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The officially controlled phase of glasnost began the examination of “blank pages” in Soviet history. Literary journals filled up with long-suppressed works by writers such as Anna Akhmatova, Joseph Brodsky, Mikhail Bulgakov, Boris Pasternak, and Andrey Platonov. Newspapers and magazines carried stories of Stalin-era acts of repression, concentration camps, and mass graves. The works of Marxist theoretician Nikolay Bukharin, shot in 1938 for alleged rightist deviation, appeared. By revealing communist party crimes against the Soviet peoples, and the peasants in particular, glasnost further undermined Soviet federalism and contributed to the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Data as of July 1996

Russia-Glasnost – Mongabay.com.

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RIA Novosti is part of a massive effort by Russia to build and project to the world an image of a country where the economy is booming and democracy is developing. The campaign is designed to counter what the government and many people here see as unrelenting and unfair Western criticism of declining political freedoms under President Vladimir Putin, who is preparing to hand over his post, but perhaps little of his power, after the election last Sunday of his handpicked successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

Russia Pumps Tens of Millions Into Burnishing Image Abroad – 3/6/2008.

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Anyone who has watched Russia’s English-language propaganda channel RT over the past 10 months would have learned that in Syria, foreign-funded terrorists, Israeli operatives, and American intelligence agents are attempting to destabilize a benevolent, popular autocrat.

Russia’s International News Channel RT Warps the Truth About the Syrian Uprising – Tablet Magazine – 2/13/2012.

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1. So on Saturday, RT used all kinds of chyrons to explain the situation in Crimea. For example: The Russian military is a “stabilizing force for Ukraine.”

14 Insane Moments From RT’s Coverage Of The Russian Invasion Of Ukraine – 3/3/2014.

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The job quickly began to seem strange. The editing process was multilayered: “First you have somebody who’s a native English speaker, usually British,” Bivens said. This person edits the script for clarity and tightness. “Then you have a Russian and they make sure that it fits whatever narrative they want it to fit.”

How The Truth Is Made At Russia Today – 3/13/2014.

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It’s been a busy few weeks for Vladimir Putin. In the last month, the Russian president has hosted the Olympic Games, invaded a neighboring country and massed troops along its border. Back in Moscow, the Kremlin has cranked up the volume of hysterical anti-Western propaganda to a roar while cracking down on the last vestiges of the free media.

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While filming in Ukraine over the past several weeks, I was struck by how the revolution that began in February has become a full-scale propaganda war, a surreal throwback to Soviet times, with both sides digging in and stoking old, bitter biases and grievances.

In the battle for the future of Ukraine, control of the media could be just as important as the military bases and government buildings.

Inside Ukraine’s Propaganda War | Foreign Affairs / Defense | FRONTLINE | PBS – 3/14/2014.

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Vladimir Putin and the Lessons of 1938 – Garry Kasparov – POLITICO Magazine – Gary Kasparov – 3/16/2014.

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The news director, who was Russian, pitched the network as an alternative news source that dared to challenge conventions. “Question More” was the network’s slogan.

I Was Putin’s Pawn – Elizabeth Wahl – POLITICO Magazine – 3/21/2014.

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Language as a culturally-invented survival technology would seem to separate cultures into one of two channels: Channel One: Lies, Loyalty, Power, Subjugation; Channel Two: Truth Telling, Uncertainty, Independence, Dignity.

Which have you chosen?

The language behavior of Putin-Assad-Khamenei would seem to be that of the autocrat / malignant narcissist whose every effort seeks the manipulation of his targets, and what works, works: the censoring and intimating of other and critical and inquiring voices; the dissemination of lies, patronage, and propaganda. Masked by passionate nationalism, these have embarked on criminal adventures from their first words.

What it means to be Crimean Russian in Russia (Today) is to be subjugated to the story whipped up by Colonel President Emperor Putin because in the colonel president emperor’s world, that is the only story that matters.

What it would mean to be Crimean Russian in Crimea would be to live in the other world, distinctly Russian, independent of mind, and free of dictatorship.

Other Ukrainians, some with Ukrainian nationalism in mind, know that Ukraine is not Russia and they are not Russian, and they will not stand the impositions of Russian state-sponsored mafia (how else to describe the deposed president Viktor Yanukovych?) on their newly liberated and western-aligning state, but Ukrainian Russians may feel the tug of divided loyalties, and at that fork might ask a question:

Is Putin Russia?

Is Russia Putin?

Are autocracy and subjugation inherently Russian?

In particular, in Crimea, for the Russians of the peninsula, are autocracy and subjugation (their own to Putin’s manner of doing business as illustrated by what has happened to RT since Glasnost) inherently irresistible?

If Crimea’s Russians have been thinking about their wallets more than their freedoms, including the freedom to discern from an open and free media a true state of affairs in foreign policy an trade, they may be surprised to find themselves Ukrainian after all.

If not, they will live in the bubble atop the vertical of power, i.e., the world according to Russia TodayRT, Kremlin invented: Kremlin approved.

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Eastern Ukrainian city divided over Russia ties – YouTube – AFP – 3/19/2014.

Additional Reference

McFaul to quit as U.S. Russia ambassador after conclusion of Sochi Olympic Games – The Washington Post – 2/4/2014.

Putin on the Couch – Susan B. Glasser – POLITICO Magazine – 3/13/2014.

Crimean War redux, with Putin as czar – The Globe and Mail – 3/18/2014.

Who Is Putin? | Return Of The Czar | FRONTLINE | PBS

Yanukovich’s Assets

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