Sunday, August 17, 2008

Russia's Propaganda War against Georgia, America and the Jews

Russian propaganda has never been fairly sophisticated, just a repetitive recitation of simple if outlandish points, and it has changed very little over the generations.

The propaganda offensive is fairly simple, characterize the country you're invading as "aggressive", describe its leadership as warmongering, fascist, adventurist and sometimes psychotic and claim you need to occupy them in order to insure peace.

A short language guide to what these Pravda terms actually mean runs as follows

A. Warmongering - Its troops are still resisting a Russian occupation

B. Fascist - Its government refuses to make way for a Russian puppet regime

C. Adventurist - Its government has asked for help from the West or is allied to the West.

D. Psychotic - It has a strong leader who is refusing to concede to Russia.

The shortest guide is to understand that Pravdaspeak terms are the opposite of truth. An aggressive country is usually one that Russia has invaded or a country that is refusing to let a Russian invasion proceed. An adventurist country has been cut off and is frantically asking the West and anyone else for aid, e.g. Poland in 1939.

With the Russian press tightly controlled by Putin and dissenting reporters murdered by some of the same KGB enforcers and Chechnyan\ thugs currently rampaging across Georgia, the Russian media is back to projecting the same one sided Kremlin propaganda it did during the halcyon days of the Czars and the USSR.

Naturally Georgia is the aggressor state and naturally Saakashvili is a psychotic warmonger. After all it's not like Russia ever invades any country that isn't an aggressor state led by psychotic warmongers. And having gotten its clock cleaned by the likes of Japan and Finland, Russians are ecstatic over finally finding a small country they can actually win a war with.

In the Russian propaganda lexicon, invaded nations are both "weak" and "aggressors". They're weak because naturally no one can stand up to the "Mighty Russians" and they're aggressors because why, they had to do something for us to invade them.

Russian propaganda reconciles this paradox of the "weak aggressor" by painting them as "pawns" of a much larger power that seeks to stir up conflict with the "peaceful Russian people." Russian invasions are therefore routinely "peacekeeping" missions to prevent this "third party" from stirring up a war.

So Poland in 1939 was actually a pawn of England and the Capitalist powers whose goal was to stir up war with Germany. Georgia in 2008 is naturally a pawn of America, Britain and the Jews to stir up war with oh so peaceful Russia.

Russian propaganda highlights the American and Israeli advisers of the Georgian army and emphasizes claims that Saakashvili is an American\Jewish puppet, playing up statements made by him in Israel calling on Georgian Jews to return, along with describing two ministers in his government as Jews. Some describe Saakshvili himself as Jewish. This is par for the course in Russian propaganda, the original authors of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, who naturally turn up the Jews as being behind everything.

The first step in Russia's propaganda campaign was to demonize and promote hate crimes against Georgians in Russia. With the invasion underway, Russian propaganda typically switches to demonizing the Georgian government followed by the third parties whose "puppets" they turn out to be.

This naturally has the added advantage of playing well to the far right, whether it's Pat Buchanan or Ron Paul supporters in America, who continue to promote and distribute Kremlin propaganda. Russia's tyrants having morphed from Communist-Nationalists to Fascist-Nationalists, their new fellow travelers have become the far right rather than the far left.

It's repulsive and yet somehow ironically amusing to watch old line Cold War era paleocons like Pat Buchanan churn out screeds arguing that America should let Russia have all of Eastern Europe as long as they let us live in peace.

The general Anti-American crowd is happy enough to jump on board Russia's invasion, so long as they get to blame Bush and rant about Dick Cheney and FOX News. Despite the Russian invasion being a literal case of a Blood for Oil war, the "No Blood for Oil" crowd has realized that they're all for that sort of thing as long as an American ally is the one being invaded.

When Russia invaded Poland as part of the Hitler-Stalin pact, Russian Foreign Minister Molotov declared that Poland's aggressive government was at fault, accused them of provoking war and declared that Russian troops needed to occupy Poland to protect Russian Ukrainians who were oppressed by the Poles.

When Estonia's turn came, Russia staged a phony submarine attack on its shipping, blockaded Estonia's ports claiming that it had been attacked and forced the signing of a treaty that put Russian troops and air and naval bases all across Estonia.

This is the usual Russian one-two punch approach. Either a straight out invasion or a treaty signed at gunpoint that removes the need for an armed invasion and passes on straight to the occupation.

The Russian invasion of Georgia is Russia's first "Proof of Concept" that it can bring its escaped Republics and Warsaw Pact allies back into the fold by force, and a chance to take control of Georgian trade and the oil pipeline, turning it all into money for Putin's band of KGB robber barons back home. When Putin has rid himself of that "psychotic warmongering" pest in Tsibli and replaced him with a solid KGB fellow, like the sort who are running South Ossettia now, the rubles and dollars and euros will really begin flowing back along the same KGB companies, each getting a piece of the action.

Putin's tactics aren't really new, Russia used them to create the Warsaw Pact back in the day. Putin just has enough business training to do a better job of making them work. Here fresh from Time Magazine of 1947 is how the Ivans did it last time around.

In 30 days, twelve new trade pacts were signed between Moscow and satellites, or satellites and satellites. Shotgun treaties herded satellites more snugly into the Soviet economic pen.

Economic Pincers. Russian trade treaties, like reparations, were instruments of extortion, and, in method, straight out of the Nazi mold, with which Molotov had more than a newspaper reader's acquaintance during the piping days of German-Russian war collaboration, 1939-41

But the Soviet Union had also developed another kind of economic pincers—the so-called "joint company." The pattern was 50-50 ownership by the Soviet Union and the local government, 100% administration by Soviet-picked executives. The function of the joint companies was to keep goods flowing into Russia. Through the joint-stock company and alleged reparations, Moscow had seized drum-tight control over:

All Balkan shipping on the Danube, all Rumanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian air transport.
One-third of Rumania's oil (expropriation of British and U.S. interests would complete Soviet control), 90% of her coal, a large portion of her gold, metal, coke, chemicals, and part of her banking.
One hundred eighty Hungarian enterprises in oil, aluminum, banking, insurance, manufacturing, mining and transport.

Ten percent of all of Austria's industry, including the Zistersdorf oilfield, Credit-Anstalt bank, factories making electrical machinery, tools, locomotives.

Maiming Monopoly. Through its threefold control, the Soviet Union was taking from eastern Europe not only manufactured goods that Russia desperately needed, but also products of which it had an abundance. Last year, the Soviet Union took most of Poland's exportable coal (15 million tons), all of Rumania's exportable timber (203,000 tons), all of Bulgaria's exportable tobacco (35,000 tons).

Prewar, Europe's not-too-healthy economy was partly sustained by the flow of such eastern products westward in exchange for machinery and manufactured goods which Russia is in no position to supply. Continued Soviet draining would plunge European living standards still farther, even below the Russian level of life, which has been described as a permanent economic depression.

This time out it's less about coal and tobacco, even if Russian troops and their Chechnyan and Cossack looters and mercenaries continue relying on Georgian slave labor, Russia will hardly be able to compete with China. Indeed Russia has had to lease much of its timber forests to China because it lacks the willing or even unwilling manpower to get the job done.

The goal this time is energy. Russia has one thing going for it and that's energy. By creating energy conflicts it can squeeze the price of oil higher and right into its pockets. It doesn't need industry anymore, Putin is following the OPEC model of cornering energy and letting everything else go to hell. If he can get his hands around Europe's energy nozzle, he can squeeze the EU into compliance, dismantle NATO and take back the Republics or wreck the European economy.

Of course Stalin's plan failed back in 1947 and Putin's plan likely will too. Stalin didn't count on American aid to Europe or on the emergence of non-European markets. Putin is counting on an indecisive America and Europe unwilling to seriously confront him, but the Russian army is much weaker than beating up on Georgia has made it seem, and the Russian propaganda has traditionally been a bellicose cover for Russian weakness.

Putin is substituting ruthlessness and greed for actual military strength. He may find that he has overreached himself, as the Baltic states run toward NATO and away from him, and his fellow travelers in the West, on the Far Right lack either the influence or persuasive powers of Russia's old left wing allies. Russia's invasion of Georgia has made the hearts of Ivans swell with national pride, but it has woken up Europe to the cold dark reality of what the Putin regime represents and its plans for Europe, both East and West.

Russia's propaganda may have helped buy Russia enough time to begin consuming Georgia, but it will need more than government sponsored hate campaigns to reclaim its dream of seizing its old conquests across Eastern Europe once again.


  1. Excellent post, Sultan.

    For the life of me I can't figure out why so many people in the west are falling for this typical Russian PR.

    One additional tactic being used, which I saw on BBC America News is Russia comparing their invasion into Georgia with the US invasion of Iraq.

    One Russian soldier was interviewed and said, "If the Americans can take Baghdad we can take Tsibli."

    Of course we haven't taken Iraq and have no plans to colonize and oppress it.

    Why aren't more liberals up in arms over the invasion of Georgia? Perhaps because they think Russia is 'sticking it' to the US and want to use it for PR purposes of their own.

    You know, "We condemn the Russians but look what the US is doing. How can we condemn Russia when we're doing the same thing?"

    Never mind that the two invasions are nothing whatsoever alike, the Russian invasion and PR gives ammunition to anti-Americans on the extreme left and right.

    And for the more simple (like me) who really don't follow foreign politics?

    Sigh. Putin just doesn't physically resemble the Russian bear of old. The older, white-haired, burly guy with a thick accent drunk on vodka.

    He's not Boris Yeltsin-type. And I am ashamed to say, I was once in the category of people who thought Putin harmless only because he looked so attractive, young and westernized.

    (don't hit me on the head for saying I thought him attrative.)

    And then there's the flag--not the traditional red hammer and sickle but the 17th century Alexander the Great red, white and blue Russian flag.

    I know these are all very small superficial things, but subconsciously I think they might influence people to the point that they don't see the true threat and goals of Putin.

    Invasion of Georgia, threats against Poland and the Ukraine? What flashes in my mind is a young Adolf Hitler minus the moustache.

    So I have two conflicting images of Putin, one rational and the other baseless but nevertheless in the back of my mind.

  2. some far right and far left americans will back anything if they feel it's anti-bush

    so they'll cheer on terrorists and putin

    the russian bear's most dangerous leaders have been partly westernized or non-russian, from lenin to stalin and on

  3. Chabad is a hater of Jews???

  4. Anonymous18/8/08

    You left out Chabad which is a huge Kremlin/Putin supporter

  5. With Russia's history, it should be impossible for anyone to say anything positive about that place.

    Has there ever been a point in time where there was any good in Russia?

  6. Anonymous18/8/08

    With no desire to make light of the situation, I had to smile when i saw the image at the bottom of this post. For a second my generation-X brain thought I was seeing a picture of DeVo fans on the march.

  7. well putin's regime has really only allowed jewish organizations loyal to his government, which includes that faction of chabad currently running much of russia's jewish communities

  8. But at least Chabad can act as a safety net sorta/kinda. It does seem strategic to have even a small faction of Jews on the inside.

    Mordecai's presence in the king's castle certainly came in handy.

    Could there be another Mordecai the Jew in Chabad with close ties to Putin? Might come in handy.

  9. the problem in this scenario is that they're being used to legitimize putin and keep the jewish community under his control and will be disposed of when they're no longer needed

    not to mention that how this faction got to where it is, isn't a very nice story, and they're functioning as figureheads for businessmen affiliated with putin

    and the whole thing will have an ugly price at the end

  10. No religion operates in Russia unless they are in with the KGB or whoever is in place there now.. whatever name they use. And I mean absolutely NO religion can operate unless they are in with the bad guys.
    The orthodox churches bishops were all KGB agents.
    Chabad is luring Jews back to Russia and it's a crime!

  11. Anonymous19/8/08

    "Chabad is luring Jews back to Russia and it's a crime!"

    That is truly f-ed up. I'd really enjoy (if that is the right word) reading a post on the Chabad-Kremlin connection.

  12. I've written briefly about it in the past

    Lazar is very much in Putin's pocket and that faction of Chabad was used by the Kremlin to front Russia's "official" Jewish organizations, backed by Putin allied oligarchs while driving out existing Russian Jewish institutions and Rabbis

  13. Anonymous20/8/08

    Mordechai did not purposefully set himself in that position. He was part of a captive people. Big difference between that and what Chabad is doing.
    Chabad is pop-judaism and not much more than that. It teaches a feel good knock off of Christianity sans J. Thats why they get so many converts.