Saturday, November 21, 2015

Kremlin Media Couldn’t Tell the Truth Even If Putin Ordered Them To, Yakovenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 21 – Many people believe that the government-controlled media outlets in Russia will do anything their Kremlin masters tell them to do and that if Pupubtin told them to tell the truth, they would do so. But Igor Yakovenko says that is clearly not the case and that the propensity of those working at these outlets to lie would continue “by inertia.”

            The Moscow commentator says that this sometimes creates problems because these media by continuing to disseminate old lies put out messages at variance with those of Russian leaders and diplomats, something two major outlets did last week alone, and thus sow confusion among the population (

            The first of these cases involved “Izvestiya” which on November 17 and 18 published typical materials about how the US supports LGBT activists in Russia to work against that country. Had it just declared that, no one would have been surprised: it has said that many times before.

            But the paper decided to publish a photograph of what it said was a letter from the US State Department to one of these activists, a letter that was so obviously a forgery that it failed to have the impact the paper intended. Worse, from the Kremlin’s perspective, it came just as Putin was reaching out to Barack Obama.

            Of course, regular readers of the Moscow paper would have believed what the paper said because they “know for certain that there is no outrage of which the State Department is not capable” to undermine Russia. After all, they are assured of this by “authoritative political analysts with Sergey Markov and Sergey Chernyakhovsky at the head of the line.”

            But to do so this week, the paper showed that there is “obvious discord” between Russian diplomacy and Russian propaganda, Yakovenko says, something that shows just how different Putin’s propaganda system is from that of Stalin. After all, “when the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was concluded, at that very minute the Soviet press stopped making any negative references to Hitler, German fascism, and Nazi Germany.”

Putin’s system isn’t yet so controlling, and that was shown again, the commentator says, but what happened on the “Politics” program on Russia’s First Channel. Some of its participants apparently hadn’t gotten the word about Putin’s new direction and so continued to say that it would be a mistake to cooperate with the West in fighting terrorism.

Both those who speak on television live in “a space of lies” that they can’t get things straight. They continue their lies by inertia even when the line changes, Yakovenko points out; and it is clear that they are not able to do otherwise.  Consequently, one of the first tasks of a post-Putin Russia is to find new people who won’t follow the same practice.

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