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The Russian Public and the Downing of Malaysian Flight 17
All you have to do is listen to the English news station, RT (Russia Today) on TV to hear the bias and intentional slant of how the Russian people are being fed news. RT is how Putin and the Kremlin presents the Russia to the world. They do apply pressure on the editors and writers of RT. Just recently, many RT reporters and news anchors who were recruited because they are non-Russian English speaking, quit. Why? Because of the internal pressure that is applied to news stories on issues that matter to Putin. The pressure is to indirectly blame the West or others and to make Russia look in a better light. Sometimes, the pressure is simply to lie about the facts.
For instance, Putin and RT have said that it was a Ukrainian SU-25 had shot down Malaysian Flight 17. Originally, the storyline was that the Ukrainian plane was trying to shoot down Putin's airplane, missed, and instead hit Flight 17. Many Russians believed it. But, as time wore on, RT modified the story by eliminating any mention of Putin's plane being in the air. The fallacy is that had there been a Su-25 tracking Flight 17, there would be plenty of radar tracking records to show it. The pilot of the SU-25 would have been able to identified the airliner. The other problem was that the direction of the airliner was going toward Russian airspace, not away from it. Whatever. The propaganda was fed and consumed by the Russian public.
Russian news media has said some ridiculous things, like, America had planned this and took part in some weird manner. Then, they fed their public the line that because the incident was over the Ukrainian area, they must be the cause and they shot it down.
Many Russians buy the propaganda that Ukraine shot down the airliner and then tried to blame the pro-Russian rebels. They believe it because they still think the Ukraine really is still part of Russia, as it was for decades until the 1990's. Certainly, Putin thinks so. He is refusing to let it go without a fight. It would be like if California became a nation. The U.S. government certainly would not like it nor would just allow it to happen.
Much of the Russian public generally like Putin and how he stands up to the West. They like how he is trying to make Russia a world player like it was in the Cold War days. They are proud of their heritage, yet, glad Communism is gone, even though it has just changed into a softer format with more freedom. Kind of like China.
Whenever there is carnage, their media blames it on the Fascist Ukrainians governed by a millionaire. Of course, America is behind it all, Putin has never had anything to do with the war. They always blame America and Europe of sowing seeds within the Ukraine to create chaos and to undermine Russia. But, the most outlandish report from RT is astonishing: They reported that America had created the genocide in Rwanda in 1994 and now is trying to do it again in the Ukraine.
It is scary because many gullible Russians believe this stupidity and so do others who speak English. Of course, it is fed to the Russians, also. This is on the same level of when Iran's president said that the Nazi holocaust of WW2 never happened. America had nothing to do with Rwanda's genocide and even today, President Clinton regrets deeply in not stopping it. He admits it was his greatest mistake.
Russian media continues to feed its people propaganda indicating that it is the Western media trying to stir anti-Russia hysteria via world events. Inside Russia, the generation buying all this shit is those under 30 yrs. These are the naive Russians who think their government is open, free and honest. The older Russians view the news in a more skeptical light, knowing full well of the Kremlin's reach in propaganda. They know Putin is from the old school of KGB.
Most of the young Russians support Putin. In fact, because many Russians do support him fully, the West may have little influence until the public is impacted by sanctions. Putin most likely will not modify his attitude or vision for Russia because he does have support for his holding onto the Ukraine.
As one Russian said, "The West always blames Putin. The Ukraine keeps asking for trouble, so they have it. Whatever the USA gets involved in, it messes up".
The war for public opinion is for real. It does matter.