One thing most people probably aren’t aware of is how much effort Moscow puts into controlling the narratives of events in the world. The Kremlin doesn’t just buy influence in academia, think tanks, and the media – it bullies and intimidates. With varying degrees of success.
If Moscow can’t buy a publisher, editor, or journalist, it tries to force them to print Kremlin favourable narratives (often including flat out lies) or to force them to NOT print the truth (lies of omission).
Being a plain old bully is often effective enough.
But there are certainly some editors and publishers (not that many – but they do exist) who don’t succumb, dealing with the bullying superbly, giving it back as forcefully as they get it.
And when being a bully isn’t effective, threats of all kinds come into play, including the promise of litigation based on patently false claims but that nevertheless bog people down.
Again, not everyone succumbs.
But we shouldn’t forget that many do for a variety of reasons.
Truth and reality are sacrificed. And this is immensely powerful for Moscow.
And most people do not appreciate or have any awareness that the words they’re often reading are shaped by editorial policies resulting from corruption or fear.
It is a real problem. It is a pervasive problem. And it’s just one facet of many means of how the Kremlin steers and controls the information space.
Remember that the next time you read about “Russia-backed separatists” and such.
And remember how infrequently you will encounter honest language about “Russia-occupied Ukraine.”
Where the truth is published, there isn’t just honesty, but integrity and courage. And that means a hell of a lot.