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Putin’s Propaganda, Part II

Putin may or may not be a “neo-Stalinist” but he surely projects some of the
elements of Stalinism: the cult of personality for one, the reliance on
state-controlled media propaganda, not to mention the Kremlin-funded youth
group, Nashi, whose leaders’ emails were hacked by Anonymous and an entire
network of rather well-paid internet fakes supporting the regime was revealed.

The Russian youth group Nashi has paid hundreds of thousands of
pounds to a vast network of bloggers, journalists and internet trolls to create flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and discredit his political rivals, according to a haul of thousands of emails allegedly sent to and from the group that have been released by Russian hackers.
The mass of data appears to show evidence of the sinister tactics used by Nashi, and includes:
1. Price lists for pro-Putin bloggers and commenters which indicate that some are paid as much as 600,000 roubles (£12,694) for leaving hundreds of comments on negative stories about Putin.
2. Plans to pay more than 10m roubles (£211,557) to buy a series of articles about Nashi’s annual Seliger summer camp in two popular Russian tabloids.
3. Calls for paid Nashi activists to “dislike” anti-regime videos posted on YouTube.
Ideas for smear campaigns against what one activist calls the “fascist”
Russian opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, such as a cartoon video likening him to Hitler and a suggestion someone dress up like the blogger to beg for alms in front of the US embassy.  The group of Anonymous hackers told online news portal Gazeta.ru in an interview that they carried out the hack, planned since spring of last year, “as a sign of protest against the government’s actions in the public internet
sphere”.
Of course, Putin is not as brutal as Stalin, nor is he a communist, hence
the prefix “neo” which is a catch-all label that can mean anything to anybody
and is a favourite of bloggers everywhere (including yours truly). His support
for more traditionally styled Stalinist regimes in Libya and Syria, while
insisting the growing dissent to his autocratic rule within Russia is
“instigated by the West”, an implicit call to Russian nationalism, makes a sort
of coherence to the point of the debunked propaganda, too.
Artful propaganda depicts the truth, spun in a way that supports the beliefs
and stokes the self-righteousness of its intended audience while attempting to
discredit and dampen the beliefs of the opposing view.
Unfortunately for the ranker of the more populist propagandists, such as we
saw in World War II with Tokyo Rose, the effect of propaganda on the opponents
is often opposite of what is intended. This irony has been confirmed for us once
again in Syria.
The veracity of different media outlets’ reports on Syria is a
regular topic of discussion in the comments section, so this should be of interest. France 24 has an interview with a former Syrian news anchor who quit because of “state-orchestrated misinformation”.
Hani al-Malathi had not been seen on air since August last year after having fled to Dubai, where he remains today. He officially resigned only last week. He said:
I will not go back. I had the feeling I was taking part in a propaganda
campaign orchestrated by the regime … Both state and private media were transmitting false information, and anything that didn’t match up was portrayed as foreign meddling or a conspiracy … Our attempts to sell them [the public] a different story only added fuel to the fire.
Instead of calming people down, we actually provoked the protesters to go further, fuelled their anger and reinforced a sense of shared hostility among the public … There would be no mention of the crackdown.
It was as irresponsible as it was provocative to broadcast footage of
cheering pro-regime rallies when on the other side of town, families of victims of the repression were burying their dead.
So, yes, the essay I presented in Part I was easily debunked by an alert
commenter, Shekissesfrogs.
If I used labels when posting, Part I would fit under “ironic satire,” as it
was mostly aimed at the “neo-Stalinist” pseudo-leftists of the blogosphere who
are currently beside themselves ranting against western intervention in Syria
while gathering their “news” from Russia Today, a Kremlin owned media outlet
that presents pure propaganda in support of the Assad Regime.

Remember that a large segment of the American Communist Party in the 1930s
believed every bit of USSR propaganda too, and were eventually disgraced,
pulling down the credibility of the entire western radical left, rightly or
wrongly, from which it never truly recovered. The ill-conceived support for
autocratic, authoritarian dictators, who profess to be “socialist” but are in
fact “absolutist monarchies” is a present day example of a similar reactionism by
the so-called radical left.

 

A full history of the CPUSA is beyond the scope of this comment. [I
would recommend “Gus Hall (1910-2000): Stalinist operative and decades-long leader of Communist Party USA”-6 November 2000 and “Socialism, Historical Truth and the Crisis of Political Thought in the United States”-23 April 1996.]
Let us just remind the readers of a few facts: the American Communist Party enthusiastically supported the mass murder carried out by Stalin of his socialist opponents in the Soviet Union in the late 1930s. The American Stalinists repeated every monstrous falsehood issuing from Moscow. A typical headline in the Daily Worker, the CPUSA’s newspaper, for example, read “Hitler’s chief assassin, Himmler, directed fiendish Trotskyite assassination plot against leaders of the Soviet Union.” [See “60 years since the Dewey Commission”-19 May 1997]

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2…

“Monarchic dynasty” would aptly describe both the Ghadafi and Assad regimes,
which are propagandised as vaguely socialist governments for the people, when
they clearly are in fact corrupt state capitalist entities that used violent
repression of dissent not just since the Arab Spring but for decades, in order
to maintain control of the country and wealth for an elitist, imperialist
bourgeoisie surrounding the autocrats and their families.
Actually, I don’t believe veering into an argument about whether Putin is a
neo-Stalinist or not holds much meaning, in any event. There is plenty enough to
debate about his very real autocratic cult of personality, his heavy use of
propaganda, his appeal to Russian nationalism, his support for a truly
neo-Stalinist Regime in Syria, and a certain tendency among certain so-called
leftists internet addicts to wish to believe everything they read that supports
their own biased (and dangerous, IMHO) duped and spun belief about what is
occurring in Syria, specifically, and the Middle East generally. This tendency
among certain bloggers, too, has been termed “neo-Stalinist.”
Anti-authoritarian regime dissent is even bubbling to the surface in the
US/Western Europe and Russia, slowly but surely. Can a protest movement of
strength even gain solid footing in the power centres of China?
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