mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Putinist Propaganda
Russia’s War on Reality

Ukraine’s military reported that a large convoy of Russian supply trucks crossed the porous eastern border without authorization on Sunday. Moscow claims that the convoy, reportedly the eighth since August, is bringing only humanitarian supplies like food and medicine. But that’s almost certainly untrue. Reuters reports:

Months of fighting in Ukraine’s separatist regions have left many without sufficient food and medical supplies. Russia has regularly dispatched shipments of aid, a move which the pro-Western Kiev government has denounced as cynical.

“The lion’s share of humanitarian supplies find their way to the rebels partly in the form of food, but mostly it is ammunition, equipment and other things for combat operations,” Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a televised briefing.

The Kremlin has a habit of issuing denials, no matter how implausible, of actions that it finds inconvenient to admit to on the world stage. During the Crimean annexation, Moscow firmly denied that any of its troops were in the region until afterward, when it said so openly and without acknowledging the about-face. When a huge influx of Russian troops including tank columns rolled into Donbass in August and changed the tide of the war completely, Putin insisted that the soldiers were acting of their own accord, as they were “on leave.”

This propaganda, put forth largely on state-run television, has proven remarkably effective at guiding public opinion, especially at home. In fact, according to a recent independent poll, more than half of Russians do not believe that their soldiers are fighting in the ongoing shooting war in eastern Ukraine. This is a testament to just how good the Kremlin’s so-called “political technologists” are at manipulating reality for the huge swaths of the Russian population who get their news from state-run media, primarily television. This ability to control perceptions is a linchpin of Putin’s strategies, and it’s impossible to understand his boldness and power without it.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Corlyss

    “This ability to control perceptions is a linchpin of Putin’s strategies, and it’s impossible to understand his boldness and power without it.”
    Gosh, that War on Reality gene in humins is soooooooooooo strong lately! It meets the willingness to be deceived. Ordinarily there’d be pushback if we still had something like a fact-prone media or a public diplomacy dept. in State. The world is awash in delusion, whether in Ferguson, Washington, DC, or Europe. We need to get us a reliably realistic administration in the WH and none too soon.

    • FriendlyGoat

      Mrs. Clinton, we presume.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Thousands of bodies of Russian service men are coming home, the Russians know, they are just keeping their heads down in order to keep them.

    • Felix Keverich

      Only thousands? Make it millions!

    • Василий Батарейкин

      Liar-liar. where is evidence? learn from C.Powell with his glass tube with “chemical weapons” which were never found in Iraq.
      Oh, Jenn Psaki, stop pretending, I know it’s you again!

      no one believes you anymore! you bring only death and destruction!

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service