Putin's Propaganda Works to Convince Unhappy Russians They’re the Exceptions, Kokh Says
August 19 – “The chief secret of Russian propaganda” is its “main task,” Alfred
Kokh says, and that is to convince Russians that they are as happy as it is
possible to be under the circumstances, that they are beholden to the state for
this well-being, and that if anyone is unhappy, he or she is an isolated
to the former Russian deputy prime minister and current commentator, “the task
of totalitarian propaganda consists in convincing the individual in the correctness
of the authorities and in the lack of alternatives.” Anyone processed in this
way is thus “convinced that he is happy (nv.ua/opinion/koh/glavnyj-sekret-rossijskoj-propagandy-64787.html).
who despite that feels unhappy begins to convince himself that he is “an
anomaly,” that his “personal misfortune” is a personal failing rather than part
of the system as a whole.“In other
words,” Kokh says, “the totalitarian individual if he feels himself unhappy
clearly understands that his unhappiness is an exception” and that almost
everyone else is happy.
conclusion leads such “unhappy” people even when they have good reason to be
unhappy with the system to seek to join the majority and to pursue the
resolution of their problems via the system rather than protesting against
it.If only the tsar knew about the mistake
in their cases, all would be corrected; and they too would be happy.
attitude, the Russian commentator suggests, has the additional consequence of
keeping them from organizing with others of like mind and experience and thus
reducing the chance that those suffering from any particular ill will act in
ways that will force the authorities to change course.
argues that “an individual in a free society represents the complete opposite.”
“He is happy but is convinced that his happiness is the exception not the rule,
that the people suffer and that the authorities are defective and
ill-intentioned.” And because of the nature of the media in free societies, he
does not recognize that the happy individual is the norm.
societies, he suggests, “the media focus on exposing precisely the negative and
collecting and disseminating even the most minor mistakes of the authorities.”That is why, unlike in a totalitarian
society, the ratings of leaders are never so high in a free society.
Kokh argues in conclusion, this distinction is “the most important indicator of
slavery or freedom.” And consequently, he notes with regret, “in Russia there
are ever fewer people who feel their happiness is an exception, and ever more
who consider their unhappiness precisely that.”