Archive for February 27th, 2013

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Cheap propaganda

February 27, 2013

If there is one thing that remains a constant and exceptionally annoying hangover from the USSR era in Ukraine – it is cheap Soviet style propaganda and childish political point scoring amongst a political elite – none of whom would have a chance of standing in most democratic nations due to their nefarious histories and on-going shenanigans.

Let us be quite clear, none of the politicians that have been on the scene since independence, and the vast majority that have since appeared in Ukraine, are not without skeletons in cupboards and often contradictory, confusing, opaque and anachronistic accounts of their usually nefarious past and current wealth – far beyond both their capabilities and the transparent opportunities life has afforded them.

As many readers know, I am not a big fan of much of the Svoboda nationalist ideology.  That is because I am not a fan of nationalist ideology full stop – in any nation.  As anybody with an IQ greater than that of a potato will know, there is a huge difference between nationalism and patriotism.

That does not mean I do not agree with some of what Svoboda has to say, I just completely disagree with the ideology that sits behind it.

It also has to be said I often despair at the more centre ground political parties inability and lack of desire to tackle nationalist ideology head on and publicly, not only in Ukraine but across Europe and beyond.  Instead all we see is the centre ground politicians assimilating the least radical parts of the ideology they can get away with and regurgitating it within their own rhetoric to try and capture a small part of any nationalist voter base that is not entirely rabid.

With equal disdain, it has to be said, I hold the cancer that is Communism.

Extremes of political ideology (or theocracy) do not serve a nation or its people well – particularly in the world in which we now live.

However, it appears that the leader of Svoboda, Oleh Tyahnybok, is currently subject to a rather cheap smear campaign relating to his current and long time professed nationalist political ideology, and his past whilst living and growing up in Communist Ukraine.

Svoboda

This set of photographs is doing the rounds on the Ukrainian websites showing Mr Tyahnybok  in Communist styled uniform and wearing the Леннского комсомолу (Lennin Party) badge, in an effort one supposes, to undermine his now Ukrainian ultra-nationalist views, marking of all (contentious or otherwise) Ukrainian historical dates, and support of (and rehabilitation of) Ukrainian national figures (contentious or otherwise).

Cheap propaganda to say the least.

If as is stated, he was a member of the Lennin Party between 1982 and 1989, we should recall that at this time very few, if anybody, foresaw the collapse of the USSR.  Being a member of the Lennin Party opened doors – and certainly not being a member closed them – to university, good jobs and careers – something rather necessary for somebody who wanted to be a medical doctor (which he subsequently qualified as after the collapse of the USSR).

To be clear, both my parents-in-law were also in the Lennin Party, however my father-in-law was a member because as a merchant seaman, being a member allowed you to go ashore in foreign lands more often than not –  whereas not being a member would prevent you even getting on the ship.

Thus membership served a purpose, rather than any belief at all in the ideology of the party necessarily.  A means to an end for many – no more and no less.  Alternatively, not being a member could be an end to your means by way of life’s opportunities.  – You get my point I’m sure.

As such, quite what the rationale behind this extremely transparent and cheap propaganda campaign is, I am unsure.  To alienate the significant number of young people who follow Svoboda?  Those same young people who have parents that where in the Lennin Party – who also used it, rather than necessarily believed in it, to gather in the opportunities is provided?

It is obviously an attempt to display some form of inconsistency of character and ideology in the Svoboda leader, but it is one easily put through the political spin machine to have him cleverly emerge as a user of the system to his own ends – like many others undoubtedly.

Nobody really likes propaganda (other than those paid to generate it) – and most people these days see it for exactly what it is – but cheap and less than clever propaganda is a Soviet legacy you would hope Ukraine had grown out of by now.  Particularly given the availability of some very slick international “smear and spin” companies available for hire.

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