Smith: “Truths & counter-truths”

28 07 2014

In “Truths and Counter-Truths: The Front of Information and Misinformation,” Fourth International (Trotskyist) activist Murray Smith provides a detailed analysis of the Ukraine-Russia conflict from a left-wing perspective.

Smith is a Scottish socialist who has been active in leftist politics in various European countries since the 1960s. Since 2009 he has lived in Luxemburg, where is a leader of the party “The Left” (déi Lénk), its leadership representative in the Party of the European Left, and associated with the European United Left-Nordic Green Left.

The article is thoroughly referenced and includes a very good summary of the Russian misinformation campaign. I highly recommend it. It can be read here.





More media war techniques

5 06 2014

While this web site is in Russian, the videos and images don’t require much translation. It’s a catalogue of examples of Russian state media “recycling” of images from other times and places — dead bodies, mutilated children, bombings, downed UN planes, et al. — in order to discredit Ukraine’s (former) opposition or its (current) interim government.

The sources include Syria’s current civil war (several images), Belgrade in the 1990s, Mexico’s drug war, the African Congo (that UN plane), and even a fire from Quebec’s Lac Megantic train derailment. All are presented as if these depict victims of “Kiev’s fascist junta” or on-the-ground images from eastern Ukraine.

See here for the article.

Then there is the army of internet trolls. Media studies dissertations can be written about this stuff.

 

 





Where next in Russia’s propaganda offensive?

29 05 2014

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.

Read the rest of this entry »





Russian infowar

11 05 2014

I drafted an op-ed piece a few weeks ago that I failed to oversee to publication, because it was quickly overtaken by events that I didn’t manage to incorporate into the piece.

I’m sharing it here for what it’s worth, as it includes some useful links to materials I have not posted to this blog. It’s more opinionated than my posts have usually been, but that’s the nature of an op-ed. The general idea remains quite relevant (as my “Right Sector vs. United Russia” post shows). A brief update follows.

 

Manufacturing reality: The Russian infowar over Ukraine

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More Odessa observations

6 05 2014

The comments by the Left Opposition observer whom I quoted in the last post have now been translated into English here.

And here is a rich trove of images from the May 2 events. (The captions provide somewhat of a pro-Ukrainian unity slant.) The first link is particularly helpful. The last two links are not recommended for sensitive viewers.

 





Russian media bloopers

14 04 2014

Economist Paul Gregory has been keeping track of some very funny Russian media bloopers — funny except for the fact that they are intended to be true and serious.

Here he recounts three stories told by three Russian media outlets — Rossiya 1, NTV, and the National Independent News of Crimea — each about a very different character: an “ordinary citizen” protesting the Ukrainian “neo-Nazi government,” a German EU spy who hired a group of 50 European mercenaries (!), and a pediatric surgeon tending the victims of neo-Nazi gunmen.

The catch is that each is clearly the same guy lying (in both senses of the word) in the same hospital bed. These “news stories” are played by the same actor. The videos are below.

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Russian media

6 04 2014

While the source of this analysis, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, could be expected to be somewhat critical of Russia, the critique offered in “The World Through the Eyes of Russian State Television” is supported by several lengthy video segments from Russian state controlled news Channel 1.

As can be seen there, the news provided on Channel 1 is wildly at variance — frighteningly so — with what the rest of the world sees and knows about Ukraine. Either one state-controlled media industry (and a handful of western outlets) is correct and everyone else is in the dark, or there is a great deal of consent being manufactured here (as Noam Chomsky would likely say, if he lived there).

That does not mean there are no alternative views available in Russia.  Read the rest of this entry »





Yurchak: “Little green men”

31 03 2014

Russian-born UC Berkeley anthropologist Alexei Yurchak, author of the celebrated study Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More: The Last Soviet Generation, has written a fascinating account of the unnamed armed forces that appeared in Crimea before its referendum. It is entitled “Little green men: Russia, Ukraine, and post-Soviet sovereignty.”

A few excerpts:

“What we witnessed in Crimea is a curious new political technology — a military occupation that is staged as a non-occupation. These curious troops were designed to fulfill two contradictory things at once – to be anonymous and yet recognized by all, to be polite and yet frightening, to be identified as the Russian Army and yet, be different from the Russian Army. They were designed to be a pure, naked military force – a force without a state, without a face, without identity, without a clearly articulated goal. [. . .]

Read the rest of this entry »





Snyder: The haze of propaganda

2 03 2014

Historian Timothy Snyder reviews the “haze of propaganda” surrounding the crisis in Ukraine in the New York Review of Books:

“Interestingly, the message from authoritarian regimes in Moscow and Kiev was not so different from some of what was written during the uprising in the English-speaking world, especially in publications of the far left and the far right. From Lyndon LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review through Ron Paul’s newsletter through The Nation and The Guardian, the story was essentially the same: little of the factual history of the protests, but instead a play on the idea of a nationalist, fascist, or even Nazi coup d’état.”

See the entire article here.








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