The artistic value of new Russian propaganda is way below its glorious Soviet predecessor, but the paranoid, attack-dog mentality remains the same.
According to Gazeta.ru, last Friday, at the “Flakon” art factory in Moscow, a pro-Putin group of nationalist youth called “Young Guard” together with the “patriotic artists and well-known graphic designers” organized an exhibition of over 100 political cartoons glorifying the policies of President Vladimir Putin. The politically “correct” organizers must have been too dead-serious about their sycophancy to notice the grotesque irony of the event’s title, “Without Filters.”
Forget the filters. The exhibited artists had to be wearing blindfolds not to notice the dangerous cusp to which the current Russia’s regime has taken the country by whipping the nationalistic fervor, xenophobia, and paranoia. They have portrayed Putin as a hero, a winner, and savior of the nation at a time when Russia’s ruble is crumbling, the country’s international standing has hit a new low, and the falling oil prices threaten to knock out Russia’s oil-oriented economy, which Putin had a chance to diversify, but didn’t.
Instead, the Russian president is shown as a winner who knocks out a bloodied man resembling Vitali Klitschko — a heavyweight boxing world champion from Ukraine, who became a politician leading his own country towards independence.
Another drawing pictures Putin on top of a tank, addressing two peasant girls to ask if they had seen any fascists around. The girls have the faces of Barack Obama and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, whom the artist apparently considers to be “fascists” and who had disguised themselves out of fear of being caught.
The event organizer, “Young Guard,” is to Vladimir Putin’s puppet political party “United Russia” what the Soviet Young Communist League was to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Not coincidentally, it is named after a glorified, if mostly fictional, underground militia group who fought the Nazis on the occupied territories during WWII. Decades after the Nazis had been defeated, the Soviet and now Russian government has continued to steep generations of young people in the same Stalinist war-time mythology – keeping alive the memory, the hatred, and the eagerness to throw themselves under the tanks and die defending the Motherland against the fascists
When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Similarly, just about every opponent of the regime has become a fascist. Putin only needs to point a finger. Today, his finger is pointing at Ukraine – and thus the fascists and the Nazis are now all those Ukrainians, from politicians to common citizens, who want to join the West and are defending their country against Russia’s aggression.
Putin’s finger is further pointing to the United States and other Western countries that oppose Putin’s corrupt regime and his militaristic policies. Hence the self-righteous anti-American, anti-Western, and “anti-fascist” hysteria that is sweeping today’s Russia, causing many, including famous actors and writers, to come out with shrill anti-Western rhetoric. Some of them go as far as to travel to the “historic Russian territories” controlled by the puppet pro-Russian “separatists” and shoot some Ukrainians.
Once again, they are so dead-serious about their “anti-fascist” delusion that they fail to notice it’s their own rhetoric and their own actions that quite accurately resemble the rhetoric and the actions of the German Nazis on the brink of WWII, complete with militant nationalism, cult of the strong leader, resurrection of Aryan mythology, and popular support for Hitler’s annexation of “historic German territories” in France, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.
The “patriotic” exhibition in question is a fair reflection of such a mindset — from glorification of blood and violence to fascistic symbolism and dehumanization of the opponent to conspiracy theories and the supremacy of Russia “uber alles.”
Quite a few pictures ridicule Barack Obama, who is being spanked, pulled by the ear, and even has a barrel of a gun stuck in his bloodied face by Vladimir Putin. In one such poster, Putin and Obama are watering a tree. On Putin’s side the tree is green, while on the U.S. president’s side it’s dead, with human skulls showing through the roots. Without defending Obama’s policies, it would be fair to say that in this metaphor Putin’s side of the tree would really be on fire.
Both the Washington Post and Huffington Post have recently condemned the anti-Obama street art display near the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, which taunted Barack Obama on his birthday with racist references.
Interestingly enough, the same media organs, notorious for their unwavering support of this president, had neglected to cover a series of recent better-executed and more tasteful anti-Obama displays by American street artists in Augusta, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and Silicon Valley.
Granted, the American anti-Obama artists didn’t give the media an opportunity to cry “racism.” Is that why the U.S.-based artists weren’t deemed worthy of a story? In defense of the pro-Obama journalists, it’s a lot harder to defend their protégé when the charges are not race-related. The prank in Moscow, however, was a smorgasbord of monkeys, bananas, and dog whistles — everything the left-wing media requires to reinforce its own narrative: all criticism of Obama is based in racism. “They just hate him because he’s black.”
As usual, their anti-racist sanctimony has once again blinded the media to the real story.
To describe the Moscow display as merely “racist” would be just as parochial and myopic as to describe the Islamic Caliphate in Iraq as a threat to gender equality in the workplace. Both statements would be somewhat true, but they would also reveal the superficiality of an obsessive-compulsive mind focused exclusively on pet-peeve issues. They might have just as effectively scorned the unhip cut of the Nazi uniforms as the Germans advanced across Europe.
Of all the problems with the Obama-mocking display, racism is probably the least disturbing. Trust me as someone who comes from the former USSR: those “patriots” don’t hate Obama “just because he’s black.” They hate him because in their minds he represents the “vile” America — including its “stupid” people, its “horrible” history, its “materialistic” values, and its “unfair” economy.
Make no mistake, the insult was directed at the United States — a country they love to hate for a whole lot of reasons — outlandish reasons without a doubt, but among which racism won’t even make to the top hundred. More precisely, the actual object of their hatred is not as much the America we know, but an ugly, far-fetched and perverted depiction of it — something that Putin’s jingoistic propaganda has been creating and planting in people’s heads for quite some time. If this attack on Obama was indeed an act of citizen activism, that would be the best evidence of how successful Russia’s state-run media machine has been.
Imaginative satirical posters mocking President Obama appeared yesterday in various locations of Silicon Valley, where the president was scheduled to speak at yet another fundraiser with California’s rich and powerful on Wednesday, in spite of all the troubles piling up, domestically and internationally.
Obama’s last two-day fundraising visit to Silicon Valley was less than three months ago. This time he came accompanied by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Steve Israel, and a few local Democrat politicians. The expensive $32,400 per couple brunch and VIP reception was held in the house of a local restaurateur and real estate broker, George Marcus, inside an upper-class gated community protected from the rabble and the disastrous effects the president’s policies have on lower- and middle-class Americans.
In addition to the posters, an “invitation” flyer was mailed to all neighbors within the half-mile radius of the host’s home in Los Altos Hills. Describing the fundraiser as “A Feast in Time of Plague,” the mock invitation pointed to the frightening gap between the increasingly entrenched political elites and the harsh reality of joblessness, insecurity, and loss of incomes for the rest of us.
A few larger versions of this flyer were also posted on the streets of Los Altos.
Other posters describe the president as a wily SiliConMan, or show him holding the iconic map of Silicon Valley while uttering his famous quote, “You didn’t built that.” A series of iPod parody posters in vibrant colors display Obama’s silhouette holding an NSA listening device under the mock “iSnoop” brand next to the small Liberty Bell with a piece bitten off as in the famous Apple logo.
The street artists posted more photos of their satirical campaign in an anonymous online gallery. They can be found here: http://imgur.com/a/KUnUD. Click on each image in the gallery below to enlarge.
As soon as the photograph of Soviet propaganda posters in Jay Carney’s kitchen hit the Internet, right-wing pundits began to draw conclusions about White House Press Secretary’s ideology, morals, and political leanings. It was as if things that a man merely places on his walls and looks at day after day can be any indication of his life choices.
If that were so, the meals in Carney’s kitchen would also probably match the menu of the place and time of the posters. His family would be living on a diet of beets, gruel, occasional rat, and thinly sliced boiled jackboots, which is what many Soviets ate at the time these posters were produced.
One poster was made in 1918, calling men to join the Red Army in the civil war against the anti-communist opposition, while the country lay in ruins due to the economic mismanagement as much as due to intense fighting. The other poster was made during WWII, calling women to replace men at the factories, as the country lay in ruins, once again, due to intense fighting as much as due to the economic mismanagement.
The diet of the Carney family, however, does not include any of the food that the impoverished and starving Soviet people ate during the above wars. They eat more like the members of the Soviet Politburo and even better than that. They feast on fresh organic produce, succulent meat, delicious seafood, and tropical fruit delivered to the United States from all over the world. And as they enjoy the abundance of the American way of life in their kitchen, the Carneys like to stare at the two propaganda posters made for starving people. It never fails to improve their feeling of self-worth and digestion.
It is beyond imagination that anyone could misconstrue the Soviet agitprop in Jay Carney’s kitchen as an indication that White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and his wife somehow share the same ideas as the perpetrators of a brutal regime that starved its own citizens while the political elites lived in luxury, abused power, prosecuted the opposition, and ruled the country by means of executive orders.
Next, they would claim that that a neat stack of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Books in Valery Jarrett’s bathroom is not there merely to serve as an elegant accent to complement the shower curtains; or that the Black Panther Party insignia on Michelle Obama’s pajamas isn’t merely a bold decorative pattern; or that the black flag of holy Jihad in Huma Abedin’s bedroom is somehow indicative of her sympathies towards the Muslim Brotherhood.
Following such flawed right-wing logic, one might even speculate that Saul Alinsky’s books on Hillary Clinton’s living room mean anything other than an effort to disguise an obscure dried spot that had mysteriously appeared on the coffee table in the last year of her husband’s presidency.
We invite our readers to take virtual tours of America’s other prominent political and cultural leaders and see what potentially “compromising” items they may have in their houses, so that we can pre-emptively debunk any accusations and witch hunts, such as the one to which the unfortunate White House Press Secretary is exposed today.
According to the American Thinker, the Masters Golf tournament in Augusta, GA (April 10-13) was marked by a plethora of anti-Obama posters, making fun of Obama’s golf presidency with clever captions like “Sub Par” and “If you like your handicap, you can keep your handicap.”
We have already written about this type of conservative counter-culture in February, when dozens of posters of golfing Obama captioned “Sub Par” had been spotted inside and outside the PGA’s golf tournament near the upscale and liberal Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles.
The same mysterious artist, apparently, is determined to travel from one golf tournament to another, challenging the rich and connected Obama supporters who shell out thousands of dollars for the tickets, and urging them to take a better look at Barack Obama’s disastrous presidency in a symbolic language they can understand.
Here’s the latest crop of pictures from Augusta. More can be found here: Obama Posters at The Masters Augusta 2014.
Additionally, it appears that this time this anonymous artist has a Zazzle store where you can buy “Sub Par” posters, t-shirts, mugs, and other merchandize to support his future operations.
Notice how the cropped “Guest Parking” sign in the last picture has become “Jest Parking.”
The women in the Ukrainian folk music group “Lisapetniy battalion” from the village of Piatnychany were previously known in Ukraine and Russia for their humorous, self-deprecating “hillbilly” songs. Their first big hit was about selling moonshine and buying a bicycle without the brakes, on which the singer rode through the village “like a tank.”
But as the threat of Russian invasion is now overshadowing everyone’s lives, the singers came up with a new music video called “Come On, You Old Broads,” in which the women are getting ready to defend their village from Russian troops with hunting rifles, pitchforks, and an old WWII German machine gun from a neighbor’s basement, promising to “protect the Ukrainian border with their own ample breasts.”
And today EuroMaidan PR posted this video with English subs.
Some Russians are taking sanctions imposed on their country by the Obama administration with a grain of salt (or a spoon of honey, as the case may be) and imposing their own improvised sanctions in return.
In one example, this Russian-language sign just appeared on the entrance door to a small store in Moscow called “Myod,” which sells honey products. Translated into English, it says:
U.S. President Barack Obama has been denied the right
to enter the Honey Store.
Management of the Honey Store
The reflection in the glass reveals a photographer wearing a Russian fur hat, against the background of a snow-covered street.
The lettering above the sign provides the store’s street address and website, magazinmed.ru, which lists their products as “high quality bee pollen, ambrosia, royal jelly, beeswax, and propolis,” gives directions (two minutes on foot from the airport metro station), and shows pictures of the interior.
A humorous sign inside the store says, “Citizens with bears are served ahead of the line,” referring to the stereotypical view of bears as honey aficionados. The website also has a discriminatory warning: “Customers with kangaroos are not allowed.”
Online purchases are not available either.
“I wonder, after the successful campaign of handing over the Crimea, will Barack be promoted to a colonel?” That was the question Tweeted yesterday by the newly elected prime minister of Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, shortly after the Russian-speaking residents of the disputed peninsula voted to leave Ukraine with the prospects of joining the Motherland. The Russian-language Tweet was accompanied by a Photoshopped picture of Barack Obama wearing a Russian uniform.
The Huffington Post, which first reported on this Tweet, quickly replaced it with a different article about Aksyonov — possibly after a scathing call from the White House — but not before the Washington Times and a few conservative blogs picked it up and ran with it, reposting the picture along with the awkward English translation made by the HuffPost using Google translator or a similar electronic service.
None of them, however, provided any background, or asked a relevant question: why would a previously obscure pro-Russian politician, whom the Obama administration’s incompetence helped to become a prime minister, sarcastically imply that Obama is working for the Kremlin? This doesn’t seem to make any sense.
Such a jab could have easily come from conservative jokesters in the U.S., as a way to vent their bitterness over Obama’s inept handling of international affairs and squandering America’s standing in the world. It could have also come from those Russians and Ukrainians who are opposed to Putin’s imperial policies. But why would a pro-Russian separatist with a shady past, who is himself very likely working on orders from Moscow, out his alleged “colleague”?
As someone who frequents the Russian-language side of the blogosphere, let me explain.
The Crimean PM’s question wasn’t a standalone joke, but rather a punch line to an earlier anonymous joke with a Photoshopped picture of Barack Obama, seen on various Russian websites and forums since he first became president.
The picture was a mock-up of a KGB personnel file with a photo of Obama wearing the uniform of a KGB lieutenant with three stars on blue epaulettes. The name on the card is listed as Boris Huseinovich Obamov, a spy and saboteur, born in Uzbekistan and of Uzbek ethnicity, a member of United Russia Party, recruited by Vladimir Putin in 1981, currently without a permanent address and working undercover as the U.S. president. The agent’s listed code name, The White One, is likely funnier in Russia than it is in America, where it comes off as overtly racist.
The “updated” picture Tweeted by the Crimean PM clearly shows two stripes and two stars across the blue epaulettes, corresponding to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the same organization — one step away from colonel. The KGB has been since renamed into FSB, and those are also the letters on his shoulder patch with the Russian flag.
In summary, Aksyonov’s joke is hardly political satire or commentary on Obama’s specific actions, but rather blatant mockery in the general direction of the American president.
A mob of pro-Russian protesters savagely attacked a pro-Ukrainian rally with clubs, metal rods, rocks, tear gas, and smoke bombs, killing a 22-year-old local man and seriously injuring scores of others Thursday in Lenin Square in Donetsk, an industrial city in eastern Ukraine.
According to witnesses, the pro-Ukrainian rally consisted mostly of local men and women, some with children, who came there after work to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine against Russia’s attempts to split the country. This angered a pro-Russian rally nearby, which held Russian flags and demanded that the coal-mining region be separated from Ukraine and joined with Russia.
At some point rocks, eggs, and smoke grenades started flying from the pro-Russian side towards a line of people who chanted Ukrainian slogans while holding a long banner with the colors of the Ukrainian flag. As the rally ended, a large crowd of angry Russian nationalists surrounded their opponents, hurling ethnic insults, and preventing them from leaving. The confrontation quickly became violent.
A slide show on this Ukrainian news site has the pictures. A 25-minute YouTube video, posted the same day by a local citizen reporter, shows uninterrupted footage of the most violent stage of the riot, helping to reconstruct the events.
As the police succeeded in letting most of the pro-Ukrainian side leave the square, they themselves got surrounded by an angry mob, with about twenty bloodied people huddled together next to a police bus inside a protective circle of policemen. The law enforcement, represented by both local and military police, was outnumbered; an officer was heard calling for reinforcement.
The crowd chanted “Russia! Russia!” while also screaming threats, insults, and ethnic slurs. They also chanted “On your knees,” demanding that the Ukrainian patriots kneel before their tormentors, who waved Russian flags.
As rocks, bottles, and smoke bombs continued to fly, the police managed to get the battered men into the bus, but the attackers slashed the tires and broke the windows, throwing more rocks and smoke bombs inside the bus, spraying pepper spray and forcing the people out into the street.
As the pro-Ukrainian demonstrators climbed out of the bus windows back into the street, the crowd broke the police barrier and began to beat up the unarmed men with fists and clubs, leaving several of them lying on the pavement, covered in blood, all the while calling their victims “fascists” and “faggots.” A few who tried to escape by breaking through the crowd were surrounded and beaten.
The chant “On your knees!” continued as the surrounded and beaten people, many of them unable to stand, crouched on the ground, which the mob finally perceived as compliance with their demand to kneel. Having carried the wounded away, the police were finally able to escort the remaining few to safety.
The video ends with the camera pointing downwards, as one of the pro-Russian attackers demands that the cameraman stop shooting because the footage may wind up in the “wrong” hands. During the time of this writing this video added half a million views on YouTube, with many comments in both Russian and broken English cheering the beating of Ukrainians and blaming America for the violence.
In another video, which shows an injured man being taken to an ambulance, gloating voices refer to him as a “Bandera” (a slur against Ukrainian nationalists) and an intruder from Maidan who got what he deserved for taking American money. This and other comments in the videos, as well as multiple pro-Russian comments on various YouTube threads, reveal a paranoid, hateful mind-set, which boils down to the following presumptions:
(a) The Ukrainian revolution was the result of a vast Western-Zionist conspiracy against Russia; (b) all pro-Ukrainian demonstrators are violent Nazis, fascists, and traitors who have been paid with dollars by their American, European, and Zionist masters; and (c) the demonstrators are all intruders from Western Ukraine, the land of hateful worshipers of the “Nazi collaborator” Stepan Bandera
Such absurd beliefs are the result of a massive campaign of lies, distortions, provocations, and propaganda that the Putin government has been disseminating through all available media channels, both inside Russia and in the Russian-speaking areas of Ukraine, aiming to discredit and demonize the recent popular uprising against the corrupt pro-Russian government of Victor Yanukovich. Among the various reasons to suppress the Ukrainian revolution, probably the most important one was the Kremlin’s fear that it may soon spread from Maidan to Red Square.
In a shocking video released today on the Internet, special government police force “Berkut” beat up and humiliate an arrested activist on Grushevsky Street in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. The man, wearing a “Ukrainian cossack” haircut, is severely beaten and can be seen with bruises and lacerations all over his naked body. The police strip him to his socks in 25 degrees Farenheit weather, scream insults, and force him to hold a small shovel as they take pictures.
WARNING: The video on the following page includes graphic nudity.