latest, media watch, Propaganda, Russia
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Russia’s “secret propaganda assault on Britain”

by Paul Robinson, August 1, 2016

A couple of newspaper articles caught my attention this weekend. The first was in The Times, and claimed the following:

President Putin has launched a secret propaganda assault on Britain from within its own borders, The Times can reveal. The Kremlin is spreading disinformation through a newly opened British bureau for its Sputnik international news service, and is infiltrating elite universities by placing language and cultural centres on campuses. Analysts said that the push was part of Russia’s military doctrine, which specifies the use of ‘informational and other non-military measures’ in conflicts.

The Times is particularly alarmed by the fact that, ‘the University of Edinburgh accepted £221,000 from the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) Foundation to host Britain’s first Moscow-sponsored language and cultural centre. The foundation has also opened centres at Durham University, which accepted £85,000, and St Antony’s College, Oxford.’ According to The Times, ‘A Nato source accused Russia of “operationalising information” from within Britain. “The Russian information effort is to muddy the waters, to create uncertainty,” he said.’

The second article was published in Sunday’s New York Times. In this, the former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul claims that ‘Everywhere, autocrats are pushing back against democrats, and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia is the de facto leader of this global movement.’ America must resist this movement, McFaul says. Otherwise, ‘The threats will grow and eventually endanger our peace, as we saw in Europe and Japan in the 1930s, and Afghanistan in the 1990s.’

What exactly should America do? McFaul suggests:

Just as the Kremlin has become more sophisticated at exporting its ideas and supporting its friends, so must we. We should think of advancing democratic ideas abroad primarily as an educational project, almost never as a military campaign. Universities, books and websites are the best tools, not the 82nd Airborne.

But it’s best not to do this openly, McFaul admits. He says, ‘Direct financial assistance to democrats is problematic: A check from an American embassy can taint its recipients. America’s next president should privatize such aid and help seed new independent foundations.’

So, let me get this straight. Russkii Mir openly provides money to the University of Edinburgh for the study of Russian language and culture. That constitutes a ‘secret propaganda assault on Britain’. Ambassador McFaul proposes giving money to Russian universities through disguised channels and for decidedly political purposes, and that is ‘advancing democratic ideas’. ‘Nuff said!

Paul Robinson is a professor at the University of Ottawa.  He writes about Russian and Soviet history, military history, and military ethics.

20 Comments

  1. damien says

    Michael McFaul is a consummate neocon, an agent of empire linked to a raft of US regime change organizations.

    Here here is in 2004, wearing his heart on his sleeve:

    Did Americans meddle in the internal affairs of Ukraine? Yes. The American agents of influence would prefer different language to describe their activities — democratic assistance, democracy promotion, civil society support, etc. — but their work, however labeled, seeks to influence political change in Ukraine. The U.S. Agency for International Development, the National Endowment for Democracy and a few other foundations sponsored certain U.S. organizations, including Freedom House, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute, the Solidarity Center, the Eurasia Foundation, Internews and several others to provide small grants and technical assistance to Ukrainian civil society. The European Union, individual European countries and the Soros-funded International Renaissance Foundation did the same.

    No, there were big grants, done under cover to support anti-government individuals and groups. And the regime change exercises were conducted in Serbia, Georgia and Belarus as they are today in Syria, Brazil, Venezuela and Thailand. Empire never sleeps.

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  2. I’d be more concerned about the embedded Chinese spy’s, the Confucius institutes and the accompanying payments to UK Universities than the Russians.

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  3. rtj1211 says

    Americans provide ‘scholarships’ to Oxbridge via the Gates and Marshall Foundations, as well as Rhodes Scholarships also open to a variety of other different nationalities. They use such scholarships to train various spies…..

    It’s been made quite clear to UK Universities that such scholarships would be moved elsewhere if Britain doesn’t toe the line in certain respects.

    So Americans don’t do anything to impose themselves on Britain, ever, do they?

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  4. kweladave says

    Actually live (well Sunday) from Western Aleppo, a Geordie – Tom from Newcastle – describes the current situation there. His version seems fantastically different from the MSM’s. Perhaps somebody might persuade ‘Bomber Benn’ to lend an ear.

    Listen from 96:00

    http://21stcenturywire.com/sundaywire/

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  5. wardropper says

    Watch out guys…
    Next thing the Off-G will be accused of harbouring Rooskie infiltrators and be subjected to a gag order on everything it wants to write…
    Seriously, thank heaven you exist – there will be others like you too, as the occasion demands.
    This is a bit like reading a newspaper from Sweden 50 years ago – full of actual facts and even true stories!
    It’s ironically sad that my three years of working in the USA in the late 80s were such a positive experience, meeting well-educated, intelligent and wonderful people in what was admittedly a university city, while the politicians – just like anywhere else – were actively undermining common decency and representing nothing but themselves and their appallingly wealthy handlers.
    It has become increasingly difficult to teach even university students how to think these days, since timetables and curricula are constructed in such a way as to minimize the risk of that happening…
    As for those who can’t manage a university education, they are at terrible risk of becoming isolated from all kinds of reality, and are systematically propagandized into no longer being able to trust even their own instincts.
    I sometimes imagine that only a farmer in a remote area could manage to keep a natural shrewdness and wit in today’s USA, and that would be because he is still close enough to Nature for the greatest teacher of them all to mould his, or her, character.
    Nor is it so very different in the UK, with Westminster as Washington’s echo chamber…

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    • Rhys Jaggar says

      Interesting what you say about remoteness. My complete freedom from the climate change propaganda came due to spending most weekends for 7 years in the mountains and a season’s ski-ing in Switzerland. I learned to read the weather based on real life experience and experienced climate extremes, from unusual cold, to unusual winter warmth, to unusual spring snowfall, to unusual February heat, none of which were reported in the mainstream media.

      The biggest danger is, in fact, parents assuming that their children are taught truths at school. If they look at a school and assume that it is a propaganda school until proven otherwise, they will make wiser choices for their children…..

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  6. They are either competing to see who can be more ridiculous – loser buys the drinks – or they are convinced that people are so utterly dumb that this crap can move them in ways the corporatocracy wants them to move. It’s probably both.

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  7. You’d think even MI5 and MI6 would be jumping for joy to hear that Russians are paying for British students to learn Russian so they can study how awful Russians are. After all, both British intelligence agencies have infiltrated our corporate media to tell us exactly that on a daily basis. Given how much money the organisations leech up, the huge savings accrued should help build dozens of schools and hospitals.

    Not only that, it’s triples all round, with students now learning how awful Russians are at Russian expense our spooks can focus all their attention on telling us how awful China and the Chinese are. Or perhaps things aren’t quite so awful in Russia as they would have us believe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You’re absolutely right Bryan Russia is not such a bad place, in fact it’s very good. I’m writing this with first hand knowledge as I live and work here.

      I’m growing increasingly tired of the complete Bull that comes out of the mouths of US Neo Cons and their idiotic unquestioning acolytes in the corporate media. Do McFaul and the hacks at The Times not realise when they repeat such lies as “Just as the Kremlin has become more sophisticated at exporting its ideas and supporting its friends, so must we. ” USAID/ Mercy Corp have been doing this for decades across the globe! Duh!!

      You would think that MI5/ MI6 + the BBC would be glad of the fact that, the University of Edinburgh, Durham University and St Antony’s College, Oxford have funding from Russkiy Mir to develop understanding of Russian culture and language given the lack of Russian speakers in their ranks.

      Perhaps then we would be better able to rely on them to understand what Russia is about and what it is saying.

      Liked by 1 person

      • wardropper says

        What, learn the Russian language and Russian culture AT HOME … ?
        Actual KNOWLEDGE of the subject … ?
        Heaven forbid … !

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    • rtj1211 says

      It’s very strange that 90% of Russian people I have spoken to are just the same as 90% of British people. I admit that I’ve not knowingly conversed with the FSB, the Kremlin, the Duma or the oligarchs. But I have communicated with Russians who might like to get married, might like to have children, don’t like their boyfriends drinking huge amounts of vodka and don’t want America to go to war with Russia, any more than they want Russia to go to war with Europe.

      Shame that MI5 and MI6 can’t cope with that kind of real communication. Their only hope is to stop ordinary UK citizens talking with ordinary Russian citizens. Because if they don’t, people will see what total nonsense they are purveying………and which journalists they are using to publish their lies.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. If only we could chop the head off the evil snake that is the double speak of the US war machine we could indeed have peace. Alas that is not possible, it simply grows numerous heads back. What we can do is call out the likes of Michael A. MCFAUL and his propagandist platform of unsubstantiated slander and outright lies. The Washington playbook is now well known across Europe and within the US also and it’s aggression, being the source of massacres and land grabs, must be denounced. It’s exceptional ability is to twist facts, the old “blame the other guy for your own wrongdoings” tactics, it’s many terrorist supporting plots against sovereign states and the proliferation of it’s monstrous fomenting of wars wherever any country stops it’s global bid for power.
    How am I doing so far in denouncing the US warmongering playbook?

    Like

  9. Reblogged this on Worldtruth and commented:

    If only we could chop the head off the evil snake that is the double speak of the US war machine we could indeed have peace. Alas that is not possible, it simply grows numerous heads back. What we can do is call out the likes of Michael A. MCFAUL and his propagandist platform of unsubstantiated slander and outright lies. The Washington playbook is now well known across Europe and within the US also and it’s aggression, being the source of massacres and land grabs, must be denounced. It’s exceptional ability is to twist facts, the old “blame the other guy for your own wrongdoings” tactics, it’s many terrorist supporting plots against sovereign states and the proliferation of it’s monstrous fomenting of wars wherever any country stops it’s global bid for power.
    How am I doing so far in denouncing the US warmongering playbook?

    Like

  10. Guest says

    What are these ideas the Russians are exporting

    None of these articles ever say – they are just smears without any form and substance.

    You would think that the Russians not the westerns governments led by the USA were responsible for destabilisation campaigns of regime change and the wars in libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, and ukraine; not forgetting the Refugee. Migrant crisis that has resulted from all this destabilisation.
    The “newspapers” and the Bbc just reprint and spread this propaganda

    Like

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