By Al Benson Jr.
In the 1990s communism in the Soviet Union and other places in Eastern Europe collapsed—so we are told. The Berlin Wall came tumbling down and that was supposedly the end of it.
Was it really the end, or was it simply a retrenchment? Did the old KGB really disband, or did they simply change their name? We were told that, suddenly, Communists stopped being Communists and now they were all just “progressives.” Really? Or is the term “progressive” just a cover term for Communist?
In the book Soviet Strategic Deception, published in 1987, Brian D. Dailey and Patrick J. Parker noted something called “perceptions management” They had a table in their book showing how this was accomplished. They noted that this “…refers to that complex of activities directed mainly (but not exclusively) at policy and opinion makers and the public. The channels include self-serving or deceptive statements by Soviet leaders or arms control negotiators, covert placement of articles in newspapers, forgeries and agents of influence.” It was all a lot of bunk meant to cast the Soviet Union in a favorable light. Has all this suddenly vanished because Communism is supposedly dead? Don’t bet the farm on it.
In reality, things have changed little. Strategic deception still goes on and now we have Russia Today as the next step in the agenda. Wikipedia described Russia Today, or RT as it is known in the media, as “…a government-funded global multilingual television news network based in the Russian Federation. It was founded in 2005 as Russia Today by the government-owned RIA Novosti.” It shows round the clock news coverage, sports, and cultural presentations on Russia and is mainly aimed at an overseas audience. It has 21 bureaus in 16 different countries, the US being among them. RT is the second most viewed foreign news channel in this country after BBC news. Of course many folks try to watch BBC news because they realize they will get news about what goes on in this country that they will never get from our American “news” (what a laugh) media.
Russia Today has been described in an article on http://www.keywiki.org as “…a media outlet, aimed at de-stabilizing and weakening opponents of Russian foreign policy.” The article on keywiki states “Today (RT) television, a propaganda arm of the Putin-Medvedev-KGB –run Russian thugocracy, but thanks to a former KGB officer, Konstantin Preobrazhensky , more about its origins and purposes have been revealed…’Russia Today’ is only a part of the Russian industry misinformation and manipulation created recently in the USA by Putin’s KGB. It is including the utilization of some American think-tanks and political scientists.”
Well-known columnist Cliff Kinkaid has observed on http://www.aim.orgthat “During the Cold War it was customary for the Soviet intelligence services, led by the KGB, to use American and Western news outlets and personnel in operations against the United States. Preobrazhensky says nothing has really changed, except that Russia Today television is a more overt way of carrying out the aims of the Kremlin.” In fact, AIM (Accuracy in Media) recently published an article titled “Russian TV Sounds Like Soviet TV.” Well why not? It is.
Shaun Walker of The Independent, a British newspaper, has noted that the Russian channel has sought to play down its connection to Moscow by calling the station RT rather than Russia Today. News correspondents have been informed that they have to refer to it as only RT and never, never as Russia Today. It seems that many American outlets, even conservative ones, are picking this up. I have seen RT references on a couple conservative Internet sites recently.
Cliff Kinkaid has observed in his article that “Several journalists at the channel have told The Independent that while some coverage of problems in Russia and sensitive issues is allowed, any direct criticism or questioning of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or President Dmitry Medvedev is strictly prohibited.” This is consistent with Communist policy.
I recall, years ago now, reading a book called I Was An NKVD Agent
in which the author of the book, a Soviet secret policeman that had defected to the West told of being sent into Germany during World War 2 as a supposed defector from Russia. The spymaster who sent him on this mission told him that he could criticize such things in Russia as the poverty, because all countries have poverty. He could find fault with the prisons because all countries have prisons, but the minute he dared to contradict the principles of Marxism/Leninism and they found out about it, they would come and get him no matter where he was. Is the situation today any different? It would seem that Russia Today will allow criticism in certain specific, defined areas, because it gives the appearance of legitimacy in the West, but to criticize the Russian leadership or its pronouncements is forbidden. So what is really different between now and the Cold War years? The only difference is that during the Cold War most of the West recognized that the Soviets were the “evil empire” whereas today most have abandoned that posture because, after all, “communism is dead”—right? Well, not quite.
I guess you would have to say that the name has been changed to protect the guilty but the game goes on even if the West is too gullible to realize it.