The use of propaganda has been practiced since early historical times. This is a form of communication aimed at influencing the attitude and view about a given issue in the larger population. This form of communication is meant for some cause or position (Taylor 2006, pp57-78).The information that is given in propaganda is usually not impartial as it is used to influence a given audience and in so doing further a given agenda. The facts used in propaganda are presented in a selective manner usually omitting bits in order to encourage some certain synthesis. Propaganda usually contains loaded messages which are meant to produce emotional response to the given information presented (Sommerville 2012, pp187-193). These being the characteristics of propaganda, the document will evaluate a video “Russia without Putin” produced in Russia during the 2012 election. The paper will examine the various aspects in the video which makes it qualify to be labeled as propaganda. The supporting material will be evaluated as well as textual analysis.
The release time of Russia Without Putin (2013) video was a calculated move-one day before the 2012 general election. Though there had been a long campaign period by which time such a video could have been released, the same was not carried out until the last minute. Such is the craftiness that can be associated with propaganda material. To the society the video was released to, they were meant to see it as the “savior” card before they committed political suicide by electing anyone other than Putin. Such is meant to be the power of propaganda (Silverblatt & Zlobin 2004, pp314-323). The timing of the video is also a characteristic of a propaganda video in that it was released late into the campaigns and precisely one day before the election. This did not give the voters enough time to deeply analyze the video and see the misleading presentation of facts. The people were not in a position to judge whether what they were being given was true or not. With the devastating effects that were presented in the video of what would happen if they did not elects Putin, then the people were bound to be influenced to believe the video and vote Putin. In most times, any information that is meant to have the good of the people at heart should be presented in such a timely manner that there will be the full evaluation of the same and countering of facts which may not be true. However, with the video, there was no chance or the time to counter the content (Seidman 2008, pp177-184).
In most times as highlighted in the introduction, propaganda material is meant to sway the people’s take in a given aspect. For this case, those rooting for Putin re-election would have wanted to influence most if not all of the voting population. The best option for this group to do this successfully was thus in form of a propaganda video (Reeves 2003, pp164-176). The Russia Without Putin (2013) video was released by Putin’s party channels and pro-Kremlin TV. The loyalty of the two groups is not hard to miss as they are known Putin’s campaign avenues. For the two groups to have released a video indicating what would happen to Russia if their preferred candidate was not elected is propaganda. They two pro-Putin groups were presenting their facts to the people without support of their source of their information or the truth in the same. Objective information should be delivered in such a manner that the reader or consumer is given accurate background with the analysis of the same being at hand. Missing the same is bound to be propaganda as the news will be subjective and often misleading. The same will be done with the intention to mislead. All the pro-Putin groups showed was the bad that would result if their candidate was not elected. They did not give the people the analysis of their subject thus the use of propaganda in the video (O’sahughnessy 2004, pp321-325).
The channel of release of the video by the two Pro-Putin groups also makes the same qualify as propaganda. In most times, for news to reach most of the people, those who are in need of using a communication channel will utilize the most famous and the most effective channel. In the case of “Russia without Putin” video, the channel of choice was YouTube. This is a social media site where the pro-Putin groups targeted the larger audience the aim being to influence and sway the people into voting Putin back (Moore 2010, pp163-172). The groups knew that the release of the video on such a channel as you tube was bound to generate interest as it would reach many in the society especially the youth who are the majority group in consuming and using social media channels. For the video to have not qualified as propaganda and to show its impartiality, the same should have been released through Russia news channels. The same would have enabled the concerned group, in this case the Russia society to see the authenticity and having the plight of the people at heart. However, release of “critical” information on what Russia would turn into without Putin with the use of social media channel affects the credibility and makes the video qualify as propaganda (Marlin 2002, pp97-124).
The content in the video is segmented in such a way that there is a month to month account of Putin-less Russia. The video creators do an impressive job with a specification of the doomsday scenario of how Russia apocalypse will take place after without Putin. The clever crafting of scenes is meant to invoke the memories of the Russians to the past days marked by suffering (Kamalipour 2004, pp238-312). The Russian people are being led or manipulated to believe the calamities that will befall their nation. The specific scenes and accompanying propaganda are as follows:
March 2012- The first month of a “Russia” without Putin is depicted as being marred by the struggle for political power by the various groups that may have had an interest in the same like in the past. The dissolving of the state duma will take Russia back to the dark days when the same was not in place. The various groups in the society who have been struggling to get to power will finally have their way. The video is meant to corrupt the minds of the people as to what will happen with the state when political power in politics is not held by Putin. Such issues as the formation of 200 parties within a month are not factual. The same may be a feat that is hard to occur which can also be read as propaganda (Herpen 2014, pp178-187). With the likes of the USA having been bitter rivals with the Russian, the same are shown to celebrate the fall of Putin where they declare the same as democracy. However, in real sense, such enemies will be celebrating the fall of Russia. The March section part of the video is to persuade the people not to make such a mistake as eliminate Putin from political power.
Business is a big aspect in Russia. The same drives the economy. When such a critical channel is threatened, the people of Russia are bound to rally all the efforts in fighting for the same. Russia without Putin will see the same critical channel (business) face threats from the enemy. After two months without Putin in power, critical business such as oil, the banking sector and the transport sector will be doomed. Such critical amenities will end up in the hands of Russia society enemies. The fact that the video has examples of the same and who happen to be Putin’s political enemies is no surprise. Propaganda dictates that one portray the best case as they would want their audience to believe. In this case, those who have had their voices raised in public in opposition to Putin’s rule such as Eveginia Shirikova, Aleksei Navalnyi and Boris Nemtsov are shown to take over the major businesses (Gillespie 2000, pp 127-137). The Russia people are thus being led to oppose such a move. The fact that the same are Putin’s competitors is meant to show how they cannot be entrusted with such public amenities as banks, transport and oil business. However, as is the case with propaganda, the facts are not supported with people such as Boris Nemtsov being depicted as developing a sudden interest in business whereas he has been renowned for politics rather than his business prowess. With the nuclear aspect being a crucial matter in the whole world the fact that Russia’s enemy in this case the USA will be put in control of such weapons is something many in the Russian population would not be ready to allow. Propaganda in this section is meant to rally the Russian people behind protecting their amenities (Gessen 2013, pp98-112).
The economy is a central part of any state. Russia without Putin will see the country face downfall in this section. The same should not be allowed to take place which is the message and call to the Russian people. The closure of huge companies such as Avto Vaz, the fall of the Russia stock exchange, the depreciation of the rubles against the dollar, highest rates of inflation, and unemployment are all economic problems that have plagued Russia in the past and left many suffering. This section of the video thus plays with the fear aspect in the society. The same would not want to go back to such times. Thus, the people are being reminded that failure to have Putin in power will result in their greatest fear coming to pass- suffering. Russia without Putin will see the society go back to the days when bread, an important commodity during hard times, becomes unavailable. The fact that this part of the video reminds the people of the past is a characteristic of propaganda; relieving past failures in order to make the people think in the opposite direction (Freeze 2009, pp232-235). Going hungry is not something any society would want thus Putin should be allowed to stay in power to make sure that the same does not happen.
If Putin is not in power, by this time as shown in the video, Russia will have degenerated into a violent society with civilians being the causalities. The plight of the needy such as the pensioners will have no one to take care of. This part of the video also relies on rekindling past bad memories in order to make people believe what is on offer to be the best. This is a major characteristic of propaganda (Cunningham 2002, pp128-154).
This part of the video shows the degeneration of Russia just as it has been in the past with many regions wanting their independence from their mother country. Such a scene is reminiscent of the past times such as the end of the Second World War. Pro-Putin activists who made the video are aware of some of the emotional attachment the Russian people have with the motherland. They thus make sure that this part of the video depicts the fall-out within the same as it has happened in the past. In order to avoid the same, the people are made to believe that voting Putin will prevent such a scenario from emerging (Cull et al. 2003, pp157-163).
Occupation of one’s country by foreigners is an aspect that many nations condemn and do not entertain. This is what the society in Russia is made to believe will happen if they fail to retain Putin in power. In the pretense of peace keeping, Russia will be invaded by other nations such as China and Japan occupying the different parts of Russia, for example, Chita, Khabarovsk, Blagoveshensk and Irkutsk and Vladivostok. With their nation’s sovereignty at risk, the Russian society is bound to resist such a move by all means in this case the best option being to retain Putin in power (Chomsky & Barsamian 2001, pp178-183).
This section depicts the woes that will befall the society in this case human suffering. Failure to elect Putin will lead to continued occupation and invasion of Russia by the outside world with a human crisis such as the wiping out of entire societies such as Cossack militia. This is a move the society is being urged by this section of the video to desist from (Brady 2010, pp156-162).
This section of the video is meant to convince the Russian society that failure to elect Putin will lead to the continued triumph of Russian enemies such as Alex Navalny. The same will receive international accreditation with people such as Navalny being awarded the Nobel peace prize. Navalny is a renowned Putin critic and political opponent thus international celebration of the same will mean Russia’s failure (Baker & Glasser 2007, pp231).
International events such as the Olympics are a source of pride and prestige to the hosting nations. The fact that this section of the video depicts the upcoming winter games characterized by violence with Russia as the designated host is bound to touch each and everyone in the Russia society. The people will fight to see that the same does not occur. As per the planned propaganda in the video, the only way they can do so is by retaining Putin in power. The chaos from the games will also affect the rest of the society in that such amenities as communication channels and electricity will be interrupted. This section thus urges the people to protect the pride of their nation in hosting a successful international event by retaining Putin in power (Arutunyan 2009, pp132).
There was a timely release of the “Russia without Putin” video to the masses specifically one day before the election. The content as presented in the video relied on the influencing power of propaganda material. The target audience in this case the Russian voters were bound to be moved by the graphic portrayal of the doom that would befall their mother-land without Putin. The same would trigger an emotional cord within the voters in such a way that would enhance Putin’s re-election to power. Thus, the “Russia without Putin” video has all the characteristics of a propaganda material.
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