I’ve mentioned our most prestigious daily newspaper Dagens Nyheter quite some times on these pages. DN is a kind of hillbilly version of New York Times, but still pompous and condescending, obviously all too aware of its local significance. Today DN (of course) is leading this countryâ€™s witch hunt on Russia and Putin.
DNs editor in chief â€“ Peter Wolodarski â€“ is a fairly young man. He had just become a teenager when Soviet Communism disappeared, yet he reiterates almost verbatim the slander, insinuations, deliberate misinterpretations and all the other characteristics of the (first) Cold War propaganda.
Especially amusing was when he some time ago wrote an editorial piece condemning countries that obstruct international cooperation by regularly vetoing Security Council resolutions, referring specifically to Russia. Now being 74 years old I lived through that period with daily reports on Russian (Soviet) vetoes. They really happened, and the fact that United States had almost the entire UN in its pocket was not considered a proper excuse for Soviet vetoes.
But this is the funny thing: during Wolodarskiâ€™s whole life United States have issued by far the largest number of vetoes in the Security Council, no other country even in shouting distance. What happened was that colonialism started to disintegrate in the 1960s, and US’ absolute dominance in UN thus seeped away. So from the mid 60s US took over the lead in the not very honorable competition of veto production, and have kept it since.
Wolodarskiâ€™s gaffe is in a way understandable. As long as Soviet provided the vetoes the topic was prioritized news, highlighted in every western media. But when US took over the leading role in issuing UN vetoes the subject immediately lost all media interest. Thatâ€™s how propaganda works, nothing surprising about that. Wolodarski just copied what he must have read in retrospect, not aware of his present. He fell victim of the propaganda he himself is part of.
DN today is an echo of its earlier version from the darkest years of the last Cold War, the 1950s up to the Vietnam War (not that the Cold War ended then, it just became somewhat moderated). Russia is depicted as a dictatorship ruled by some kind of new Stalin, intimidating Europe and the entire world. Sweden is threatened and must greatly strengthen its military forces. Putin is naturally guilty of most atrocities in Russia, everything from incarceration of pop singers to murdering politicians and journalists. Now DN of course has some journalistic ethics, so accusations like that are printed just as insinuations, though with an unequivocal certainty.
I’ve just read the latest of PWâ€™s weekly epistles on Putinâ€™s lies and Russiaâ€™s threats. He writes about the countryâ€™s unwarranted feeling of being encircled by western powers. For PW this feeling is â€œsomewhat paranoidâ€, considering â€œhow many hands have been stretched out to Russia after the Soviet collapseâ€. (One is not supposed to laugh.)
What did those â€œmany handsâ€ really do? First they helped destroy the Russian production system thoroughly, throwing the country back to the third world from which it came in 1917, creating a social catastrophe of gigantic proportions leading to the death of ten million people, mostly young men.
Secondly those hands helped a few former â€œcommunistâ€ thugs to â€œlegallyâ€ steal everything of value in the country, further deepening the suffering ordinary Russian endured.
Thirdly the West did what was needed to cover the whole thing up. This has been a success in the â€œdemocraciesâ€ where one of the worst social catastrophes of all times is completely wiped out of history. It has also left westerners ignorant of Putinâ€™s role in reversing that collapse, thus also unaware of the main reason for his popularity in Russia. We may choose to close our eyes and ears, but the Russians will never forget the capitalist catastrophe of the 90s, not as long as they live and not in generations to come. And they will remember who passably put thing together again.