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RYSSLAND |Om kriget kommer” var en informationsskrift som förr delades ut till alla svenska hushåll. Men vad gör vi om kriget redan är här?

Axess nr 9 2014

Det har blivit alltmer uppenbart att Vladimir Putins propagandakrig är både effektivt och omfattande. Och som vanligt, är man böjd att säga, verkar Sverige ha tagits på sängen.

Innan man i den svenska samhällsdebatten är villig att ta hoten från Ryssland på allvar måste vi tydligen alltid genomgå en period av bortförklaringar och önsketänkande. Det kan väl inte vara så farligt? Putin är nog bara missförstådd.

Men nu har kanske naiviteten avlösts av en lite mer realistisk syn på regimen i Moskva. (Vi får kanske ”tacka” Putins invasion av Ukraina för det.)

Ett tecken i tiden är att denna månad släpper både månadsmagasinet Axess och veckomagasinet The Spectator ett nummer med exakt samma tema.

I Axess skriver författarinnan och dramatikern Sofi Oksanen om ”Putins finlandisering”.

Under den gångna hösten har såväl medier som statsmakt medgett att också Finland utsätts för det informationskrig som förs av Ryssland. Situationen är inte ny – det nya är att man erkänner det offentligt.

Verksamheten ger sig till känna på många sätt i vårt vardagsliv. Tidningarnas debattspalter har befolkats av en armé av internettroll som basunerar ut Moskva­vänliga åsikter och härjar till och med på babyforum som annars frekventeras av vanliga mammor. Den som följer nyheterna från Ryssland kan råka ut för betald Facebook-reklam där man hänvisar till sajter som driver Kremls agenda.

[…]

Mot finland använder sig Ryssland av taktiken piska och morot, välbekant från finlandiseringsåren. Då belönade man med handelsförmåner och skrämde med provokation. Så har också Aleksander Dugin, en av Putins chefsideologer, uppmanat Ryssland att hålla fast vid sina intressen i Finland just genom finlandisering. Det är inte konstigt, eftersom psykologisk krigföring alltid använder sig av förhärskande föreställningar och känslolandskap i det aktuella landet. Trots att Dugins läror på senare tid inte har uppmärksammats så mycket finns det skäl att minnas att hans verk Geopolitikens grunder (1997) tillhör den ryska arméns läroböcker. Finlandiseringen ligger Dugin så varmt om hjärtat att han skulle vilja sprida den över hela Europa.

[…]

Kärnan i det ryska informationskriget är upprepning och dess grundläggande budskap sprids ut över ett geografiskt vidsträckt område, under ett långt tidsspann. När dessa texter eller budskap citeras mångfaldigas de och slutligen ­försvinner den ursprungliga källan, men känslans sinnebild blir kvar. Och däri döljer sig desinformationens list.

[…]

Enligt den ryska krigföringsläran bör konstnärer, diplomater, sakkunniga, journalister, författare, förläggare, tolkar, specialister inom medier, internetplanerare och hackers ingå i de grupper som genomför informationsoperationerna. Om inte västerländska medier upphör att citera den ryska statsledningens tal eller börjar begränsa sina egna medborgares yttrandefrihet, så kommer budskapen från Kreml oundvikligen att tränga in i de fria medierna.

Ett sådant förfarande placerar västerländska medier i en svår situation och gör dem också sårbara: man kan inte kväva en medborgardiskussion och varje person med avvikande åsikter tillhör inte den ryska armén av internettroll. Enligt den ryska läran om krigföring ska informationskriget fortlöpande utkämpas i världens massmedier.

[…]

Eftersom ett varmt krig är kostsamt, utkämpar Ryssland sin kamp om lydländer och landområden med hjälp av ombud i andra länder och uppmuntrar lokala meningsskiljaktigheter, precis som i Ukraina, de baltiska länderna och i Finland. Ryssland kommer fortsättningsvis att använda sig av informativa och psykologiska medel även i framtiden, och med dessa medel fortsätter man att destabilisera väst – i väst. Hos oss och hos er.

The Spectator 6 December 2014

I “Moscow calling” är John O’Sullivan inne på samma tema i The Spectator. Hans fokus är på propagandakanalen RT som nyligen lanserat sin andra annonskampanj i landet.

Unlike rival broadcasters, Russia Today — or RT as it has rebranded itself since 2009 — has a growing -budget; President Putin himself is said to have intervened to protect it against cuts. The network now claims a worldwide audience of 700 million, a figure the old Voice of Russia could only dream about. It is widely present in social media, having 1.4 million subscribers on YouTube, for instance. And it has achieved a largish cult following on the fringes of the left and the right in the West. Its audience seems to believe in RT’s marketing message — that the network covers the stories which the mainstream media ignores, such as Occupy Wall Street or WikiLeaks scandals.

[…]

The turning point is generally agreed to have occurred in 2008, when Russia provoked the Georgian government into an attempt to recover its lost province of Ossetia and promptly responded with an invasion and occupation of parts of Georgia. RT gave Putin cover with a jingoistic campaign that denounced the Georgians as genocidal. That campaign in turn now looks like a dry run for RT’s reporting and commentary on the Ukrainian crisis, which depicted the Kiev government as bloodthirsty neo-fascists intent on ethnic cleansing etc. — while depicting actual bloodthirsty neo-fascists (and Russian soldiers) in eastern Ukraine as peace-minded democrats.

If that were all, RT would be as ineffective as Radio Moscow used to be. Simple ideological abuse alerts people that they are being manipulated. But as Peter Pomerantsev explains in his forthcoming book on modern Russia, Nothing is True and Everything is Possible, what makes RT more insidious is that it has most of the external features of legitimate western journalism:

Russia Today began to look and sound like any 24/7 news channel: the thumping music before the news flash, the earnest pretty newscasters, the jock-like sports broadcasters. British and American twentysomethings straight out of university would be offered generous compensation packages, where in London or Washington they would have been expected to work for free. Of course they all wondered whether RT would turn out to be a propaganda channel. ‘Well, it’s all about expressing the Russian point of view,’ they would say, a little uncertainly.

[…]

Western journalism is sometimes biased, usually unconsciously, but it is actuated by some concern for the truth which in major news organisations results, for example, in formal rules about sourcing. These rules are constantly examined and updated. Complete cynicism about such matters is rare and punishable — see, for instance, the fate of Stephen Glass, who invented stories out of whole cloth for the New Republic. But when Pomerantsev met the managing editor of RT in his office, he was told: ‘There is no such thing as objective reporting.’ And that mission statement goes far beyond a humble acceptance that reporting cannot overcome every bias; it treats the truth as something malleable in theory and determined by authority in practice.

Tidskriftsomslag: Axess, December 2014 och The Spectator den 6 december 2014.

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IDEOLOGI Rysslands agerande i Ukraina har fått omvärlden att fundera över vad som ideologiskt driver Vladimir Putin.

Standpoint April 2014

Father of Russia’s conservatism” av Lesley Chamberlain, Standpoint

There’s nothing new about the Russian conservatism Putin stands for, and it is something worth understanding, even if it makes us weep with frustration at the heavy-handed seizing of Crimea and the evident will of most Ukrainians not to be subject to Russian rule.

Just as many liberal Western democracies trace their histories of tolerance and a sharp separation of church and state back to the Enlightenment, so Russia still seems to be fighting the French Revolution, the political climax of that period. Russian conservativism has its roots in resistance to the modern momentum of individualistic liberation. There was never a Russian Edmund Burke to make a sophisticated plea for the powers of tradition and community over rationality as a guide to how to live. But there was always the Orthodox Church to bluntly dismiss reason as anathema. And for three and half centuries there was a tsar to rule by divine authority.

Whenever I try to understand the authoritarian Russian way anew I have to think of a man who 50 years before Lenin and 150 before Putin spelt out the classic Russian formula: Orthodoxy, autocracy, nationality. Count Sergei Uvarov’s tripartite slogan of 1833 was conservative Russia’s answer to liberté, egalité, fraternité. It meant, in something closer to today’s terms, autocracy, religious authority and managed democracy. Many Russians seem to find that acceptable.

Standpoint March 2014

The Russian Enigma: Is The Bear Turning East?” av Walter Laqueur, Standpoint

”An elite without an ideology is a threat.” This is the central point in an article by Aleksei Podberezkin in the first issue of 2014 of the Moscow weekly Zavtra. This is the organ of the Russian far-Right, Podberezkin being a leading figure in these circles. He is a strong believer in Russian nationalism and therefore critical of the present state of affairs in Russia in which politicians are preoccupied with ”technical” issues such as macroeconomics, but he also wants to preserve much of Soviet Communism. As a politician he was not very successful: competing in the elections for the presidency of Russia he scored 0.1 per cent of the vote. But he still is a respected figure in these circles as a political thinker. Whether the absence of an ideology is really a threat is not at all clear; Russia has  suffered from many disasters in its history but they were more often caused by a surfeit of ideology rather than the absence.

But it is certainly true that the recent period in Russian history has been marked by the absence of an ideology (or doctrine or strategy) comparable to the past. This has been noted by many authoritative interpreters of the Russian political scene irrespective of their political orientation. To give but one example, Dmitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie Moscow Centre, wrote ten years ago that in Russia at present ideas hardly mattered and interests reigned supreme. The world view of Russian elites centred on financial interests.

Russia has had a national idea ever since the days of Filotel, a 16th-century monk in the city of Pskov who claimed that Moscow was the third Rome and that a fourth Rome would never be. The leaders and the political elites were always preoccupied with Russia’s destiny.

Tidskriftsomslag: Standpoint mars respektive april 2014. 

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FIVAL 2014 | När Feministiskt initiativ bildades fanns det en debatt om behovet att kunna attrahera väljare från båda vänster och höger.

En sådan diskussion existerar inte längre. Partiet har valt att lägga sig klart och tydligt till vänster.

I realiteten har man lagt sig så pass nära Vänsterpartiet att det knappt går att få in ett flugpapper mellan partierna.

Detta är kanske inte så konstigt med tanke på att språkröret Gudrun Schyman en gång i tiden var Vänsterpartiets partiledare.

Att man ligger längst till vänster blir inte tydligare än på det utrikes- och säkerhetspolitiska området.

Så här svarar t.ex. Schyman när det handlar om Ukraina, en av Europas största säkerhetspolitiska kriser sedan Balkankrigen på 1990-talet:

Sydsvenskan 4  maj 2014.. Sydsvenskan 4 maj 2014.

Tron att Ryssland skulle pacificeras om omvärlden bara avrustade är så groteskt att det borde leda till en diskussion om partiet överhuvudtaget kan uppfattas som seriöst.

I realiteten är partiet i realiteten – precis som Sverigedemokraterna och Piratpartiet – ett enfrågeparti.

Så fort ett problem inte kan stöpas om i genus- eller feministiska termer visar Feministiskt initiativ att man inte är ett fullt utvecklat parti.

Bild: Ett urklipp från Sydsvenskan den 4 maj 2014.

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UKRAINA Kartor har i alla tider använts för att både roa och sprida propaganda. Här är tre tidskriftsomslag på temat rysk expansionism.

The Economist 19-25 April 2014

The Ukraine crisis: The boys from the blackstuff”. The Economist, 19-25 april 2014.

Russia’s short-term objective is to sabotage the elections. “National elections cannot take place without Donetsk,” says Maksim Shevchenko, a journalist close to the Kremlin. Its long-term aim is to stop Ukraine ever moving towards Europe. Given that the February revolution was powered by aspirations to do just that, this would provoke unrest in Kiev and in western Ukraine. That is not a problem for Mr Putin. Russia wants to turn Ukraine back into a buffer state, with a level of disorder it can turn up or down. In the end, Ukraine may end up barely a state at all.

Time 31 mars 2014

Old World Orderav Robert D. Kaplan. Time, 31 mars 2014.

So what has Putin done? The Russian leader has used geography to his advantage. He has acted, in other words, according to geopolitics, the battle for space and power played out in a geographical setting–a concept that has not changed since antiquity (and yet one to which many Western diplomats and academics have lately seemed deaf).

The Spectator 8 mars 2014

Europe’s nightmare neighbour” av John O’Sullivan. The Spectator, 8 mars 2014.

Much will depend on what we think Putin’s longer-term strategy is. Does he want to reverse the revolutions of 1989 and 1991 and restore Russian control over central and eastern Europe? Or does he have the lesser ambition — itself not an appealing prospect — of creating small wars and irredentist enclaves in countries formerly within the Soviet orbit to keep them under Moscow’s control? It is likely that he does not know the answer himself.

Om krisen i Ukraina har fört något gott med sig så är det att väst inte längre kan ignorera kopplingen mellan maktpolitik och geopolitik.

Det är bara att fråga Vladimir Putin. Han har säkert en karta med helt andra gränser än vad man sitter med i Washington, London och Bryssel.

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IDEOLOGI | Hur konstigt det än låter vill Vladimir Putin förvandla Ryssland, inte bara till en ekonomisk och militär stormakt, utan även till en moralisk.

The Spectator 22 February 2014

I en artikel som publicerades i The Spectator innan situationen eskalerade i Ukraina skrev Owen Matthews följande:

It’s been a generation or so since Russians were in the business of shaping the destiny of the world, and most of us have forgotten how good they used to be at it. For much of the last century Moscow fuelled — and often won — the West’s ideological and culture wars. In the 1930s, brilliant operatives like Willi Muenzenberg convinced ‘useful idiots’ to join anti-fascist organisations that were in reality fronts for the Soviet-backed Communist International. Even in the twilight years of the Soviet Union the KGB was highly successful at orchestrating nuclear disarmament movements and trade unionism across the West.

Now, after two decades in the economic basket, Russia is decisively back as an ideological force in the world — this time as a champion of conservative values. In his annual state of the nation speech to Russia’s parliament in December, Vladimir Putin assured conservatives around the world that Russia was ready and willing to stand up for ‘family values’ against a tide of liberal, western, pro-gay propaganda ‘that asks us to accept without question the equality of good and evil’. Russia, he promised, will ‘defend traditional values that have made up the spiritual and moral foundation of civilisation in every nation for thousands of years’. Crucially, Putin made it clear that his message was directed not only at Russians — who have already been protected from ‘promotion of non-traditional relationships’ by recent legislation — but for ‘more and more people across the world who support our position’.

[…]

A recent report by the Centre for Strategic Communications, a Kremlin-connected think tank, neatly summarised Putin’s ambition: it’s entitled ‘Putin: World Conservatism’s New Leader’. The report argues that large, silent majorities around the world favour traditional family values over feminism and gay rights — and that Putin is their natural leader. ‘The Kremlin apparently believes it has found the ultimate wedge issue to unite its supporters and divide its opponents, both in Russia and the West, and garner support in the developing world,’ says Radio Free Europe’s Brian Whitmore. ‘They seem to believe they have found the ideology that will return Russia to its rightful place as a great power with a messianic mission and the ability to win hearts and minds globally.’

[…]

The scheme has feet of clay, of course, as does Putin’s rule itself, insofar as it is founded on sky-high energy prices which are already beginning to tumble under the assaults of cheap shale gas and alternative energy. But for the time being at least, Putin has the means and now the plan to project Russian power, both hard and soft, beyond Russia’s borders for the first time since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Tidskriftsomslag: The Spectator, 22 februari 2014.

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IDEOLOGI | Vad rör sig i huvudet på president Vladimir Putin?  Frågan är speciellt relevant med tanke på vad som händer i dagens Ukraina.

Bloomberg Markets march 2014

Ryssland under Putin har aldrig dragit sig för att blanda sig i sina grannars inre angelägenheter. På den punkten avviker han inte nämnvärt från sina företrädare.

Men när spänningen nu ökar i och omkring Ukraina kan det var idé att studera vad det är för idéer som egentligen format Putin och hans medarbetare.

Irina Reznik, Stephen Bierman och Henry Meyer har för Bloomberg Markets skrivit en längre artikel om Igor Sechin, en av nyckelfigurerna kring presidenten, som är ganska avslöjande för hela Putins styre.

When Igor Sechin was working as President Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff a decade ago, visitors to his Kremlin office noticed an unusual collection on the bookshelves: row after row of bound volumes containing minutes of Communist Party congresses.

The record stretched across the history of the party and its socialist predecessor — from the first meeting in March 1898 to the last one in July 1990, a year and a half before the Soviet Union collapsed, Bloomberg Markets will report in its March issue.

Sechin regularly perused the documents and took notes, says Dmitry Skarga, who at the time was chief executive officer of Russia’s largest shipping company, OAO Sovcomflot.

“He was drinking from this fountain of sacred knowledge so that Russia could restore its superpower status and take its rightful place in the world,” Skarga says.

Sechin’s back-to-the-future fascination with his country’s communist past is something he shares with Putin, who, soon after coming to power in 1999, restored the music (though not the lyrics) of the Soviet-era national anthem and later described the collapse of the USSR as the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.

Sechin himself is an open admirer of socialist icons such as Cuba’s ailing Fidel Castro, the late anti-U.S. Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and the executed Argentine Marxist Che Guevara, says Victor Mashendzhinov, who studied with Sechin at college. As a young man, Sechin served alongside Cuban fighters in the Cold War hot spots of Angola and Mozambique.

State Control

Sechin, 53, has put his careful study of communist-era documents into practice at state-run OAO Rosneft, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company by output and reserves. During a decade at Rosneft, Sechin has turned it into something resembling in size the gargantuan Soviet Union ministry that was once in charge of oil production, mainly by swallowing up rivals.

[…]

‘Firm’ Believer

Sechin is the leading exponent of Putin’s stated determination to restore the state’s role in the Russian economy. Putin used Rosneft, through its acquisitions, to return Russian oil to state control. The company, 69.5 percent government owned, controls about 40 percent of Russia’s crude output.

[…]

Sechin declined requests to be interviewed or to answer written questions. In a telephone interview on Jan. 20, Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of Sechin: “Sechin is a believer in the role of the state in his economic philosophy while at the same time not excluding a free-market approach. And he is firm in pursuing his viewpoint.”

[…]

Though politically stricken by economic stagnation, Putin is likely to stand for re-election in 2018, says Andrew Monaghan, a senior research fellow at Chatham House, a London-based research center.

“Putin’s leadership currently looks steady and sturdy enough to last until the next election,” he says.

Sechin looks well set, too. He now has his eyes on a post-communist breakthrough: In a Jan. 9 research note, Sberbank said Russian oil output will probably approach the Soviet-era peak of 11.4 million barrels a day by 2016 or 2017.

“It would be a very big psychological milestone for Russia to get back to the Soviet-era peak production,” says Julian Lee, a senior analyst at the London-based Centre for Global Energy Studies.

Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Markets, mars 2014.

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UKRAINA | Förutom president Viktor Janukovitj, demonstranterna och oligarkerna finns det en rad politiker som tillhör dramats huvudpersoner.

Tempus nr 50 13-19 dec 2013

Tempus, som översätter nyhetsartiklar från bl.a. The Washington Post, har tittat på situationen i landet.

De viktigaste är för närvarande Jurij Lutsenko, Arsenij Jatsenjuk, tidigare världsmästaren i boxning Vitalij Klytjko och den fängslade Julia Tymosjenko.  

Will Englund och Kathy Lally skriver:

Yuri Lutsenko, 48

A reformer who helped lead the Orange Revolution of 2004, he was interior minister in the previous government and was then prosecuted for embezzlement and abuse of office as soon as Yanukovych, the loser in 2004, won the presidency in 2010. His case was one of those that brought sharp criticism of Ukraine’s “selective justice” from leaders in the E.U. and the United States. He served a little more than two years in prison before Yanukovych pardoned him in April of this year.

Acknowledging that millions of Ukrainians were disillusioned by the aftermath of the Orange Revolution, Lutsenko today argues that the time has come to do it right.

Arseny Yatsenyuk, 39

He is the leader of the parliamentary faction of Fatherland Party. This is the party founded by Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister now in prison. Yatsenyuk was at various times minister of economy and foreign minister under Tymoshenko.

Yatsenyuk has always cast himself as a principled reformer, and at times was at odds with Tymoshenko over questions of policy and politics. He ran against her and Yanukovych for president in 2010.

Vitaly Klitschko, 42

The former WBO and WBC heavyweight champion, he had a knockout-to-bout ratio second only to Rocky Marciano’s. Now he’s in politics, and his party is called UDAR, which means “punch.”

Klitschko has no association with the Orange Revolution or the unpopular governments that followed it, but he is a ferocious critic of Yanukovych. As early as September, Klitschko was challenging Yanukovych to resign if he wouldn’t sign the agreement with the E.U.

Yulia Tymoshenko, 54

Currently in a prison hospital, the former prime minister decided Friday to end a hunger strike that she started to protest the failure to sign with the E.U. She was convicted of abuse of office in 2011. The E.U., again citing “selective justice,” has demanded that she be released. Yanukovych can’t bring himself to do it.

Wildly popular when she dramatically became the personification of the Orange Revolution nine years ago, her two stints as prime minister were troubled and complicated. Her supporters are passionate. So are her detractors.

Three former presidents

Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko issued a joint statement sympathizing with the protests and warning that the government is losing control of the situation. But none of them commands a significant following among the public.

Tidskriftsomslag: Tempus, nr 50, den 13-19 december 2013.

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