Friday, December 2, 2016

West Must Look Beyond ‘Symptoms’ and Deal with the ‘Disease’ Putin Represents, Borovoy Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, December 2 – Recently, at long last, European and American governments are beginning to respond to and work to counter Russian propaganda, Konstantin Borovoy says; but in doing so, they are addressing “a symptom” of the much larger and more dangerous “disease” that Vladimir Putin and his regime represent.

            “No Congress and no European parliament is in a position to spend” the billions that would now be required to counter Russian propaganda, the Russian opposition leader says; but even if a great deal of money were to be found for that, it could easily become an excuse not to address the underlying problem (

            “There are several problems which today agitate humanity and the West. Among them are Crimea, the East of Ukraine, Syria, and increased Russian espionage activity in Europe and the US,” Borovoy says.  All of these are manifestations of one problem which is called ‘Putin’s Russia.’”

            That means the West must focus on “the Putin problem,” the Russian politician and commentator continues. Doing anything else, however well, is only treating symptoms; and “treating symptoms is useless. One must cure the disease.”

                Those who say that “’we are in a period of Cold War’” are deceiving themselves, he says. What is “cold” about what Putin is doing in Ukraine or Syria? And Putin’s use of information war has proven very effective precisely because he sees it as part of a real war rather than as a substitute for that as do many in the West.

            Restricting the activity of propaganda outlets, as many are suggesting, “isn’t useless and can be even effective” – but only on condition that there is a complete understanding that “Russia Today, Sputin and all kinds of lobbying groups are not manifestations of ideological clashes but instruments for the conduct of military activities on the territory of an opponent.”

            Such an understanding, Borovoy says, “has not yet come to the West, and representatives of these media (in essence, they are murderers)” use the freedoms of the West against the West on a regular basis. But eventually as in Ukraine and in Syria, this “’ideological” battle becomes a “physical and armed” one.

            “The West’s recognition of the danger of these processes is occurring very slowly,” he points out.  But its people and its leaders must recognize that for Putin, information war is war and not something else, and they must be prepared to act on that understanding rather than remain in denial until it is too late.

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