Who is trolling?

russian propaganda

 

2014/03/23 • Analysis & Opinion

Article by: Robert van Voren

Over the past months, the number of fake ‘concerned Russian citizens’ or Western ‘commentators’ have quickly increased. Clearly, in preparation for the annexation of the Crimea and whatever comes later the Kremlin has been very active on another front: information war. His main specialty: trolling. It is not the first time: on the eve of the Moscow municipal elections a massive amount of trolls or ‘trolliki’ were put in place to spread false information. They even found a cellar in St. Petersburg full with trolliki who were disseminating false information on the opposition candidate Navalny.

I have on my Facebook a considerable amount of pro-Putinists. Some are “honest” and spread information on how correct Putin’s policies are. I disagree with them, but can accept their opinions differ from mine and I keep them because I want to know their train of thought.

But some are basically there to mess up things. Spreading pure anti-semitic propaganda with images that would look quite fitting in ‘Der Stuermer’ in Nazi-Germany (e.g. Marina Stabrovskaya), some are disseminating calls for a ‘Russian uprising’ in the East, disseminating posters for meetings and other actions that are clearly focused on creating a pretext for Putin to show again his fatherly love for fellow Russians in neighboring countries who are being harassed and repressed. One of them is a Sergej Batalov, who is sitting in his house in Spain enjoying the sun and other European Union amenities but at the same time urging others to do the dirty job in Donetsk, Luhansk and Odesa.

And then you have Westerners who work along with Putin, for whatever reason.

You have the old fellow-travellers, like the American scholar Stephen F. Cohen, an ‘expert’ on Russia, who already in the 1980s was trying to show that Brezhnev c.s. were actually quite nice guys who meant well for all of us. His pro-Putinism seems mostly based on the fact that when most people say “A” he cannot resist the urge to say “B”.

And then you have the dumb ones, like the American journalist who worked for the propaganda station RT and who recently decided to quit because of the nonsense she had to present. Some blame her for this, but I am more of the opinion that she saw the light, better late than never, and took the courageous step to quit and admit her own stupidity in public.

But finally you have the “hidden ones, those who hide behind a feigned façade of expertise and independence. A good example is a guy called Liam Halligan, a British ‘analyst’ who writes in The Telegraph and The Spectator, where he explains that – to put it simple – Putin’s policies are right and Western reactions are wrong. A good example is his piece ‘Putin is making the West’s Cold Warriors look like fools‘ in The Spectator.

However, the same Halligan is openly presented as a member of the strategic group of the very same propaganda channel, RT (good example: his article ‘After elections Russia has become more attractive for investors‘):

Here Halligan is mentioned as a chief economist of Prosperity Capital Management, a capital management group that clearly has big business with Russian capitalists and is based in London.

In the propaganda broadcast mentioned above, which was aired on March 13, 2014, Halligan has a very interesting message: due to the crisis, investing in Russia has become even more attractive… Definitely a unique point of view, which only a certain group of people around a certain person in the Kremlin would fully adhere to!

Robert van Voren is Professor of Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas and Ilia State University in Tbilisi, and was Permanent Representative of Ukraine in the Benelux for Humanitarian Affairs in 1994-1997.

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  • chornajuravka

    Reblogged this on Voices of Ukraine.

  • condemn_your_actions

    Good summary

  • Francesco Vitellini

    You forgot to mention the Italian media as a whole, who are unable to take a clear position on what is going on…
    Most of them say something like “Putin is acting in the wrong way, but for the right reasons”.
    Not to talk about the average Italian reader/commenter, too self-focused to even think that things may be a little different from what the journalists are telling them.
    I’m sure it is because Italians are mostly anti-EU and anti-USA, and jump on the bandwagon whenever they can…

    Just to let you know why no aid can arrive from Italian people (I’m not talking about Ukrainians living in Italy, of course).

  • Tomek

    It’s the same in Poland. In last 2 months we have seen GIAGANTIC increase in amount of pro-russian comments in internet. All info websites. At the same time comments are attacking Ukrainians calling them “fascists” or “bandera fans”. It is all to make Polish people be against Ukrainians. The same “song” about “Fascists” seems to be the main line of propaganda in all other countries. It’s called “WEB BRIGADES” – people paid by Russia to SPAM internet with ProPutin comments.

  • https://www.facebook.com/andy.castor Andy Castor

    Russian propagandists everywhere online at present. In their thousands, seeking out little corners of discussion….
    Their line is always very very simple “fascists” “bandera” and using “whataboutism” (particularly Kosovo) to deflect from Russian behaviours.
    This simplicity is what makes them effective.
    I respond simply.
    I point out that we are not discussing anything other than Russian behaviour.
    and
    That Putin’s and Russian behaviour is imperialist, colonialist and nationalist and demand that they justify this.

  • Pingback: Beware of Liam Halligan, ‘analyst’ and troll()

  • http://gravatar.com/wissamboutros wissamboutros

    Wait until the World Bank and IMF get a hold of Ukraine, the Austerity you will feel will make Greece seem like a gravy train of gluttony. Facts are facts and Dr. Cohen has an opinion and sees something a certain way. The Western press has shown a breathtaking amount of ignorance does not report the whole story. Not to mention facts about the Victoria Nuland tape, the lack of investigation of the snipers, and not mentioning the participation of ” right Sector” and ” Svoboda” is irresponsible. Victor Yanukovych is a corrupt criminal and I am no big supporter of Putin either, but beware of your new masters. Obama does not gone after his own criminals on wall street, in which you will meet soon, not to mention the number of times the U.S, U.K and other friends of yours have broken InternationalLlaw. So be careful and fight for a good government and against corruption, but do not dismiss what you disagree with as propaganda, it is not democratic or pluralistic, these are the first lessons of a true democracy.

  • http://wissamboutros.wordpress.com wissamboutros

    Wait until the World Bank and IMF get a hold of Ukraine, the Austerity you will feel will make Greece seem like a gravy train of gluttony. Facts are facts and Dr. Cohen has an opinion and sees something a certain way. The Western press has shown a breathtaking amount of ignorance and does not report the whole story. Not to mention facts about the Victoria Nuland tape, the lack of investigation of the snipers, and not mentioning( meaning they do not say they exist at all!) the participation of ” right Sector” and ” Svoboda” is irresponsible.

    Victor Yanukovych is a corrupt criminal and I am no big supporter of Putin either, but beware of your new masters. Obama has not gone after his own criminals on wall street, in which you will meet soon, not to mention the number of times the U.S, U.K and other friends of yours have broken International Law. So be careful and fight for a good government and against corruption, but do not dismiss what you disagree with as propaganda, it is not democratic or pluralistic, these are the first lessons of a true democracy.

  • open your mind

    Interesting! :-)
    The same big number of pro-russia supporters are in Czech republic and here in Slovakia as well.
    I am reading here that same situation is in Italia, Poland and so on…
    Also I can see a lot of supporters of Russia steps in Germany.

    So! Let’s think twice dear euromaidan supporters.
    Don’t You still think that You are doing something wrong?

    Maidan was literally hijacked by extremist nationalist parties since half of December approximately. There is a lot of video footage confirming that’s true.

    For instance…
    What does mean these “National Guards” operating on east of Ukraine?
    You can not refute, that majority of NG are extremist from “pravy sektor” “svoboda” and supporters of bandera heritage.

    Do you still think You are right what you are doing altogether with this new temporary “government” ?

    You have legitimized acting of nazi parties on maidan.
    And what’s more, You let them to dominate in new government!

    • Volodya

      What absolute nonsense. Straight out of the RT handbook. To be a Ukrainian patriot does not and never will equate to extremism in any way. Go back to Russia with your vulgar diatribes!

  • sandy miller

    open mind has been all over the internet…he is a paid Putin troll. lies and more lies.