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Orlov: Propaganda and the lack thereof

Public Policy

With regard to the goings-on in Ukraine, I have heard quite a few European and American voices piping in, saying that, yes, Washington and Kiev are fabricating an entirely fictional version of events for propaganda purposes, but then so are the Russians. They appear to assume that if their corporate media is infested with mendacious, incompetent buffoons who are only too happy to repeat the party line, then the Russians must be same or worse.

The reality is quite different. While there is a virtual news blackout with regard to Ukraine in the West, with little being shown beyond pictures of talking heads in Washington and Kiev, the media coverage in Russia is relentless, with daily bulletins describing troop movements, up-to-date maps of the conflict zones, and lots of eye-witness testimony, commentary and analysis. There is also a lively rumor mill on Russian and international social networks, which I tend to disregard because it’s mostly just that: rumor. In this environment, those who would attempt to fabricate a fictional narrative, as the officials in Washington and Kiev attempt to do, do not survive very long.

There is a great deal to say on the subject, but here I want to limit myself to rectifying some really, really basic misconceptions that Washington has attempted to impose on you via its various corporate media mouthpieces.

1. They would like you to think that there is a Russian invasion in the East of Ukraine. What’s actually happening is a civil war between the government of Western Ukraine (which no longer rules the east in any definable way) and the Russian population of Eastern Ukraine. Ukraine has been falling apart for decades—ever since independence. The eventual break-up was inevitable, but the catalyst for it was the military overthrow of Ukraine’s legitimate government and its replacement with cadres hand-picked in Washington.

2. They would like you to think that the Russian government stands behind Lugansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic—the two regions which, based on referendum results, have chosen to break away from Kiev. In fact, the Russian government has refused to recognize these republics. They have received no official political support from Moscow, which asked for the referendums to be postponed, and repeatedly asked for a cease-fire and an international, negotiated settlement to the crisis. The leadership of LPR and DPR has refused, and now aims for an outright military victory.

3. They would like you to believe that the Russian government is arming the “rebels” in Eastern Ukraine. To the contrary, the Russian government has withheld all military support, limiting itself to providing humanitarian supplies to the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been destroyed by artillery and rocket fire coming from the Ukrainian forces. The weapons in the “rebels’” arsenal are trophies, which they seized from the retreating Ukrainian forces. That said, the “rebels” are indeed being supported—but by the Russian people, not the Russian government. Remember, these are all Russians, on both sides of the border, and the Ukrainian government no longer controls any of it.

4. They want to convince you that Russia poses a threat to peace in Europe, and that the crisis in Ukraine is part of an imperialist Russian strategy to resurrect the USSR. Nothing could be further from the truth. The overarching Russian ambition is for Russia to be a normal country, subject of international law, at peace with the whole world, and integrated into the global economy. The Russian government is doing next to nothing to prevent Russians in areas that were once part of Russia from being slaughtered right in their homes using artillery and rocket fire. This makes for a distressing spectacle, but the Russian people understand that enlarging the military conflict beyond the by now purely notional borders of Ukraine is not the answer.

5. They want to assure you that Kiev will eventually prevail in the conflict. In fact, the Ukrainian military is being systematically destroyed. Shelling civilians is the only activity which they have been able to carry out successfully. The government in Kiev has instituted three mobilizations, one after the other, sending into battle boys and old men (maximum draft age is now 60). Those who refuse to be drafted were at first threatened with incarceration, but this no longer works, so they are now threatened with murder. The unofficial “fee” for getting out of being drafted is several thousand dollars. These soldiers are badly armed, badly trained, completely demoralized, and they mostly refuse to fight. Ukraine is quickly running out of tanks and APCs, which are all old Soviet-era and have been rusting for decades. It appears that Ukraine no longer has an air force at all. The casualties run into the tens of thousands. Over just one week in July, 1400 Ukrainian soldiers were killed; on the other side the figure is 10. The kill ratio is 140:1 and that one number tells almost the whole story. The war is far from over, but now, for the first time, LPR and DPR actually have something resembling an army, and that army is going on attack. Once the Ukrainian military collapses altogether, there is still the mercenary force maintained by the oligarch Kolomoisky, who runs Dnepropetrovsk Region as a personal fiefdom, and has recently decided to take charge of other neighboring regions as well. But mercenaries don’t like getting killed and, beyond a certain point, will simply run away. In all, it seems increasingly likely that Kiev will lose and that Ukraine will cease to exist.

6. They want you to think that the government in Kiev is legitimate, popular and stable. In fact, there are huge protests going on in Kiev at this very moment. The entire country is beyond bankrupt and is falling apart in real time, not just in the east, but everywhere. The people are beyond angry. The military units retreating from the east are in a foul mood, and may soon decide to turn their weapons against those who ordered them into battle. The people are beyond angry, and it seems probable that another revolution, only half a year since the last one, is in the works.

I hope that you can absorb this basic information and use it to filter out the propaganda that you read in Western newspapers and hear on the nightly news (if they mention Ukraine at all). Don’t automatically assume that if your side is full of it, then the other side is too. You don’t have to settle for lies.

Club Orlov

30 Comments on "Orlov: Propaganda and the lack thereof"

  1. Plantagenet on Thu, 28th Aug 2014 6:34 pm 

    There is a Russian invasion of east Ukraine. Orlov is lying when he denies it.

  2. Makati1 on Thu, 28th Aug 2014 7:18 pm 

    Plantagenet, YOU are the narrow minded liar here, not Orlov. ALL of your comments have been nothing but misinformation and ‘bot’ responses. NSA? CIA?

    I read a wider selection of news sources then most of the commenters here and I say he is spot-on, or very close to reality, in the Ukraine today. Your brainwashed mind cannot seem to understand that 99.99% of what you read in USSA MSM is propaganda and/or pure Bull Shit. And, you only get a small part of the actual events in the world, filtered through the Ministry of Propaganda. I feel sorry for you.

  3. Plantagenet on Thu, 28th Aug 2014 7:23 pm 


    Putin invaded Crimea and now an invasion is going on in eastern Ukraine. Russian soldiers and tanks are seizing Ukrainian territory south of Donetsk. In case you didn’t know it, there is a special meeting of the UN security council going on right now to discuss the Russian invasion. The US ambassador just denounced the Russian meddling in Ukraine and said to Russia in the UN—STOP LYING. Thats advice you might consider as well.

  4. jjhman on Thu, 28th Aug 2014 7:43 pm 

    There was a time when Orlov seemed to have something useful to say about how the west could learn from Russia’s experience in decline. Now I find it hard to understand why he left his beloved Russia. Russian interference in the outlying regions of the ex-USSR has been virtually constant since Putin took power. The Ukraine was, I think, the largest loss to the Soviet Union with some 80 million people. Calling everyone a liar simply doesn’t wash out the obvious facts that Putin wants it back. He’s feeling lucky after INVADING and taking over the Crimea. We see that subtly was never a strong point of the previous Russian empire, the USSR, Putin’s colonial asperations and now a be-fuddled Dimitri Orlov.

  5. noobtube on Thu, 28th Aug 2014 9:10 pm 

    So, you are more of an expert than a Russian, who speaks Russian, has family in Russia, what is happening in Russia?

    In the meantime, you are not Russian, do not know Russian, have no family in Russia, but are somehow the expert?

    Man, that American exceptionalism must make you immune to hunger, poverty, disease, and unemployment, too!

  6. Davy on Thu, 28th Aug 2014 9:16 pm 

    Likewise noobster your no Russian expert so don’t comment on others who are not Russian experts. Just stick your fingers in your throat and puk. That would be as good as it gets for the noob.

  7. Makati1 on Thu, 28th Aug 2014 10:23 pm 

    Davy is a blind flag waver and cannot be impartial in any discussion that does not make the USSA “exceptional”. As are a few others who reside in the Police States of America.

    I would prefer the opinions of a Russian than any American these days.

    When the SHTF, many on here will remember that I predicted it in the way it happens. But, it will be too late…

  8. Dave Ranning on Thu, 28th Aug 2014 10:48 pm 

    Kiev was the origin of the Rurik dynasty, the original Russian State, when Moscow was only a hunting camp.
    The historical literacy of most people is quite revealing.
    Might be time to let the far right in Kiev, and Wille Wonka the chocolate guy, see if they can hang on without massive support.

  9. Keith_McClary on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 12:13 am 

    “That said, the ‘rebels’ are indeed being supported—but by the Russian people, not the Russian government. Remember, these are all Russians, on both sides of the border, and the Ukrainian government no longer controls any of it.”

    There were Jewish people, Americans, Canadians, Europeans, not Israeli citizens, “volunteering” in the Gaza Strip concentration camp. Gunning down kids on the beach and shelling schools and hospitals.

    Their home countries take no responsibility for their crimes. But when Russians do it, blame the Russian government.

  10. MKohnen on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 1:20 am 


    Samantha Powers said the Russians are lying … so it must be true? Seriously?

    But, for the sake of a better world, I think both Russia and the US should man up and tell the truth. And the truth is probably this:
    – Russia has aided the eastern militia with troops, arms and intelligence.
    – The US had indirectly funded the IS, directly trained them in Jordan, and continues to indirectly fund them to this day.

    So, Plant, who’s better? And if you won’t believe Putin, why on earth would you believe Powers?

  11. antiwarforever on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 5:05 am 

    No need to debate with people like Plantageet, who not only doesn’t want to see Russian or Russian speaking people in Crimea (what does he want ? an ethnic purification of 90% of the population of the peninsula?) and Eastern Ukraine, but has wet dreams about reducing Russia to its 11th century borders (the region around Moscw, basically?), like people like Brzezinzki or McCain. Why ? why do htese people have such an irrationnal hatred of everything Russian (and who back then found it soooo convenient to have an alcoholic western puppet like Yeltsin in the Kremlin)? I have no answser ? it verges on the irrationnal? why are some people racist ? same question.

  12. Nigel on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 5:18 am 

    Thank you Orlov.

  13. Davy on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 5:42 am 

    Anti, I am leery of the new expansionist militarist Russia with the czar wanna-be Putt but this is their homeland and their people. Let’s look at reality and what is best for our global world that vitally supports all our locals in a unhealthy codependence. Ukraine is a systematic risk as a failed state because of its size and being a critical node of energy distribution. The best thing that could happen is the Kiev mafia of oligarchs exhausts their army and treasury in an expensive civil war and in desperation the people accepts the reality of partition. Ukraine becomes eastern Russian dependent and western EU dependent. Realistically if the energy and economic ties are not broken from too much hatred Ukraine can be supported in this arrangement. Trying to hold Ukraine together as one country with a hostile eastern half and a hostile Russian neighbor they depend on is folly. We are in the last days of BAU tipping over into a new descent paradigm that will be dangerous and painful. We must solve these kinds of crisis in critical node countries now if we are going to buy time. Time is critical for the mitigation of the duration and degree of descent. I feel the necessary crisis to BAU to force attitude and lifestyle changes are the last frontier of a positive return of resources to battle the entropic decay of the realities of the new descent paradigm. Ukraine has the potential to bring down BAU quickly through a Europe in an energy crisis. Europe’s economy has already been seriously damaged at a time of an economically dangerous triple dip recession. Europe is a critical BAU node of economic, financial, and command/control functions that cannot be allowed to fail. Europe is TBTF. Ukraine crisis must be solved and supported by winter. Ukraine is a failed state now and a BAU time bomb. I want BAU to end and end as gentle as possible. The end of BAU will be ugly and painful but how ugly and painful is still debatable. Time to mitigate, adapt, and change attitudes and lifestyles is still possible.

  14. antiwarforever on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 6:01 am 

    One of the (used and used over and over again) arguments of the Western global Propagandastaffel against the annexation of Crimea by Russia is that it has opened the Pandora Box of the questioning of established borders. It is easy to show the fallacy of that argument, since that box has been opened long ago, here a few examples :
    – Israel vs its 1967 borders
    – Western Sahara
    – South Sudan
    – Erythrea
    – Somalia/Somaliland
    – Cyprus/ North Cyprus
    – former Yugoslav republics
    – Czech republic/Slowakie
    etc etc etc
    So if I understand right pretty everybody can violate the dogma of the intangibility of the international borders, save Russia ?

  15. herrmeier on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 6:43 am 

    Orlov, just like Kunstler, can be safely ignored. (and Makati and noob even more)

  16. antiwarforever on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 8:21 am 

    herrmeier like Plantagenet, can be safely ignored (jjhman even more)

  17. JuanP on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 8:55 am 

    I want the people of Donbass to become independent from Kiev. I want Kiev to become independent, too, and the fighting to stop. I couldn’t go back to being part of Ukraine after all that’s happened if I were the rebels, and I don’t expect them to, but I fear Ukraine will be destroyed by this proxy civil war the USA and Russia are fighting in their territory.
    I want Russia to survive. I think Russia plays a very important role in the world today because they are the most powerful country standing up in the way of total US hegemony. I do not want total US hegemony, I want a multipolar world with checks and balances, and a strong Russia is part of that. The USA needs to be slowed down, we are causing too much trouble around the world, generating bad will, and it is all because the government is full of mentally ill retards.
    We have lost this PR battle and most of the people in the world are siding with the Russians against us on this one. This could break the Dollar and it was a stupid, selfish, ignorant thing to do.

  18. Dredd on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 9:27 am 

    Good post Orlov.

  19. islander on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 9:29 am 


    Most of the world is not siding with Russia, only those that believe Russian propaganda about the Ukrainian government being full of fascists are siding with Russia. Most people in Europe, especially Eastern Europe are scared that Putin will be trying to invade their country next. Lots of people are actually glad America is there this time to stop the Russian aggression against an innocent people.

  20. JuanP on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 9:56 am 

    Islander, you are entitled to your opinions and I am entitled to mine. In this matter we disagree. That’s all. You can pick the propaganda that suits you, and I’ll pick the propaganda that suits me, which is none.
    I believe that at this point in time a clear majority of the world’s population is getting tired of the way the US government has been behaving since 911. I interact daily, both in my personal and professional life, in person and virtually, with people from all over the world. Most of these people were pro USA until Bush invaded Iraq or even longer, but have changed or are changing their minds. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine were all ruined by American intervention as far as most of the rest of the world is concerned, even allied populations, and most of the American population, mostly disagree with the US government’s actions in the 21st century.
    This is the humble opinion of an immigrant that lives in the USA and loves the USA and the American people. Most of us, myself included, want the US government to end this messing around in other people’s business, bring the troops home, close the bases, and focus on our domestic problems, which is what we should be doing.

  21. MKohnen on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 11:10 am 


    “… especially Eastern Europe are scared that Putin will be trying to invade their country next. Lots of people are actually glad America is there this time …”

    So let me get this straight. The US is in Eastern Europe, half-way across the globe, actively involved militarily, yet it is *Russian* expansionism we should all be afraid of? Man, you really have an inflated view of how smart you are, and how stupid the rest of us must be! Here’s the list of countries with foreign military bases:

    You will note, with the exception of Syria, all of Russia’s foreign bases are in former Soviet countries located next door to Russia. Now tell me that the same is true for the US. Don’t be ridiculous; if there’s a threat of any particular country seeking world domination, you’d have to be a rabidly nationalistic moron or a really poor liar (re: Samantha Powers, Jan Psaki, any US neocon, etc.) to deny that it is more than obvious the US is actively seeking world domination. The only cogent argument an American can make is that world hegemony by the US would be more “benevolent.” And, of course, that’s complete hogwash. Try to argue that the US hasn’t been hard at work creating instability in the ME. We already know that the US played both sides in the Iran/Iraq war, and more recently in Libya. Right now the US sponsored government in Iraq is at war with the US sponsored and trained IS.

    And as for “Most of the world is not siding with Russia”, that’s because much of the world is *forced* to back the benevolent US – even when it’s against their own interests. The US is pushing sanctions that will hurt Russia and the EU while having virtually no impact on America. Yet the EU goes along with this! So you are right, the lap-dogs certainly support the US position more than the Russian one. Yet the non-aligned countries overwhelmingly support Russia. Tells you something about the kind of freedom the US is spreading.

  22. JuanP on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 11:27 am 

    MK, As you point out European support for American actions in Ukraine is against the best interest of the European population, and they know it. This support comes from the governments, not the European population, and it is not always voluntary, but mostly coerced.
    This is the worst possible way to collapse, IMO.
    The vast majority of the human population live in the developing world, and most of them are siding with Russia in their trade choices, where it counts, my country, Uruguay, included. They are all delighted that all the food production in their countries has a guaranteed buyer, Russia, for at least a year.

  23. Davy on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 11:33 am 

    It has been downhill since 911 for America in effective and respected foreign policy. The country has been hijacked by a variety of incompetent, inept, and impotent patrician ideologues on both sides of the spectrum. It is really an entropic thing that occurs systematically in the late stages of a countries political and economic growth. This is true globally. I am not impressed with many countries and especially not Russia and China. I am American and I can tell you our system of capitalistic representative democracy is rotten to the core and needs to undergo a shattering crisis to bring it to its knees so it can be rebuilt from the ground up. That crisis is a few years away. It has already started but the effects are yet to be clearly felt. This just feels like any other downturn we have had.

  24. baptised on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 12:10 pm 

    Thank you Orlov. Oil and gas is now trading in rubles and yuan. Hmm

  25. MSN Fanboy on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 1:01 pm 


    You’re all cock suckers, arguing over where to place the furniture while the house is burning down.

  26. Norm on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 3:05 pm 

    Seems like everybody forgot a 777 that was blown up, the bleached bones still lying in the sun. Maybe that little detail might tell you who did what? Or was that just some kids playing with fireworks?

  27. JuanP on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 4:00 pm 

    Norm, I don’t understand your comment, but you read my mind on one thing. I have been thinking all day long about how the downing of flight MH17 has been erased from MSM and most people’s thoughts. It is almost like it never happened. I will create a forum post about it.
    Who do you think is guilty of what? I haven’t seen any proof of anyone in particular downing MH17, mostly propaganda and opinions. I think the issue will never be resolved as I have been saying since it happened.

  28. redpill on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 5:18 pm 

    I wonder how safe Russians feel posting comments critical of their government these days?

    I mean journalism is such a safe profession over there and the government would never crack down on blogs that seemed overly critical. Nah.

    I bet they even have their own equivalent of FOX that finds fault with Putin 24/7 and are highly paid for doing so.

    Hail, great Soviet!

    Don’t usually agree with you Plant, but I think the pro-Russian elements here are unaware of blanket propaganda being a little less effective where people have access to news sources that aren’t state run.

  29. Makati1 on Fri, 29th Aug 2014 8:14 pm 

    redpill, maybe we are more open about the changes in Russia since the USSR broke up?

    As for the downed liner. It is obvious who did it. The Western backed Kiev mafia. If it were anyone else, the proof would still be blaring on the MSM Propaganda Mill. The evidence is damning of the West and it will be covered over by other BS. By now most Americans have forgotten it but the Russian blame will stick in the back of their minds. “Mission accomplished!”

  30. edboyle on Sat, 30th Aug 2014 3:45 pm

    read about heroic struggle on the ground away from propaganda, will make agreat film script someday. Story from the front line by alocal donbass citizen soldier. The more we hear their voice and shut up on putin obama bs the more we can better decide for ourselves.

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