Today, every day when we hear or read some news, we doubt more and more. We doubt it, because we have been disappointed more than once that some of the information is outright fakes, some is half-fake, and some of it is completely unappealable lies.
To broadcast these fakes and lies, the RT (Russia Today) channel was specially created in Russia, which is banned today in many countries of the world, as a source that broadcasts mistrust, chaos, intolerance and hatred. It is a pity that the nature of this phenomenon originates from the territory with which great hopes for the “perfect” development of human civilization were associated and nurtured in the future.
The colossus on clay feet collapsed
On December 26, 1991, the Soviet Union (USSR), as a state and a subject of international law, ceased to exist on the basis of a declaration adopted by the Council of Republics of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. One of the largest totalitarian regimes in the world civilization of recent history, the “evil empire”, the prison of nations – the USSR – has ceased to exist. Let’s be honest, professing a misanthropic ideology, the leadership of the Soviet Union sought to spread its dominance over the entire globe.
The self-destruction of the Soviet Union completely changed the nature of international relations. With the collapse of the USSR, the watershed between the two blocks – liberal-democratic and administrative-totalitarian – disappeared. The subsystem, the basis of which was the so-called “socialist camp”, ceased to exist. The peculiarity of such geopolitical dynamics was the people’s demand for fundamental changes, and it is significant that this process was accompanied by mostly peaceful consent of the ruling elites to such changes.
In its essence and in fact, the USSR was an artificial entity whose existence was based on passion, humiliation, extermination of the intelligentsia, merciless exploitation of ordinary people, manipulative propaganda and total censorship that did not allow alternative views. Only the ruling elite – the communist party nomenclature and representatives of the power structures – the KGB enjoyed all the benefits created by the collective labor of enslaved peoples and ethnic groups.
Fukuyama’s prophecy – myth or reality?
Immediately after the collapse of the USSR in 1992, a book by the political scientist and philosopher Francis Fukuyama was published in the USA under the title “The End of History and the Last Man”. In it, he expresses and develops the idea that the spread of liberal democracy of the Western model proves that the socio-cultural evolution of humanity has reached a certain final limit. As the young scientist pointed out, there will no longer be grandiose ideological confrontations, global revolutions and wars.
There will be nothing else outside of liberal democracy, because only this form of state management most efficiently and optimally satisfies the basic needs of a particular person, in his desire for dignity and personal freedom. Authoritarian regimes, as Fukuyama posited, are in a deep crisis and in the near future may sink into oblivion. The concept expressed by Fukuyama aroused great interest and made him famous throughout the world.
Let’s be frank, the further development of events showed that there were not only those who did not agree with the progressive evolution of human civilization, but also those who planned to really return humanity to the path of chaos, local and global wars, plunging the world into the dark ages, threatening and blackmailing with a nuclear baton and showing everyone his muscles, military power.
The current president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, turned out to be an extremely fanatical apologist for totalitarian regimes. Back in 2005, in a message to the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, he noted that for him the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century. At the same time, let’s not forget that Putin himself is a native of the USSR and the KGB.
Putin – steps towards the usurpation of power and world chaos
On October 24-27, 2022, in Russia, namely in Moscow, the annual meeting of the discussion club “Valdai” took place under the general theme: “The world after hegemony: justice and security for all”. This platform, which is positioned as an intellectual geopolitically oriented platform, is actually nothing more than an informal propaganda mouthpiece of the Kremlin.
It is from here that Putin’s propagandists – Kisiliov, Solovyov, Skobeeva, Simonyan and many others – draw their information messages. It is from here that the rivers of disinformation, slander and irrevocable discredit begin, flowing into the oceans of fakes and distributed by tens of thousands of pro-Kremlin bots and haters on all continents without exception.
It is here that white is called black, and black is white, it is here that tons of slander is poured out on public figures of the civilized world and the governments of advanced countries.
It is here that the winds of information chaos begin, which in different corners of our planet turn into riots, violence, bloody military conflicts.
It is also not surprising that this event, to put it mildly, is the favorite hangout of the Russian usurper of power Putin, at which he does not waste his chance to become a source of cynical accusations of the West, cynical distortion of facts about historical development, about his alleged right to decide the fate of humanity, expressing virtually undisguised threats.
“The period of the undivided dominance of the West in world affairs is coming to an end, the unipolar world is a thing of the past. We are standing at a historical turning point, ahead, probably, the most dangerous, unpredictable and, together with that, important decade at the end of the Second World War. The West is not capable of governing humanity with one mind. .” Putin said at this meeting.
How is this not the end of history, the end of human civilization in the literal sense of this seemingly banal phrase, especially with regard to Putin’s messages about his use of nuclear weapons? Even in his wildest dreams, Francis Fukuyama could not have foreseen the arrival of such type of usurpers and tyrants.
But the creation of a racist regime would not be possible without a comprehensive sweep of the information space and the extermination of opposition politicians.
Putin is cleaning up Russia’s information space
After coming to power on democratic principles and with liberal-democratic slogans in 2000, Putin immediately began the reconstruction and restoration of the totalitarian system of the USSR. The first thing that the newly elected president of Russia started with was cleaning up and taking control of all mass media without exception, starting from a powerful independent national TV channel, ending with a small opposition village newspaper.
It was the “cleaning” of TV channels that became one of the main tasks of the new government. We are talking about dozens of such media structures, among which the most prominent at that time were NTV, ORT, REN-TV, TV-6, TMC. These and many other media had their own face, their own charm and could express their own views on political life, primarily in Russia itself, and provide objective materials in the field of geopolitics.
At this time, the term “official mass media” is steadily entering the circulation, which is essentially a continuation of the practice of the totalitarian media system of the USSR, when it is meant mass media that are directly or indirectly owned by the state, and in this case, structures under the control of the Putin regime, including for example, such as the Gazprom monopoly, which today blackmails Europe with gas, or billionaire oligarchs such as Roman Abramovich or Alisher Usmanov.
Thus, in the process of cleaning, almost all mass media end up in the hands of one clan, one person – Putin. There were isolated exceptions to the imitation of democratic approaches, such as radio “Echo of Moscow”, which has also been liquidated by now, and journalists of this media are persecuted and regularly receive threats, some of whom were forced to leave Russia.
The rise and fall of Russia Today
The question of purposeful propaganda of Russia at the international level first arose in 2000, immediately after Vladimir Putin came to power. It was then that they started talking about the need for a radically new approach to Russia’s information dominance in the world and the promotion of its foreign policy.
It is a coincidence or not, but precisely at this time, when the Putin regime has tamed the mass media, and Putin is openly nostalgic for the USSR and stigmatizes the Western world, RT (Russia Today) was created and started broadcasting.
British consultants were invited to shape the image of the TV channel. CNN and BBC were taken as a model.
On December 10, 2005, a full-fledged broadcast focused on the USA and European countries began, and satellite broadcasting was launched. The channel was created by the RIA Novosti agency (controlled by the Russian government) through its subsidiary TV-Novosti. The odious journalist Margarita Simonyan was appointed editor-in-chief.
In the first years of broadcasting, RT employees covered only the culture and daily life of Russia for a foreign audience, which made its editorial policy similar to the policy of leading European or American broadcasting channels in other countries.
“It will be a view of the world from Russia. We don’t want to change the professional format established by such TV channels as BBC, CNN, Euronews,” said Simonyan.
The RT channel is actively financed by the government of the Russian Federation. It is financed by multimillion-dollar appropriations and subsidies from the Russian budget, which, according to experts’ estimates, amount to hundreds of millions of US dollars a year.
In order to give it a certain reputational weight, the channel is being transformed into a Russian international information television company, which broadcasts 24 hours a day in English, Arabic, Spanish and French.
The channel broadcasts to Asian, European, South and North American audiences. The channel gains its audience and begins to enter the top tens of various ratings.
A certain success of the TV channel can also be explained by its presence on the Internet. In July 2007, the Russia Today YouTube channel was launched. And from the beginning of the 2010s, RT made a bet on social networks, creating accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Rutube, TikTok.
In 2013, the German newspaper Tagesspiege called the TV channel the most effective tool of Russia’s foreign policy, along with the export of energy carriers and military equipment.
As a result of the broadcast of conspiracy versions of international events and events in the USA itself, Russia Today in 2011 is gaining momentum in the five largest cities of the USA (in Washington, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago), according to a study conducted by by the American company Nielsen. In 2020, RT ranked 4th in the Tubular Audience Ratings for the number of unique users on social networks.
Despite such seemingly fantastic successes, the RT channel was repeatedly caught in the act of screwing up the television audience and manipulating its own content. In September 2015, The Daily Beast news site published an investigation provided by former employees of RIA Novosti, which claimed that the declaration of the popularity of the channel is a banal fake and the only source of information about the popularity of RT is the television company itself.
In April 2020, the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBC) accused RT of cheating the number of views of its YouTube videos. According to FBK, RT videos with a large number of views have relatively few comments. The peculiarities of the comments led FBK to the conclusion that they were purchased on Internet exchanges.
Due to the fact that the channel was constantly engaged in spreading conspiratorial and false information that goes against internationally recognized journalistic standards, many cult and professional people who did not agree with such reactionary politics left RT and refused to work with it.
Fakes and conspiracies are the basis of RT
Such metamorphoses with a propaganda channel, as it turned out, are explained very simply.Regarding the news and educational nature of the airwaves, the rhetoric is quickly radically changing, reorienting itself to criticism of the foreign and domestic policy of the United States and other Western countries, as well as criticism of the editorial policy of representatives of the Western mass media.
In fact, the channel is turning into Moscow’s mouthpiece for discrediting the liberal-democratic values of the civilized world, baseless criticism, false accusations of public figures, as well as a mouthpiece for promoting narratives generated directly in the Kremlin.
These messages were primarily aimed at sowing chaos in the broadcasting countries, inciting acts of disobedience among the local population, provoking riots and unauthorized gatherings. In many ways, this information weapon achieved its goal, just remember the presidential race in the USA in 2016 between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
In particular, when covering US domestic policy, the channel paid a lot of attention to:
– political events, presidential elections, congress and senate elections;
− environmental issues, especially regarding shale gas production and the use of fracking technology;
– violence by law enforcement agencies and law enforcement agencies;
– bank collapse, financial crisis, population impoverishment;
− racial and gender issues;
– the emergence and spread of the corona virus infection (COVID-19).
As a rule, bets were placed on various conspiracy versions and manipulative conjectures based on outright fakes and half-truths. The main goal is to cause distrust in public figures, to make the population doubt the correctness of the decision made in the elections, to encourage the expression of distrust in anyone who holds state and municipal positions.
The same technologies were applied to European countries. It was this kind of aggressive propaganda aimed at threatening national security that forced the governments of many countries to ban RT broadcasting on their territories.
Ukraine was one of the first countries to ban RT on its territory. On August 19, 2014, against the backdrop of the “Euromaidan” events, RT was included in the list of Russian TV channels banned from broadcasting on the territory of Ukraine. RT was subsequently banned in Argentina (2016), France (2017), USA (2017), UK (2019), Ecuador (2019), Bolivia (2019), Latvia (2020), Lithuania (2020), Luxembourg (2021) , and later in many other countries of the world.
From March 2, 2022, the European Union banned broadcasting on the territory of the community of the RT channel and the work of the Sputnik agency.
The relevant normative acts were published in the “Official Journal of the EU”. This decision was motivated by the response to Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine.
In October 2017, Google excluded Russia Today, with more than two million subscribers, from a package of popular resources on the YouTube video hosting company, which the company sells to advertisers.
Even earlier, the Instagram social network blocked RT accounts in 27 European countries. Facebook also limited access to the channel’s pages in the EU community.
The rate of spies, social networks and “useful idiots”
The Kremlin reacted extremely painfully to the significant restriction of speech, so they are trying to “modernize” by intensifying the use of a spy network, social platforms, Internet troll factories, namely the main “useful idiots”.
At the beginning of the summer of 2022, the security service of the Netherlands reported the exposure of a GRU agent who planned to start work at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. According to the intelligence service, the Russian’s name is Serhiy Cherkasov, he used Brazilian documents in the name of Victor Muller Ferreira. The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD claims that the GRU agent was a deeply conspiring illegal spy.
It is important to note that such agents undergo extremely serious training and are very difficult to uncover.
And already at the end of the summer, another Kremlin spy was exposed. A successful, respectable jewelry designer from Italy turned out to be an employee of the GRU. Maria Adela Kufeldt Rivera, aka Olga Kolobova, communicated with NATO officers, politicians and journalists for about 10 years and at the same time worked for Russian military intelligence.
Journalists from The Insider, Bellingcat, Der Spiegel and La Repubblica helped to recognize the wolf in sheep’s clothing, and more specifically, the Russian spy who was spying on NATO secrets.
On Friday, October 28, 2022, Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) announced espionage charges against an employee of Norway’s Arctic University of Tromsø who impersonated Brazilian professor Jose Assis Giammaria. In fact, this person, whose real name is Mykhailo Mikushyn, is a citizen of Russia, a personnel officer of the Russian military intelligence, whose main field of employment was espionage, information and hybrid warfare.
And there are actually hundreds of such cases with Russian spies and saboteurs incorporated into European and American structures. Attention is focused on these precedents only in order to note the gigantic scale of the intrusion of the Russian special services into public, educational and government institutions.
The goal is the formation and spread of destructive processes in the middle of the countries of Europe and the world, obtaining secret information about political leaders and military technologies, creating conditions for “controlled chaos.”
And if these discovered spies acted for the benefit of the Russian oligarchs and Putin for a very high payment, then in the countries where they carried out their activities there are thousands or even tens of thousands of useful idiots who take to the streets of Paris, Berlin or Prague for nothing, incited bots and fake accounts from social networks.
That’s right, in the conditions of the RT broadcast ban, we should expect that more and more pre-exiled and deeply conspired agents of Moscow will appear on the “information battlefield”, in the near future we should expect the “awakening” of thousands of fake accounts in popular social networks.
This is how the flywheel of the activators was spun, in particular in Europe. It was spun using the same RT. And now the bet will be placed on “useful idiots” controlled by conspiratorial Russian agents.
In Britain, Germany, Spain or the USA, the target audience for Russian influence is primarily people with a conspiratorial consciousness. People who believe in conspiracy theories believe that the coronavirus was created by Bill Gates in order to kill everyone.
If you analyze in detail the public demonstrations that took place in European cities, for example, which gather coronadissidents who demand to ban vaccination against COVID-19 and to refuse masks, then there will definitely be pro-Russian slogans, or an explicit or implicit Russian trace will be found.
Pro-Putin’s audience of “useful idiots” in social networks consists of three categories – extreme right, extreme left and conspiracists.
It is necessary to understand that the extreme left and extreme right are mainly people with their own convictions and they can be called “useful idiots” with certain conditions.
But conspiracists are actually those who believe in various nonsense and are precisely the fertile ground into which all the fakes and lies that are actively sown by Russian propaganda are actively absorbed.
This is a very loyal target audience, extremely targeted, information-fed, loyal to their source of information – social networks. In addition to the spontaneous broad masses, on which the Kremlin ideologues of chaos are betting, another large stratum is public organizations and political parties. The desired effect is achieved by incorporating special agents into their environment (as mentioned above) and by bribing the leaders of these institutions.
As an example, we can cite the party – Alternative for Germany (Alternative für Deutschland).
AfD is a right-wing German party and was most likely created not by agents of the Russian special services, but by isolationists, radical far-rights who decided that Germany gives too much to other poor countries of the European Union. The impetus for creation was the debt crisis of Greece, when Germany actually subsidized the Greek economy. But then the Russian special services began to promote this party in every possible way, to establish relations with them, to take these deputies to Crimea.
Among Russian-speaking Germans who have the right to vote in the elections, they began to organize campaigns in support of Russia Today television materials broadcast in Germany, carrying out direct advertising of the Russian authorities and the AfD party.
As a result, this party has become, in fact, dependent on the Kremlin and now works for the Putin regime. In addition to radical political parties, bets are also placed on international organizations, into which Russian agents are also introduced.
A clear example is Amnesty International, a solid international organization that actively spread false information about the person that Putin decided to destroy personally, the opposition politician – Oleksiy Navalny. With particular cynicism, this organization spread lies about Ukraine and the Ukrainian military.
In conditions where the promotion of pro-Putin narratives of widespread chaos through RT – television and video content on the Internet have collapsed, Kremlin ideologues will increasingly bet on conspiratorial spies, social networks, conspiracists, extreme right and extreme left movements and currents. That is why, for the sake of preserving peace and civilizational progress, world leaders must make every effort to ensure that the ideas crystallized in the works of Francis Fukuyama find their at least a small realization, because otherwise all of humanity may end up in the dark and slumbering Putin’s Medival Ages.