Staunton, June 8 – This week’s list of the Kremlin’s Top Five Propaganda Myths, Fakes and Stupidities about Ukraine prepared by Dmitry Bukovsky of Kyiv’s Delovaya Stolitsa feature several which highlight Moscow’s tendency to accuse others of what it is doing itself.
1. Moscow Says US has Prepared Textbook on How to Make Ukrainians into Zombies. Vladimir Putin’s favorite media outlet, Lifenews, reported that the US had come up with a handbook on how to convince residents of the Donbas that they would be better off with Kyiv than with Moscow and that its principles would be employed by a radio station that would give those residents only “’correct’ news.”
2.Moscow Says It has the Name of Ukrainian Pilot It Says Shot Down the Malaysian Jet. Despite or perhaps because international investigations have shown that pro-Moscow forces shot down the Malaysian airliner, Russian officials continue to declare that they have information that the Ukrainians did it. This week, Vladimir Markin of Russia’s investigation service announced that Russia had “learned the name of the Ukrainian pilot who had shot down the plane.”
3. Russian Actor Says He Regrets Moscow Hasn’t Seen Troops into Ukraine. Aleksy Panin says that the leaders of Ukraine should be punished not for what they say about Moscow but for what they have done, adding that he very much regrets that one thing they say isn’t true. The Kyiv leaders say there are Russian troops in Ukraine. Panin says he considers it a matter of regret that there aren’t. Were they present, Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk could be taught an appropriate lesson.
4. Pro-Moscow Forces Say They Have Nothing Against Ukrainian But Tear Down Ukrainian Signs. Separatists in the Donbass repeatedly say that they have nothing against the Ukrainian language, but this week they expanded their effort to remove all street signs in Ukrainian and replace them with signs in Russian in areas of their control.
5. Separatists Say Kyiv Sending Troops to Fight Without Training Them. Donbass and Russian media report that Ukraine is so desperate that it is sending soldiers into battle without providing them with adequate training and that as a result many are dying, a statement without foundation but that must sound good to those who are making it.
In a commentary on this phenomenon, Yefim Fishteyn of Radio Liberty argues that those who say that “Russian propaganda of the Putin period is blindly copying Orwell’s Newspeak” are wrong. “This is not so,” he writes. Newspeak replaced one meaning of a word with another but insisted everyone accept that new definition.
Instead, what Putin and company have done, Fishteyn says, is drain words of any meaning altogether. And while he does not suggest it, perhaps the best analogy for Putin language is that of the Red Queen of “Alice in Wonderland” fame.