As a result of its propaganda effort at home, one that has seven main goals, Kseniya Kirillova says, the Kremlin has trapped itself in a situation in which Vladimir Putin can either continue to move toward a broader war or face the prospect of an explosion on the streets of Russian cities and towns. What he can’t do is “turn off the television.”
In a commentary for Novy Region-2 today, the Seattle-based analyst identifies these seven goals that the Kremlin is pursuing at home and shows how they leave the Russian leadership with few good choices and threaten both the Russian population and the world.
The seven goals she describes are:
- A weakening of critical thought. Moscow’s domestic propaganda effort, she suggests, is directed in the first instance to block any critical thought about what is going on, to provide pre-packaged answers that people are simply to accept, and to drive them into “a situation of chaos and panic” where they will behave as a crowd with the crowd’s “archaic instincts.” To do so, the Kremlin-controlled media plays on the worst rather than the best instincts of the Russian people.
- The Creation of the Image of the Enemy. Like its Soviet predecessors, the Russian government now is promoting the idea of a single enemy with tentacles reaching out to the world. Thus, the US is the main enemy, and all of its allies are labeled “’American puppets.’” RISI President Leonid Reshetnikov, a Kremlin advisor, delivers what is now the standard Moscow message: he says that it doesn’t matter whether Americans are Democrats or Republicans: both want to destroy Russia albeit in somewhat different ways. Ultimately, because Russia will resist, they will both turn to war.
- Linking All Domestic Problems to Foreign Affairs. In order to silence any criticism of Russia’s mounting problems at home, Kirillova continues, Moscow propaganda seeks to exploit Russian patriotism and to link all problems to the actions of foreigners in general and the US in particular. That silences most Russians who know little about what is happening abroad and are prepared to accept that conspiratorial version of reality.
- Stressing the Need for Consolidation of Society to Counter Military Threat. Related to the previous goal, Russian propaganda does not miss a chance to suggest that Russians have no choice but to unite given the foreign threat.
- Putin Presented as Only Leader Capable of Opposing this Military Threat. No comment is necessary, Kirillova suggests.
- Preparation for Inevitable Deprivations in ‘War Time.’ Given the threatening environment that Moscow media presents, she continues, Russians are encouraged to think that any deprivations they may face are “’a lesser evil’” of what is going to be the inevitable consequence of the current situation: a wider war. They are not encouraged in any case to think about the possibility of changing course.
- West Must See Russia as Prepared for War. The only hope Russians are offered by Moscow propaganda is that if they show themselves willing to go to war, the West will conclude that it is too risky to oppose the Kremlin.