Thursday, 12 February 2015

Do the Russians Want War?

There was a popular Soviet song with that title. The message that Russians don't want war was supported by the story of huge Russian losses in WWII. Well, judging by this animation, the losses are forgotten. The anchor boasts that Russian tanks can take Berlin in 24 hours.


If you're wondering if it is a counterpart of The Colbert Report or Onion News Network, it is not. It's an original Russian news program. .
It's been broadcasted on the Channel 5 - an all-Russia TV channel belonging to National Media Group headed by Alina Kabayeva, who is widely believed to be Putin's mistress. The group is formally private, but effectively controlled by the state. It owns several other TV channels, including a 25% share in Channel One, the principal official Kremlin mouthpiece, and 49.99% in LifeNews, the principal unofficial Kremlin mouthpiece.
The message is addressed mainly not to the West, but to the majority of Russian population who may start feeling uncomfortable in face of the rising prices and deepening international isolation. It's the media analog of cocaine, aimed to raise the user's self-confidence and self-esteem. The problem, just as with drugs, is that the effect of such media injections doesn't last long, especially in view of real-life hardships. So, to keep people in good mood, the government should provide them with increasing doses of propaganda.  But there's a danger that people will get too high on it and start demanding that the government acts on its promises.
It's not to say, though, that there's no message for the West in the video, though the West is not its primary target. For those in the West who happen to see it, the message is pretty clear - keep away from the conflict, 'cause we're crazy enough to unleash the next World War. There's nothing new in this message, there were even crazier threats, with the current head of Russian propaganda machine, Dmitry Kiselev, promising to turn USA into "radioactive ashes". Will Putin and his cronies do it? Most likely not. They are not fanatics, they like their riches and their power way too much to spend the rest of thier days in an underground bunker. But if 50 years ago the USSR tried to pose as the champion of peace, this time Russians want the West to believe that they do want war. The new times, the new protective mimicry.

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