Western worries about Russian disinformation just “fits of hysterics”

Two days ago the foreign ministers of the European Union met in Brussels with Federica Mogherini, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, presiding. She asked the ministers to support her request to increase human and financial resources “to fight against disinformation and propaganda coming from abroad,” in particular from Russia. According to newspaper reports, “nobody inside the room was opposed to beefing up the task forces involved in such an undertaking.” This unanimity is quite a change from only a few months ago, when the European Council blocked a similar proposal.

The initiative for a joint European effort to combat Russian interference in the political processes of member states came from a Romanian member of the European Parliament, Siegfried Mureșan, who suggested in May that funds for that use be included in next year’s EU budget. It was high time to pay more attention to the problem. Russia has a small army of hackers and trolls. By contrast, the EU’s task force that concentrates on the eastern front has 15 employees and the one that focuses on the Western Balkans and the Arab-speaking world is even smaller than that.

For some time Russia has been active in Europe as well as in North America. For instance, Russian hackers got hold of nine gigabytes of e-mails from Macron’s campaign. Macron complained to Putin at their first meeting in May about Russia Today and Sputnik, financed by Russia’s defense ministry, which attacked Macron’s En Marche! Movement. But Russia’s cyber weapon against the West has proved to be very effective, and Putin has no intention of curbing his hackers’ activities.

Good examples of Russian manipulation can be seen in the Catalonian independence referendum and Brexit. Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis announced that his government had confirmed that a propaganda campaign intended to destabilize Spain came from Russia and Venezuela. They used Twitter, Facebook, and other internet sites to publicize the separatist cause and swing public opinion to support it.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh identified 419 accounts operating from the Russian Internet Research Agency (IRA) that attempted to influence British politics. Russian hackers also spread anti-Islamic sentiments in Great Britain after the recent terrorist attacks. According to The Guardian, hundreds of paid bloggers work around the clock at IRA “to flood Russian internet forums, social networks and the comments sections of western publications—sowing disinformation, praising the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, and raging at the west.” On Monday Theresa May addressed the issue in a speech, saying that Russia’s actions were “threatening the international order on which we all depend.”

The latest complaint came today from the Netherlands. Kajsa Ollongren, minister of the interior, accused Russia of attempting to influence public opinion in the Netherlands by spreading fake news and misinformation. She stated that her country is being “monitored by Russia’s security services which constantly search for opportunities to undermine it in ways that are easy, anonymous, fast and cheap.” She came up with specific examples, one of which was using a group of Ukrainian émigrés with Russian sympathies to try to tilt Dutch public opinion towards a no vote in the referendum on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement—which was, in fact, rejected in 2016.

Today Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, answered these accusations. “We are quite accustomed now that some of our partners in Europe and across the ocean apparently have no better things to do than blaming our media or branding them as foreign agents. Apparently, the explanation is that people in the capitals, from which such accusations come, be that Madrid or London, are facing numerous unresolved domestic problems. And, probably, get into such sensationalized fits of hysterics to draw the attention of their voters away from their inability to solve those problems,” reported Russia Today.

Hungary’s attitude to Russian internet propaganda shows the usual ambivalence. In May 2017 the European People’s Party held its conference in Malta, where the Fidesz members of the party voted with the majority in condemning “Russian disinformation undermining Western democracy.” Two months later, however, in Budapest, the Fidesz members of parliament rejected a proposal identical with the one Fidesz MEPs voted for. The opposition party LMP translated the text of the EPP statement into Hungarian and turned it in as their own proposal. The document didn’t even get to the floor. It died in committee.

At the November 13 meeting of EU foreign ministers, Szijjártó, along with all his colleagues, voted for the expansion of EU efforts to defend against the systematic cyberattacks on EU member countries. But this piece of information didn’t make it to the Hungarian media. Foreign Minister Szijjártó gave a quick press conference in the intermission, during which he assiduously avoided talking about Russian cyberattacks and concentrated instead on the migrant issue. He also complained bitterly about Ukrainian atrocities against Hungarian symbols in Berehove/Beregszász, where someone took off the Hungarian flag from town hall and put a dirty shirt on Sándor Petőfi’s statue. This anti-Hungarian incident is probably a response to Hungary’s recent treatment of Ukraine.

Hungary has been preoccupied with Ukraine ever since Kiev passed an education law stating that minority students will be able to learn all subjects in their own language in the first four grades but, starting with grade five, with the exception of one or two subjects, the language of instruction will be Ukrainian. Péter Szijjártó said that Hungary will veto all of Ukraine’s moves to strengthen its ties to the European Union. Hungary’s first opportunity to isolate Ukraine came at the end of October when Hungary vetoed a planned December 6 meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. The NATO-Ukraine Commission is a decision-making body responsible for developing relations between NATO and Ukraine and directing cooperative activities between them. Sputnik reported the good tidings that “Hungary announced that it will block Ukraine’s aspirations to integrate into NATO.” In the meantime, Russian hackers and trolls are incredibly active in Ukraine. In Hungary one doesn’t have to worry about Russian fake news and disinformation because Hungarians are fed the same by their own government.

November 15, 2017
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1956
Guest

This is a positive opening on this blog.

The subtitle and the Tag can be Active Measures.

Farkas
Guest

The duplicitous and hypocritical “Christian” nationalist Hungarian government is playing a dangerous game in a geopolitical environment that does not much fancy Hungarians. The Hungarians are relentlessly abusing Europe as well as their own geographical neighborhood, relying on their ability to cry wolf and rely on European rule of law whenever they are seen to have gone too far. But people who live in glass houses should not be throwing stones. If they so wish, the Ukrainians could make the life of Sub-Carpathian Hungarians a living hell, and the Hungarians could complain about that to a toothless UN until the cows came home. Patience will wear very thin with Hungarian blustering and meddling in the internal affairs of neighboring countries. And if the Hungarian retards are not careful, ultimately it might well come to Romanian troops marching on the streets of Budapest once again, with Ukrainians, Serbians and Slovaks added for good measure . . . .

Member
It does not make any difference, who is spreading disinformation, propaganda, falsehoods, lies, etc. to sway the people’s opinion one way or another. All of it is wrong! It is wrong when it is from Russia and it is wrong if it comes from the State Department and it is even worse, when it comes from CNN, NBC, ABC, Fox News, BBC, etc. If the GOOD politicians, GOOD media are really made up of GOOD people, if they really say and show the truth and if they are credible, then the majority of the people will believe them. The trouble IS NOT Russia, the trouble is, that there are too few GOOD and CREDIBLE politicians and media and most of the people will believe anything that they hear, read, see that is put in front of them. Few people would look, search and try to find out if the information they get is really truthful and credible. I do not have Russian phobia and I don’t take part in the Russian hysteria, but I hold responsible all of the stupid, inept politicians in power for smearing all the blame on the Russians for everything. It is a typical childish behavior,… Read more »
Guest

Gyula, I’m not so sure about this.
Sometimes I have the feeling that the internet with its masses of “information” is a kind of overload for many people.
If you look at the debunking site snopes.com and their examples of nonsense that many people seem to believe you start to think that humans are really, really dumb …
From conspiration theories on everything (moon landing, flat earth) to politics – nothing is too idiotic to find followers!
And Putin doesn’t have a small army – I’d say it’s a large army of people who feed that …

Farkas
Guest

I must say that here in Australia the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) is clean as a whistle and provides fantastic and more importantly totally reliable and trustworthy service on numerous radio and TV channels. My favorites are ABC Radio National, ABC Newsradio and ABC News 24 (a TV channel). Plenty of hard-hitting investigative reporting, but with a complete absence of sensationalism, regular forums on highly controversial and complex topics holding our politicians to account, and a whole army of super-intelligent conversationalists to bring the world of intellect, science, society and foreign affairs to the viewers and listeners in very balanced ways. And never mind that most of them can be pretty left-wing in their own personal political positions; it seems that that is the corner of politics where the intelligent and articulate ones tend to congregate. And to their credit, let it be said that they are always extremely fair with right wingers, and never try to push their own left wing positions onto the viewer or listener.

Farkas
Guest

Stalin? Duh? You joking?

Elected by whom, when and under what conditions and threats to his “voting public”? Right solutions? Yes indeed, bloody purges, show trials and executions of hundreds of thousands, millions locked up in the Gulag, mass deportations to Siberia of Baltics, Chechens, Crimean Tartars, Ukrainian kulaks and other “unreliables,” starvation to death of five million Ukrainians during the Holodomor, killing off just about the entire senior officer corps of the Red Army a couple of years before the German invasion, humungous losses of men and materiel when he cavalierly disregarded repeated intelligence warnings from numerous sources about German intentions to invade, mass incarcerations of Soviet soldiers returning from German POW camps, letting loose a massive and hysterical antisemitic campaign against Soviet Jews after the war . . . Need I continue? At this rate Hitler might also be regarded as not having tried to avoid responsibility, and having found the right solutions for the society he was elected to lead out of trouble. In his case of course the operation was successful, but the patient had died . . .

Swerve
Guest

The topic is misinformation and interference in foreign elections, not the level of democratic politics in individual countries. If you want a rough estimate on the respective efforts on that score, compare the money and resources committed in the two countries concerned. The CIA has been influencing foreign elections for 70 years and the list of successful interventions is practical endless. Also, there was a moment in history, when a comprehensive peace agreement between the West and the Soviet Union seemed possible, when Reagan and Gorbachev met in Reykjavik. What did the US do? It undermined Gorbachev (Bush made a deal with the heads of the Russian, Ukraine and Belarus states), intervened in the Russian election to have Yeltsin elected and crippled the Russian economy. Plus they extended NATO without regard to Russian security concerns. That seemed like a good idea then. Now the chicken came home to roost. We are now facing World War Three and I just want to remind anybody who think that this might end up in our favour that the Russian have a perfect score so far.

Farkas
Guest
I cannot but agree that Americans have indeed been interfering with foreign elections for the past 70 years (as have the Soviets, for that matter, during the Cold War, though I do not know of any member of the EU that ever did). Stirring, disinformation and misinformation are just the ordinary stock in trade of the intelligence business, and not just at election times. Nothing new in that, except that with the internet there is a massive opportunity to turbocharge the impacts. But that applies equally as much to American stirring as to Russian. The Russian attempt to shape the American elections last year, egregious as it might have been (if true!), would not have even been noticed or hardly noticed in the normal course of events, but for the inane Russia antics of some senior people on Trump’s election staff, the beat up of the story in some prestigious American media on the left side of the political spectrum, and the hysteria it triggered in the ranks of the Democratic Party, especially after Trump’s lucky win in the Electoral College. As to my post above about Stalin, the intention wasn’t to write about “the level of democratic politics in… Read more »
Istvan
Guest
Farkas and Swerve the United States has through the CIA, Voice of America, the United States Agency for International Development, the United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command of which I have some familiarity with, and the Department of State attempted to influence elections in the past in foreign nations. This has been depicted by the left in the USA for many years in particular by the late I.F. Stone, there is a film about his years of work which is reviewed here http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/all-governments-lie-review-i-f-stone-1201909960/ The left journalism in the USA has unfortunately also been influenced to one degree or another by socialist ideology or extreme liberalism of the type promoted by John Kenneth Galbraith who saw large capitalist entities effectively creating a situation where free markets are destroyed. Capitalism up to now has been very enduring, I do have my doubts what will happen with the rise of artificial intelligence and robotics however. What Putin is attempting to do was also done under Stalin very crudely in the elections that were held in numerous Central European nations occupied by Soviet troops following WWII. Gyorgy Faludy in his book My Happy Days in Hell describes in some detail how… Read more »
Swerve
Guest

Stalin was a communist dictator and the Soviet propaganda was so crude and blunt that hardly anyone lapped it up in Hungary. It was the reality of a Communist-dominated ministry of the interior that did the trick in the Hungarian elections of the late 1940s. Russia is no longer a communist country and their propaganda activities have grown much more sophisticated, although it is still far from the level of sophistication of US propaganda. I can live with that: I don’t buy American propaganda the same that I don’t buy Russian propaganda. A good education system is the key to the fight against propaganda. With the spread of chartered schools and other bizarre developments, the American public is currently being made more amenable to propaganda – not just to American propaganda but the Russian propaganda, too.

Member
The context is Churchilll, FDR and Stalin and they all saved their country from the nazis. The methods were different and that is NOT the issue. If it was not for Stalin, Russia would have lost Moscow in 1941 July. Because he (alone) stopped the Government fleeing to Kuybishev, he ordered the Scorched Earth policy and amid the mutual disregard for law, (Germans killed also discriminately) purged the army, killed political prisoners and ordered to be killed those who flee the Germans. Yes Stalin used the most inhuman methods and he was a “merciless, killing animal”, yet the result was, that he saved Russia from the German invasion and annihilation. I did not go further with the example, only to WWII. == Separately, despite the nearly 20 million deaths and the long, inhumane murderous rule, a lots of Russians loved Stalin, cried when he died and lined up along the rails as the railroad car carried his coffin. Had it been another man in his place, Russia would not have become the World power, ruling over Eastern Europe too. The context is, that the leader saved the country from a total disaster and not the method, how it was done.… Read more »
Guest

That’s an old joke:
If you want the attribute “The Great” as a leader/king/emperor/whatever – then you have to kill more people and destroy more cities than your contemporaries – at least a million people is ok …
So we should admire Stalin?
Maybe if Stalin hadn’t cooperated with the Nazis before (remember Poland, Ribbentrop/Molotov?) Hitler wouldn’t have dared to declare war on the UdSSR …

Member

Maybe this…. Maybe that…… The fact remains, The Russians with the leadership of Stalin defeated the nazis. Thank you for your comments, I cannot add to this subject any more details.

Observer
Guest

Come on Wolfi, have more respect for history: like hell Hitler wouldn’t, Lebesraum, Untermenschen, Drang nach Osten, the hatred against the Judeo Bolshevism, WWI trauma, etc. This was part of the plan.

Gyula
Russia saved itself and Stalin was not the main factor, not for the victory, not for the poor state of the army and the tremendous losses, it was the way Russia was, and is, I’m afraid. E.g. the often mentioned decimation of the officer corps in 1937/8 is greatly exaggerated – only 5% were executed; many were arrested and later restored.

dos929
Guest
The people of Hungary are misinformed by their government continuously, as a matter of policy. As most Hungarians do not speak language other their mother tongue it is not a difficult task to feed them with innuendoes, outright lies and propaganda that even the Nazi regime would be proud of. Those few hundred thousands that tuned in onto the few publications that in spite of the regime’s efforts are still alive are better informed, but owing to their numbers they do not matter in the big picture, and pose no real danger to the regime. That Orban agrees with the EU decisions and signs on it, then does and says exactly the opposite at home is old news, but a permanent posture by him. The greater tragedy (yes, it is a tragedy…) that the EU leaders and organisations do very little and too late (some 7-8 years too late…) to recognise this and voice their displeasure. Were they have done the ‘right thing’ after the first signs of Orban’s ‘misbehaviour’ perhaps we wouldn’t be in the same shoes today. Unfortunately, even now that the so-called ‘7th Article’ is being talked about, it is still just talk, no more. It is… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

Re – EU Article 7
Last week Nov.06 the LIBE commission voted against a ‘rule of law’ mission to Hungary. From members of LIBE I have understood that this was done in order to AVOID delay in the preparation of the report necessary for the ‘Article 7’ resolution. Without the mission there are already sufficient facts and information available to prepare a good substantiated EU resolution against Hungary.
The actual time schedule (planned voting in EP 2018.Sep) for this can be found at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20171011IPR85823/hungary-meps-to-assess-whether-there-is-a-risk-of-seriously-breaching-eu-values.
For all, like me, who are of the opinion that the situation in Hungary is very very urgent and want the procedure is too slow and better be speeded up to the maximum, please let your voice be heard and write to LIBE members, e.g.the MEP responsible for the ‘Article 7’ report Judith Sargentini (email is on her EP page – http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/96815/JUDITH_SARGENTINI_home.html )

Ferenc
Guest

PS: other MEPs directly involved in the preparation of the ‘Article 7’ report can be found (under ‘Shadow rapporteur’) at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?lang=&reference=2017/2131%28INL%29

Bastiat2
Guest

What about the equally (if not more) false information distilled everyday by the Western media?
Whenever I read an article on a subject I know a lot about, I find an amount of bu…it that no Russian equivalent would ever dare to print.
Is it another case of the the saw dust and the plank?

Observer
Guest

Bastiat
What western media do u read? Why not try Times, Guardian, BBC, CNN or any serious outlet?

Guest

Do you mean “sources” like breitfart or infowars?
Funnily enough these right wingers often have the same fake news as Russia Today, Sputnik etc …
Draw your own conclusions!
Better yet look up snopes.com and read about fake news there …

PS:
If say the NYT or CNN or the German SPIEGEL falls prey to some fake source you can be sure that other media will point out the error and you’ll read a correction – but in the case of breitbart or RT you’ll never see that.

Member

The Hungarian government doesn’t just turn a blind eye to the issue of Russian propaganda, it uses taxpayers’ (and EU) money to emit its own propaganda (and probably echoes of Russian propaganda, quite directly) – and this is on the increase, as far as I can tell. Domestic propaganda is one thing – local papers and commercial radio stations all pumping out the government line on Orbán, Soros, Hungarian beating the West, etc – but there seem now to be a veritable legion of pro-Orbán (i.e. government-sponsored) media streams in English. Until I hid them, on the Google app on my Android device (Google knows my interests and is always happy to make money) I got stories from all kinds of trumped-up think-tanks and institutions and online journals about Orbán’s greatness, as well as Russian-backed stories on similar anti-Western subjects.

Guest

Yes,the “anti Soros campaign” is a pain in the a** for many thinking Hungarians – I just wrote about it on politics.hu:

This disinformation campaign by the Fidesz mafia has become grotesque – a kind of satire of itself!

Every week my wife throws away more than a dozen copies of the (in)famous Soros picture accompanied by idiotic statements (who writes that crap btw?) in the local “newspapers” etc – the publishers must be happy with the money the government pays for this – but wait, the publishers are companies owned by the Fidesz honchos and Orbán’s family members and “friends” …
If this is the voice of the Hungarian people then it shows how Hungary has again gone down the drain …

Soros must be kind of happy that more than a billion surely (!!!) of his pictures have been printed on cheap paper – I wonder what archeologists will think when they find these everywhere in Hungary during excavations in a thousand years maybe.
This must have been the first emperor/god in Hungary maybe – like a pharaoh or emperor Augustus in Rome or Zeus or …
Why not put the picture of Soros on all Forint bills and coins?

wrfree
Guest
Considering the huge amount of Russian investment in disinformation which constantly tries to destabilize the West perhaps the EU might want to review the present in context of events in the previous mid-century when it comes to dealing with a determined antagonist. It will help them in the long run to consider themselves now in a definitive ‘Resistance’ with the the understanding that they are virtually now in an ‘occupied’ Europe. Of course not in the sense of having enemy troops in countries but rather for the simple fact that its antagonist now has virtually the entire breadth of the globe to use as its disinformation battlefield and influence political and civil discourse to their ends. Communications technology and especially social media has brought this magnificently to fruition. Countries do not need to be occupied now to enforce and influence the dictates of a foreign power. All they have to have now is Facebook, Google and Twitter rapping away in democratic societies to arguably give an enemy food and sustenance for developing its own clandestine activities ironically in such public forums. With the joke of 15 people the EU is not going to do it. They need to be careful.… Read more »
J Simon
Guest

Russian interference???
The US kills foreign leaders. Remember Allende and Che Guevara?
And how about domestic opposition, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King?
Hard to believe the CIA had no hand in their assessination.

Ferenc
Guest

Questioning Russian interference, by claims of US assassinations…
Your reasoning is mindblasting, nevertheless nice that you as a true F-nik try to defend the ‘Bear’

Guest

Of course, and Kennedy and 9/11, the moon landing …
Do you also believe in a flat earth, Joe or Joseph?

J Simon
Guest

wolfi7777
007 needed only one 7, you need four.
Your reasoning is flat, as in flat earth.

Istvan
Guest

Possibly a little more balanced perspective Simon would increase your credibility. The communists during the Vietnam war systematically murdered civilians loyal to the south Vietnamese government and we did the same through what became known as the Phoenix Program which was still active in 1972 when I served in Vietnam.

I only played a logistical role in relationship to the Phoenix program, but I was aware of it. But how many Hungarians know that the Kadar regime and all of the Russian satellite governments helped train Vietnamese communist commando teams that also killed their ideological opponents?

This article in the Hungarian Free Press http://hungarianfreepress.com/2017/09/27/orban-is-praising-and-condemning-vietnams-communists-at-the-same-time/ discusses in a general way how the Kadar regime supported the rise of the current communist party dictatorship in Vietnam under the guise of national liberation. Today the Vietnamese Communists are a regime of corrupt oligarchs who actually allow so called imperialist international corporations to exploit their cheap labor for the benefit of the oligarchs and party members. This is the true legacy of the so called liberation struggle in Vietnam.

Zsolt
Guest

Not unlike what is happening in Hungary?

Istvan
Guest

Very similar Zsolt. Gabriel Kolko a Marxist historian of the Vietnam War has a postscript to his massive study of that war titled Vietnam since 1975: Winning a war and losing the peace. Which for the masses of Vietnamese people is profoundly true.

Observer
Guest

Guys,

Don’t fall for this nonsense – this is the classical: US journalist in a Communist country – Why are the salaries here so low? Communist official – Why are you beating up blacks?

These same pricks irrationally hated the Russians (even after those left quietly) and now they like them just because a half-baked deeply provincial half-gy told them so. Can’t find many worse dupes.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘defending against the ‘Bear’

Czar Putin has a point where he too like the West argues for ‘stability and order’ in foreign/world affairs. But it is quite evident that the crux of that goal falls more within the homeland rather than outside of it. It is the nature of Russian policy now in the 21st to exclaim that wherever there are Russians there Russia resides.

NATO needs pause to remember that line which implies much in political and military calculation as most everything it does in the Euro theater is to weaken it to impotency. The meddling country now will keep NATO on its mettle for some time to come.

It would appear those who are perplexed over ‘Russian interference’ refuse to acknowledge that an all-hands-on-deck ‘resurgent’ Russia now is on the prowl again in all the nooks and crannies of the deep forest.

Reality Check
Guest

Resorted to “whataboutism”. Tried to misdirect. Lost the argument.

The misdeeds of one country are not a license for another country to act badly. The subject here is the widely and independently verified reports from several countries and investigative journalists.

Ferenc
Guest

Fick News spread at ‘National Consultation’ campaign tour:
*Speakers in Fidesz party town halls (2017.Nov.15) have been repeating a story to audiences across Hungary about a migrant claiming benefits for 4 wives and 23 kids in Germany.
It’s a fake story and has already been disproved 2017.May.09 – https://www.snopes.com/muslim-migrant-benefits/
(note: among the media originally reporting the story… Breitbart UK)

2017.Nov.15, Fidesz to supporters at town hall:
*NGOs, Soros, and Brussels to blame for what is now beginning of a conflict between Muslim community and “Christian”, “national” Hungarians (video on twitter)
*if you hear about hate and problems, that means you are watching the wrong media (video on twitter)

all sourced: https://twitter.com/liliebayer

Observer
Guest

It’s chilling to see the Hungarian society (never very pretty, but assuming looks at least) being poisoned, wrecked and emaciated by this bunch of liars and thieves. They threw the nation back 25 years for their own enrichment and there are still 2 million dupes and fascists who cheer them.
I am becoming a misanthrope.

trackback

[…] In Hungary one doesn’t have to worry about Russian fake news and disinformation because Hungarians are fed the same by their own government, writes Hungarian Spectrum: […]

Matt
Guest
Rank and file citizens in the West, given that their social media now serves as a de facto news service, appear prone to believing polarizing news and fabricated news propaganda that attends to their fears and prejudices, and influences their political choices toward messages of order, duty, and (racial/national) purity, well revealed by Leo Lowenthal and Norbert Guterman’s seminal book on political demagoguery and mass persuasion, Prophets of Deceit (Harper Bros., 1949). Rebecca Lossin has an outstanding article on information packaging in the new, New Left Review that amplifies the problems of the new information economy on how people come to know knowledge now that long-form learning is in decline. Although the continuity of apparatchik-style leadership in the RF has been seamless between the USSR and RF, western encroachment on the RF’s border since 1992 bears some responsibility for the formation of the current dynamics of the RF’s authoritarian style of leadership, of which Perry Anderson wrote a fantastic analysis in the NLR earlier this year, and Stephen Cohen has written about effectively. RF propaganda efforts indicate low cost, high yield forms of exerting soft power in the West. “Capitalist encirclement” as Kotkin noted in his Stalin biorgraphy, appears still… Read more »
Observer
Guest

“..western encroachment ..bears some responsibility for the formation of the current dynamics of the RF’s authoritarian ..”
Don’t u believe this: Russia has always been authoritarian, with or without any encroachment. The West’s attitude during the first years of Putin were markedly open and friendly, and ? It is primarily internal dynamics that lead to the authoritarian sys in , just as in Hun, they don’t need external factors, e.g. see Orban now in permanent struggle against scores of “enemies”, many purely fictional.

Istvan
Guest

Not totally off topic. Béla Lipták reappeared today, for Hungarian readers see Magyar Nemzet https://mno.hu/kulfold/amerikas-magyarok-vedik-meg-sajtoszabadsag-ugyben-orbanekat-2427908
Eva has correctly described his organization the “Hungarian Lobby” as the “Fidesz lobby.” (see http://hungarianspectrum.org/tag/bela-liptak/ ).