The New Observer Uncategorized Propaganda Watch (Times Radio)

Propaganda Watch (Times Radio)

It never stops.

Here we have the wide-eyed and gushing anchor for whom no amount of lies about Russia can evince the slightest degree of journalistic scepticism interviewing a “Russia expert”. The expert puts on a laugh when asked about the recent Russian elections. (He makes the mistake that different is just “not” or is “sham”). The expert says: “Russia has not had a competitive election since 1996”. [1.30]

He is referring to the 1996 Presidential election between Yeltsin and the Communist party candidate. This was, rather obviously, a key election for the West as the whole shock therapy project could easily have been derailed. And, heaven forbid that a free election could have returned a Communist candidate!

Let us turn to an actual scholar of Russian history, Peter Kenez, University of California:

An extraordinary event of open, almost advertised corruption was the case of loans for shares. In 1996, when Yeltsin’s reelection prospects seemed grim, a group of new millionaires offered much-needed money for the reelection campaign, and in exchange they received greatly undervalued shares in Russia’s most valuable industrial enterprises. The shares were to be distributed in open bidding. However the affair was obviously rigged. People close to Yeltsin – that is, the people who were to benefit – selected the participants. The shares were supposed to be collateral for repayment, but it was obvious that the state would not be able to repay the loans. The oligarchs, who had already made a great deal of money at a time of the beginning of privatization, now doubled and trebled their wealth. This was a breathtaking act of corruption: the oligarchs – who had every reason to fear a Communist Party victory and therefore very much desired Yeltsin’s reelection – also managed to benefit financially.


I’ve also read recently that Yeltsin was aided in that election by US election experts.

One suspects that for Russia expert Peter Zeihan a “free and fair election” is one in which a pro-US, pro-market politician is elected.

It would be so good if the anchor would be informed about the matter and would ask her subject a question, such as: “was the 1996 election really a competitive one?” But, on Russia, the invited “experts” can generally say anything they want and it will never be doubted. (Unless they are Russians, in which case they will be shouted down). [2]

(I haven’t watched all of this interview. I got as far as the bit when the expert claims that Russia is aiming to take the Baltics and Warsaw – that is start a war with NATO. How Russia could reasonably be expected to carry this out given that they can only just beat Ukraine is not explained. At least on this one the journalist questions this outlandish claim. I would add – the strategic propagandist purpose of these claims which are simply asserted without supporting evidence* is to distract from the real cause of this war; NATO signing up Ukraine as a member, posting an imminent strategic threat to Russia. Claims about Russia wanting to take Poland and the Baltics are not just an alternative analysis; they are part of the Western corporate-military sector’s hybrid war; duping their own populations into believing that Russia poses a threat).

* – whereas the claims that Russia has specific strategic goals in Ukraine can be readily supported by tracing a historical thread through statements about Ukraine joining NATO being a red line; as John Mearsheimer points out Putin has in fact been rather consistent on this point.


  1. Kenez, Peter. A History of the Soviet Union from the Beginning to its Legacy (p. 316). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.