Propaganda has people viewing Ukraine conflict very differently
Published Thursday, March 6, 2014 7:51PM EST
Last Updated Friday, March 7, 2014 10:48AM EST
We in North America and even the Western world see the current situation in Ukraine one way – often as a justified uprising to overthrow a tyrant leader and Russia using an inappropriate amount of force to insert their influence.
But things are viewed very differently in Russia and other former Soviet Union countries.
Not only does the Kremlin control all of the media in Russia, but it also controls much of the TV news in surrounding countries. They control all three major networks in Belarus and according to an article by Linda Kinstler in The New Republic, the majority have a negative view of the protest in Ukraine.
Skip ahead to the 26-minute mark of the video above to see our full report on Ukraine and Russian propaganda.
In Kyrgyzstan, the Russian channels portray the U.S. base there as an American attempt to undermine relations with Russia. And in Kazakhstan, most outlets rely on Russian journalists.
The Kremlin-funded television channel Russia Today is covering the conflict, but from a much different angle than we usually see. They even have this segment called "Propaganda Watch." It makes the claim that the U.S. media is presenting a form of propaganda when saying Russia is using aggression.
They attack U.S. politicians for siding with the protesters in calling it a peaceful takeover to remove a tyrant. They also say the media have trouble actually showing the aggression because it isn’t happening.
It definitely shows there are two sides to the story.
“Putin is portraying them (the protesters in Ukraine) as Nazis and fascists. All things they want to protect against,” says Kinstler to Kevin Newman Live. “He is being portrayed as the guardian of traditional values.”
She says Russia is trying to assert itself as a world power and is rallying its people behind one national cause, which is protecting these values.
“The Russian propaganda has been very successful in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine and it’s interesting to see how it will play in a referendum,” says Eurasia analyst for Foreign Policy Initiative Hannah Thoburn to Kevin Newman Live. She used to live in Crimea. “The Russians will say that the troops are here to protect us. The ethnic Ukrainians will say the opposite. It’s self-selection.”
Thoburn was in Russia three weeks ago and says the news coverage was accurate, they just chose to exclude certain facts. And because of slow Internet in many part of Russia, people get most of their news from TV, which Thoburn says is always on in a Russian house.
“This is the most egregious example of double-speak I’ve ever seen,” Kinstler says pointing to the recent example of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu denying that Russian troops are off-base in Crimea, when a video surfaced on YouTube showing a Ukrainian journalist asking a soldier where he is from and the soldier saying “We are Russian.”
Russia Today is the same network where a U.S. anchor resigned on air saying the outlet “whitewashes” the actions of Putin. Liz Wahl’s announcement came on the heels of another RT anchor, Abby Martin, speaking out against Russian intervention in Crimea.
Thoburn says she doesn’t know if most Russian journalists believe what they are writing. She says many are struggling to hold down a job and switching professions is very difficult.