Where next in Russia’s propaganda offensive?
In the Moscow Times article “Russia’s Propaganda War Will Backfire,” Mark Lawrence Schrad, author of Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy and the Secret History of the Russian State, argues that the Putin regime’s media offensive against the Maidan revolution and the interim Ukrainian government will backfire on Russian-Ukrainian relations for years to come.
“With all of the Ukrainian candidates that could conceivably be labeled fascist receiving less than 3 percent of the vote, dramatically less than far-right parties elsewhere in Europe, Russia’s “Nazi Ukraine” narrative will be difficult to sustain.
“What is more, billionaire and political independent Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s new president with 55 percent of the vote, is hardly a right-wing fascist.
“Indeed, Poroshenko was one of the founders of the Party of Regions, the pro-Russian political party that brought Yanukovych to power in the first place. Having served in both the Yanukovych government and the pro-Western Orange Revolution government of Viktor Yushchenko, the milquetoast Poroshenko is the exact opposite of the divisive nationalist required by Russia’s media narrative.”
Watching Putin’s strategy evolve (as it’s reflected in Russian state media) will be interesting.
Others have argued that Russia’s support of its own ultra-nationalists, along with the entire “hybrid war” strategy — a mix of unofficial guerrilla-style on-the-ground war (with its highly trained “green men” and a motley crew of irregulars), all-out cyber/propaganda war, and diplomatic and military mixed messages — will backfire in other ways as well. For instance, it may lead, in time, to Russia’s own regions wishing to separate from the center in Moscow, and to those same semi-criminal irregulars popping up in less convenient places in the future.
Here are a few other recent articles on the Russian media campaign and its results in southeast Ukraine:
Shkandrij, “How Russian propaganda works through social media“
Shekhovtsov, “Extremism in South-Eastern Ukraine“