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Disinformation Begins at Home

Integrity Initiative

There was a joke in Soviet times about a Russian listening to a conversation between an African and an Indian who were discussing the merits of the elephants on their respective continents. Which was stronger, which had the bigger ears, which had the better temperament and so on. After a while, the Russian could stand no more of this and he burst into the conversation by saying, “But the Russian elephant is the biggest elephant of all!”

As technology developed in the late twentieth century, a new version had the Russian interrupting a conversation between two computer specialists and shouting, “But the Russian micro-chip is the biggest micro-chip of all!”

These jokes are made up and told by Russians about themselves, and illustrate the point shown in another Soviet joke: a man goes to his doctor and complains, “Doctor, I’m very ill. My eyes see one thing, my ears hear another and my mouth spouts a third.” This, of course, was laughing at Soviet propaganda, which preached that the Soviet system was the best in the world, that life was improving (as it was clearly getting worse) and that Western capitalism was on the verge of collapse.

Some believed all this; many did not. Even small children could see through it, like little Vova in the story of the teacher extolling the virtues of life in the USSR to a class of seven-year olds. The teacher stops in mid-sentence, when she sees Vova sitting at the back of the class and sobbing. “Vovochka, what’s the matter?” she asks in a concerned voice. “I WANT TO LIVE IN THE SOVIET UNION!” wails Vova.

Fast forward from the elephants, doctors and teachers of the Soviet Union to 2018. More than a quarter of a century has passed since the collapse of the USSR in December 1991. The world has experienced a technological revolution at a pace never before witnessed. Russia was given every chance to join the family of nations. But instead it has opted for a regime as repressive in many ways as the Soviet one was, and which, like its Soviet predecessor, has set as one of its principles the idea that the West is the enemy. And if the West is the enemy, then everything Russian must be better.

So the propaganda machine, actively spreading disinformation around the world, concentrates also on turning the brains of Russian citizens to mush. Just as in the one-party state which was the Soviet Union, thinking is dangerous; let us tell you what to think.

All influential media in modern Russia is controlled by the state, so putting across the message is comparatively easy. Ren TV has been doing this with aplomb in September 2018. Pushing the official message that Russia and the Russians are the biggest and the best, in just a few days it came out with the following:

  • The Great Wall of China was built by Russians
  • The Great Silk Road was laid down by Russians
  • The beautiful city of Venice was built by Russians
  • A great civilisation lived on the territory of Russia, and this is where the Indian nation came from
  • Russians built the world’s first railway – 30,000 years ago!
  • Five thousand year earlier, 35,000 years ago, Russians set up the first institutes to study the cosmos, something those in the West did only a few years ago
  • About 500 years ago, Western Europe agreed on a global pact against Russia. The aim of this pact was to destroy all knowledge of Russia’s great history and persuade the Russian people that they were an under-developed race. Tsar Peter the Great joined this pact and killed Russian intellectuals and destroyed the ancient documents which said otherwise. Now, however, honest intellectuals acknowledge that Russia is the oldest civilisation in the world, and that Europe, historically, is Russia’s enemy…
  • The USA is today carrying out inhuman experiments on people
  • The USA is trying to create a virus which will kill off people’s free will and make them subservient to their masters. The ultimate aim of this virus is to turn the Russians into their slaves. The Europeans have already bowed down to the Americans, but Russia is holding out

As if these claims were not bad enough to be broadcast on national television, they will soon be published in book form!

It is tempting simply to laugh at the peddling of such nonsense. But there is a deadly serious message behind it: it is subliminally preparing the Russian population for a war with the West.

Why? So that Vladimir Putin and his cronies can hold onto and increase their power and wealth. It is reminiscent of the way the Nazis behaved in Germany in the 1930s and ‘40s. And in April 1945, when Adolf Hitler realised that his “Thousand-Year Reich” was finished, he instructed those around him to adopt a scorched earth policy, as he believed he had been betrayed by the German people. Putin and his crew are fanatical enough to believe in something similar. These ludicrous claims are a threat to Russians as much as they are to the West.

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