Saturday, February 21, 2015

Bizarre Russian Propaganda

Yesterday I learned that blogs in Moscow, at least one called Energy-Life, are posting a supposed report put out by the RAND Corporation on July 3, 2014 that contains a supposed plan for the Ukrainian government to reconquer eastern Ukraine by Sept. 1, impose martial law, set up internment camps, and then lift it by January 1.  I shall quote from it below, detailing some horrific things  that were supposed to be done according to this plan.  I found it by googling "RAND report Ukraine Novorossiya, and there was a link at the second hit, a site called oped news and a post by David William Pear, who provided a link to the actual report (the link here only goes to the general site but not his report; you will have to google it as I described above to see it, sorry).  His post went up on Feb. 4, 2015, and he posted another round the next day without the link, but referring to it and taking strongly pro-Russian positions.  It would seem that this posting by him has received no attention here, but it is now hot stuff in Russia, and from what I hear, lots of people believe its contents.  I note that while Pear mostly praised the releasing of this report, he did say, "The authenticity of this report is yet to be verified."

So, I am 99.9% certain that this is something cooked up by somebody in Russia.  The actual Memorandum is two pages long and addressed to nobody in particular, nor does it have a date or any names on it, although the link claimed it was issued on July 13 last year.  It has an opening section and then three sections, one on "Isolation," then one on "Mop-up," then one on "Return to Normal."  The flavor of it is best given by simply providing a few quotes.  Its two pages do have a RAND logo on their lower right corners, although I must say that I have never seen official paper of any entity, government, corporate, academic, non-profit, whatever, that had its logo in that location on its official paper, although who knows, maybe that is how they do it at RAND.

From the opening section, which describes the supposed advantages of this plan: "Activists of a pro-Russian political movement get decimated, pro-Russian voters get disorganized."

This is followed by a plan to shut down both the "coal industries" and also "the Donbass industries," with this being praised as a good idea  because it  will  reduce eastern Ukraine's dependence on natural gas (they use gas in the coal mines?).

In the "Isolation" section imposing martial law is proposed and detailed.  Near the end of this section it states that "use of non-conventional weapons shall not be ruled out."

In the second section, description of the takeovers of individual towns contains the following tidbit: "Infantry shall move in next to relocate male adults [ages 13-60] into internment camps."  Apparently all of them, no testing them for ideology or views before doing so.

In the third section it says that these camps will be guarded by people with approved ideology, and then in discussing refugees returning to the area it says, "However, men aged 18-60 shall be checked for possible support of separatists in internment camps."  Yes, that is sic.  Why for this bunch the 13-17 year olds get off is unclear.  In any case, all of these people are supposed to be released from the camps after two months.Or maybe those returnees are not to be tested in the camps but to be tested for whether or not they support those in the camps ("Hey, do you support these people in these camps, with it clear that if you say so we shall put you there?")

There is more, but you get the idea and the tone, including the rather clunky English (nothing in the future is ever "will" but "shall").

Probably the most telling detail of all that convinces me that this was indeed written by somebody in Russia (or somebody very pro-Russian, not pro-Ukrainian) is that twice it refers to "the Lugansk region."  Now quite some time ago, I posted here about whether that city and its region should be spelled as "Luhansk" or "Lugansk."  The former is the Ukrainian spelling, while the latter is the Russian spelling.  I noted on May 1 here that the Washington Post had for a short time switched from calling it "Luhansk" in the Ukrainian way to calling it "Lugansk"in the Russian way, but only for a short while and just before May 1 it switched back to using the Ukrainian spelling of "Luhansk," which it has used ever since as has virtually every media source I have seen in the US.  I seriously doubt that a report written by the RAND Corporation in early July that was supposed to be sent to the Ukrainian president would have used the Russian spelling as this one does. 

I think this pretty much settles it, but I shall simply add that back in July there was in fact a fairly successful campaign by the Ukrainian government to reconquer territory held by the separatists. The cities of Slovyansk and Mariupol were reconquered, the latter a port.  In August, some of this territory was reconquered by the separatists, who have more recently gained more territory, and are near the port of Mariupul, which many fear they may retake.  In any case, if there was anything to this plan we might have seen some of these proposals put into action.  But, I am unaware of any "decimation" of activists,any use of "non-conventional weapons," any setting up of internment camps with the male adults of Slovyansk and Mariupol being put into them, and certainly no shutting down of coal mines or any other "Donbass industries."  Maybe it has been going on, but nothing of the sort has been reported that I have seen, and amusingly enough even the Russian propagandists are not claiming that any of this has occurred in those areas, even as they are now touting to their population this purported plan that was to be activated last summer that urges all this awful stuff to be done.

About all I can say is that it is a sign of how brainwashed current Russians are that so many apparently are believing this tripe.  This is not a good sign.

Barkley Rosser

8 comments:

anthrosciguy said...

Would this be the equivalent of the sorts of paranoiac emails so prevalent among the rightwing in the USA? Because it doesn't really sound any more strident or crazed.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

We certainly have people writing all sorts of bizarre things here. However, they are not generally working for the RAND Corporation.

I can see someone in Russia or even here saying, well, some of this the US did in Iraq and Afghanistan. We certainly imprisoned and tortured people viewed as activist leaders. But we most certainly did not engage in either general "decimation" or in doing mass roundups of all male adult between 13 and 60 anywhere.

anthrosciguy said...

It sounded like it was only purported to be a RAND paper. The sorts of stuff we have floating around often purports to be based on some sort of official documentation from the US government or the UN.

Unknown said...

Interestingly, Russian-Americans who have subscriptions to Russian TV channels have also became brainwashed as well, even though they have easy access to English language alternative news sources. Russian propaganda is really effective

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

In general those managing Russian propaganda have been quite effective at reaching their audiences, even abroad. Many supported the annexation of Crimea, and there is a widespread belief that NATO has aggressively expanded, supposedly in violation of past promises.

In this case, some of the things that sound or look ridiculous in this particular phoney item supposedly from RAND fit in with prejudices. The fascistic tone of what is recommended fits with the constant invocation of WW II and the claim that the Ukrainian government is indeed fascistic, who is/was supposed to carry out their plan, with the US supposedly behind the Ukrainian strings, something aided by the machinations of Victoria Nuland of the US State Department (whose appointment to her current position remains a mystery to me).

Needless to say this extends even to what in my eyes is the ultimate failure of the document and sign that it is indeed a fake, the use of the Russian spelling of Luhansk as Lugansk. This is what a Russian speaker expects to see and thus does not realize how incongrusous and totally unlikely this is, what a dead giveaway it is to what a fraud this thing ius.

bakho said...

Obviously cooked up. What is not cooked up are many of the Ethnic Dominance and intolerant statements that have been made by Svoboda and other right wing elements that have been welcomed into the government and have formed fighting militias that operate beyond the reach of LVIV. Attempts to dominate Eastern Ukraine by Right Wing Ukrainian Nationalists is a recipe for conflict. The radical elements on both sides need to be purged and banned from government, but it may be too late. The West made a bargain with the devil in inviting these Right Wing Nationalists into the government and using them as shock troops in the Riots. Now they have gained legitimacy and they will be a threat to peace and difficult to remove.
Ukraine should have agreed to autonomy for the east and negotiated economic and social policy. Instead they started bombing their own citizens.

rosserjb@jmu.edu said...

Supposedly after the last reshuffle in Kyiv, Svoboda and allies were reduced in influence in the government, and their camps in Maidan were shut down some time ago. What is worrisome now is that the failure of Poroshenko's government to halt the recent victories by the rebels is undermining Poroshenko and feeding into the more radical nationalists who work to build up their militias, given that the official military is supposedly so incompetent.

Yes, would be good to get these guys gone, but the situation in eastern Ukraine needs to get stabilized soon. They got the airport, now they have the rail line. If they go for the port, Mariupol, which they can also probably get if they want it, will that satisfy them and Putin? Supposedly Merkel and Hollande are still hoping that the latest cease fire will "take hold." Would be good if it did.

Unknown said...

On Feb. 18, [Sasha Grey ], the American porn star turned actress and author woke up to reports that Ukrainian soldiers raped and murdered her while she worked as a nurse near war-torn city of Donetsk.

https://medium.com/war-is-boring/how-pranksters-used-porn-stars-and-nazis-to-troll-russia-6ae688a2bd00