The West encourages russophobia on a systemic level

“The headline “Russian missiles landed in NATO member Poland, killing two” was published in the Irish edition of the Independent on 15 November.[i] Although it was immediately known that the missiles were Ukrainian, the editors did not change the content, apparently believing that a lie – with criticism of Russia – was better than a truthful article.

There are hundreds of such cases in the Western press. It has become a matter of course that any nonsense can be written about Russia, from the plight of the provinces to the repression of opponents of the special military operation in Ukraine. The usual corporate media as well as think tanks that claim to be objective suffer from bias. For example, looking at the headlines in Foreign Affairs, one might get the impression that Russia, not Ukraine, is a failed state facing imminent collapse: “Russia’s Dangerous Decline”[ii],

“Coups in the Kremlin”[iii], “Can Putin Endure?”[iv], “Russia Repeats Mistakes”[v]…

The Institute for War Research website’s newsfeed shows constant misinformation and distortion of events taking place in Russia and the frontline.

For example, it says that “Russian President Vladimir Putin falsely presented a meeting with 18 women as an open discussion with the mothers of mobilised persons on 25 November, the eve of Mother’s Day in Russia”. Or “Kremlin appears to be creating an information environment for a false-flag attack in the Belgorod region, Russia probably trying to win back public support for the war in Ukraine”. Among the news items regularly found, are those that are refuted over time, such as “the Russian military has a significantly depleted arsenal of high-precision missiles, although there is still the possibility of attacking Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure in the near future.”[vi]
Some even manage to calculate how many days’ worth of missiles Russia has left. For example, “Since February Russia has launched 1,305 missiles out of its total stockpile of 1,844, leaving only 539 missiles, enough for a maximum of six more days of strikes. That leaves only 121 Iskander SS-26s, 248 Kalibers and 170 X-55s. Russia is also unlikely to be able to replace them, given its dependence on imports of foreign microchips.”[vii]

Western media and analysts have raised a wide range of issues related to Ukraine and Russia, trying to whitewash the Kiev regime on the one hand and demonise Russia on the other.

Julian Spencer-Churchill of the University of Montreal writes that “despite being subjected to an aggressive invasion and heinous war crimes, Kiev has wisely resisted the political temptation to retaliate against non-combatants in Russia. Russia is less than a generation away from being liberalised, as it was with Ukraine before 2014. When the war is over, as they all are, Kiev will still have Russia as a neighbour, the Russians as its citizens, and it will inherit a political consciousness that will define its new identity. Kiev should present the conflict as a conflict against Putin’s regime, even if the Russian people are complicit, as a way to open political space for the Russian opposition or peace party.”[viii]

Obviously, this is not true. The Kiev junta not only strikes civilians in the Donbass and Kherson regions, but also regularly attempts to stage terrorist attacks in the Kursk, Bryansk and Belgorod regions. Not to mention the numerous war crimes committed by the AFU and neo-Nazi formations.

Seth Jones of CSIS draws attention to the fact that the Ukrainian leadership is often accused of corruption and embezzlement of some of the aid that goes to Ukraine. In this regard, he writes, “The United States can help dispel Russian propaganda and concerns about corruption by working with the Zelensky government to strengthen anti-corruption efforts, with a particular focus on accounting for aid provided since February 24, 2022. For example, NATO could create an “audit chamber” to work with Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense to track the use and disposal of all military material, including Stinger and other man-portable air defence systems.”[ix]

Consider earlier events and their interpretation by the West. A U.S. State Department official said after the grain deal was suspended in late October 2022 that “Russia is again militarizing food in the process of the war it started. The most effective step to solve the food security crisis would be for Russia to immediately return to the agreement and end the war against Ukraine.”[x]

Jessica Berlin, a geostrategy expert at the German Marshall Foundation, in a roundtable discussion broadcast on DW said on the possible use of a dirty bomb by Ukraine that “Lavrov’s suggestion that Ukraine will plan and do this is a farce. It’s complete nonsense. But from the Russian side it’s a signal, it’s a threat. That it is in our arsenal. We can use it. This is another sign of the weakness of the Russian position on the battlefield. This threat is aimed at changing the narrative to create fear in western governments and voters to try to reduce support for Ukraine. This is another classic example of Russia pushing lies, some fantastic nonsense in the media. This is then picked up, reported and discussed – what do they mean? This is how they shape the narrative around the world.”[xi]

But American Senator Richard Black, on the other hand, thinks otherwise. He openly stated that “the Russians have published intelligence that Ukraine is preparing to detonate a dirty bomb. And I am afraid that what they are saying is true. It would be directly related to the ongoing elections. I think their plan is to detonate a dirty bomb that will spray radioactive material within a few miles. I believe this false-flag plan is designed to blame Russia, to turn public opinion against Russia at a time when elections are due to take place, by making Republicans defend themselves because they have called for peace.”[xii]

Generally, in such cases, Western authors either take messages out of context or change their emphasis, as seen in a comment by a RAND Corporation researcher who notes that “Russian leaders and the state-controlled media are already trying to redefine the war as an existential conflict between Russia and the West. Mr Putin has gone so far as to threaten to use all available means – a thinly veiled reference to nuclear weapons – to defend ‘the territorial integrity of our country’. This threat, while serious, so far remains just words. Under the terms of Russia’s own nuclear doctrine, neither Ukraine nor its supporters posed a threat that would allow the use of nuclear weapons: Ukraine could not attack Russia with nuclear weapons, disable Russian nuclear forces or launch a massive strike against Russia that would endanger the existence of the Russian state. It is worth recalling that before breaking the nuclear taboo, Russia has other means available to escalate.”[xiii]

There is also the technique of total denial, as the BBC does, which stated that “Britain’s Ministry of Defence has accused the Russian government of spreading falsehoods after Moscow claimed that the British military assisted in a drone attack on the Russian fleet near the Crimean port of Sevastopol. Russian authorities claim one ship was damaged in the overnight attack. Ukraine has yet to acknowledge the incident. They have also claimed that British troops were involved in the bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline last month. Responding to all the claims, the UK defence ministry said Moscow was resorting to made-up stories to divert attention from its disastrous handling of the illegal invasion of Ukraine.”[xiv]

In other words, the West will always find an excuse and Moscow will always be to blame.

Prominent journalist and public figure John Pilger, known for his critical assessments, in his article on the workings of Western propaganda, describes how the Western media demonises Russia and other countries.

“At its summit in Madrid in June, NATO, which is controlled by the United States, adopted a strategy document that militarises the European continent and increases the prospect of war with Russia and China. It proposes a ‘multi-domain war against an equal competitor armed with nuclear weapons. In other words, nuclear war. It says: ‘NATO enlargement has been a historic success. I read it with disbelief. An indication of this ‘historic success’ is the war in Ukraine, the news about which for the most part is not news, but a one-sided listing of ura-patriotism, distortions, omissions. I have reported on a number of wars and have never come across such sweeping propaganda.

In 2014, the United States sponsored a coup d’état in Kiev that rid Ukraine of a democratically elected, Russia-friendly president and appointed a successor, about whom the Americans made it clear that he was their man. In recent years American Defender missiles have been planted in Eastern Europe, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, almost certainly aimed at Russia, accompanied by false assurances up to and including James Baker’s “promise” to Gorbachev in February 1990 that NATO would never expand beyond Germany.

Ukraine is the front line. NATO has in fact reached the very border over which Hitler’s army stormed in 1941, killing more than 23 million people in the Soviet Union.

Last December, Russia proposed a far-reaching security plan for Europe. It was rejected, ridiculed or glossed over in the Western media. Who read his step-by-step proposals? On 24 February, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski threatened to develop nuclear weapons unless America armed and protected Ukraine. This was the last straw.

On the same day, Russia invaded – according to Western media, it was an unprovoked act of innate meanness. The history, the lies, the peace proposals, the solemn agreements on Donbass in Minsk meant nothing.

On 25 April, US Defence Secretary General Lloyd Austin flew to Kiev and confirmed that America’s goal was to destroy the Russian Federation – the word he used was ‘weaken’. America got the war it wanted, unleashed and funded by the US arming its pawn.

Almost none of this has been explained to Western audiences…

When did the current war in Ukraine start and who started it? According to the United Nations, some 14,000 people died in the Kiev regime’s civil war in the Donbass between 2014 and this year. Many of the attacks were carried out by neo-Nazis.

Watch the May 2014 ITV news report from veteran reporter James Mates, who was shelled by the Ukrainian (neo-Nazi) Azov battalion along with civilians in the city of Mariupol.

That same month, dozens of Russian-speaking people were burned alive or strangled in a trade union building in Odessa besieged by fascist thugs, followers of Nazi collaborator and anti-Semitic fanatic Stefan Bandera. “The New York Times called the thugs ‘nationalists’.

‘The historic mission of our nation at this critical moment,’ said Andriy Biletsky, founder of the Azov battalion, ‘is to lead the white races of the world in a final crusade for survival, a crusade against the Semitic-led Untermenschen.

Since February, a campaign of self-appointed ‘news watchers’ (mostly funded by Americans and Brits with links to governments) has tried to maintain the absurdity that Ukrainian neo-Nazis do not exist.

Aerography, a term once associated with Stalinist purges, has become a tool of mainstream journalism.

In less than a decade, ‘good’ China has been airbrushed and replaced by ‘bad’ China: from a world workshop to a hopeful new Satan.

Much of this propaganda emanates from the US and is delivered through proxies and think tanks such as the infamous Australian Strategic Policy Institute, the Voice of the Gun Industry, and by zealous journalists such as Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald, who called those spreading Chinese influence ‘rats, flies, mosquitoes and sparrows’ and called for the ‘eradication’ of these ‘pests’.”[xv]

Quite a succinct and objective description of what is going on. And that is just one example of the work of the media machine and the lobby. And there are dozens of such strategies and analytical centres.

Bernard Henri-Levy, a well-known Russophobe and globalist, visits Ukraine, where he makes a film, which he then presents in various countries.[xvi]

Nouriel Roubini, instead of scientific objectivity, declares that the West has been diligently creating a just world order since World War II, and then Russia and China, plus Iran and North Korea, show up and start intimidating everyone. “Fast forward to the end of 2022 and you will immediately notice that we are inundated with new, extreme mega-threats that have not been on anyone’s radar before. The world has entered what I call a geopolitical depression, with at least four dangerous revisionist powers – China, Russia, Iran and North Korea – challenging the economic, financial, security and geopolitical order that the US and its allies created after World War II.”[xvii]

Such statements instantly turn world-renowned scientists into cheap propagandists. But unfortunately for many in the West, this trick works. If only because there are no alternative sources of information.

Some go so far as to pretend to understand Russian domestic politics better than the Russian experts themselves. Andras Tot-Shifra at the Institute for Foreign Policy Studies writes: “The Kremlin also relies more heavily on governors, who are charged with keeping their regions calm and taking responsibility for unpopular decisions on behalf of the president – even mobilisation. But this system has not been stress-tested on anything like the crisis about to hit Russia. Provincial officials are not immune to the blind spots created by massive data and selective reporting by officials who are assessed on the basis of the criteria they report. It is also highly questionable whether the government will find the money to address the social crisis along with rising military spending, which is currently a priority amid a rapidly turning state budget into a deficit.”[xviii]

However, there is more than just description and wishful thinking going on. There are active calls for aggressive information campaigns and actions against the Russian government.

Former US Director of Military Intelligence David Shedd and adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Ivana Stradner in their joint article on waging psychological warfare against Russia noted that “US information operations should be aimed at inciting anti-Kremlin sentiment among ethnic minority groups in Russia. Groups such as the Buryats, Yakuts and Chechens face constant discrimination while the state turns a blind eye. Meanwhile, during the war in Ukraine, the Russian army recruited significantly more soldiers from minority groups than from other groups, resulting in more minority casualties. This recruitment process represents the Kremlin’s constant exploitation of those who live in poorer regions and lack job opportunities. Putin already fears that ethnic minorities could form separatist movements that would divide Russia’s multi-ethnic society. Thus, he has sought to impose his “vertical of power” on these groups. For example, Moscow has just stripped the head of the Russian Republic of Tatarstan of his title of president of a region that sought independence back in the 1990s. Washington should ensure that every Tatar in Russia knows what they have lost and encourage them to fight for their rights.

During the Cold War, the US openly and covertly supported dissident groups. While it is important to engage with exiled Russian dissidents and amplify their voices, this is not necessarily the most effective method of reaching ordinary Russians and changing their perceptions. Pro-Putin Russians do not watch dissident channels. A more effective way to reach Putin is to work within their own community. The most important aspect in Russian culture is trust. When dissident views come from sources that Russians consider trustworthy, they let their guard down. Therefore, the United States should seek to quietly partner with Russian-speaking leaders of influence on social media to help them spread messages within Russia to counter the Kremlin’s pervasive disinformation.”[xix]

It is also said that “humour can be a powerful tool in these endeavours”. The authors cite the phenomenon of satire in the Stalin era as a form of political protest. “Current US information operations should revive a similar emphasis on humour – and give Russians a reason to tell their own jokes.”

Former US ambassador to Kazakhstan and Georgia William Cartney is actually calling for a coup in Russia, pointing out that “regime change has long seemed only a distant prospect, but perhaps not anymore.”[xx]

The Pentagon is revising its irregular warfare doctrine because of events in Ukraine. It is now defined as “a fierce struggle between state and non-state actors for legitimacy and influence over the population(s) concerned. The term arose because of the challenges posed by non-state armed groups engaged in subversive activities and cunning to outsmart militarily stronger states. In these efforts, mobilisation, legitimacy and trust create social power, allowing adversaries weaker in direct military confrontation to paralyse stronger adversaries and, at times, prevail despite seemingly impossible odds. Reflecting this approach, the official definition of irregular warfare specifies that it “prefers indirect warfare and asymmetric warfare methods” to direct military confrontation and seeks to “undermine the power, influence and will of the opponent” until a final military strike, if necessary, can put a stop to it. Clearly, events in Ukraine have prompted the US to define more precisely the aims and methods of irregular warfare, in order to deploy it later on Russian territory. However, given that the Kherson region is a sovereign part of Russia, such a war is already underway.

Attempts to formulate a specific military strategy against Russia are also noticeable. The Hudson Institute cites three strands of effort to shape Western military policy to achieve a strategic Ukrainian – and therefore Western – victory over Russia.

“The first line of effort: Revive NATO’s Cold War concept of a follow-on offensive force (FOFA) and adapt it to the way the Ukrainian military conducts hostilities. FOFA was designed to deliver conventional strikes against enemy combat formations extending immediately behind forward troops to deep behind enemy lines. The strategic intent is to reduce enemy units to an “acceptable ratio” before they reach the main defensive lines. The assumption for Ukraine is to deliver:

  • US Army MGM-140 tactical missile systems (ATACMS). ATACMS will bring an unprecedented improvement in Ukraine’s long-range firepower, increasing the effective range of the HIMARS by nearly 300 kilometres. In addition, the highly accurate and advanced warhead configuration will provide the critical capability to attack Russian missile and ammunition launchers, large ammunition depots, command and control nodes, and air contingents within range.
  • US Grey Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles. The MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone comes with an advanced sensor suit and a powerful weapons configuration, including AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. It can fly above the strike range of Man Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) and has good airborne endurance (at least 27 hours for the main variant and up to 40 hours for the extended-range upgrade), which provides significant tactical flexibility for the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
  • The F-16 combat aircraft. The Ukrainians currently fly very low and for short periods on every combat sortie in order to avoid Russian surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and Russia’s best air-to-air capabilities (e.g. Su-35s equipped with R-77 missiles). F-16s carrying advanced AMRAAM air-to-air missiles out of sight could largely solve Ukraine’s problem. The F-16s would also unlock the full advanced capabilities of the AGM-88 HARM missiles, which have already been transferred to Ukraine by the US. Currently, the Ukrainian Air Force uses AGM-88 missiles with limited combat capability on its Soviet-Russian Mig-29 aircraft.

The second line of effort: strengthening Ukraine’s air and missile defence network. This goal is particularly important given that the Russian military will continue to launch increasing numbers of Iranian-made munitions and possibly missiles at Ukraine day by day.

  • After much procrastination, the Biden administration recently agreed to support Ukraine with nationally advanced short- and medium-range surface-to-air air defence systems (NASAMS). Co-developed by the US-based Raytheon and Norwegian Kongsberg, the system is prestigious as it stands in the defence of Washington, D.C.
  • The US and its allies should not treat this transmission as a one-off event like a cortisone shot. Instead, NATO capitals should use this as one step to help the Ukrainian armed forces transition to Western air and missile defence solutions.
  • In addition to sending NASAMS, the West needs to continue transferring MANPADS to Ukrainian units in large numbers. Russia’s chronic shortage of smart munitions is damaging aircraft, including advanced platforms such as the Su-30, forcing Russian platforms to fly at lower altitudes to drop unguided bombs. Such a scheme leaves Russian aircraft vulnerable.

The third line of effort: capitalise on the Ukrainian army’s achievements in general manoeuvre warfare with a European-led programme of assistance to main battle tanks.

  • From now on, NATO capitals should capitalize on the lessons learned from the Kharkiv offensive and focus on reinforcing the Ukrainian armed forces’ decisive advantage in combined arms maneuver warfare, backed by long-range firepower.
  • Ukraine urgently needs better main battle tanks. Kiev has asked for American Abrams and German Leopards 2, but the West has unfortunately rejected these requests. Continental Europe, especially Germany, now needs to initiate a Leopard-2 military assistance consortium. European sources suggest that a consortium of operating countries could quickly transfer 90 tanks to Ukraine, which would be enough to create a large armoured brigade. According to Spanish press reports, Madrid was ready to send up to 40 tanks to Ukraine; however, the German government blocked the transfer in August.
  • In addition to supplying the Leopard 2, NATO countries should continue to equip the Ukrainian army with anti-tank weapons, especially those with high attack capabilities such as the Javelin and NLAW. These weapons have proved very effective against the Soviet-Russian tank design philosophy, as the projectile hits the munition directly after penetrating the tank at a perpendicular angle. This is why many Russian tanks have been decapitated.”[xxi]

As we can see, the West is not only engaged in propaganda to criticise Russia’s leadership, but is also actively inciting increased military aid to Ukraine, which is also one of the general lines of the West’s overall strategy against Russia. All these plans and insinuations, one way or another, need to be exposed. Even with the scarcity of its own intellectual and information resources, the process of monitoring the Western media and think tanks should be constant and analysis on a regular basis.






















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