Those Ineffective Agitprops
By Nicki Kenyon
A few days ago, Sarah discussed the effectiveness of Soviet psychological warfare. I discussed it myself in September on this blog, when I recalled my experiences in Soviet Russia, brainwashed from nursery school to worship Lenin and Marx and the almighty Soviet State. I recalled that all the privations, including the lack of food and hot water, getting beaten up as a child for being a Jew, and even having surgery without anesthesia were all considered normal. Suffering was normal. Everyone suffered, and no one thought life could be different. They were taught to believe that the worst was the best – that suffering was a blessing – that right was left.
The Soviets were masters of brainwashing. Their propaganda machine resonated deeply with its own populace back then and today with spoiled, sheltered Snowflakes who have never experienced the living hell of having no food, of bathing in dirty water that had already been used by other family members, of walking into a store with empty shelves.
Recently a friend ran into just that type of creature, who insisted on bloviating about the good ole days of the USSR and insisted that the bread lines were caused by those spoiled Russian grannies who insisted on having fresh bread every day.
As someone who actually STOOD in those bread lines for our family’s ration of bread, I had to wonder where these ideas are coming from!
No, the lines were certainly NOT caused by those spoiled Russian grandmothers, who insisted on having fresh bread to eat every day. Hell, when I was stationed in Germany with the Army, German families got fresh bread every day, and I can’t remember a single line! In and out in a few seconds. Not that hard.
Fact is stores got produce on certain days. Everyone knew when those days were coming, and lines formed early to ensure that you got your meager ration of milk and bread. When everyone goes shopping on the one day the store has food – the day it arrives at the stores – lines result, and products run out quickly.
Why is it that Marxists have a problem comprehending that? Could it be that Soviet propaganda, as well as Russian PR efforts today, are still their most effective endeavors – more so than military modernization work, and more so than Putin’s political machinations.
Is it willful ignorance? No, it’s Russian skill.
The Russians don’t make a whole lot of mistakes in the agitprop and brainwashing arena. They indoctrinated generations of young people into worshipping suffering, and compared to their subtle campaigns abroad, the efforts against their own populace were positively hamhanded!
Today’s propaganda efforts are subtle and gradual. From drafting new history books that whitewashed tyranny – both past and present – to positive Russian messages through media outlets such as RT and Sputnik, to the nearly inconspicuous and dignified repatriation of the body of Russian nationalist philosopher Ivan Ilyin, the Russians continue to excel at indoctrination and propaganda. Is it any wonder they are spending billions to purchase media outlets in neighboring countries to spread their message?
Note how eagerly American Marxists fall for Russia’s victim routine.
No, Russians say, they never invaded Crimea! Crimea wanted to separate from Ukraine! There were no little green men, and they certainly weren’t Russian! That’s just a Western ploy to discredit Russia and keep Russia down, because the United States can’t stand to see a successful, sovereign Russia. Oh, and by the way, the US was responsible for manipulating oil prices to ensure that the ensuing sanctions to punish Russia for its actions in Crimea would hurt more!
No, Russia says, life was so much better in the past! There was law and order. There was nationalism. There was love of country and patriotism. All lived for everyone else. We need to turn inwards, says Russia. Do you see how much the West hates us? They impose economic sanctions. They lie about is. They want to cause us economic ruin and steal our resources. Time to look inward and turn away from the evil West.
Notice how well those messages resonate with Western socialists. The suffering of the Soviet Union was caused by greed – the communist boogieman – how silly of them to want fresh bread! That’s just greedy!
Couple Soviet and subsequent Russian propaganda efforts with the ever pliant and willing academic community that is wide open to the nationalist and Marxist ideologies that are creeping back into the Russian culture, and you have the most effective PR campaign in the world – both during the Cold War and today.