Moscow projects false myths onto the West and then justifies Russian actions on their basis, Solomatin says

Visitors attend the opening ceremony of political cartoons exhibition 'No filters' in Moscow, Russia, 31 October 2014. Rating of Russian President Vladimir Putin has updated its high, reaching 83 per cent according to a survey of the analytical center 'Levada-Center'. EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

The 'No Filters' exhibition of Russian political cartoons, which took place in Moscow in October-November 2014, celebrated Putin's Anschluss of Crimea and invasion in the Donbas a few months earlier while making fun of Western sanctions. 

Analysis & Opinion, Politics

A curious and extraordinarily dangerous feedback loop has emerged, Mikhail Solomatin says. Moscow projects false myths on the West and then uses those myths to justify its own actions at home and abroad – or to put it more succinctly, “Russia seeks to introduce those standards of Western civilization which it dreamed up on its own.”

This projection of Russian myths on the West is becoming increasingly a part not only of Russian ideology but also of Russian practice under Putin, the Moscow historian argues in a commentary on today and opens the way to ever greater misunderstandings and disasters in the future.

Thus, he says, Moscow puts out the myth that the US sends its troops into any country “which it considers the zone of its interests” and then the Kremlin uses that myth to “justify the seizure of Crimea and the provision of military assistance to Assad.” Its myth that the US organizes “color revolutions” is used to justify Moscow’s sponsorship of separatism in Ukraine.

Its myth that the American film, “The Tail Wags the Dog,” “reflects the principles of the foreign and domestic policy of the West led to the creation of Kiselyev-TV,” Solomatin observes. And even Putin’s blatant lying about Russian forces in Crimea reflects “a myth about the total falseness and cynicism of politicians in Western countries.”

But there is another and even more deeply “rooted’ for Russian consciousness myth” about the West, the myth “that behind the Islamist terrorists stand the CIA. This myth is old, much older for example than the one that holds that the Maidan was ‘sponsored by the State Department.’”

Given those Kremlin assumptions, Solomatin says, “it is hardly wise to ignore” the fact that “the Kremlin cannot but be thinking” about how it can use weapons it says the CIA has created for Russia’s purposes. Indeed, it would be very surprising if Putin and his entourage were not doing that.

To say that, he points out, is not to say that Moscow organized this or that terrorist action but only that its myths about the supposed Western organizers of terrorist groups is part of Kremlin thinking and helps to explain why Moscow so often succeeds in exploiting terrorist acts for its own purposes. After all, it assumes that the West is trying to do the same thing.

“The only structure which won from the destruction of the jet over Sinai and from the bloodbath in Paris and the only structure whose earlier declared goals were advanced as a result of these terrorist actions was the Putin regime,” the Moscow commentator argues.

As a result of Paris, he continues, Putin received carte blanche to isolate his own citizens from the rest of the world and a wonderful opportunity to “force the West to cooperate and forget about Ukraine.” In fact, “not for any other government of any other country of the world did the actions of the terrorists open such perspectives.”

That is what Putin was promoting at the G20 summit, and, one could add on the basis of the latest news, has succeeded in some measure given US President Barack Obama’s declaration today at the Asian-Pacific Summit that he views Putin as a reliable partner in the struggle against terrorism.

Exactly the same thing happened after the 9/11 attacks, Solomatin says. “On the basis of ‘common challenges,” the West “forgave Russia” for its Chechen campaigns, and “Putin became the best friend of Bush Junior.”

“I am far from convinced in the justice of the thesis that ‘The FSB Blew Up Russia,’ [a reference to the book linking Putin to the apartment bombings in 1999], but three things are completely obvious,” Solomatin says:

  1. “The Kremlin believes in the effectiveness of using Islamist terrorist in the geopolitical struggle because Russian ideologues have already for a long time accused the hated US of this.”
  2. “The Kremlin believes that cynicism is the basic contemporary policy.”
  3. “The Kremlin consistently is the main and at times the only beneficiary from the activities of Islamist terrorists, something which is not surprising given that among their enemies is not a little in common and the chief among them is contemporary Western civilization with its liberalism and human rights.”

This is not something new for Moscow, he continues. It helps to explain what made possible “the alliance of Stalin with Hitler in 1939.”

Stolomatin says he is far from “accusing Russia in the organization of terrorist actions, but it is undoubtedly the case that Russia for a long time has become at a minimum, the ideological and political backer of terrorism,” as in the case of the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner over Ukraine. Moscow may not have pulled the trigger but it supplied the weapons to those who did.

That case “illustrates the connection of Russia with international terrorism, one that is not direct but neither is it accidental or illogical,” Stolomatin continues. “Russia’s Anti-Westernism and intensified anti-Americanism,” its belief that world leadership rests on displays of military might and repression “have made it “close to those who seek to blow up the world order.”

And this, the Moscow historian says, is “only beginning.”

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Forgotten Ghost

    In regards to the world outside of Russia, this strategy is backfiring stupendously. I like to spend a bit of time on RT’s English site, scanning and rebuking their propaganda. I’ve found it to be an excellent means of picking Putin’s sociopathic brain. It certainly seems that the modern cheerleaders for Putin’s team are getting their opinions delivered to them in direct accordance with Putin’s ego- that is to say, what Putin feels, he projects, and not only in his policies and military actions, but in the propaganda and talking points he assigns to his pep squad online. While he may have been an asset in the KGB, as a statesman he is very predictable. Once he begins to commit one mistake, he will repeat it. He also shows his cards whenever he denies something… if you were to ask him if he had Medusa’s head at home, and he denied it, then you would soon hear reports of Russian opponents and discontents being turned to stone. You would also hear him accuse the “Western imperialists” of doing it.
    So, if you want to know what he’s planning to do, scan the comments of the trolls at RT. Note what is censored, and what is allowed. That also tells a tale, if you know how to read between those lines. I will go ahead and say, that if you attempt to suggest that any terror attacks were commited by Russia, they are likely to be scrubbed. They will also frequently censor calm, moderate statements that correct their constant race-baiting on the American outlet, and with some practice, you will be able to deduce which “commenters” are likely planted trolls in Russia’s employ. They are allowed to spew hateful rhetoric without censorship, and are Putin and RT’s biggest fan’s. While they do not appreciate any suggestion of Putin collaborating with Israel, they engage in outright anti-semitism. Playing along those lines is perhaps a bit distasteful to some, but that is a wide open door for anyone wishing to game their own system against them. Personally, I like to pose the ideas that maybe Putin is responsible for bad things, is not a hero, and may be involved with ISIS, or Israel, and so forth. Watching the reactions from there, one can gain some idea as to what the St. Petersburg troll factory is being trained with.
    I do heartily recommend that you try playing with them some time, it can be a real eye opener into the minds of these discognizant drones, and that may be useful in thwarting the actual plans of this mad regime… unless you have a real life, in which case I am both jealous, and understanding.

    • Quartermaster

      Putin’s trolls are all over. I’m not at all surprised they would dominate RT’s commentariat. That RT would scrub negative comments (from their point of view) is consistent with a an Agitprop organization. Can’t have reality intruding, after all.

      • Forgotten Ghost

        What’s really interesting is that presstv does the exact same thing. Should you attempt to correct them in a polite way after they insist that all Americans are hateful, drug addled bigots, they are likely to delete your comment. One of their most nefarious tactics, however, is plagiarizing what I have written several times after censoring me. I have noticed that several commenters there (Ashraf, Just World! to name two) will take a good statement that is censored, then slightly modify it to appear as “Engallahish”, by which I mean a fake “accent” intended to be read as though the product of an “Arab” commenter. I have been told that the “hypercomment” company has it’s moderators based in Israel, and considering their ties with Russia and Iran, I can see a picture emerging. I once helped a man test a java based application that he was working on, which allowed moderators to view comments as they were being typed, and thus ensure that the comment would be locked up before it ever posted. This appears to be the way that RT and presstv censor comments of those that get their attention, because even without any conceivable “trigger words” or even place names, government agency names, and so forth. many of my comments have been moderated shortly after I slip something past that puts the lie to their narratives. Switch to a different “story” to comment, and they occasionally miss me, allowing a few extra corrections. I have seen comments that are much longer than mine, with blatant profanity, direct threats, and far many more comments per user get through, so that is the only logical reason that dissenters are censored after bypassing what should be automated controls.