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RBK Daily: Russia Taking It to the Streets

rbkdaily081208.gifRegular readers of this blog know that once in a while we like to feature translations from the Russian state-run media to provide a glimpse into exactly what kind of extremism and hyperbole is regularly getting pumped into the public sphere. Our favorite is RBK Daily, which in its enthusiasm to please the powers that be, often runs off a little too far into the absurdity of anti-Western vitriol. This one below, for example, reads like a blueprint for how the Soviet Union intends to use ordinary people in the West, disillusioned as they are by the Great Depression and the general warmongering of their governments, as a fifth column to undermine efforts by bourgeois-controlled newspapers to spread paranoid and hateful lies about the Leninist peace-loving nationalities policy and the workers’ state in general. Unfortunately this is an RBK Daily piece about today’s Russia. rbkdaily091708.jpgRussia will take to the streets In order to prove its rightness to ordinary people in the west Yesterday in Brussels there took place a rally in support of the actions of Russia in the Caucasus. More than a hundred residents of Russia, South Ossetia, Belgium, Germany and Serbia, gathered together before the building of the Europarliament, protested against the strengthening of the role of NATO in the foreign policy of the European Union and explained to passers-by just who precisely had unleashed the latest war in the Caucasus, calling upon them not to believe the propagandistic clichés that the western mass information media make active use of in coverage of the conflict between Russia and Georgia. Such a practice must become the norm – specifically direct-action campaigns are the most effective way to bring the position of Moscow on one or another question to ordinary people in the west. The media sector in the EU and the USA has for a long time been under the firm control of the local political elites, conducting a sufficiently harsh censorship policy.

It is indicative that taking part in yesterday’s event were not only former and current citizens of Russia, residing abroad, but also representatives of the «native European population» – members of civic organizations from Belgium and Germany, as well as representatives of the Serbian diaspora, knowing not by hearsay how peacekeeping as performed by military people from NATO looks in reality. It is noteworthy that during the course of the rally to its participants and passers-by who had become interested in what was taking place turned an ethnic Georgian woman as well, reporting about how Russian troops had behaved themselves on the territory of Georgia absolutely correctly, unlike Georgian formations, which had intruded into South Ossetia. “By the reaction of the people receiving information on what had happened in South Ossetia from the local mass information media it could be seen – they obviously were not familiar with the Russian version of these events. In such a manner, the action fully justified itself – several dozen residents of Brussels found out also about what they think in Russia about what is taking place”, reported to RBK daily representative of the rally orgcommittee Ilya Goryachev.It is obvious that direct-action campaigns, when the ordinary person in the west gets information on the Russian point of view on these or other events directly on a street of his city, firsthand, must actively be used by Russian propaganda. Electronic and print mass information media in the West, with rare exceptions, simply ignore Moscow’s point of view – in this situation the information obtained at an action like yesterday’s in Brussels could become an alternative to what the “classical” mass information media – newspapers and by television – are reporting. “We must take and example from the Arabs and the Kurds – they’ve got such a practice up and running like a well-oiled machine, and Europe, with the help of outcomers from the corresponding countries living there, always finds out about what the “Arab street” is thinking about one or another political question”, considers head of the analytical department of the company CrossMediaCommunications Alexander Yakuba.In so doing, one must rely not only on the Russian-speaking diaspora in the far-abroad – its representatives are not infrequently badly organized and do not experience a particular positive in relation to the country in which they were born. Logical in connection with this appears attracting allies from the number of local civic organizations – practice shows that sober-minded Europeans and Americans, irrespective of political orientation, are less and less satisfied by the policy being conducted by their governments, and are more and more frequently asking them questions to which the local authorities simply do not have answers. “The west, I will note, is not shy about using Russian civic organizations of an anti-government orientation in its interests. The attraction of critics of European policy to the company for informing the population of the Old World could become an asymmetrical response to such actions”, considers Mr. Yakuba.Analysis of the situation shows – despite a certain movement on the mass-media plane (the appearance of the channel Russia Today, the expansion of the international broadcasting of the channel «Vesti-24»), Russia so far is losing in the informational confrontation. In so doing there is soil for conducting mass street actions in support of Moscow’s position in practically any city of Europe – citizens of the EU, having encountered an economic crisis, are ever more frequently starting to think about what direction Brussels is leading them in and are ever more rarely satisfied with the answer they get to this question.Alexander Shirokov, 16.09.2008