Friday, May 27, 2022

To Avoid More Propaganda Defeats on Ukraine, Moscow Must Mobilize Academic Experts, Two Military Specialists Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 12 – Russia is losing the propaganda war against Ukrainian provocations because Moscow has failed to mobilize its academic expertise to prepare serious studies of what Ukraine is doing, studies of the kind that the Soviet Union prepared in great number at the time of the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi leaders, Oleg Falichev and Sergey Pershutkin say.

            Instead of using such powerful means, Moscow has responded to what they say are Ukrainian propaganda efforts with only statements and short media pieces, an approach that has allowed Kyiv to seize control of the agenda and get far more support than it should receive (

            They give as an example of this the events in Bucha, which the world has condemned as an act of Russian genocide against Ukrainians rather than what they argue is the reality, that this was an event staged by the Ukrainians as another Srebrenica and given Kyiv the chance to make charges not just against those directly involved but against Russia and Putin in general.

            Moscow’s reaction to this extremely effective Ukrainian effort has been limited to statements and media articles, but that is insufficient to keep the West from following Ukraine’s lead. What is needed, Falichev and Pershutkin say, is a revival of the system of studies that lay behind “the extremely effective work of the Russian delegation at the Nuremberg tribunal.”

            They call for the Russian government to again “go over to a counterattack” against Ukrainian statements in exactly the same way as it did then by having Putin issue “a presidential degree creating a special commission headed by one of Russia’s authoritative political scientists or legal specialists.”

            “Such a commission could be established on the basis of the Academy of Sciences Institute of State and Law;” and that, in turn, could serve as “the coordinating center for major long-term work,” work that could influence Western decision makers more than the reactive statements of Russian officials and media spokesmen.

            Three aspects of this article make it noteworthy. First, it is one of the clearest signs that members of the Russian elite recognize that Moscow has suffered a serious even fatal blow from the attention the world has devoted to the war crimes and crimes against humanity by Russian forces in Bucha and elsewhere.

            Second, it is a demonstration that the Putin line of denying everything and offering a fake narrative of its own about those crimes is going into high gear with even academic specialists now being required to mouth it despite all the evidence that shows what the Kremlin is saying to be completely false.

            And third, it is a warning that Moscow is now planning to further muddy the waters about events in Ukraine with ostensibly "scholarly” studies presenting that line by flooding the field with books and “serious” academic articles based on the Kremlin’s claims in much the same way Soviet propagandists did in Stalin’s times as well as before and after.

            The danger is that some in the Western media will at a minimum report these studies in the name of balance especially if they appear to be conducted by those many will describe as scholars rather than propagandists. That is what the Kremlin is counting on; but in the fight over Russian crimesin Ukraine, it must not be allowed to occur.

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