The Saker — The Unz Review May 6, 2016
Listening to the western corporate media one would get the impression that the Kremlin controls all the Russian media with an iron grip and that not a word of criticism of Russia, never mind Putin himself, is ever allowed. So bad is this situation that the AngloZionists are now funding new “information” efforts to counter-act the Russian propaganda machine and bring some much needed information to the Russian people who clearly do not realize that they are being lied to and deprived from any truthful or even alternative information.
In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.
First, while some Directorates of the KGB have been renamed and reorganized, the Directorate in charge of dissidents, “other thinkers” and assorted ideological “enemies of the state” (the 5th Main Directorate) has been disbanded completely. So there is no “ideological police in Russia”. Some forms of speech are, indeed, banned – “extremist” speech (terrorism, violence, racism, hate speech, etc.) and some specific organizations, like the Ukrainian “Right Sector” or the Tatar “Mejlis”. Other than that, the only control over speech in Russia is based on criminal charges. So, really, Russia is not unique in that matter at all – she more or less does the exact same as European states.
Second, there is *a lot* of criticism of Putin and the government in general in a very active RuNet (Russian Internet), not only in Russia, but also worldwide (USA, Canada, Kazakhstan, the Ukraine, etc.). Some of the criticism comes from a rather small pro-US minority, but most of it comes from the anti-US camp: nationalists, Communists and critics of the government economic policies all blame Putin for being too weak and unwilling to confront the West frontally. Unlike in the Ukraine, foreign media organizations are not banned, and neither are their broadcasts or newspapers.
Third, most of the Moscow-based “money elite” (I don’t want to call them “intelligentsia”) absolutely loathe Putin and his policies, and they are not shy about speaking their minds about him. If you want to test that hypothesis, just talk to wealthy Russian tourists and you will see that, as a rule, they don’t support Putin at all. And, as we know, “money talks” and a lot of Russian money is most definitely opposed to Putin.
But that does not mean that there is no Russian counter-propaganda at all. There is, and it is very effective. But what makes it unique is the way in which it operates.
I suspect that the fantastically incompetent ways in which the 5th Main Directorate of the KGB worked to try to deal with anti-Soviet feelings has left a deep mark on younger generation of state security officers who have learned from these mistakes and have taken a diametrically opposite course: instead of trying to silence the western propaganda – they actually actively promote it!
Yup, that’s right. The Kremlin and the clearly pro-Putin journalists go out of their way to give as much air time to the most rabid anti-Kremlin critiques as possible, especially on Russian TV talkshows.
The most popular Russian TV talk shows (Evening with Vladimir Soloviev, Time will Show with Petr Tolstoi, Right to Know with Dmitrii Kulikov, Politics with Petr Tolstoi and Alexander Gordon, Special Correspondent with Evgenii Popov, News.doc with Olga Skabeeva, Duel with Vladimir Soloviev) all make sure that the following groups get as much airtime as possible:
Russian-speaking American journalists
Russian-speaking Polish officials and journalists