Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
The Kremlin is spending billions of dollars on its propaganda machine. For Russia’s leadership, proving the special role of the country and the outstanding abilities of its president is as important a task as strengthening the army. And if the army and navy were Russia’s special allies in the past, then television has now been added to the list.
But lo and behold one can forget about television now. The only people influenced by the Russian “box” are its own citizens. And I suspect it is influential not because it is effective, but because many Russian citizens are guided by the same moral — or more accurately, immoral — norms as their government.
This is not the case with the rest of the world. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 40 countries has recorded negative views of Russia in various countries on all the continents. Putin has managed to get “noticed” everywhere, so it is not surprising that the worst views of his country can be found in Poland and Jordan. Yes, these are the states that distrust Russia the most — by 80 percent. And history is not the only or even the main reason. Poles can see what Putin is doing in Ukraine. The Jordanians can see whom Putin is supporting in neighboring Syria. For both countries, the words “Russia” and “war” are synonyms. Even Ukraine in its negative view of Russia was below Israel and Japan. Incidentally, there are no fools when it comes to the “pro-Russian” attitudes in the Jewish state. Many Israelis have lived in Russia and the USSR too long to accept propaganda at face value. Others can see what Putin is doing in the Middle East. What is most interesting is that 74 percent of Israelis have a negative view of Russia as well as 52 percent of the residents of the Autonomous Palestinian Territories. So, even here, there are no allies.
And this is the same everywhere. The USA, Canada, France, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Turkey, Lebanon, Japan, Australia, Brazil are countries where negative views of Russia were above 60 percent. In the BRIC countries, only India and China have a positive view of Russia. But in China the positive response was 51 percent against 37! And this in authoritarian China! So the only country with a Russian propaganda monopoly is Vietnam, with 75 percent support. But why be surprised? The Communist Party continues to rule in Vietnam. And forty years ago its armies and secret services had created the same kind of nightmare in the south of the country as Russia is establishing now in the Donbas. At that time the democratic world did not succeed in defending South Vietnam from the expansion of the Soviet Union and its allies in the north of the country. Anti-war demonstrations were taking place everywhere. Its participants were concerned about the fate of the soldiers and the tragedy of the residents of communist Vietnam, but no one thought about the residents of the south of the country. And now we can see the result. Soviet propaganda was more effective than the Russian one.
And this is proven by the level of distrust to Putin himself. Here the figures go off the scale. The residents of almost all major countries of the world dislike the Kremlin resident. When it comes to trust, Vietnam takes the lead again (70 percent). Below the Vietnamese communists come China (54 percent) and Ghana (49). The level of distrust in Putin begins at 92 percent in Spain. The remaining countries are not far behind. In Canada it is 76 percent, in the USA — 75, in Poland — 87, in France — 85, in Germany — 76, in Ukraine — 84, in Israel — 74, in Turkey — 60, in Venezuela (yes, yes) — 70. The researchers also compared such an unpleasant thing for Russians as the levels of trust to Putin and to Obama. It would have been better not to compare. The US president is respected everywhere. The Russian president, nowhere. In Europe the rating is 75 percent negative against 15 percent positive. In Africa — 77 against 32, in Asia — 69 against 29, in Latin American — 51 against 20. Perhaps the Kremlin should think about another globe? That is where the Russia Today broadcasts would be especially suitable.