Staunton, May 18 – Many European intellectuals think that Russian propaganda is “post-modernist” that sows confusion but does not have a specific message, Igor Eidman says; but his own interviews with Russian speakers in Germany show that is not the case and that Moscow today is successfully promoting its myth that the US is “the center of world evil.”
And even if one is not a fan of what the US is doing in the world, the Russian commentator for Deutsche Welle says, “it must be recognized that to stop Putin’s propaganda will be possible only by destroying this myth.” Unfortunately, “judging from everything, no one is working on that, not even the Americans” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5AFDB7FC9F18C).
In the course of interviewing Russian speakers in Berlin for a film about the diaspora in Germany, Eidman says he found that “all of those queried, like criminals who had earlier agreed on their story or followers of a totalitarian sect reproduced one and the same invented stories … the corner stone of which … is the image of the enemy in the form of the US.”
Many simply repeat verbatim the messages of Russian television that the US wants to “’subordinate and exploit the entire world and above all Russia which is very rich in resources.’” Sometimes such claims are accompanied by truly strange notions such as America wanting to seize Siberia as a place to move to because of an approaching climate catastrophe.
According to his interlocutors, Eidman continues, “’the US (plus sometimes Great Britain as the junior partner of the Americans) is guilty in all current wars including Ukraine, Syria, Iraq and so on. The American wanted to seize Crimea and the Donbass, they help ISIS, and they sow trouble and bloodshed everywhere.”
For such people, “Crimea of course is ours and always was (many simply don’t know about the seizure of the peninsula by Catherine the Great, but the main thing is that the Americans wanted to occupy it in order to approach closer to Russia.” Everything Moscow has done in Ukraine, they say, is a response to American plans.
“It is interesting,” the commentator continues, “that Germany is not viewed as an independent international force. In the eyes of Russian TV viewers, it also is a victim of the Americans.” But Putin for them is “a remarkable leader: he should do more in the social sphere … but all his efforts have to go to fend off the Americans, preserve Russia and peace on earth.”
All other myths – about the disintegration of the USSR, the wild 1990s and so on – “are secondary. In every case, these disasters are the product of American ill will “but now Putin has imposed order and restored the country.” That is why, these Russian-language viewers of Moscow television, the American want to overthrow him “using all these Navalnys.”
Even “in Soviet times, there was nothing like this,” Eidman says. “The anti-American propaganda then didn’t work. Many Russians viewed the US with interest and even hidden pleasure.” And those Russian who emigrated were far more likely to be positive about the US than about their own country.
But now Putin propaganda with its anti-American focus “has turned out to be extraordinarily effective.” And it is being used successfully by Moscow to “justify in the eyes of people economic difficulties, military adventures, and territorial seizures.” That must be recognized first of all in order that the West can counter and dispel this message.