Propaganda blunder in the Guardian

Ukraine recently announced and showed off their new strip for Euro 2020. The shirts include a slogan which translates as “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”. The Guardian reported:

Both phrases have become widely used in Ukraine in the military and among supporters of the 2014 revolution that ousted Viktor Yanukovych, who now lives in Russia…The Russian foreign ministry spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, said on social media that the slogans on the shirts were nationalistic and that the slogan “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!” echoed a German Nazi rallying cry.

What Andrew Roth’s journalism did not extend to is the fact that these slogans are linked to the far-right in Ukraine. They were used specifically by far-right volunteer battalions in the war on Donbas. They are historically associated with Ukrainian nationalism during WW2 – and at this time (for a period – not the whole war) Ukrainian nationalists fought with the Nazis against the then USSR. Quite clearly this was a deliberate provocation.

Roth skirted round all this under the guise of neutral journalism. He mentioned that the Russian Foreign Ministry had said that the slogan was nationalistic but he didn’t say that this was in fact true. But it is true. And so, once again, we see that a liberal journalist – who so often is apparently outraged about e.g. the treatment of Navalny – is quite happy for Russians (except their liberal friends) to suffer abuse and outrages. In this case the journalist seems to have been quite happy to have blatant reminders of Nazism thrust in the faces of Russians – who lost 22 million people as a result of the Nazis; half of them civilians.

UEFA – the governing body for the tournament was able to look at history and today banned the provocation.

When is a foreign agent not a foreign agent?

The liberal media is reporting in pained tones today that Russia has designated an “independent” media publication VTimes as a ‘foreign agent’. Under this law the publication is allowed to continue operating but must display a message informing readers that it is a foreign agent. It must also submit its accounts for special scrutiny. The publication has decided to close. This is AFP in the Guardian. And this is the Independent. The AFP/Guardian story is especially agonised: “The editors’ [VTimes] statement comes at a difficult time for Russian journalists who do not work for state-run media, with space for independent journalism and dissenting voices shrinking dramatically.” – the “dissenting voices shrinking rapidly” is a little bit melodramatic. Another publication – based abroad – Medusa has also been told it must carry this label. But there remain many independent media (not mass broadcast admittedly) outlets such as Kommersant or Internet TV Station Dozhd in Russia. (Rain). In addition almost all of the Western liberal media (including the Guardian and Independent and BBC Russian service is accessible in Russia) as well as pure propaganda outlets such as US funded Radio Free Europe (which has been designated a foreign agent but which refuses to comply with Russian law) are accessible within Russia. So “dissenting voices shrinking dramatically” is not really accurate.

(In passing we can note that AFP is part-owned by the French government – does it see itself as “independent” whereas Russian state owned media is not?).

But what struck me about the stories in the Guardian and Independent about VTimes being designated a “foreign agent” is that neither of them felt it necessary to inform their readers that VTimes is… in fact, a foreign agent. It is supported by a Dutch organisation “Stichting 2 Oktober” [1] As is readily visible on its website Stichting 2 Oktober is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.



How does the government get away with it on Covid?

This is a rather good article in the Guardian. The question the author asks is how – given how obviously terrible the government’s handling of the Sars-Cov-2 pandemic has been – can they get away with it. Despite being a government “in which narcissistic dilettantes wield great power in a catastrophic government of egotists and charlatans” no criticism ‘sticks’. They continue to ride high in the polls and no one – government Minister or senior official – many of whom are in fact responsible for what looks very much like manslaughter by negligence – has any need to worry at all; not even about their job (let alone charges). How can this be?

Continue reading “How does the government get away with it on Covid?”

Democracy protests or regime change?

The headline of this piece “Alexei Navalny allies call for mass protests in Russia to save his life” shows that the author (Luke Harding) has fully swallowed the line put out by team Navalny. Indeed as this website has pointed out many times all the reporting on Navalny in the Guardian and Independent simply reiterates whatever line is coming out of Navalny HQ at that time. Sometimes they simply copy and paste the email they receive.

The alternative explanation – that this hunger strike and crisis and public drama was all planned before Navalny returned to Russia (knowing that he would be sent to prison) is not even discussed. But, based on observation of Navalny’s modus operandi (to seek publicity and create embarrassing scandals for the authorities), this is much (much) more likely.

Continue reading “Democracy protests or regime change?”