Putin's Internet Propaganda War Is Much Bigger And Weirder Than You Think, Now Extending Into The States

from the ministry-of-truth dept

We've been writing lately about how Putin and Russia have shifted their internet propaganda forces into overdrive, employing multiple factories operated by a company named Internet Research, filling the internet with Putin-friendly drivel twenty-four-hours a day. The insight into these efforts has become more and more interesting as whistleblowers have started exposing (and most recently suing over) them the last six months. Contrary to similar efforts in other countries (U.S. included), there's absolutely no subtlety on display here, and the scale is unlike anything the internet has ever seen.

Interestingly, many of the comments to my last piece made some really compelling points regarding what Putin is up to. Here's a small smattering:
  • "Karl Bode, author of this very article, has most likely unwittingly fallen for an ukrainian-made honey-pot propaganda trap."

  • "I cant help see this article as another stone in the western propaganda campaign against Putin the last few months, and not really about social media propaganda."

  • "The story of that Russian propaganda factory that caught Karl Bode's attention (assuming the story is even true and is not itself a counter-propaganda gig similar to 'WMD') seems very amateurish in comparison to the depth and sophistication to the US military's sock-puppetry programs."

  • "By writing this horse shit, all Techdirt has done is shown that it's writers are easily manipulated. I expect more pro-US, anti-Russia propaganda from them in the future."
  • Anybody who knows me remotely would find accusations that I'm "pro-US" pretty damn funny given how I've spent most of my career criticizing US government policies. Are these comments ingenious satire? Russian propagandists? Domestic garden-variety home-grown tin-foil hatters? The benefit of propaganda is you just can't tell. But science pretty consistently shows that comments can pretty easily impact discourse, even if what's being posted is relatively unhinged from reality. So to be clear, it's true: I'm a total lackey for western imperialists; a pawn of the NSA and CIA, and as most people know, I make a killing freelancing as a propagandist for AT&T corporation.

    Moving on. While there's no doubt the United States has employed similar tactics for years (profitable wars and shitty foreign policy don't sell themselves, you know), that doesn't make the sheer scale of Putin's troll army any less impressive...or real.

    The New York Times Magazine has an outstanding exploration of Putin's propaganda efforts and Russia's Internet Research Agency, connecting a series of incredibly well-constructed hoaxes using fake YouTube videos, fake Wikipedia entries, and thousands of Twitter accounts -- many of which were designed to pollute the global discourse pool here in the States. Author Adrian Chen headed to St. Petersburg to track down and talk to whistleblower Lyudmila Savchuk, who goes into greater detail than ever before about the program. Again, there's propaganda, and then there's what Putin's up to, which is a factory-grade internet assault on reality injected with steroids and caffeine:
    "As Savchuk and other former employees describe it, the Internet Research Agency had industrialized the art of trolling. Management was obsessed with statistics — page views, number of posts, a blog’s place on LiveJournal’s traffic charts — and team leaders compelled hard work through a system of bonuses and fines. “It was a very strong corporate feeling,” Savchuk says. Her schedule gave her two 12-hour days in a row, followed by two days off. Over those two shifts she had to meet a quota of five political posts, 10 nonpolitical posts and 150 to 200 comments on other workers’ posts. The grueling schedule wore her down. She began to feel queasy, she said, posting vitriol about opposition leaders of whom she had no actual opinion, or writing nasty words about Ukrainians when some of her closest acquaintances, including her own ex-husband, were Ukrainian."
    These efforts have become so massive, local journalists claim they have, at least for now, managed to subvert the historical anti-authoritarian and free speech benefits of the internet:
    "All of this has contributed to a dawning sense, among the Russian journalists and activists I spoke with, that the Internet is no longer a natural medium for political opposition. “The myth that the Internet is controlled by the opposition is very, very old,” says Leonid Volkov, a liberal politician and campaign manager to Alexei Navalny. “It’s not true since at least three years.” Part of this is simple demographics: The Internet audience has expanded from its early adopters, who were more likely to be well-educated liberal intelligentsia, to the whole of Russia, which overwhelmingly supports Putin. Also, by working every day to spread Kremlin propaganda, the paid trolls have made it impossible for the normal Internet user to separate truth from fiction."
    The piece repeats previous claims that Russia's industrial-grade propaganda apparatus has fixed its gaze upon the United States, and while so far some of these efforts on places like Facebook are so ham-fisted as to be comical, some of them are absolutely astounding in their scope and architecture. Like the Facebook group of Russian trolls that encourage followers to visit an art exhibit named "Material Evidence" hosted in Chelsea, New York City. The effort, funded by anonymous overseas donors, claims to show the "other side" of the Ukranian conflict and Syrian civil war not shown by Western media:
    "Then there were the pictures from the Ukrainian revolution, which focused almost exclusively on the Right Sector, a small group of violent, right-wing, anti-Russian protesters with a fondness for black balaclavas. Russian authorities have seized upon Right Sector to paint the entire revolution, backed by a huge swath of Ukrainian society, as orchestrated by neo-fascist thugs. The show’s decision to juxtapose the rebellions in Syria and Ukraine was never clearly explained, perhaps because the only connection possible was that both targeted leaders supported by Russia. On the floor in front of many of the photos sat the actual items that appeared in them, displayed under glass cases. How, exactly, did organizers procure the very same battered motorcycle helmet that a Ukrainian protester wore in a photo while brawling with riot police? Who had fronted the money to purchase a mangled white van, supposedly used by Syrian rebels in a botched suicide bombing, and transport it to New York City?
    Let that sink in for a second. Armies of fake U.S. Facebook accounts, sending followers to an entirely fake art exhibit in New York, promoted by an army of fake and hijacked Twitter accounts -- all of it tied to Russia's Internet Research Agency. At one point in his documentation efforts, Chen makes contact and meets up with a supposed Internet Research Agency employee and her brother, only to later discover the entire meeting is a staged photo op, later used by "news organizations" tied to Internet Research to discredit Chen as a neo nazi supporter. That story soon ballooned into a series of other Russian news stories accusing Chen of being BFFs with the NSA, CIA, and neo nazis, accompanied with snazzy videos to "prove" it.

    So again, yes, most countries engage in propaganda. That's not really being disputed. Most Americans at this point are at least marginally aware of the propaganda used to sell recent wars conducted by the United States -- and the complicit behavior of the media in these efforts to this day stinks up the hallowed halls of most "respected" American news outlets (the same outlets that love to lecture bloggers on what news really is). But what Putin is up to is a propaganda war against the entire internet, and it makes dystopian visions by the likes of Orwell and Terry Gilliam look like Hardy Boy mysteries. Of course none of that matters because I'm clearly a Western imperialist puppy murderer, and this article was funded by the CIA, as commenters below will be sure to illustrate.

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    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 10:55am

      Number one in propaganda is the US by a million miles. A corrupt killing machine that portrays itself as a bastion of freedom and savior of the world. Our president and his cabinet lie directly to the American people... as does our congress and judges.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:04am

        Re:

        Really? They got first post?

        There are actually methods to distinguish trolling of this nature from the more garden variety toll.

        The main bit to look at is the use of the "Wizard of Oz" technique -- ensure your post is eye-grabbing enough that nobody would think to look AT the curtain, let alone behind it.

        The second bit to look at is that such trolling usually pretends to be from someone related to the "bait and switch" discussion being driven.

        Regular trolls often have one or the other of these, but the combination usually smacks of political trolling and building a fake story.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Eli, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:06am

        tu quoque

        "Tu quoque or the appeal to hypocrisy is an informal logical fallacy that intends to discredit the opponent's position by asserting the opponent's failure to act consistently in accordance with that position."

        This is the classic response to criticism of Russia. The US doing bad things has no bearing on Russia doing bad things. and as the author pointed out he is far from a gungho US government supporter.

        P.S. the only reason I know about the fallacy tu quoque is because of people like you constantly using it when they have noting else to say:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tu_quoque

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Village Idiot (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:12am

          Re: tu quoque

          You saved me the keystrokes.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Richard (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 5:47am

          Re: tu quoque

          The US doing bad things has no bearing on Russia doing bad things.

          Not quite true in this field. If the US is spreading disinformation about Russia and Russia simply sits back and takes it then there will be an asymmetry.

          Tu quoque only fully applies when the parties in question are not in direct conflict with each other. When that is the case then it is necessary to delve back into the history of how the conflict began and developed before one can come to any judgement.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:42am

        Re:

        One down, 199 comments to go. Oh, and is this worth a bonus?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        bureau13 (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:11pm

        Re:

        He...he said "our."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:23pm

        Re:

        Our president and his cabinet lie directly to the American people... as does our congress and judges.

        Thrn tell your president, Putin, to not lie to us Americans.
        Problem solved.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:03am

      OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

      Anyone actually weighing the evidence sees this writer as part of the hysterical ongoing campaign, true.

      >>> "Anybody who knows me remotely" -- you're "loyal opposition": pretending to be against, but supporting it in THIS effort! Old trick.

      The minion not only projects that Russia started this propaganda war, but defensively admits he's a partisan in advance of accusations, without any apparent sarcasm. So take minion at its word.

      What's amazing is how Techdirt at times rails against the US government, and other times believes it absolutely, and follows the official story. Part of the defensiveness is an attempt to build credibility back, that's all.

      Of course, THE REAL PURPOSE HERE IS TO DRAW CLICKS. This is about the only hot topic Techdirt has.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        That One Other Not So Random Guy, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:05am

        Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

        Troll harder.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:08am

        Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

        This one is better... it could fall into either the political trolling camp OR the regular trolling camp.

        But it still attempts to deflect the actual discussion at hand by drawing on straw men, and still tries to generate a different discussion. It is slightly more intelligent in the fact that it also attempts to discount/dismiss not just the author, but the site, using somewhat logical arguments (which it also doesn't fully complete, inviting a SECOND off-topic discussion).

        Waiting for more examples to roll in....

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          observer, 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:17pm

          Re: Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

          Sounds like one of the regulars: I'm not sure a Russian propagandist would go to the bother of trying to slag Techdirt specifically.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:18pm

          Re: Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

          It is actually funny, sad and scary at the same time watching the trolling in action. So many fallacies and so little relevance for the subject of the article.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Derek Kerton (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 9:14am

          Re: Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

          Troll

          I give your writing bad grades for clarity. Please take a short walk down the Nevsky Prospekt, and consider how you will improve going forward.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Eli, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:12am

        Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

        The US government, like any government is wrong some of the time and right some of the time. the FCC doing a good thing doesn't absolve the NSA from spying. The US government isn't a monolithic institution.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:14am

          Re: Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

          I'd guess this is also true of the Russian government, although I have yet to hear of a Russian government office that isn't attempting to get away with disinformation and kickbacks.

          See what I did there?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:46am

        Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

        Yes, I'm sure posts about the Russian propaganda war are way up at the top of the clickbait list.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:08pm

          Re: Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

          Well, this is TechDirt. But if it's clickbait, it's damn tasty regardless.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:57am

        Re: OMG! "propaganda war against the entire internet"!

        "Anyone actually weighing the evidence sees..."

        This is straight out of the Emperor's New Clothes. "Anyone who is worthy can see the fine robe that the King is wearing..."

        Feel free to cite the actual evidence you're referring to.

        "Of course, THE REAL PURPOSE HERE IS TO DRAW CLICKS."

        "Nothing to see here, folks!" If this is the motivation, you've apparently been drawn in too. Who's the more foolish, the click-baiter or the bait-clicker?

        "This is about the only hot topic Techdirt has."

        You didn't do your research well enough. This is a blip on the Techdirt hot topic radar. You'll find a lot more clicks, comments, and more effective trolling on articles on Techdirt related to copyright and other forms of "IP."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      alan turing, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:11am

      lesson in propaganda

      This is like taking a class. I see both sides plying their wares with textbook examples of the methods they employ.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:19am

        Re: lesson in propaganda

        Yeah; Mike's original post reads like a honeypot to collect good examples. It even mentions the Ukraine, which is sure to hit the troll's radar. Are you giving a talk somewhere or releasing a research paper soon, Mike?

        I'm waiting to see if the factory keeps trolling the thread, or decides to refocus on other more potentially-influential discussion threads.

        But first I'll add the words Crimea invasion for Yandex to slurp up :)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Derek Kerton (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 9:16am

          Re: Re: lesson in propaganda

          Who is this Mike? Is that a pseudonym for the actual author, Karl Bode?

          I'm asking because my supervisor grades my comments lower if they get the author's name wrong, and I'm up for a promotion, so it matters.

          /Igor

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      anonymous Dutch coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:15am

      4 chan

      naaaa, just 4 chan.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Vic, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:19am

      My 2 cents.

      Our government had obviously learned very well from distinguished teachers --coughcough-Ribbentrop-anybody?-coughcough (as contrasted by say, Chinese govt, who still prefer just to build Great Walls)... Suppress 'them' with quantity, who'd care about quality?

      I suspected as much myself, this is just a confirmation. But a very timely one.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:25am

      Dear Techdirtians,

      We no propoganda.

      Love and kisses, Peggy.

      PS. I hope Putin doesn't kill you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:31am

      I believe it, absolutely...

      ...'cause I read it on the interwebz.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mark Wing, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:34am

      I was going to joke on that other article that I'd be happy to be a paid troll for only quadruple what they were paying the other folks, but then I got afraid someone would try to take me up on it and didn't post the comment.

      When you're powerful and you can just click a mouse and fill up someone's PayPal, people will say whatever the fuck you want.

      And these days belligerence > facts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:45am

        Re:

        I really doubt Putin's government is filling up anyone's Paypal. Why bother pay the big bucks for propaganda when Russians like Savchuk are doing it 12 hours at a time, somehow I doubt the Internet Research Agency pays that well.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      stuffit, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:47am

      The REAL giveaway is referencing New York Times Magazine

      Same org what had Cheney stenographer Judy Miller selling the Iraq war.

      Masnick said of The New York Times: "blatant fearmongering without any specifics. It's pure "keep fear alive" in action -- aided along by a stenographer at the NY Times. All the propaganda that's fit to print." -- When it suited his purpose.
      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150528/06051531134/nytimes-plays-role-keeping-fear-alive -with-pure-fearmongering-over-patriot-act-renewal.shtml

      But now that it suits this Bode's purpose, different, huh?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 8:23pm

        Re: The REAL giveaway is referencing New York Times Magazine

        The real giveaway of what, exactly?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 9:38am

        Re: The REAL giveaway is referencing New York Times Magazine

        Huh, Wha? You just scored a point for Techdirt and against Putin.

        Techdirt was consistent to point out propaganda of the US, and propaganda of Russia. That is not an error or an about-face.

        Two Dmitri points...er..I mean demerit points. No borscht for you in cafetorium.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      TMcCauley, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:47am

      War of Ideas on the Internet

      Earlier this year I published an idea paper on this kind of propaganda. Russia seems to have kicked its campaign into high gear since then, but the rationale and underlying social psychology mechanisms I mentioned are still valid - namely, the creation of a false consensus leading to both compliance (staying quiet/being silenced) and internalization (actual attitude or opinion change).

      I argued, and still believe, that this method is the future of the nastier side of the war of ideas, and that we will only see more campaigns of this sort. China, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Dell, Islamic State, and (on a more limited scale so far) the US - all of these organizations have used one or more elements of the false-consensus creation tactics I outlined.

      Paper was published here in Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict. For the curious that are stymied by the paywall, I've mirrored it here.

      I'd also like to take this relevant opportunity to say thank you, as without Techdirt's reporting I would have missed several useful and relevant examples.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 8:24pm

        Re: War of Ideas on the Internet

        China, Russia, Turkey, Israel, Dell, Islamic State, and (on a more limited scale so far) the US - all of these organizations have used one or more elements of the false-consensus creation tactics I outlined.

        Did you mean to put a PC manufacturer in the middle of that list, or was that a typo?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      stuffit, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:49am

      The REAL giveaway is referencing New York Times Magazine

      Same org what had Cheney stenographer Judy Miller selling the Iraq war.

      Masnick said of The New York Times: "blatant fearmongering without any specifics. It's pure "keep fear alive" in action -- aided along by a stenographer at the NY Times. All the propaganda that's fit to print." -- When it suited his purpose.
      https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150528/06051531134/nytimes-plays-role-keeping-fear-alive -with-pure-fearmongering-over-patriot-act-renewal.shtml

      But now that it suits this Bode's purpose, different, huh?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:56pm

        Re: The REAL giveaway is referencing New York Times Magazine

        Hint: When shilling, try not to post identical comments twice in two minutes with different IPs.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anne Moose, 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: The REAL giveaway is referencing New York Times Magazine

          I sure hope that this worker did not count both comments as part of his/her quota. That would be dishonest. And if we cannot trust a propaganda army to be honest, who can we trust?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 4:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: The REAL giveaway is referencing New York Times Magazine

            No, this comes from paired shilling -- both workers posted the same comment. That way, they both get to claim it for their quota!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:03pm

      TechStir

      4 chan should sue the ruskies for patent infringement.


      there that should bring it full circle. :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ned Ludd, 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:06pm

      Need Strong Identity Tools

      One method of countering this sort of propaganda would be with strong identity tools. Not necessarily tied to real world identity, just a way to cryptographically validate a 'posting history' so that one-off trolls get less weight while messages by established personas can be evaluated in context of what they have said in the past.

      That's not a panacea, for example it's still vulnerable to "long con" scenarios. But, as with all forms of security, it isn't about perfection it's about raising the costs for attackers more than raising the costs for defenders.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:44pm

        Re: Need Strong Identity Tools

        Actually, that's not a bad idea. I've been using PGP since the 90's, and still have an anonymous chain of public certs linking to back then. I could probably do away with accounts on various forums (not that I use them much anyway, such as here) and just PGP-sign all my posts. Anyone who wants can then verify the post, and google my post history across websites.

        If someone made a plugin that would automate this, and if sites like techdirt would include signature validation, that'd be even better :)

        So yeah; the tech to do what you suggest has been around as long as the corporate Internet; people just have to start using it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:10pm

      Putin is the result

      Putin is the result of the west's attitude to Russia over the last 25 or so years. We have not been able to give up on he idea of having Russia as an enemy.

      We were still trying to detach neighbouring countries from Russia during the later Yeltsin and early Putin years.

      Since 1991 (possibly slightly before) there has been no ideological reason to oppose Russia - but we have continued to do so because we recruited nationalists from the non-Russian parts of the Soviet Union to our cause during the cold war and continued to listen to them after communism fell. These people (eg Brezinski) hate Russia simply for being Russia and for no other reason. Under these circumstances it is not a surprise that Russia reacts in the way that it does.

      Remember that Putin is way more popular in Russia than any western politician is in his own country so it is the Russian people we are opposing these days - not just the leadership.

      Until we give up on trying to continually humiliate Russia and/or trying to force it to be like us we can expect it to continue to behave in this way - and subtlety is not a part of the way they operate.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:53pm

        Re: Putin is the result

        But that is not really an option unless you want to go back to the cold war and before with "might makes right". Russias government in Kreml continuously escalates the military show of forces which makes conceding to Russian demands look like a surrendering to the military theater (not talking Ukraine here). The country is looking locked in a bad cycle of needing an external enemy to decoy the "terror breeds terror"-cycle in Chechnia, South of Volgograd and the chinese issue around the borders between Vladivostok and Irkutsk. The scaring of internal separatists is so often overlooked and part of the reason the current situation is what it is. At the same time the painful economic transition from gas and oil to a more balanced economy needs a reason as well as the russian trade union needs further "incentives" for the non-hostile neighbors to join them instead of EUs eastern partnership (EU won't protect you is a strong incentive).

        That situation needs to change for a real conversation to be had. I don't think we are getting there any time soon. For now Putin is waiting the situation out by continuously breeding an "us versus them"-mentality in the propaganda.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Richard (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 3:27pm

          Re: Re: Putin is the result

          But that is not really an option

          Are you really saying that stopping "trying to continually humiliate Russia and/or trying to force it to be like us ".
          is not an option?

          It is precisely because we fail to do this that we are risking returning to the cold war.

          I repeat - we have got so used to the idea of Russia as the enemy that we couldn't let go of it and after 20 years or so Russia has shrugged its shoulders and set - "well if you really want it that way then we can go back to that as well."

          A few months ago the descendants of the "first emigration", Russians who left in the 1920s after the revolution and have lived in the west ever since wrote the following
          “The aggressive hostility that Russia faces now lacks any rationality and the double standard policy simply exceeds all limits. They accuse Russia of all sorts of crimes, they pronounce it guilty a priori and without any evidence, whilst they show other countries surprising leniency, in particular, where human rights are concerned. We can’t put up with daily slander targeting modern Russia, its leaders and its President, who are slapped with sanctions and smeared with dirt, in contradiction to basic reason”


          These people are not in any sense part of Putin's propaganda army. They fled for their lives and lost most of their property as a result of the revolution. They acknowledge that Russia has changed since soviet times - its a pitty that we don't seem to be able to.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 8:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Putin is the result

            You can't make oranges be peaches. I am talking about future politics and you are talking culture change. As I see it you can change policies, but culture takes a long time to change. You seem to be stuck in the blame-game, which is what I am trying to avoid entering by proposing a more political analysis. Russia has changed a lot since the cold war, but Putin has remained and his ways are not classically democratic. Also, I would reckon US media being more slandrous than what we are seeing in main-land western Europe. Not because the media here are unbiased (that doesn't exist when covering such a propagandafilled space!), but because the history between USA and Russia is much more us versus them than Europe and Russia. Right now many people on both sides of the fence needs to rationally analyse things. But the propaganda needs to stop for reason to set in...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 8:26pm

        Re: Putin is the result

        A+!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      A Dan (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:15pm

      Is this typical now?

      I see an army of non-logged-in posts, so that you can't really tell if any of them are the same person or see any kind of historical trends. I suppose this is part of why a bunch of sites have gotten rid of anonymous postings - at least with pseudonyms, even if someone has a bunch of separate ones, you can keep track of reputation somewhat.

      How do we foster good anonymous or pseudonymous discourse in the face of these kinds of attacks? Add "verified" accounts? There must be a way.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 4:05pm

        Re: Is this typical now?

        I find it's usually trivial to fingerprint writing styles of anonymous posters -- but as I suggested elsewhere, we could also PGP sign anonymous posts, allowing tracking of a single anonymous "entity" across not only articles on a site, but multiple sites.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 1:31am

          Re: Re: Is this typical now?

          Do you really want to give governments the means to prove who said what on-line, as they would by using the person possession of the signing key?

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    • icon
      Terthna (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:25pm

      I don't like the implication that the opinions I hold can be dismissed so easily as propaganda, as it's a blatant dehumanizing tactic. I don't sympathize with Russia because I'm paid to do it, and it's not like I agree with everything they do, just because I think they have the right of things in a few instances.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:00pm

        Re:

        > I don't like the implication that the opinions I hold can be dismissed so easily as propaganda

        Putin has to take some of the blame for that by poisoning the well. In the short term he gains by swaying public opinion, but in the long run we all lose because of a loss of trust. Maybe that loss of trust was inevitable and Putin was just the first to go all in on it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 2:24pm

          Re: Re:

          Unless Putin wants to keep the president to premier minister to president... going or change the constitution, Putin doesn't have to care about long term.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 8:29pm

          Re: Re:

          Putin has to take some of the blame for that by poisoning the well. In the short term he gains by swaying public opinion, but in the long run we all lose because of a loss of trust.

          I suspect Putin sees much of his power as old style - as in he can have people imprisoned and killed, and does so, and everyone knows it. This new internet thing is a potential rival power source, so if he can ruin it for everyone, he wins, because he will still maintain his violonce-based power source while his opposition will have lost their most potent weapon.

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      • identicon
        Joe K, 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:03pm

        Re:

        Well said, Terthna.

        To that sentiment, I would add that tarring everyone who objects to the US sponsoring coups worldwide (eg, to take recent and salient examples, in Venezuela, Libya, Syria, Ukraine...) with the label of "Russian sympathisers" is a disgusting tactic.

        I mean, what the fuck? I can't voice my objection to the US trying to start the precise inverse of the Cuban Missile crisis without being smeared as un-American?

        Welcome back, McCarthyism!

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:11pm

          Re: Re:

          " I would add that tarring everyone who objects to the US sponsoring coups worldwide (eg, to take recent and salient examples, in Venezuela, Libya, Syria, Ukraine...) with the label of "Russian sympathisers" is a disgusting tactic."


          Which, of course, nobody is doing. What people are pointing out is that arguing that criticizing Russia is wrong because "look what the US is doing" is a completely bullshit argument.

          That's nowhere near the same as saying that people who object to US behavior are being tarred for it. They're being tarred for using US misbehavior in a discussion that is not about the US in the hopes of changing the subject away from Russia's misbehavior.

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          • identicon
            Joe K, 4 Jun 2015 @ 2:23pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            Hi John.

            Which, of course, nobody is doing.


            While I disagree with this assessment, I understand that what is salient to me may not be so salient to you.

            What people are pointing out is that arguing that criticizing Russia is wrong because "look what the US is doing" is a completely bullshit argument.


            But is this invariably the case? Does a discussion of the US government's behavior never pertain to one about the Russian government's behavior?

            I don't think one needs to look far to find examples.

            That's nowhere near the same as saying that people who object to US behavior are being tarred for it. They're being tarred for using US misbehavior in a discussion that is not about the US in the hopes of changing the subject away from Russia's misbehavior.


            I disagree that discussion of the Ukraine, or meta-discussions about discussions of the Ukraine (which Karl raised in his previous posting on this topic), is "not about the US". It is about the US. The US made it very much "about the US", when it decided to sponsor a coup there.

            Articles like Karl's, which refer to "Russia gleefully annex[ing] the Ukraine" without breathing a word about the US's interference there which precipitated the Russian response, make relevant a discussion of US behavior.

            I am puzzled why this seems to escape your notice.

            Anyways, take care.

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            • identicon
              Anne Moose, 4 Jun 2015 @ 3:00pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So, what you are saying is that both Russia and the US engage in bad acts. The bad acts by the US do not absolve Russia of its bad acts. Conversely, the bad act by Russia do not absolve the US of its bad acts. That is a point that no intellectually honest person could disagree with.

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            • icon
              John Fenderson (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 6:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Does a discussion of the US government's behavior never pertain to one about the Russian government's behavior?"

              This is not a discussion of US behavior, though. This is a discussion of the Russian propaganda machine.

              "I am puzzled why this seems to escape your notice."

              And I am puzzled by how it is that you don't even seem to understand what is being talked about here.

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              • icon
                Richard (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 6:50am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                and I am puzzled by the thought that it is possible to discuss the one without referring to the other.

                It would be a strange commentary on a sports match that talked about the tactics of one team without ever referring to the tactics of their opposition.

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                • icon
                  John Fenderson (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 6:56am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "and I am puzzled by the thought that it is possible to discuss the one without referring to the other"

                  Why does this puzzle you? The topic of propaganda is much broader than any single event. Why do you think that the Ukrainian situation should be a part of the conversation and not the thousands of other things that should, by the same logic, also be included?

                  I know why: because you are desperately trying to change the subject away from what we're talking about.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2015 @ 9:18am

            Re: Re: Re:

            People who live in glass houses...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re:

          I think this comes full-circle to what Karl was saying: the worst thing that comes out of this is that everyone gets painted with the same brush, even though it's impossible to tell the factory trolls from those with a real or imagined gripe. It makes ferreting out the truth that much more difficult, because there is no room for truly intelligent debate in the hubris.

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          • identicon
            Phil, 5 Jun 2015 @ 7:56pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            "I think this comes full-circle to what Karl was saying: the worst thing that comes out of this is that everyone gets painted with the same brush, even though it's impossible to tell the factory trolls from those with a real or imagined gripe."

            Unless their English gets better, it's not too hard to spot the factory trolls. Their grammar and syntax are weird.

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        • icon
          Karl Bode (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:15pm

          Re: Re:

          " I would add that tarring everyone who objects to the US sponsoring coups worldwide (eg, to take recent and salient examples, in Venezuela, Libya, Syria, Ukraine...) with the label of "Russian sympathisers" is a disgusting tactic."
          Great point outside of the fact that NOBODY IS DOING THAT.

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          • identicon
            Joe K, 4 Jun 2015 @ 2:43pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            Karl writes:
            …NOBODY IS DOING THAT.


            Nobody sure seems to have a lot to say.

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            • identicon
              Anne Moose, 4 Jun 2015 @ 3:07pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              But none of those links prove your point. Thus, because you did not prove your point when you had a chance, you have admitted that you are wrong. That is very big of you to admit that you are wrong. I applaud you, sir.

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            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 3:40pm

              This smacks of our resignation that "Politicians are corrupt. That's just the way it is."

              Yes. People are dicks all over the world, and there are a lot of biases of human nature that compel us to be dicks.

              But that doesn't justify you being a dick. It doesn't justify some guy you like being a dick. It doesn't justify the leader of your country being a dick.

              That said, Putin's massive internet propaganda campaign is a total program of dicks. So is the NSA mass surveillance and spy program. They are individually dick programs and the dickness of one program doesn't make the dickness of the other program more bearable or even justifiable. It just means there's more dickery in the world than less.

              If Putin wants to help he can stop dick programs and try (just try) to be less of a dick. The exact same thing can be said about Obama. The fact that Obama isn't doing that doesn't obligate Putin any less, and vice versa. The fact that other dickery is happening world wide doesn't make Putin's dickery comparitively less egregious. It just elevates the general dickery even higher.

              Dickery isn't zero-sum. Stop pretending it is.

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        • icon
          jameshogg (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 4:37pm

          Re: Re:

          "the US sponsoring coups worldwide (eg, ...Ukraine...)"

          Where's your evidence of this?

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          • identicon
            Joe K, 4 Jun 2015 @ 7:12pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            "the US sponsoring coups worldwide (eg, ...Ukraine...)"
            Where's your evidence of this?


            Ukraine in particular?

            I'm privy to no evidence that isn't common knowledge.

            Judging from other recent comments of yours, I don't expect that my interpretation of that evidence agrees with yours.

            That's still allowed, right?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 8:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Not in YOUR country. BTW, do you guys get overtime pay?

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            • icon
              nasch (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 8:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You think that conversation shows the US started the mess in Ukraine?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Joe K, 5 Jun 2015 @ 10:05am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                In that conversation, Nuland talks as though her preferences regarding the make-up of the replacement government will be implemented.

                Her language is the language of one who has both the means and intent to determine outcomes. As though she were the coach of a football team.

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            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 10:35am

              That whole wacky Crimea affair.

              Last I checked, Ukrainians and Russians (including Russion immigrants in Ukraine) have plenty of reasons to hate each other, and the whole Crimea thing is a hot mess.

              And Putin responded by lining tanks along the Russian / Ukraine border and NATO pretty much had to respond to that.

              So as much as the CIA loves to play agent provocateur and destabilize regimes so the US can swoop in and be savior (and then exploit the people and resources for glass beads), Ukraine is not one such situation. This one was cause primarily by those meddling USSR kids.

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 1:44pm

                Re: That whole wacky Crimea affair.

                And Putin responded by lining tanks along the Russian / Ukraine border and NATO pretty much had to respond to that.

                The US invaded Iraq for no reason so that means you can't criticize Putin for taking over Crimea.

                So as much as the CIA loves to play agent provocateur and destabilize regimes so the US can swoop in and be savior (and then exploit the people and resources for glass beads), Ukraine is not one such situation. This one was cause primarily by those meddling USSR kids.

                It was Obama's fault, because Obama.

                How am I doing?

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    • icon
      McFortner (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:41pm

      Same stuff, different day

      Well, those of us old enough to remember pre-internet days will recognize this. It's the USSR's Radio Moscow all over again. The script is the same, just the names and format have changed.

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    • identicon
      Joe K, 4 Jun 2015 @ 12:42pm

      Max Frankel Awards 2015

      I see that Karl approvingly cites the New York Times Magazine article, lingering in particular over the Material Evidence exhibit:

      The show’s decision to juxtapose the rebellions in Syria and Ukraine was never clearly explained, perhaps because the only connection possible was that both targeted leaders supported by Russia.


      Seriously? Can't think of any other connection between the coups in Syria and Ukraine, eh Karl?

      Way to go, ace reporter. You're destined for great things, surely.

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      • icon
        bureau13 (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:20pm

        Re: Max Frankel Awards 2015

        Nice try, dipshit, but that was a quote from the original NYT reporter, not Karl.

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        • icon
          Karl Bode (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:27pm

          Re: Re: Max Frankel Awards 2015

          To be fair I'm not sure 40,000 rubles a month covers needing to make distinctions. The use of horse semen in the argument probably earns extra points though.

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          • identicon
            Joe K, 4 Jun 2015 @ 3:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Max Frankel Awards 2015

            Hi Karl.

            You write:
            To be fair I'm not sure 40,000 rubles a month covers needing to make distinctions.


            I will confess that it is not entirely clear to me what this is supposed to mean. So please forgive me while I attempt a unilateral clarification. Purely for the benefit of my own understanding.

            The 40,000 rubles a month, clearly, is a reference to the Russian troll factory salary.

            As for whether such a sum "covers needing to make distinctions", I take it that here you imply that you, as an impartial journalist, make no distinctions. You, the maverick independent, dare to fire your pen at will, let the ink fall where it may, and let the many-faced god sort them out.

            You are impartial, and fundamentally so.

            And so (again, forgive me as I lurch painfully towards what must be blindingly obvious to those not laboring under the nefarious sway of Putinesque-bene-gesserit-mind-control techniques), a Russian troll salary, or any salary for that matter, would be insufficient to sway your high principles.

            Did I get that right? If so, fair enough.

            You were defending yourself against a charge of bias. So let us consider your impartiality, for the sake of this discussion, established beyond doubt.

            But impartiality, all on its lonesome, does not alone constitute journalism, wouldn't you agree? While remaining "impartial", in a certain sense much-practiced by mainstream American media, one can report on "both sides of a story" while at the same time omitting important historical (or even not-so-historical) context. While remaining "impartial", one can nonetheless present an account of dubious provenance as though it were on an equal footing with a more reliable account which contradicts it.

            Anna Dolgov, whose name seems to headline a number of the stories you source for your own commentary, appears to be an interesting sort of journalist. Have you examined much of her other work?

            Far be it from me to impugn anyone's reputation. I haven't, after all, gotten around to much investigation this week, nor do I forsee receiving any shipments of round tuit for the rest of the month.

            But, you know, may I humbly suggest that you give her body of work a once-over, and see where precisely it registers on your impartiality meter?

            The use of horse semen in the argument probably earns extra points though.


            Horse semen makes everything better.

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        • identicon
          Joe K, 4 Jun 2015 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Max Frankel Awards 2015

          Nice try, dipshit, but that was a quote from the original NYT reporter, not Karl.

          Oh, did I not make that clear?

          If not, thank you for clearing it up, kind gentleperson.

          My point was that Karl did not call it out, for its risible denial of the obvious. The implication was, therefore, that he approved.

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          • identicon
            Anne Moose, 4 Jun 2015 @ 3:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Max Frankel Awards 2015

            You did not make your point clear. I am afraid that by not making your point clear, you have forfeited your ability to make the point. Thus, the implication that you drew can be discarded as untimely.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Jun 2015 @ 2:47pm

      A curt observation

      ...She had to meet a quota of five political posts, 10 nonpolitical posts and 150 to 200 comments on other workers’ posts. The grueling schedule wore her down. She began to feel queasy, she said, posting vitriol about opposition leaders of whom she had no actual opinion, or writing nasty words about Ukrainians when some of her closest acquaintances, including her own ex-husband, were Ukrainian.

      Harder still was the clandestine labor of integrating code signals to the US Office of Strategic Services into her countless missives. When she couldn't work at night, it was a mother of a chore.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 4 Jun 2015 @ 11:37pm

      I don't see how an alleged bought and paid for troll army can possibly outnumber the general population in comment and blog post count. The NY Times appears to be blowing things out of proportion in an attempt to counter Russian propaganda with their own propaganda.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 12:13am

      out_of_the_blue just can't stand it when due process is enforced.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), 5 Jun 2015 @ 2:00am

      News Flash

      The Cold War isn't over. The west doesn't trust Russia and Russia doesn't trust the west. It's not at all surprising considering that 2 1/2 generations on each sides were raised with the idea that the other was the enemy and could attack at any time.

      Only now the situation is asymmetric, with the US and other western countries having the advantage over Russia. And that scares me. Take a country whose economy is in shambles, people feel persecuted by their former enemies, military is still strong, and a strong, unapologetic leader trying desperately to restore the nation's pride and dominance and what do you get? Nazi Germany, that's what. Hopefully Russia's actions in Ukraine are just Russia creating a buffer zone between Russia and the west, and not the Sudetenland of the 21st century.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Richard (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 5:24am

        Re: News Flash

        Take a country whose economy is in shambles, people feel persecuted by their former enemies, military is still strong, and a strong, unapologetic leader trying desperately to restore the nation's pride and dominance and what do you get? Nazi Germany, that's what.

        The economy is not such a shambles as you suggest. I visited 2 years ago and have friends who go back and forth on a regualr basis and I can tell you that that part of your preamble is not true. It was true in the 1990s - under Yeltsin (the first time I visited) - and Putin's reversal of the economic fortunes is the main reason for his popularity. There has been a bit of a reverse since the fall in the oil price - but it has a long way to go to fall back to the dark days of the mid 90s.

        The rest of what you presume is more or less right - but Russia is not Germany and so the result will not be what you say. The nearest thing to Nazism in the region is the Ukrainian government that the US supports.

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        • identicon
          Justin Olbrantz (Quantam), 5 Jun 2015 @ 1:08pm

          Re: Re: News Flash

          Naziism was an effect, not the root cause, mind you. The Nazis were a group that came to power specifically because the country needed a savior and Hitler and the Nazis sold themselves as such. Any person/group that can play that role can lead to a similar situation (i.e. World War 3). As stated, Putin plus the lingering fear of the west create the same pressure-cooker situation that existing in pre-WW2 Germany; the question is where things will go from here.

          I believe that at least with regard to Crimea Russia believes it is doing the right thing. I believe Russia fears that the threat of Ukraine joining with the west is an aggressive move seeking to tighten the screws on Russia, and it felt it had no choice but to make a show of strength. But to the west Russia's actions in Ukraine appear aggressive, imperialistic, and a dangerous sign for the future; additionally, the striking similarity between Ukraine and the Sudetenland that started WW2 resonates with many in the west and only serve to make Russia appear even more sinister. To end back at the beginning, the Cold War never ended.

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          • identicon
            Lloyd Sereda, 21 Nov 2016 @ 12:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: News Flash

            One can logically forgive if the miscreant is willing to ask forgiveness and surrender his ill gotten gains. I can see neither logic nor ethics in Putin's grab of Crimea, in addition to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Syria's gas monopoly scrap, etc. ad nauseum. Just a desperate grab for a straw that floats a belief that Russia is a rescuer of some unidentified population from Hitler's Fascism. It's denial that signers of the Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact are and continue to be birds of the dictating feather.

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    • icon
      frank87 (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 2:43am

      Be positive

      Putin thinks the internet-users have some influence. That's positive. Reading about TTIP does make you wonder.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 4:15am

      The point is that States running any sort of AstroTurf farms pollutes and subverts legitimate civil discourse. It is radically unacceptable from any State. Russian shill-bots are no different from Western shill-bots. They all deserve contempt equally.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 4:26am

      I can't help but wonder if his high approval ratings make his trolls successfull or his trolls success makes his approval ratings high

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 7:43am

      It is hard for westerners subject to multiple competing ideological frameworks while at the same time protected by rule if law in a high trust culture where people largely tell the truth, to imagine how primitive, superstitious,pseudoscientific, paranoid, conspiratorial, the Russian mind is.

      They live in a world of lies.

      Without the cultural luxuries we take for granted as human nature.

      They are anything but natural.

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      • icon
        Richard (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 12:00pm

        Re:

        It is hard for westerners subject to multiple competing ideological frameworks while at the same time protected by rule if law in a high trust culture where people largely tell the truth, to imagine how primitive,superstitious,pseudoscientific, paranoid, conspiratorial, the Russian mind is.

        Hmm when I talk to some of my Russian friends - University lecturers in Mathematics and Physics I don't recognise your stereotype.

        If you said that about the Jews you'd be rightly called anti-semitic. If you siad it about people of African origin you'd e called a racist.

        What makes you think it is OK to say it about Russians?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 3:54pm

        Re:

        "...how primitive...the Russian mind is."

        Do you mean like these guys:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Russian_people

        Grow the fuck up!

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    • icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), 5 Jun 2015 @ 9:10am

      Karl, I Think You Will Be Disappointed

      Karl,

      "Most Americans at this point are at least marginally aware of the propaganda used to sell recent wars conducted by the United States."

      If the FCC or AT&T often disappoint you, you still aren't adequately prepared for the disappointment you will feel when you see results of polling the US populace to measure their knowledge.

      On average, we know NOTHING. Did you see that John Oliver bit where he talks to Snowden, and Snowden (fucking hero, BTW) says "I trust that the American people will use the knowledge...yada yada..." Then, Oliver shows him interview footage of American people's familiarity with the name "Edward Snowden". They either don't have a clue who he is, or the best informed think he is tied to Wikileaks, and revealed US secrets.

      I felt sooo bad for Snowden at that point. All his sacrifice, and these stupid sheep couldn't even recognize the name, let alone the political significance of what he revealed.

      Then there's Congress, who repeatedly called him Eric Snowden.

      No. It may not be polite or patriotic to say so (I think it is), but the US populace is clueless, ignorant, and prime examples of the lower quartile of the Dunning Kruger effect.

      Polls:
      http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm
      http://themode ratevoice.com/121921/ten-years-later-belief-in-iraq-connection-with-911-attack-persists/
      https://en.w ikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polls_about_9/11_conspiracy_theories

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    • identicon
      See? This was clickbait., 5 Jun 2015 @ 9:34am

      Salon has the right view.

      "A sophisticated game of manipulation is afoot over Russia: power, influence and money. U.S. hands are not clean"
      http://www.salon.com/2015/06/03/we_are_the_propagandists_the_real_story_about_how_the_new_york _times_and_the_white_house_has_turned_truth_in_the_ukraine_on_its_head/
      "One, it has been raining reports of Russia's renewed military presence in eastern Ukraine lately. One puts them down and asks, What does Washington have on the story board now, an escalation of American military involvement? A covert op? Let us watch. Two, we hear ever-shriller charges that Moscow has mounted a dangerous, security-threatening propaganda campaign to destroy the truth-our truth, we can say. It is nothing short of "the weaponization of information," we are provocatively warned. Let us be on notice: Our truth and our air are now as polluted with propaganda as during the Cold War decades, and the only apparent plan is to make it worse."


      This article is just Techdirt repeating the official story from DC as in the NYTimes. Techdirt is indeed not "way out there": it's with the neo-con / neo-liberal imperial Establishment. Doesn't matter how earnest this young puppy is: at best, he's earnestly wrong.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Jun 2015 @ 6:39pm

        Re:

        What's funnier is you calling it clickbait, then clicking on said bait.

        As usual out_of_the_blue has no idea what he's yapping about.

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    • identicon
      Matthew A. Sawtell, 12 Jun 2015 @ 5:25pm

      The Russian attempts are still light years behind the '50 Cent Party'

      For those 'old China hands' that have been watching this farce in progress, it has been a bit of a 'chuckle fest' given that the Russian efforts are still light years behind the fine folks of the Chinese '50 Cent Party':

      http://www.businessinsider.com/chinas-50-cent-party-2014-10

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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