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Friday, August 03, 2007

Annals of Russia's Neo-Soviet Propaganda Machine

As reported by BBC Russia (link in Russian, hat tip reader Elmer), the image on the right is the actual front page of the Times of London from Monday, July 30th. On the left is a Photoshopped image of that same edition created by the state-owned RTR television network's "Vesti" evening news broadcast. The headline "Berezovsky is Playing Us, and it's Embarrassing" did not appear on the actual front page of the paper. Instead, it appeared above an opinion blurb by a "guest contributor" named Stephanie Marsh which was published deep in the paper's inner recesses. Apparently, the clueless clods at RTR didn't even know that the Times had undergone a format change in the appearance of their print edition, and used the old version in their nasty little fraud.

How neo-Soviet can you get?

The Moscow Times has the details:

State-run television channel Rossia displayed a fake version of Monday's issue of The Times of London on its news show "Vesti," featuring exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky on Monday. Two pictures flanked the front page of the fake issue, one apparently showing Berezovsky and the other Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, with the headline, "Berezovsky is playing us, and it's embarrassing." The newspaper did run the article, by Stefanie Marsh, and under that very headline, but in the comment and opinion six-page pullout section rather than the paper's front page. "In no way did the piece suggest that the shown image -- which was a collage -- was the actual issue of The Times newspaper that came out on Monday," Yulia Polipova, a "Vesti" spokeswoman, said Wednesday. [LR: And in no way did it warn viewers that it wasn't, either.] In response, The Times highlighted the fact that a personal opinion piece had been presented as news reporting. "The image shown by 'Vesti' gives a completely incorrect representation of The Times front page," said Anoushka Healy, editorial communications director for the newspaper, in e-mailed comments. Polipova flatly dismissed speculation in the Russian media that the image may have been ordered by the Kremlin. The article referred to Berezovsky's recently announced allegations that Scotland Yard police foiled a plot to kill him. Berezovsky said police had told him to leave Britain because his life was in danger. During the week he was gone, police apprehended a man suspected of the plot at a Hilton hotel in central London, Berezovsky said. In the article, Marsh criticizes Britain's decision to grant Berezovsky asylum status and suggests that he abuses the status by using his British base as a platform for an anti-Kremlin campaign to "destabilize Russia." Moscow shares that view. Boris Timoshenko, a media analyst at the Glasnost Foundation, called the program's actions "idiotism," but stopped short of blaming the program's editors. "In current conditions, people understand what is expected of them," Timoshenko said, alluding to pressure from the Kremlin. The front page of Monday's bona fide Times led with an article about a shortage of court judges in Britain.
Is this how Putin's Russia shows how reasonable it is, how well it deserves a place at the table of civilized nations? Is this how it proves how fairly it would deal with Berezovsky were Britain to extradite him?

Watch the Vesti broadcast here (in Russian -- not surprisingly Vesti's server isn't so great, so it can require some patience to stream the content).


Anonymous said...

Recycling previously planted "news" is another old Soviet trick, and you see it in use a lot nowadays. This is an attempt to steal some of the credibility of the Western press, because the neo-Soviet press realizes it now has almost none. Also, it's a good way for the Kremlin to get more bang for the buck from the pieces they plant in western newspapers.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, we can try and look for the malicious intent in producing and showing this "collage" (коллаж - Rus.) , but the explanation is so much simpler. The "newsmakers" simply treat their audience as a stupid herd that will digest anything without questioning it. Many people in Russia are still in the dark about what is really going on and could care less about digging deeper. Ignorance is what is being exploited, and whoever "designed" that "collage" is either as stupid as those who took it, or thinks that he/she is above this herd (vanity galore in old mother Russia...).