Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu has called mass media “but another arm of the armed forces.” There is nothing strange is such a world perspective. Shoigu, incidentally, was the son of a party journalist who rose to the post of secretary of the Tuvan Regional Party Committee. And who himself was secretary of the party’s city committee. Yes, the person who is generally seen as a general is in reality an ordinary party worker who has never served in the army and who was a lieutenant in the reserves. Shoigu received his general’s ranks while serving as minister at the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations. And it is obvious that for such a person the Bible is not the Statutes of the Armed Forces but rather Vladimir Lenin’s article “The Party Organization and Party Literature.”
The concept that media does not represent the people’s right to information but rather the government’s right to lie was first understood by the Bolsheviks, who transformed the media space in the Soviet Union according to Leninist templates and turned newspapers, radio, and then TV as well into powerful distributors of lies. And it would be a great exaggeration to state that none of the residents of the USSR believed in these lies. Most did believe and obligingly “fluctuated with the party line.” In fact, the reaction to lies became a test of loyalty. Those who refused to believe that black is white ended up in the cellars of the Lubyanka prison or in the concentration camps and prisons. It was in this fashion that a new type of personality was launched — the silent, soulless “Soviet man.”
Putin and Shoigu have simply returned to the old party tradition of viewing media as a weapon to fool people. Only now they have even added the internet to the usual tools of manipulation. The methods of spreading propaganda to the outside world have become more sophisticated as well. Instead of old-style and primitive Soviet foreign broadcasting there is now the more contemporary Russia Today TV channel, which has been transformed into a platform for proponents of neo-fascist and leftist views. But in general, the “Russian information army” does not differ much from the Soviet one. Because the basic principle remains the same — to lie shamelessly and to carry out all orders of a criminal regime.
There only one positive note — the fact that even Sergei Shoigu, the son of a well-known Tuvan journalist, admits that all this represents military service and not journalism.