New East Network: Who is the Guardian speaking for?

by Kit

The Guardian’s “New East Network” is notionally a group of “media partners” aiming to “expand coverage” of ex-Soviet states. Here we take a look inside the “NEN” and ask: Just exactly with whom is the Guardian in partnership?

Avid readers of the Guardian, if indeed such creatures truly exist anymore, will be more than familiar with the New East Network by now. A brand new sub-set of the media, a sort of imprint cartel, made up of various publications all dedicated to making ex-Soviet republics more “democratic”. Including, of course, Russia.

First appearing in the Guardian on the 9th of June 2014, at the height of Ukraine crisis – when a new “invasion” was being reported every twenty minutes or so, the New East Network (NEN) has brought us such groundbreaking journalism as “Putin walks funny”, “Lady-Nazis of the Aidar Battallion: The sensitive side of fascism” and Luke Harding’s spectacular interview with Sergei Pugachev – the criminal banker currently wanted by INTERPOL. He’s down to his last 70 million dollars, you know. It’s a tragedy.

It’s not quite clear how all this fits in with the NEN’s self proclaimed agenda…

…to expand coverage [of the East] at this critical time in its history

…and a glance down their list of “partners” in this enterprise would suggest – rather than an expansion of coverage – a narrowing of permissable opinions. The membership of the cabal is…interesting, to say the least.

The Carnegie Moscow Center

Despite its name, and the rather misleading .ru web address, this center is actually run from Washington DC. From their own about page:

The Carnegie Moscow Center was established as a subdivision of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (Washington, DC) and started its activities in 1994.

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is, essentially, the non-governmental arm of the US State Department, their current chariman – William Burns – even served as deputy Secretary of State. The Moscow Center’s aim is, apparently:

To embody and promote disinterested social science research and the dissemination of its results in Russia and Eurasia;

Although one wonders just how “disinterested” a party can be, when its board members include Peter Aven, the chairman of Alfa-Bank – the largest private bank in Russia.

To sum up: The Carnegie Moscow Center is controlled by former State Department employees and private bankers, and is totally non-partisan.

Hillary Clinton, just one of the many "disinterested" parties involved with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Hillary Clinton, just one of the many “disinterested” parties involved with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

This particular “partner” of the Guardian needs no introduction. It is a public knowledge that RFE/RL was established by the CIA and funded by the American Congress to broadcast pro-American news behind the the Iron Curtain. Nothing more need be said.

The Interpreter Magazine

The Interpreter declares proudly, on its about page, that it:

…aspires to dismantle the language barrier that separates journalists, Russia analysts, policymakers, diplomats and interested laymen in the English-speaking world from the debates, scandals, intrigues and political developments taking place in the Russian Federation.

It goes on to boast:

The Interpreter, which was launched in 2013, was made possible by a seed grant from the London-based Herzen Foundation and a grant from the the New York-based Institute of Modern Russia, of which the journal is a special project.

The Institute for Modern Russia? Doesn’t get more Russian sounding than that – except of course it’s based in New York city. Oh well, it certainly seems to have a benign enough goal:

The Institute of Modern Russia (IMR) is a public policy think-tank that strives to establish an intellectual framework for building a democratic Russia governed by rule of law. IMR promotes social, economic, and institutional development in Russia through research, analysis, advocacy and outreach. Our goal is to advance Russia’s integration into the community of democracies and to improve its cooperation on the global stage.

Now, the more cynically minded might read “advance democracy” as “get rid of Putin”, and “improve cooperation” as “start doing what America tells them to”, but that is absurd paranoia. I mean, look: most of the people that work there seem to have Russian names. Including Pavel Khodorkovsky – son of Mikhail, the corrupt former-billionaire slash suspected murderer. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, like most criminal billionaires, has no interest in grabbing power, political revenge or re-privatising state-owned oil – he just wants to be nice.


Let’s just get straight to the “about page” this time, shall we?

EurasiaNet.org provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Turkey, and Southwest Asia.

Well, that sounds friendly…but wait, there’s more:

Based in New York…Eurasianet.org is operated by the Eurasia Program of the Open Society Foundations.

New York again, huh? Who would have thought there was such a large pro-Russian freedom movement in NYC. The Open Society Foundation sounds familiar too, isn’t that the foundation set up by George Soros? Why yes, yes it is. Good old Soros, just another one of those billionaires who only wants to help make the world friendly.

Transitions Online

Formerly “Transitions Magazine”, Transitions Online (TOL) was set-up in 1999. From its about page:

TOL was established in April 1999, the month after the publication of the final issue of its print predecessor, Transitions magazine. (The print magazine was first published in 1994 by the Open Media Research Institute, a joint venture between Radio Free Europe and the Open Society Institute.) Four of the former print magazine’s staff members established Transitions Online as a means of keeping the widely respected, cross-border coverage of the magazine alive.

RFE and The Open Society Foundation? Again? OK. So this magazine is a cooperative enterprise of the CIA and George Soros. Good to know.


Window on Eurasia

A very simple, old-fashioned look blog. All you can tell from the site, which has no about page, is that it is run by a man named Paul Goble. A quck google shows up a Paul A. Goble on wikipedia, to quote his page:

Paul A. Goble is an American analyst, writer and columnist with expertise on Russia…Goble served as special adviser on Soviet nationality issues and Baltic affairs to Secretary of State James Baker. He currently teaches a course on “Islam and Geopolitics in Eurasia” at the Institute of World Politics.

So, he used to work for the State Department and now he teaches at, essentially, a spy school. Further examination of his career shows a (by now) fairly predictable list. Mr Goebbels…er, Goble…has worked at Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. He has written for EuroMaidan Press and worked as an analyst for the CIA.

It seems like RFE, Carnegie and the CIA are getting mentioned a lot on this page.

Belarus in Focus

From their about page:

Founded in 2011, Solidarity with Belarus Information Office (SBIO) is a Warsaw-based non-profit, non-partisan organization working closely with Belarusian and international journalists and expert community to overcome Belarus’ isolation by promoting democratic values and transformation.

There you have it. They are a non-partisan organisation that promotes change…non-partisan change. Because that’s a thing. Their objectives? Simple:

  • Raising awareness inside Belarus about democratic values and the policies of the European Union in relation to Belarus.
  • Raising awareness among the international community about the political, economical, social, and cultural situation in Belarus.
  • Strengthening ties between Belarusian civil society and the international democratic community.

See? They are a totally non-partisan NGO that wants to integrate Belarus into the EU, and just happens to get their funding from the European Endowment for Democracy. The makers of this not-at-all-creepy video.

PONARS Eurasia

From their about page:

PONARS Eurasia is located at the Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies (IERES) at The Elliott School of International Affairs, The George Washington University, and is co-directed by Henry E. Hale and Cory Welt. The program was founded at Harvard University in the late 1990s and housed at the Council on Foreign Relations from 2000-2001. PONARS Eurasia is supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the George Washington University/IERES.

Well look at that, Carnegie. Again.

The Elliot School of International affairs is a subsidiary campus of The George Washington University, the “most politically active” college in America – whatever that is supposed to mean. It has a building right opposite the State Department, and a quick google will show you that at least two professors currently employed there used to work for the CIA (this one and this one).

While that may seem a little tenous – the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) connection is far more telling. A famously rather secretive organisation with a membership of nearly 5000 people, including a “Cheney, Richard”, a “Brzezinski, Zbigniew”, 6 different Rockerfellers and “Clinton, William” plus his daughter Chelsea. Oh, and one “Psaki, Jennifer”.

There's that girl again - this time talking at the CFR. Because non-partisan.

There’s that girl again – this time talking at the CFR. Because non-partisan.

So – there you have it. So far we have eight “partners”: 3 with direct ties to the American govenrment and/or intelligence agencies, 2 of which are personal projects of billionaires with well-known anti-Russia agendas, 2 of which are both, and 1 which was set up by the European Union. It seems that when the Guardian talks about “expanding coverage”, what they mean is broadcasting the views of billionaire oligarchs, ex-CIA analysts, the European Union or some delightful mix of all three.

Those of you who have been regular readers of the Guardian since before they broke the “Snowden files” will no doubt notice a volte-face with regards to government interference with journalism. One wonders if the NEN being set up so soon after the Guardian came under such pressure from GCHQ that they voluntarily destroyed their own computers could really be a coincidence. In the space of two years the Guardian has gone from broadcasting the illegal actions of the US/UK governments, to re-printing CIA and State Department press releases. There’s a name for that, and it’s not “expanding coverage”.

Some partners listed by the Guardian do not seem to have English language versions on-line, as such we’re interested in hearing from anybody that can give us information on http://www.russianmediacenter.org/, http://zona.media/ and http://www.tut.by/.


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Categories: featured, Kit, On Guardian