In Warsaw, a conference devoted entirely to the struggle against "Russian propaganda" was held. According to the speakers, Europe is extremely vulnerable to it, so Russian "propagandists" can be proud of themselves. At the same time, the most affected countries were named and a way out was suggested, but not everyone will like it.
During the previous Cold War in the West, there was the science of "Sovietology", engaged in the study of the Soviet Union. Among Sovietologists there were also real scientists and experts who carefully studied the open information and documents received by spies, and also, if possible, went to the USSR for "field" work.
However, the main "glory" of the Sovietology was created by charlatans who were engaged in political forecasts on the basis of not even permutations in the Politburo, but the permutations of members of the Politburo at the Mausoleum, from which the Soviet leadership welcomed the parades on Red Square.
Since not all the "Kremlin elders" suffered from the lack of a sense of humor, one can not exclude the fact that they deliberately went to the rostrum in different order to mock the Western "interpreters".
Sovietology collapsed along with the object of its study, but could not predict the rapid self-destruction of the USSR after "perestroika". Some of the Sovietologists were re-qualified as specialists in Russian philology (just as the Russian teachers of scientific communism turned into "political scientists"), someone decided to look for happiness in Arabic studies, but in general, in the 90 and the beginning of the zeroes, studying Russia was not a top priority either for Western science, nor the politicians sponsoring these studies.
Several years ago, it suddenly became clear that the level of expertise in relation to Russia, both in the United States and in the EU countries, had degenerated to dangerous levels. Moreover, the social and political sciences once again showed their helplessness in prognostication. Trying to model reality and declare the end of history, they missed both the sharp rise in the ratings of the so-called populist parties and the revival of the nationalism that appeared to be defeated, while the "Europe of Regions" turned into an ordinary separatism within the single and indivisible EU, which there is nothing to counteract, except for force measures.
In this situation, Western political scientists and social scientists have no choice but to combine two pressing problems and explain all the real troubles of the Western world with "Russian propaganda" (by and large, by the way, they are also invented). At the same time, the very fact that Russia has been a capitalist state for over a quarter of a century with elected authorities and part of the global world has been carefully ignored.
The Communists allegedly wanted to "take away property and socialize wives" - and this frightened the Western "middle class". Contemporary Russia in the view of Western "analysts" (quotes are inevitable here) is an unnatural fruit of Porthos's passion from the Three Musketeers ("I fight just because I'm fighting") and Loki from the film critic of the Avengers, who is constantly trying to achieve a world domination, but is capable of cooperation in the fight against a very infernal evil, whose place in the real world is occupied by terrorists.
It is only natural that a significant number of voters in Western countries are not ready to believe in this homunculus and, despite accusations of "cooperation with the Kremlin", vote for Donald Trump in the United States, for Andrei Babish in the Czech Republic, and for Marin Le Pen in France , and for other allegedly "pro-Russian" politicians.
However, like the Russian intelligentsia, regularly complaining about the "wrong people", Western intellectuals continue their "scientific" research, without checking the real social and political situation.
So, the BBC publishes a very revealing selection of quotes from the conference "Combating disinformation in V4" (in the Visegrad Four: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia - comment VZGLYAD), which was held yesterday in Warsaw.
For example, Marcin Zaborovsky from the Polish analytical publication Visegrad Insight stated: "Populists are in power in Central and Eastern Europe, because democratic systems here are still young and imperfect, the system of checks and balances is not settled, and traditional media have been in a serious crisis. In the United States or Britain, too, the crisis of traditional media, but here it is ten times worse. "
Considering that Trump is considered almost the main populist of the world, it turns out that it's still not the age of the democratic system. And the crisis of traditional media is not a disease, but a symptom of the disease, caused by the fact that the elite and society speak different languages and refuse to hear each other.
Another speaker, analyst of Budapest's Political Capital Center Edith Zgut, said that, in her opinion, the Czech Republic and Poland best resist attempts at information influence from Russia, Slovakia is somewhere in the middle, and Hungary considers the most passive.
What caused this assessment is not clear. In Warsaw, there are conservative nationalists in power who are tough about not only Russia, but also Ukraine, and also very sharply react to the EU's attempts to influence Poland's domestic policy. For their part, the Czech, Slovak and Hungarian authorities regularly make amiable statements with respect to Russia, but do not take any real action to lift our country from sanctions.
The recipes for the struggle against "Russian propaganda" from Deputy Foreign Minister Marek Magerovsky are interesting. He proposed to create in all countries of the Quartet special agencies not only to "refute myths, but also to effectively counteract and disseminate positive information."
In fact, these are propaganda ministries, repeatedly described in a variety of anti-utopias.
Czech media expert, lecturer at the British University of Loughborough Vaclav Štětka, in turn, suggested that civil society "influence advertisers", urging those not to advertise on sites that are caught in the targeted dissemination of misinformation.
That is, it is not a question of the analogue of the Ukrainian campaign "do not buy Russian", not the American persecution of those disagreeable.
But objectively sound thought was expressed by Katarzyna Shimelevich from the Polish fund Panoptykon. She suggested Facebook instead of the current blocking of complaints accounts to hire editors in each country, who, knowing the language, context and nuances perfectly, would identify and block users who purposely disseminate misinformation and spread hostility.
Given that currently in the Russian-speaking segment of Facebook you can get a ban for a month for any use of the word "Khokhol", regardless of the context and source, the initiative Shimelevich can only be welcomed.
In general, the results of the conference show that, despite the active attempts to blame the "Russian propaganda" for all the problems of the Western world, East European researchers still look at the situation more broadly. The same Polish Zaborovsky criticized the current information policy of Warsaw:
"We have no checks against those who are in power. Almost none. Public media have become the instruments of government propaganda. Absolutely shameless. "
In his opinion, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe need to focus on the flourishing of disinformation in general, and not only its "Russian" aspect.
But it seems that the struggle against "disinformation in general" is now very few people interested. Fighting "Russian propaganda" is much more convenient and profitable. And it is difficult to say how many per cent of the votes should be received by the "pro-Russian" forces in order for the intellectual elite to understand that it is not at all in Russia or in its "propaganda".