This week’s disinformation cases reflect a culture of resentment that has become an established trend in the loyal pro-Kremlin media over the last decade. The Russian word обида – “obida” – umbrage, resentment, pouting, holding a grudge – has become a core element in shaping public attitudes by the state media’s spin doctors. The Russian writer Andrey Arkhangelsky, featured earlier on our website,  writes in an essay (in Russian) how the Kremlin deliberately fosters resentment. For example, the Kremlin is preparing for the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany, but is doing so by demanding from the world “recognition” of Russia’s achievement. Arkhangelsky writes: “The energy of the celebration is ignited from cursing those who do not wish to ‘recognise’ our victory […] The celebration has turned into a puppet show”.

Resentment and Umbrage

The Kremlin is determined to define itself as the sole force of resistance against fascism – now and throughout history. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs implies US interests behind the Nazi war machine. Russian state TV declares that President Putin has proven that Poland started World War II. These are claims that the Kremlin expects the world to “recognise”. If not – Russia will express resentment.

We see this pattern clearly in this week’s cases, just as in weeks prior. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) unanimously recommended Russia to be banned for four years from major sports event (except Football World Cup or Euro 2020). The Russian Anti-Doping watch-dog has accepted the claims that Russian athletes have been subject to a systematic state-sponsored doping programme. Yet pro-Kremlin media spin the news as a politicised attack on Russia:  WADA’s decision is “illegal“; it violates the Olympic charter; it represents “anti-Russian hysteria” and Norwegian athletes are doping too, but never punished. Instead of addressing the issue, the Kremlin prefers expressing umbrage.

Pouting and sulking

In Estonia, the authorities have decided that the parent company of Sputnik, the holding Rossiya Segodnya, managed by Dmitry Kiselyov, falls under the sanctions regime as Mr. Kiselyov is on the list of individuals facing restrictive measures because their actions undermined Ukraine’s territorial integrity, sovereignty, and independence. Banks cannot perform transactions from Rossiya Segodnya, and Sputnik cannot pay rent or wages. This has provoked a similar reaction of resentment from pro-Kremlin media. Estonia is persecuting Sputnik staffers; Estonia is afraid of Sputnik’s influence and wants to silence it, threatening its staff with police. Again the same pattern: pro-Kremlin media prefer pouting and sulking instead of attempting to find a solution to a problem.

At home, the Kremlin media is convincing its audience that the world outside Russia is dangerous. A survey from independent Russian pollster Levada Center demonstrates that 42 percent of Russia’s population is constantly afraid of a world war. The state-sponsored media pours gasoline on this fire: NATO is preparing a big war; feminism is the West’s instrument to undermine sensible order; Washington is systematically attacking governments that do not yield to the US world order and the West in general is run by childish and stupid people.

Any criticism of the Kremlin is called “demonisation“, “Russophobia“, “hysteria” or “madness“; any significant critic is defamed, ridiculed; pro-Kremlin media is happy to share blatant lies about Greta Thunberg being the love-child of a Russian film director and a prostitute.

 

 

It Was Twenty Years ago Today

One of the first major pieces of Vladimir Putin’s legislation as President of Russia was the Information Security Doctrine of 2000. It defined the “information sphere” as an arena of conflict, where Russia is facing internal and external threats:

To the external threats’ sources belong:

– Activities of foreign political, economic, military, intelligence and information entities, directed against the interests of the Russian Federation in the information sphere;

– The striving of a number of countries toward dominance and the infringement of Russia’s interests in the world information space and to oust it from external and domestic information markets;

While this document was drafted, Kremlin authorities attacked the independent media holding Media Most and forced its owner, Vladimir Gusinsky, to sell it to state-owned Gazprom. Independent media outlets were subject to hostile takeovers; one by one silenced and replaced by submissive platforms not shy of broadcasting disinformation and propaganda. Russia’s leaders are refusing the citizens of Russia the right to free public discourse. Russia has been falling steadily in the Press Freedom Index ever since. When the index was first established in 2002, Russia assumed 121nd place. Presently, Russia is in 149th place, and the Kremlin continues to curb freedom of speech in Russia.

Since 2000, the pro-Kremlin media has regressed into its current state of resentment: fireworks are forbidden in Europe because of migrants; NATO is poisoning the relationship between Serbia and Russia through fabricated spy affairs. Conspiracy theories on the “Deep State” and “Shadow Government” are presented as facts.

Arkhangelsky suggests in his essay that this culture of “obida“, resentment, is a deliberate move to distract Russians from current issues and domestic problems in the country. The Kremlin is creating mythical enemies to obscure unpleasant realities; as Andrey Arkhengelsky writes, hinting on Russian legislation on  “the present time itself has been declared an “undesirable organisation“.

Twenty years of Putin have been twenty years of pouting.

 


related disinfo cases

26.12.2019
Sputnik Estonia
Estonia
28.12.2019
Sputnik Estonia
Estonia
31.12.2019
Sputnik Estonia
Estonia
01.01.2020
Sputnik Estonia
Estonia
28.12.2019
Itogi Nedeli @ 5 kanal [25:40 - 26:08]
29.12.2019
Vesti Nedeli @ Rossiya 1 [51:13 - 52:08]
Poland
26.12.2019
Sputnik.az
Russia, Estonia
02.01.2020
Russian RT
Russia, Ukraine
18.12.2019
News-front.info, Novorosinform.org, Ukraina.ru
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18.12.2019
Expert.ru, Gazeta.ru, Tsargrad.tv
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09.12.2019
RT Russian
Russia
19.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia
Estonia, US
09.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia Moldova Lithuania Abkhazia
Russia
23.12.2019
Moskovskyi Komsomolets, RIA Novosti, Ukraina.ru, Komsomolskaya pravda, BFM.ru
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25.12.2019
Tsargrad
Ukraine, US
06.12.2019
RT en español
Venezuela
27.12.2019
Geopolitica.ru - Italian
US
24.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
USSR, Russia
24.12.2019
Kp.md, NewsFront Russian, NewsFront French, NewsFront German, NewsFront English
Romania, Moldova, USSR
18.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
Italy
16.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia
China, Turkey, Russia, US
17.12.2019
Geopolitica.ru - Italian, Geopolitica.ru - Serbian
US
18.12.2019
RT en español, Sputnik Mundo, Telesur TV, Hispan TV, Juventud Rebelde, Barricada, Data Urgente, Ultimo Cable, Relampago Informativo, El Pais
Russia
19.12.2019
Sputnik International
Estonia
17.12.2019
60 Minut @Rossiya 1 (37:20-37:30)
Ukraine, US
17.12.2019
Vremya @ Pervyi Kanal time 5:30-5:40; 6:00-6:15, RT, EADaily
Syria
17.12.2019
RIA FAN Vechernyaya Moskva Lenta.ru REN-TV
Sweden
17.12.2019
Strategic Culture Foundation
Paraguay, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Guatemala, Ecuador, Brazil, Chile, Israel
13.12.2019
Sputnik Mundo Sign Of The Times Spanish
Russia, Syria
14.12.2019
Odnako @ Pervyi kanal time 12:13 - 12:24
Ukraine
14.12.2019
Sputnik Mundo
Bolivia, Mexico, US
13.12.2019
Vremya pokazhet @ Pervyi kanal time 45:43 - 46:10
Ukraine
13.12.2019
Vremya pokazhet @ Pervyi kanal time 37:02 - 37:16
Russia, Ukraine
13.12.2019
Vremya pokazhet @ Pervyi kanal time 32:48 - 32:21
Russia, Ukraine
16.12.2019
RT Deutsch Video @ 3:25-3:44
Russia, Ukraine
30.11.2019
Vedomosti.md
Moldova
15.12.2019
Bolshaya Igra @Pervyi Kanal (53:35-54:30)
Russia
09.12.2019
Sputnik Georgia
Russia
10.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia
Ukraine
09.12.2019
Sputnik
Norway, Serbia, Russia
09.12.2019
Sputnik
Serbia, Russia
10.12.2019
Sputnik Serbian
Serbia
12.12.2019
Cont.ws, Svpressa.ru
10.12.2019
Sputnik Deutschland
Russia, US, Germany
10.12.2019
Sputnik Deutschland, RT Deutsch
Russia
10.12.2019
Sputnik French, RT France
Russia, Ukraine
13.12.2019
Sputnik Polska
Ukraine, US, Poland
03.12.2019
Teleskop-by.org
Belarus, US
01.12.2019
Evrozona @ Vesti FM time 00:18:06-00:18:08; 00:18:35-00:18:40
Syria
03.12.2019
RT Russian, Tsargrad, Sputnik Moldova
Hungary
21.11.2019
Sputnik SrbijaNova srpska politička misao Novine novosadske Nezavisne novine Pravda Source Olovka Online vesti IN4S Rezidencija News front
Serbia, Russia
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Sputnik Srbija
Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia