Staunton, March 23 – In Soviet times, Moscow was able to attract support from the far left in other countries; but under Vladimir Putin, there has been a remarkable change, Igor Eidman says. Now, Moscow is viewed positively not only by the far left but it viewed equally or even more positively by the far right, because of its carefully targeted propaganda messages.
Not long ago, the Russian sociologist and commentator says, a delegation of the KPRF to Venezuela was shocked to learn that many in that Latin American country believe that the communists still rule Russia and that “Putin is a communist or at worst a socialist” (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5C94FCA3A5D67).
“Paradoxically, many far right Westerners consider the Russian dictator to share their views just as the leftwing groups they hate do.” The Kremlin leader has been able to achieve this support from many on the left, many on the right, many “radical separatists” and many “conservative traditionalists” by “new and effective means of propaganda.”
According to Eidman, “the Kremlin uses precisely targeted ‘rockets with independently targeted warheads,’ each of which flies toward a specific goal. Various groups of the population of Western countries are sent various and often contradictory ideological messages,” and thus is created “a system of myths directed specifically at each of them.”
There is only one thing these messages have in common: “they are based on crude lies and do not have anything in common with reality.”
In the first of what he promises to be a series of articles analyzing these messages, the Russian commentator points to three, contrasting what Moscow is saying to what in fact it is doing.
Eidman says that one of the myths Moscow promotes for the left, pacifists, and anti-American conspiracy believers is that “Putin is the main opponent of American hegemony and militarism, the powers of the world financial oligarchy, international corporations, and speculative international elites.” He is thus “the natural ally of ‘progressive humanity.’”
In reality, Putin’s Russia “cultivates everything that the left throughout the world condemns” – social inequality, an attack on worker and immigrant rights, discrimination against sexual minorities, sexism, militarism and clericalism. “The Russian oligarchy is closely connected with the most reactionary parts of the world elite.”
Moreover, Eidman continues, in recent years, it has been the Kremlin, not the White House that has engaged in military expansion by attacking neighbors and sending mercenaries to prop up dictatorial regimes. But Moscow’s propaganda to the left is so successful that many on the left in the West believe otherwise.
For the far right, conservatives and Christian clericals, the Russian commentator says, Moscow offers a different message, namely that “Putin’s Russia is the last outpost of Christian values, traditional morality and the family and a country which opposes the attacks of migrants, ‘perverts,’ and Islamists.”
“In reality,” he says, Russia is a country of “total corruption, a very high level of drug use and crime, and numerous pedophile scandals involving deputies, officials and priests. The Russia elite is bogged down in luxury and dissipation and engages in the orgy-style of life of Roman patricians of the era of the decay of empire.”
“Russia is the world leader in the number of divorces, abortions, abandoned children, and the growth of HIV infections, and there are more illegal migrants from Islamic countries in Moscow than in any other Rusisan capital. The Kremlin in fact has created and continues to support Kadyrov’s militant Islamist enclave in Chechnya.”
And yet a third myth is directed at Russians abroad. According to Moscow propagandists, “Putin is concerned about you, while in Europe there are Russophobes all around and Russian speakers are mistreated. Only Russia can defend you.” The reality is entirely different, Eidman argues.
“The Kremlin needs Russian speakers abroad only as an instrument of influence and a weapon of hybrid war.” Otherwise it ignores them entirely or participates in exactly the kind of actions that its propaganda insists is not the case. A decade ago, for example, Putin agreed to end dual citizenship for Russians in Turkmenistan.
As a result, 100,000 Russians were left stateless “in a despotic state where they are really subject to discrimination. They pose no interest to the Russian powers that be.” Instead, Moscow focuses on Russians in democratic Western countries where Russians are not mistreated but welcomed.
This list can easily be extended and Eidman promises to do so. But the approach he adopts is a useful model for all those who are confronted by the messages of his regime, messages based on lies carefully designed to appeal to those who aren’t prepared to check their facts.