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Russia Launches Another Propaganda Outlet in the West, Claims Miami Is the Next Eastern Ukraine

One of Russia's most powerful tools has been its propaganda. Get ready for some more wild, outright false claims about the war in Ukraine and a bunch of other issues, because Russia just launched another propaganda outlet, called "Sputnik News," specifically aimed at an American audience.

Sputnik "slickly remixes President Vladimir Putin's brand of revanchist nationalism for an international audience, presenting the United States as an ailing imperial power bent on holding on to its domains," explains Foreign Policy's Elias Gross. Sputnik is "cheeky, Internet-savvy" and a lot like BuzzFeed.

The government-funded site went live on Monday, and it's already got some bizarro stories: Miami is a "rebellious breakaway region" like eastern Ukraine "New Russia," American foreign policy is "Trotskist [sic]," and the United States will soon suffer under a vegetarian president because American kids are too soft.

"We are against aggressive propaganda that is now being fed to the world and which forces a unipolar construction of the world," says Kremlin director of aggressive propaganda Dmitry Kiselyov. "We believe that it is unrealistic, that it leads humanity toward suffering and blood, and that there will be nothing good along this path." Kiselyov has a history of anti-gay, anti-Semitic claims and earlier this year suggested Russia could "turn the U.S. into radioactive ashes" if it wanted.

The other, more heavy-handed state propaganda outlet, RT (formerly Russia Today), has lost several legitimate journalists over its deceptive coverage of the war in Ukraine. When Russian-backed forces downed a Malaysia Airlines plane, correspondent Sara Firth said, "Every single day we're lying and finding sexier ways to do it" and quit. 

Putin's war in Ukraine is escalating, but he operates strategically. His administration crosses the "red line… little bit at a time, inching across over weeks and months, rather than crossing it all at once, [and] Western publics and politicians will get red-line fatigue and lose interest by the time you're across," explains Vox's Max Fischer. It also repeats outright lies, like the annexation of Crimea was legitimate and legal, or establishing a military supply chain is actually "humanitarian aid," and some people abroad, elsewhere described as "useful idiots," actually believe it.

Domestically, Russians have little choice to hear anything but disinformation, because Putin is cracking down independent media, forcing bloggers to register with the government, and killing journalists. 

Photo Credit: cc

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  • ||

    The Russians, throughout history, have really gone all-in for the strongman dictator types.

  • ||

    Yeah I think Russians have had a cultural inferiority complex since at least Peter the Great. It leads them to go after the guy that they think will show those westerners that they aren't so great, by any means necessary.

  • ||

    I think their extreme fatalism also plays a part. "Oh well, that's life. Pass the vodka"

  • ||

    Wait so I am part Russian?!

    It does, when it comes to authority there is a certain sense of resigned defeat etched in their collective psyche, hangover from the communist years I suppose.

  • ||

    I think their fatalistic tendencies long predate communism. Look at Russian literature. It's pretty much all about people struggling against forces with which they can't possibly hope to compete, much less win.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    That's because they live in fucking Russia.

  • ||

    Well maybe instead of pointing nuclear weapons at them, maybe we should figure out how to get anti-depressants into their vodka supply.

  • Every Cop is a Criminal||

    Another Christmas of Agony

    Misha, the dog, lies dead in the bog
    The children cry over the carcase.
    The mist chokes my heart and covers the mourners.
    At least this year we eat.

  • ||

    I think the inferiority complex actually goes back to the days of the Mongol hordes.

  • John Titor||

    *Exception being the Novgorod Republic that got its ass kicked by Muscovy.

  • ||

    Miami is a "rebellious breakaway region"

    Yes, I can just see it now. A horde of red beret wearing Cuban expats and senior citizens storm the state house in Tallahassee and put up the People's Republic of New Georgia flag. Yep, I see it coming.

  • Sevo||

    And they'll be riding on armored golf carts!

  • The DerpRider||

    Flank with the rascals!

  • The DerpRider||

  • Careless||

    Well, it was suggested as a joke in the article, referring to people who want Southern Florida to split from the northern parts into a new state, not leave the country. Overhyped by the Reason writer.

  • Swiss Servator, spare a franc?||

    Prepare for a Rus-bot invasion, Hit & Run...

    Oh, and "Kremlin director of aggressive propaganda" is a heck of a resume padder.

  • The DerpRider||

    But the director of passive propaganda is the sly guy.

  • ||

    Darn your quick wit and nimble fingers to heck!

  • ||

    So it there a Director of Passive Propaganda that is responsible for government lies that you can look at, if you'd like?

  • ||

    Or a Director of Passive-Aggressive Propaganda that you probably won't look at anyway.

  • The DerpRider||

    He says you really don't need to try to fact check him, but complains when you don't.

  • ||

    +1 Fine!

  • ||

    " Prepare for a Rus-bot invasion, Hit & Run"

    Some of those aren't bots Swiss.

  • userve32||

    This looks like its gonna be really good!

    www.anon-way.tk

  • Anonymous Coward||

    You ain't kiddin', bot.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Sputnik is "cheeky, Internet-savvy" and a lot like BuzzFeed.

    So, the general thrust is that they are a bunch of smug cunts with no thoughts or accomplishments worth mentioning? I dislike them already.

  • ||

    So yes, exactly like BuzzFeed.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    Try this one trick to make your beets taste like actual food!

  • ||

    Is the trick Tabascos sauce?

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    No. It's not getting your beet rations for a few days!

  • Sevo||

    Shocking!

  • Bardas Phocas||

    See 18 Ways that America Sucskis and Vlad Rules!

  • ||

  • ||

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    Yoga pants?

  • ||

    Yoga pants. I will cry like a baby the day those go out of style.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    Yoga pants will never go out of style. Neither will leggings. I simply will not allow it.

  • Zeb||

    I can't get upset about calling segregationists "crackers". And "cracker" just isn't offensive in the way "nigger" is, no matter how much some people want to pretend it is. That said, Rangel did manage to respond in a completely idiotic way.

  • ||

    It's that he thought it was a term of endearment that's ludicrous, not that any white person is actually offended by that word.

  • ||

    I am actually mildly offended by that and similar terms, KK.

  • ||

    I can't remember ever feeling offended because I don't give a fuck what others think of me. However, the Rangel screed is absurd. And Zeb, he isn't calling segregationists 'crackers', he is calling TEA party people segregationists.

  • libertreee||

    Gee, I am so happy that I don't live in a country that persecutes journalists like Russia does! And that over the last four years at least is good to gays. And how dare Russia insinuate that our foreign policy is dominated by Trotskyites! Move on, nothing to see here! We don't have to remind the Russkies that one of our major Presidential candidates in 2012 called them our worst enemy, do we? Surely we know that our intentions in spreading Nato to their front yards was purely defensive. We have no designs on their sovereignty or ability to influence their own region, now do we? I mean, how paranoid can they be? Their literature is so dark and gloomy, unlike ours, which always celebrates our glorious history and culture! It is a foregone conclusion that the Crimean vote was rigged, and of course the Russian "separatists" shot down that plane. No doubt at all about that. Russia just wants to gobble down territory, digesting it slowly like an anaconda. We never do anything like that, we are America!

  • ||

    I tried to read that, but I fell asleep in the middle of the second sentence.

  • HeteroPatriarch||

    We never do anything like that, we are America!

    You really don't know the audience here, do you?

  • Andrew S.||

    Took far longer than I expected for the pro-Russian commenters to show up here.

  • John Titor||

    Wait until Comrade Stalin hears about this!

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Got into the vodka rations early, I see.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It's like Russian PB.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "The other, more heavy-handed state propaganda outlet, RT (formerly Russia Today), has lost several legitimate journalists over its deceptive coverage of the war in Ukraine."

    Just for the record...

    If Sputnik offers Reason staff the opportunity to contribute, like they used to make regular appearances on Russia Today, then I think Reason staff should take advantage of that.

    Sort of like when Ron Paul refused to return money donated by skinheads--if the Kremlin is going to blow a wad on propaganda anyway, I'd rather that money went to disseminate libertarian ideas rather than anything else.

  • Cytotoxic||

    They're not going to disseminate libertarian ideas. They are going to use soundbites from them to legitimize their own BS and bring shame to Reason and libertarianism in general. Appearing on RT is one of the most disgraceful things Reason has done.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Brilliant. Perhaps we will see Daniel McAdams contribute articles such as "The 12 ways the Ukrainian language and culture is a CIA-backed plot" or somesuch.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The funny part is that China is slowly buying Russia out, and filling parts of it with Chinese. Oh, and it can't be said enough: Raimondo is a retard and a proto-typical peacenazi.

  • JeremyR||

    So, is Reason going to be on it like they were on Russia Today all the time?

  • Kure'i||

    The real question is what do the Russian millennials think? Maybe Reason could do a poll.

  • OA-5599||

    Miami, huh? They missed the real breakaway region of Florida, the Conch Republic.

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