Russia’s propaganda offensive: links 11/2/2015

Russian propaganda under Vladimir Putin is innovative, and not in a good way, in finding ways to masquerade as independent journalism and spontaneous social media comment.   Actual press freedom in Russia is being slowly shut down.

The How-To Guide to Modern Propaganda: Or, How the Russians Get Kudos for Bombing Syria While the Americans Get Trashed on Geopolitics Made Super.

Game of trolls: the hip digi-kids helping Putin’s fight for on-line supremacy by Alec Luhn for The Guardian.

Russian Media Resist Kremlin Crackdown on Press Freedom by Benjamin Bidder and Matthias Schepp for Der Spiegel.

Russian Politicians Building an International Extreme Right Alliance by Anton Shekhovtsov for The Interpreter.


5 Responses to “Russia’s propaganda offensive: links 11/2/2015”

  1. peteybee Says:

    The first and fourth articles themselves follow the pattern of propaganda pieces. The Interpreter, in particular, is a publication with an axe to grind[*]. The second and third articles are much more interesting.

    * – understandably, since its main sponsor, Khodorkovsky, was jailed and was stripped of ownership of Yukos which became Rosneft — the company, made up of a big chunk of the former USSR’s national oil industry, became private property during the fire-sale privatization program during the Yeltsin years and Putin made a show of reversing that privatization and threw Khodorkovsky in jail, perhaps to set an example for the other oligarchs. The legal process on both ends of the deal was suspect, to say the least.


    • philebersole Says:

      Just for the record, The Interpreter is a publication of the Institute of Modern Russia, a non-profit organization founded in 2010 by Pavel Khodorkovsky, the son of the former Russian oligarch, who has lived in the USA since 2003. He co-founded Enertiv, a small high-tech firm that provides energy monitoring services for commercial facilities.

      Here is an article on Mikhail Khodorkovsky, his dad, giving background on the events you mention.

      I don’t deny that The Interpreter is anti-Putin, as is Paul Goble.


      • peteybee Says:

        Thanks! I didn’t mean that in any kind of negative way, just wanted to point out that they are focused on a PR mission. I am no great fan of Putin either.


      • peteybee Says:

        What I mean by that, is not in any way negative to you first and foremost. Secondly, the substance of those two articles is not without merit either, but they are one sided and presented in a way that is like the pro-Putin PR operation which is the subject of the same articles.

        On a related note, it’s election time and tomorrow is election day. I spent a few hours volunteering for a candidate in a local race, and once you get down and start counting votes and talking to “regular” voters, it is actually truly amazing how much power social media has in this context, and how much it is subject to “spin”, if not outright manipulation. Actually a little bit frightening. My appreciation of it has definitely grown.


      • philebersole Says:

        peteybee, I didn’t take your comment as negative. I agree that the two articles you mention are one-sided (although interesting), and I think you did well to bring up the background and ownership of The Interpreter.

        As we both know, finding objective information about Russia and Ukraine is very difficult. Everybody has their own slant, and that includes The Guardian and Der Spiegel. (And it’s not as if I am unbiased myself.)

        I also agree that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is not alone in manipulating the press and social media.


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