Warning the following text might disturb your perception of truth and Russia!
These days it seems hard to distinguish truth and lies in the flood of news and social media reports. Two major conflicts of present time, the war in Ukraine and the war in Syria are just the peak of the iceberg when it comes to the question what is actually going on, who is the bad guy. Both conflicts have in common that Russia is actively participating in them – in the case of Ukraine apparently also the main aggressor. In both cases the Russian government uses an apparently efficient propaganda technique of spreading disinformation or plain lies and denying facts as false or denying responsibility for certain incidents such as bombings of humanitarian aid workers. It is proven that Putin’s authoritarian regime uses troll armies to influence (online) discussions and opinions in the West. Basically it is a huge wave of conspiracy theories on single incidents and the whole picture, that leave at least enough uncertainty on what actually is the truth. Everyone disagreeing is allegedly an agent of a non-Russian intelligence agency (CIA, Mossad) or a terrorist or a fascist or all in one. These days it also seems that people are gladly believing every lie that is served to them not only by Russia, but also by (Western) politicians (Trump; Clinton). Truth and facts are not interesting, the story and emotions are even if it’s based on a lie.
Truth is said to be first victim of war, the second victims are civilians that are slaughtered in the fightings either by accident or deliberately. I will even say that they suffer, because of the lying. Civilians are just proclaimed as terrorists thus removing any necessity to protect them as intended by international agreements (for example Gene Conventions).
Let’s have a closer look on two of the most present contemporary conflicts where Russia is involved.
You don’t hear much about the war in Eastern Ukraine these days, but this does not mean that it is over. There are still people dying in combat almost on a daily basis and the OSCE mission reports every day of breaches of the so called “ceasefire agreement” of Minsk. It has become evident that the Russian government has as result of the events in Ukraine in 2014 used the fears of people in the Eastern parts of Ukraine and actually fueled them to prevent the loss of influence on Ukraine. What seems like a separatist movement is just orchestrated by the Kremlin. Certainly there were and still are locals that support an independence from Kiev, but in the end everything indicates and partly proves that the whole thing is organized by the Russian government that even sends own troops to fight Ukrainian government forces and allies. Now there is a war ongoing with highs and lows regarding the intensity, but the war is still describes and referred to as “Minsk ceasefire agreement”.
Now that is a nice lie that also serves politicians in the West. While Russia denies responsibility when anything happens, the West – especially Europe – continue to stick to the term “ceasefire”, because it actually means that they do not need to anything about. Let the killing go on with a potential Russian invasion force looming at the Ukrainian borders, but as long as it is not officially called war, Europe can live with it.
The victims of these lies are the local people suffering from the fighting, killed by a stray mortar round and losing their homes. But hey, it’s still a ceasefire and if in doubt, blame the “fascists in Kiev”, not the fascists in Moscow that actually support those that they pretend to fight against. If you are a member of the Russian troll army or just a volunteer victim of propaganda, maybe you should rethink what you are actually supporting? Maybe you wake up one day like sobering up after heavy drinking and ask yourself what have you done.
It seems that the suffering is even greater in Syria. Are we nearing the 1 Million mark yet? At least several hundred thousand Syrians have been killed during the Syrian civil war, where dictator Assad got pissed of by protests against his authoritarian regime and started a process that historians might call in hindsight a genocide on the inhabitants of his country. After Obama drew a red line that Assad crossed without consequences, Russia together with Iran and other Shia militias came to help just in time before Assad actually lost the war.
Of course everyone claims to fight against terrorists, when bombs hit and kill civilians including a large number of children. Russia is actively participating in the Syrian war and especially in the recent months responsible for a large number of civilian deaths, swiftly ignoring the Geneva Conventions and any international agreement. The Russian government follows Assad’s narrative of a fight against terrorism (ISIS) though everybody at least guesses that this is not really true. As in Ukraine, Russia has geostratetic interests in Syria or at least thinks it has. Russia’s presence in Syria makes it basically impossible to act in order to stop the deliberate bombing of civilians as there is the risk of a major confrontation between Russia and the West.
Russian and Syrian propaganda, actively supported for example by German wannabe journalists like Jürgen Todenhöfer, makes it comfortable for the people in the West: Maybe it’s true that Assad is the only alternative to ISIS and all the reports of Russia or Assad bombing civilians are a lie from mainstream media and the CIA?
If you think like that, of course an intervention to stop the suffering of civilians looks not like an alternative. Additionally you are concerned about your own ass that is covered with so much wealth that you are afraid to lose it to refugees. Also thanks to Russian propaganda, you fat ass in the West keep distracted and look away from the suffering in your neighborhood. Additionally media does not show the suffering in Syria, as recently discussed by BBC, because it is considered as too drastic and graphic. Instead it is left to Islamist recruiters to show naive kids how people are slaughtered in Syria and use it for their propaganda. As facts are not interesting anymore, maybe showing graphic content to the media consumer in the West might be a wake up call: Hey, here are children left as a balls of meat and dust mashed by Russian bombs. As said before, emotions seem to interest people, not facts. Below the photo of a little victim of a Russian airstrike. Does this make Russia any better than ISIS or other inhumane assholes?
In the meantime the people in Syria that suffer from the attacks, realize that they are on their own. Nobody helps them, except… Well, expect radical islamists that are apparently the only ones that do something. It was the formerly Al-Nusra Front that a few weeks back could breach the siege of Aleppo and brought some relieve for the civilians. Who do you think they thank?
With the world’s ignorance on the suffering in Syria, the killing of civilians actually start to create a truth based upon a lie. If no one, but Islamic extremists help the civilians, who will they turn to and eventually join? In the end, because of Assad’s and Russia’s bombings, Assad might be right when he says that he is fighting extremist terrorists.
Of course Russian trolls and propaganda volunteers will do their best to spread more false information and distract the people from the truth.
But is it worth it? Are the power and influence to gain or to lose, are the (geostrategic) interests and are religion and culture worth it that thousands of people die an avoidable death?
Unfortunately sometimes, one would almost wish that there was a highly developed alien species that frees planet earth from this disease called mankind.