Sunday, May 6, 2018

Three Myths about Putin Regime, Russian Opposition, and Power of Kremlin Propaganda

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 6 – Many widely accepted notions are not true, Oleg Kizim says; but three myths first about the Putin regime, second about the Russian opposition, and the third about the supposed all-powerful nature of Kremlin propaganda are not only wrong but get in the way of understanding what is happening in Russia today.

            The first myth is that “the opposition dreams about a revolution” while the Putin regime wants quiet and stability above all else, the Russian commentator says. “In reality, everything is exactly the opposite: the powers dream about a revolution” begun by the opposition that they can then crush (

            “Best of all” for those in power would be “a revolution with barricades, burned out cars, broken windows, Molotov cocktails, hanged policemen and young people in masks. That would be ideal,” Kizim says.  Such an event could be used on television to show that “the opposition is chaos and anarchy which only the Kremlin power can save the country from.”

            According to the commentator, “a revolution is the dream of all today’s chekists: how many promotions, orders and money they will get from its suppression! How many careers they will be able to make!”  Consequently, all these people in power were disappointed with what happened on Saturday.

            “Dozens of meetings across the country – and not a single broken window. Not one burned out car. Not one storming of a barracks and the handing out of guns. All exceptionally peaceful and within the law.” Consequently, the authorities tried provocations with so-called “Cossacks,” but that too backfired: to the outrageousness of the powers, demonstrators acted with restraint.

            The second myth, Kizim says, is that “the opposition is made up of Russophobes while the authorities are patriots.” Nonsense. “Nowhere are there so many committed Russophobes as in power. They consider that the people are stupid and dark,” that they can’t be trusted with anything even the election of a mayor, and that any criticism by them must be stomped out.

            “In fact, criticism is a feedback loop. It is a cry for help,” Kizim continues. To blame those who are responding to what is going on them is utterly stupid. Criticism should direct attention to what needs to be corrected. “An individual who honestly tells you about our [problems] is your friend and not an enemy.”

            And the third myth is about “the unbelievable successes of domestic propaganda.”  One would think from what some say that “Russian propagandists are so smart and inventive that they control the minds of all Russians. Again, this is not true. There is no more witless propaganda than in Russia,” and consequently people are driven to use the Internet.

            Those who watch official television are “mostly pensioners and homemakers, that is, those who do not make politics in the country.” And official attempts to control the Internet as with Telegram are “a sign of [their] weakness and not their strength.  “Controlling the press is already insufficient; censorship already doesn’t help.”

            Any successes Russian propaganda has had, Kizim says, are the product of the amount of money the regime spends on it and not its cleverness or inventiveness. “In honest and open competition, the present ‘sharks of the pro-power pen’ would be beaten to a pulp just as happened with the false Soviet singers about ‘the party and personally.’”

            Recognizing these three myths as the falsehoods they are, the Russian commentator suggests, will not only dispel them but also have the effect of dispelling the larger myth of the enormous support the regime supposedly has and thus call attention to the real situation which is in that case as well just the reverse. 

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