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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Putin Propaganda, Intended Not to Convert but to Demoralize, Ultimately Counterproductive, Gallyamov Says


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Paul Goble
            Staunton, September 11 – Putin propaganda is not intended to convince anyone but rather to demoralize those who oppose the regime, Abbas Gallyamov says. As such, the quantity rather than the quality of its lies and deceptions is more important; but whatever short-term successes it wins, overtime it outrages and sparks even more opposition and ultimately a revolution.
            Because the regime’s propagandists like Margarita Simoyan set demoralization as their task, the Moscow analyst says, “the cruder and bolder the propaganda” she and others use the better from their point of view as can be seen with their creation of a parallel reality about the world in general and about Belarus now (rosbalt.ru/posts/2020/09/11/1863053.html).
            The task of such propagandists is to engage their opponents who will first be angry and then devastated when they “understand that they cannot really do anything about it,” Gallyamov says, and the generation of such feelings of powerlessness is their “main reward” because it sucks the energy out of those who might otherwise work to change things.
            “The simplest means of dealing with this problem is not to listen” to such propagandists, to recognize that they are a kind of “vampire” which is feeding on your energy.  But that is not easy for many to do. However, once one recognizes this reality, one must focus not on the propagandists but on their opponents.
            Instead of reacting to everything the propagandists say, the opposition should be working on their own agendas and their own plans. “How should the country be organized? What form of administration is needed? What economic model and what social one is needed? There is a mass of questions to be answered.”
            But this is to consider the problem at the level of tactics, the level at which for the moment the Putin propagandists are achieving many of their goals. But there is a strategic dimension which needs to be considered as well. There, the propagandists ultimately lose: the nonsense they spread demoralizes ever less and infuriates ever more.
            At a certain moment, Gallyamov argues, the boldness of the propagandist becomes counterproductive to his or her goals: instead of demoralizing their opponents into inaction and thus passive support, it so infuriates them that they begin “a new outburst of protest.”  That is why “every revolution is cyclical. After each decline, there always comes a new growth.”
            What makes Gallyamov’s observation so important is that it explains much of what is going on not only in Russia but in other countries which have copied his post-truth approach. At a tactical level, those epigones have won out; but at a strategic level, they are ultimately leading to their own defeats. 

Window on Eurasia — New Series