is much harder to take action, than if the “lord” directly demands yearly tribute. The fact that up to this point US maintains its bases on its own dime sure adds to the illusion of help and friendship. This illusion is strong enough for local politicians to just let the status quo slide on further and further into the future. Nothing is burning at their feet to make them act… having to pay cost + 50% could light that fire.

Forcing the locals to pay for these bases changes the dynamic in the subconscious and may force people’s brains to contemplate why after multiple-generations the former Axis nations still have to be occupied. Once occupation becomes expensive and uncomfortable, this drops the illusion of friendship and cooperation making said occupation much harder to maintain.

South Korea knows it needs the US to keep out the North but when being forced to pay for it this may push them towards developing the ability to actually defend themselves. Trump’s intellectual “honesty” in regards to NATO could very well plant the necessary intellectual seeds to not just change public opinion but make public action against US/NATO bases in foreign countries. Japan has had many protests over the years against US bases surging into the tens of thousands. This new open vassal status for the proud Japanese could be the straw to break the camel’s back.

Predicting the future is impossible. But it is clear that, changing the fundamental dynamic by which the US maintains foreign bases in a way that will make locals financially motivated to have them removed, shall significantly affect the operations of US forces outside the borders of the 50 States and make maintaining a global presence even more difficult, but perhaps this is exactly what the Orange Man wants or is just too blind to see.

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High-ranking Ukrainian official reports on US interference in Ukraine

It is not usually the case that an American media outlet tells the truth about Ukraine, but it appears to have happened here.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Hill committed what may well have been a random act of journalism when it reported that Ukrainian Prosecutor General, Yuriy Lutsenko, told Hill.tv’s reporter John Solomon that the American ambassador to that country, Marie Yovanovitch, gave him a “do not prosecute” list at their first meeting.

Normally, all things Russia are covered by the American press as “bad”, and all things Ukraine are covered by the same as “good.” Yet this report reveals quite a bit about the nature of the deeply embedded US interests that are involved in Ukraine, and which also attempt to control and manipulate policy in the former Soviet republic.

The Hill’s piece continues (with our added emphases):

“Unfortunately, from the first meeting with the U.S. ambassador in Kiev, [Yovanovitch] gave me a list of people whom we should not prosecute,” Lutsenko, who took his post in 2016, told Hill.TV last week.

“My response of that is it is inadmissible. Nobody in this country, neither our president nor our parliament nor our ambassador, will stop me from prosecuting whether there is a crime,” he continued.

Indeed, the Prosecutor General appears to be a man of some principles. When this report was brought to the attention of the US State Department, the response was predictable:

The State Department called Lutsenko’s claim of receiving a do not prosecute list, “an outright fabrication.” 

“We have seen reports of the allegations,” a department spokesperson told Hill.TV. “The United States is not currently providing any assistance to the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO), but did previously attempt to support fundamental justice sector reform, including in the PGO, in the aftermath of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity. When the political will for genuine reform by successive Prosecutors General proved lacking, we exercised our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer and redirected assistance to more productive projects.”

This is an amazing statement in itself. “Our fiduciary responsibility to the American taxpayer”? Are Americans even aware that their country is spending their tax dollars in an effort to manipulate a foreign government in what can probably well be called a low-grade proxy war with the Russian Federation? Again, this appears to be a slip, as most American media do a fair job of maintaining the narrative that Ukraine is completely independent and that its actions regarding the United States and Russia are taken in complete freedom.

Hill.TV has reached out to the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine for comment.

Lutsenko also said that he has not received funds amounting to nearly $4 million that the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine was supposed to allocate to his office, saying that “the situation was actually rather strange” and pointing to the fact that the funds were designated, but “never received.”

“At that time we had a case for the embezzlement of the U.S. government technical assistance worth 4 million U.S. dollars, and in that regard, we had this dialogue,” he said. “At that time, [Yovanovitch] thought that our interviews of Ukrainian citizens, of Ukrainian civil servants, who were frequent visitors of the U.S. Embassy put a shadow on that anti-corruption policy.”

“Actually, we got the letter from the U.S. Embassy, from the ambassador, that the money that we are speaking about [was] under full control of the U.S. Embassy, and that the U.S. Embassy did not require our legal assessment of these facts,” he said. “The situation was actually rather strange because the funds we are talking about were designated for the prosecutor general’s office also and we told [them] we have never seen those, and the U.S. Embassy replied there was no problem.”

“The portion of the funds, namely 4.4 million U.S. dollars were designated and were foreseen for the recipient Prosecutor General’s office. But we have never received it,” he said.

Yovanovitch previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Armenia under former presidents Obama and George W. Bush, as well as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan under Bush. She also served as ambassador to Ukraine under Obama.

Former Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who was at the time House Rules Committee chairman, voiced concerns about Yovanovitch in a letter to the State Department last year in which he said he had proof the ambassador had spoken of her “disdain” for the Trump administration.

This last sentence may be a way to try to narrow the scope of American interference in Ukraine down to the shenanigans of just a single person with a personal agenda. However, many who have followed the story of Ukraine and its surge in anti-Russian rhetoric, neo-Naziism, ultra-nationalism, and the most recent events surrounding the creation of a pseudo-Orthodox “church” full of Ukrainian nationalists and atheists as a vehicle to import “Western values” into a still extremely traditional and Christian land, know that there are fingerprints of the United States “deep state” embeds all over this situation.

It is somewhat surprising that so much that reveals the problem showed up in just one report. It will be interesting to see if this gets any follow-up in the US press.

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President Putin signs law blocking fake news, but the West makes more

Western media slams President Putin and his fake news law, accusing him of censorship, but an actual look at the law reveals some wisdom.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The TASS Russian News Agency reported on March 18th that Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off on a new law intended to block distorted or untrue information being reported as news. Promptly after he did so, Western news organizations began their attempt to “spin” this event as some sort of proof of “state censorship” in the oppressive sense of the old Soviet Union. In other words, a law designed to prevent fake news was used to create more fake news.

One of the lead publications is a news site that is itself ostensibly a “fake news” site. The Moscow Times tries to portray itself as a Russian publication that is conducted from within Russian borders. However, this site and paper is really a Western publication, run by a Dutch foundation located in the Netherlands. As such, the paper and the website associated have a distinctly pro-West slant in their reporting. Even Wikipedia noted this with this comment from their entry about the publication:

In the aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, The Moscow Times was criticized by a number of journalists including Izvestia columnist Israel Shamir, who in December 2014 called it a “militant anti-Putin paper, a digest of the Western press with extreme bias in covering events in Russia”.[3] In October 2014 The Moscow Times made the decision to suspend online comments after an increase in offensive comments. The paper said it disabled comments for two reasons—it was an inconvenience for its readers as well as being a legal liability, because under Russian law websites are liable for all content, including user-generated content like comments.[14]

This bias is still notably present in what is left of the publication, which is now an online-only news source. This is some of what The Moscow Times had to say about the new fake news legislation:

The bills amending existing information laws overwhelmingly passed both chambers of Russian parliament in less than two months. Observers and some lawmakers have criticized the legislation for its vague language and potential to stifle free speech.

The legislation will establish punishments for spreading information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.

As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity.

More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled “direct censorship.”

This piece does give a bit of explanation from Dmitry Peskov, showing that European countries also have strict laws governing fake news distribution. However, the Times made the point of pointing out the idea of “insulting governmental bodies of Russia… including Putin” to bolster their claim that this law amounts to real censorship of the press. It developed its point of view based on a very short article from Reuters which says even less about the legislation and how it works.

However, TASS goes into rather exhaustive detail about this law, and it also gives rather precise wording on the reason for the law’s passage, as well as how it is to be enforced. We include most of this text here, with emphases added:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking untrue and distorting information (fake news). The document was posted on the government’s legal information web portal.

The document supplements the list of information, the access to which may be restricted on the demand by Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies. In particular, it imposes a ban on “untrue publicly significant information disseminated in the media and in the Internet under the guise of true reports, which creates a threat to the life and (or) the health of citizens, property, a threat of the mass violation of public order and (or) public security, or the threat of impeding or halting the functioning of vital infrastructural facilities, transport or social infrastructure, credit institutions, energy, industrial or communications facilities.”

Pursuant to the document, in case of finding such materials in Internet resources registered in accordance with the Russian law on the mass media as an online media resource, Russia’s Prosecutor General or his deputies will request the media watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the corresponding websites.

Based on this request, Roskomnadzor will immediately notify the editorial board of the online media resource, which is in violation of the legislation, about the need to remove untrue information and the media resource will be required to delete such materials immediately. If the editorial board fails to take the necessary measures, Roskomnadzor will send communications operators “a demand to take measures to restrict access to the online resource.”

In case of deleting such untrue information, the website owner will notify Roskomnadzor thereof, following which the media watchdog will “hold a check into the authenticity of this notice” and immediately inform the communications operator about the resumption of the access to the information resource.
The conditions for the law are very specific, as are the penalties for breaking it. TASS continued:

Liability for breaching the law

Simultaneously, the Federation Council approved the associated law with amendments to Russia’s Code of Administrative Offences, which stipulates liability in the form of penalties of up to 1.5 million rubles (around $23,000) for the spread of untrue and distorting information.

The Code’s new article, “The Abuse of the Freedom of Mass Information,” stipulates liability for disseminating “deliberately untrue publicly significant information” in the media or in the Internet. The penalty will range from 30,000 rubles ($450) to 100,000 rubles ($1,520) for citizens, from 60,000 rubles ($915) to 200,000 rubles ($3,040) for officials and from 200,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles ($7,620) for corporate entities with the possible confiscation of the subject of the administrative offence.

Another element of offence imposes tighter liability for the cases when the publication of false publicly significant information has resulted in the deaths of people, has caused damage to the health or property, prompted the mass violation of public order and security or has caused disruption to the functioning of transport or social infrastructure facilities, communications, energy and industrial facilities and banks. In such instances, the fines will range from 300,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($6,090) for citizens, from 600,000 rubles to 900,000 rubles ($13,720) for officials, and from 1 million rubles to 1.5 million rubles for corporate entities.

While this legislation can be spun (and is) in the West as anti-free speech, one may also consider the damage that has taken place in the American government through a relentless attack of fake news from most US news outlets against President Trump. One of the most notable effects of this barrage has been to further degrade and destroy the US’ relationship with the Russian Federation, because even the Helsinki Summit was attacked so badly that the two leaders have not been able to get a second summit together.

While it is certainly a valued right of the American press to be unfettered by Congress, and while it is also certainly vital to criticize improper practices by government officials, the American news agencies have gone far past that, to deliberately dishonest attacks, based in innuendo and everything possible that was formerly only the province of gossip tabloid publications. The effort has been to defame the President, not to give proper or due criticism to his policies, nor credit. It can be properly stated that the American press has abused its freedom of late.

This level of abuse drew a very unusual comment from the US president, who wondered on Twitter about the possibility of creating a state-run media center in the US to counter fake news:

Politically correct for US audiences? No. But an astute point?

Definitely.

Freedom in anything also presumes that those with that freedom respect it, and further, that they respect and apply the principle that slandering people and institutions for one’s own personal, business or political gain is wrong. Implied in the US Constitution’s protection of the press is the notion that the press itself, as the rest of the country, is accountable to a much Higher Authority than the State. But when that Authority is rejected, as so much present evidence suggests, then freedom becomes the freedom to misbehave and to agitate. It appears largely within this context that the Russian law exists, based on the text given.

Further, by hitting dishonest media outlets in their pocketbook, rather than prison sentences, the law appears to be very smart in its message: “Do not lie. If you do, you will suffer where it counts most.”

Considering that news media’s purpose is to make money, this may actually be a very smart piece of legislation.

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