Staunton, July 9 – Most people assume that Vladimir Putin’s Russia has become a genuine propaganda state, but two Moscow military commentators say there is much more to be done and in the authoritative “Voenno-Promyshlenny kuryer,” they describe just what a real Russian “ministry of propaganda” should do.
The appearance of this article suggests that at least some in Moscow are considering additional steps to make Putin’s propaganda effort even more all-embracing than it is at present. At the very least, it provides a useful checklist of steps some in Moscow are pushing for in this important sector.
In the current issue of the journal directed at Russia’s military industry, Anatoly Brychkov and Grigory Nikonorov argue that under conditions of globalization, “the defense of a territory by armed forces alone without an information component has already become impossible” (vpk-news.ru/articles/25979).
The two argue that Russia has not done all that it can in this area and that it must do far more to elaborate and inculcate in key elites and the population at large a national ideology in order to defend Russia from information warfare directed against it from abroad. To that end, they call for the establishment of a ministry of propaganda.
That ministry, they say, would supervise a nine-part effort in that regard. Those efforts include:
1. “All government and non-governmental information companies …would be united in a single holding with the status of a ministry” as the first step to creating the ministry of propaganda itself.”
2. The ministry would “take measures to put under the control of the state information companies in which the participation of the state is not visible.”
3. It would “stop the opening of new companies and by law prohibit the activities on the territory of the country of media, the basic capital of which is controlled by foreign states.”
4. It would “change the information policy inside the country from entertainment to educational and scientific educational.
5. It would “create an information monitoring service, give it the functions of a censor, and subordinate it directly to the president.”
6. The new ministry would organize within this service departments “corresponding to the directions of information combat.”
7. It would “open information companies abroad,” attracting support for this from “private persons.”
8. The ministry would supervise “the preparation of cadres for information combat.”
9. And it would “use the cadre resource potential of the creative intelligentsia, scholars, public activists, and representatives of traditional religious confessions from among the patriotically inclined.”
The ministry’s efforts, the two military authors say, “must embrace all age and professional categories of the population,” but they must focus in particular on those of interest to the siloviki. And the two authors call for developing plans for the new ministry in greater detail and coming up with cadre training programs to staff it.
“Around the ideology” of the state, Brychkov and Nikonorov say, “it is necessary to form an elite” that understands what is at stake. In that environment, they argue, “a health state organism cannot exist without censorship.” And they add: “to put the media and its resource base under the control of the state is allowed by the Constitution and laws of the country.”