Russian propaganda and western media cheerleading mask causes, perils, and probable outcomes in Ukraine


March 22, 2022

Russian media is a tightly controlled instrument of state propaganda. Sadly, large segments of our western media are now independently engaged in cheerleading that often crossed into propaganda.

The Ten Essential Techniques and Elements of Propaganda. Go ahead… test it against all sides in all wars. Although formulated for war, with some minor modifications the list is also applicable to political and culture war propaganda.

“1. We don’t want war; we are only defending ourselves.

2. Our adversary is solely responsible for this war.

3. Our adversary’s leader is inherently evil and resembles the devil.

4. We are defending a noble cause, not our particular interests.

5. The enemy is purposefully committing atrocities; if we are making mistakes this happens without intention.

6. The enemy makes use of illegal weapons.

7. We suffer few losses, the enemy’s losses are considerable.

8. Recognized intellectuals and artists support our cause.

9. Our cause is sacred.

10. Whoever cases doubt on our propaganda helps the enemy and is a traitor.”

–Historian Anne Morelli’s summary* of Arthur Ponsonby’s 1928 classic on war propaganda, ‘Falsehood in Wartime,’ as contained in Morelli’s monograph ‘Principes élémentaires de propagande de guerre’ published in 2001.

The Ukrainians have put up the unbelievably brave resistance to a Russian invasion driven by false narratives, but the Russians are winning, slowly grinding the Ukrainians down. Without more direct intervention on behalf of Ukraine, I fear the inevitable remains just a matter of time.

Dangers of escalation, including use of tactical nuclear weapons and of radiologic incidents resulting from accidents, collateral damage, and sabotage have also increased.

Despite a heroic Ukrainian resistance, almost a month after the Russian invasion, I see nothing that yet changes my initial assessment that, at best, a rump Ukraine, possibly isolated from the sea, will be forced to capitulate to the essential demands Russia set forth before their invasion regarding the independence of the separatist Eastern provinces, the annexation of Crimea, and a pledge of neutrality / abandonment of pursuit of NATO membership.


[*] As originally published in French:.

1 Nous ne voulons pas la guerre
2 Le camp adverse est le seul responsable de la guerre
3 Le chef du camp adverse a le visage du diable (ou « l’affreux de service »)
4 C’est une cause noble que nous défendons et non des intérêts particuliers
5 L’ennemi provoque sciemment des atrocités, et si nous commettons des bavures c’est involontairement
6 L’ennemi utilise des armes non autorisées
7 Nous subissons très peu de pertes, les pertes de l’ennemi sont énormes
8 Les artistes et intellectuels soutiennent notre cause
9 Notre cause a un caractère sacré
10 Ceux (et celles) qui mettent en doute notre propagande sont des traîtres
Photo: Vicksburg National Military Park, VIcksburg Mississippi. Photo and content by K. Lee Lerner. CC BY-NC-ND


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