After the terrorist attacks in Paris, it didn’t take long for the world’s conspiracy nuts to start accusing whomever they happen to dislike of being the real force behind the violence. Russia’s propaganda machine in particular turned the volume of its anti-Western ravings up to 11. The FT reports:
Komsomolskaya Pravda, one of Russia’s leading [state-run] tabloids, ran the headline: “Did the Americans stage the terror attack in Paris?” and posted a series of interviews on its website that presented various reasons why Washington might have organised the attack.In one interview, Alexander Zhilin, head of the pro-Kremlin Moscow Centre for the Study of Applied Problems, claimed the terror attack was US retribution against President François Hollande for a January 6 radio interview in which Mr Hollande urged the EU to lift sanctions against Russia.Washington used the attacks as “a quick fix for consolidating” US and EU geopolitical interests in Ukraine, Mr Zhilin claimed.Others repeated a popular Russian conspiracy theory blaming the US intelligence services for a swath of terrorist assaults, from the 9/11 attacks on the US to last week’s Paris killings.
The Russian news services, which are in the direct or indirect employ of the state, still spew anti-Western bile as a matter of course, whether or not the subject has anything to do with Russia or its neighborhood. And alarmingly enough, they are investing heavily in getting their message out beyond Russian borders.The depravity of foreign leaders’ propaganda is the measure of their hate and their fear. These days, Russian propaganda is genuinely Stalinist. Putin’s reach does not compare to Stalin’s, but there should be no misunderstanding about the intentions of his government.