“The Wolf who cried Fascist!” – Pathology of Russian Propaganda against Ukraine, pt. 1

2014/03/21 • Analysis & Opinion, News

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The F-word is almost entirely meaningless today. “Fascism” has mostly become a perjorative word, used as an insult – and a scare tactic by Russia meant to paralyze opponents. In 1944, George Orwell wrote

“almost any English person would accept ‘bully’ as a synonym for ‘fascist'”.

It is now probably the most misused and overused term of our time.

“Anti-fascists” = fascists

But even more, it is becoming clear how “the fascists of the future will be called anti-fascists” ( a quote attributed to Winston Churchill). A quick look at the ‘antifascist’ crusaders in Moscow will suffice: police state in Russia, murdered opposition journalists, information monopoly on its own citizens, brutall suppression of its own minorities, military invasions of neighboring countries in “its sphere of influence” etc….

Meanwhile, in Ukraine:

Fascist Books Kharkiv

Ukrainian books burned by pro-Russian ‘antifascists’ in Kharkiv 3/2014

On March 1, 2014 Russian citizen Mika Ronkainen climbed to the top of the State Administration building in Kharkiv and photographed himself hoisting a Russian flag.

Russian-Flag-Raising-041192387959In a later interview he described himself as a ‘Russian activist and citizen-journalist’ who travelled to Kharkiv to liberate that city from ‘fascist’ and ‘Western supported’ Kyiv government. Investigative journalists  established that he takes part in the Putin-supported xenophobic movement “Locals”. Above is a photo of Mr. Ronkainen from his FaceBook.

It is a commonplace to see thugs using the most savage methods “to fight fascism.” In Sevastopol, Crimea, police looks the other way as pro Russian ‘anti-Fascists’ beat a  pro Ukrainian demonstrator:

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And then there’s ‘anti-Fascist’ Pavel Gubarev, self-proclaimed (and short tenured) governor of Donetsk. Mr. Gubarev also belongs to the Russian National Unity party:

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Here is a sample poster from the Russian Unity Party:

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‘Let’s clean Russia!’

Projection

Projection is a proven propaganda technique to accuse the opponent of one’s own sins, much like a man in a marriage who has thoughts of infidelity. Instead of dealing with these thoughts consciously, he projects them onto his innocent wife and imagines her having an affair. This becomes so ‘real’ to him that he may act in a violent way based on his fantasies. Hitler accused the Jews of a plot to brutally dominate Europe and the world before he set out on his own dirty work.

Present day Moscow rhetoric is more of the same. After centuries of life under the Tatar Yoke, the brutal imperialism of their Tsars and Empresses, and the Soviet Union, Russia itself has a long history of ultra-nationalism and brutal authoritarianism to come to terms with.

Putin

So they constantly raise alarums about all the ‘fascists’ they are fighting against. And yet, this is how Russia deals with their own peaceful antiwar protestors:

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Moscow police herd anti Crimean demonstrators onto trucks to drive them away

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Sergei Markov, a Kremlin-connected analyst and politician, was in Crimea meeting with local officials. and offered his view on the Kyiv protests. Interestingly, his statement rings true only after reversing the words “Russia” and “Ukraine”:

“The plan it seems to me to was very clear. Give Ukraine a Mikheil Saakashvili type leader. Start a big anti-Russian campaign, train the army to Nato standards, fill everyone with anti-Russian ideology, and then throw the Ukrainian army into Russia at a time when a coup is being organised. I haven’t spoken to Putin about it personally, but I am certain he thinks the same.”

A Ukrainian army that needs to beg eastern oligarchs for fuel and is less than 1/20th the size of Russia’s will invade Russia? Mr. Markov unwittingly revealed much more about Russian intentions than he was trying to pin on Ukraine.

Today’s Goebbels in Moscow

Goebbels wrote:

“The most brilliant propagandist technique… must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”

Sifting through the avalanche of accusations about Ukraine  from pro-Russian sources we can discern several themes: “hate groups… nationalists… neoNazi… fascist… anti-Russian… extremists” and to a lesser extent “anti-Semite and anti-gay”.

Anti-Maidan talking points

Moscow’s style sheet for anti-Ukrainian information basically consists of emotional “bullet-points” derived from the basic threads above. Two or more of any these bullet points can be pasted together in an infinite variety to produce the desired result. It doesn’t really matter which ones you combine or in what order.. with a Thesaurus on hand, they will all  work:

First, foreboding generalizations:

“deeply troubling… ambiguous… disconcerting… facing uncomfortable questions… chilling… problematic… insidious… unsavory… increasingly authoritarian… highly suspect and divisive… ‘reports of’… extremely alarming… etc”

then, ‘Fascist’ – theme and variations:

“neo-Nazis/ Nazi-allied… neo-Fascists/ fascist militia… stormtroopers… brownshirts… Kyiv putschists/coup regime/ rump regime… “evokes images/ memories/echoes of Nazism…far Right/ bona-fide far Right… anti-Semitic/ openly anti-Semitic/ hardline ant-Semitic… anti-Russian/ vehemently anti-Russian/ anti-Russian cabal/ hate all Russian speakers… extremists/violent extremists… xenophobic… ultra-nationalists… supremacists… etc”

finally, a grab bag of blanket labels:

“terrorists… neocons… vicious ideologues/ demagogues/ virulent ideology…public outrage/ international condemnation…armed thugs… black masks and Kalashnikovs… body armor, helmets, kneepads… lethal collection of weapons… far right football hooligans… highly organized… preplanned… anti-gay… anti-women… etc”

(About the only name not included is “Imperialist”… understandably, that works rather less well this time around…)

Enter the Savior 

And who will rescue the world from all these horrors? Moscow.

Russian historical studies, Imperial as well as Soviet, exalted every Russian action in “collecting all the lands of Rus” and extension of Russian territory. The most brutal barbarian acts of the Moscow elite to enslave neighboring nations and conquer foreign lands were always rated a “historically positive factor.” Nations, attached to “Russian land” during their period of enslavement underwent horrendous genocides, utter decimation of their national elites, forced Russianization, and brutal relocations from their native soil.

The Soviet era continued this with a vengeance. And yet, today’s pro Russian ‘anti fascists’ defend the monuments which glorify the supreme architect of the Soviet Union – Lenin…

Today’s Crimea underwent a brainwashing when Russia censored all sources of news and information except Russian state TV and radio. The absurdity of their anti-fascist’ claims can be seen in a typical quote from a Simferapol resident (march 17) : “I mean, I am all for the superiority of the white race, and all that stuff, but I don’t like fascists.”

While still in bed with Hitler, Stalin annexed the Baltics, tore apart Poland and started a war with Finland. Why is this not ‘fascist’ if the Nazis were doing the same thing? And then, did Stalin’s subsequent horrendous acts suddenly stop being ‘fascist’ once Hitler became his enemy?

Part 2 will examine Russia’s ‘anti-fascist’ activities between the World Wars, the Right Sector in Ukraine, and the role of the media.

 

By Adrian Bryttan, March 21, 2014

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