Positive Reinforcement

RT often gets a lot of flak from all over the world, and yes, even on this blog. But unlike the “Western” media, I’m honest and give credit where it is due. History buffs know that today is the anniversary of Operation Overlord, better known as “D-Day.”  What you see below is a story on D-Day by RT. The soldiers you see in the computer generated battleground are historical reenactors.

After I saw this I got to thinking.  When’s the last time you’ve seen a mainstream Western TV network do a story like this on the anniversary of the battle of Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, or the summer offensives of 1944? When do you even see these anniversaries even mentioned in a mainstream source?  I wouldn’t be surprised if BBC covers Moscow 1941 or Stalingrad but beyond that, what is there? I can’t even recall ever seeing such a story on an American news network. And here’s RT, actually getting historical reenactors in a green-screen studio to make the story more visually appealing to viewers.

I saw one story today where it talked about how Russians have a “different view” of D-Day, and surprise, surprise it’s all patriotic and anti-American. Yes, these dismissive attitudes towards the “Second Front” are quite common today, but they are a projection, largely fueled by the Russian media, and totally opposite to Soviet attitudes at the time.  The author of the “let’s look at what those wacky Russians believe” piece also incorrectly stated that in the West D-Day is seen as the turning point in the war whereas the crazy Russians think the turning point came much earlier.  Journalism.

Let me paraphrase the words of Lt. Col(retired) David M. Glantz, probably the foremost American expert on the German-Soviet War.  He said that when Germany failed at Moscow, Nazi Germany’s defeat became inevitable. After Stalingrad, the Nazis could not expect favorable terms in any surrender agreement.  After Kursk, the Nazis would have no terms whatsoever.  The idea that Moscow, Stalingrad, and Kursk were real turning points in WWII is not just the belief of babushkas selling home-made pickles by a metro station exist. This has been a pretty commonplace assessment in the West for some time, even throughout the Cold War.

I think what this comparison shows us is that while yes, Russia does have to bear responsibility for a lot of its own propaganda, it actually does occasionally put out positive messages and ideas which are completely ignored.  It is the non-stop bashing or ignoring of the Russian perspective which serves as grist for the mills of reactionary elements and also prevents any real communication between the two sides.

I’ve often seen people complain about modern Russian historians denying every atrocity story associated with the USSR. Indeed, these historians exist and many of those types actually go beyond the USSR and pretty much insist that the Russian empire and any Russian polity prior to that never did anything morally questionable whatsoever.  The reality is, however, that not every Russian historian who opposes Western conventional claims about Soviet history falls into that category. Many of those extreme types are the natural result of forty years of Cold War propaganda which said that the USSR, the country these historians grew up in, could do no right.  This propaganda was victorious in 1991, and since then to many people it seems like every accomplishment must be torn down, every failure highlighted, every horror story accepted as holy gospel and every positive personal narrative dismissed as some sort of long-term brainwashing.  Obviously some people will react to this negatively and overcompensate. And believe me, we have authors in the US who do the exact same thing.  There’s a reason why our politicians are compelled to stand up and declare their faith in “American exceptionalism,” which is akin to saying “I believe in magic.”

Does a complete utter moron in your life have a birthday coming up? Never mind. They'll just look at the pictures.  Speaking of which, yes, that appears to be Confederate general Longstreet on the cover.

Does a complete utter moron in your life have a birthday coming up? Never mind. They’ll just look at the pictures. Speaking of which, yes, that appears to be Confederate general Longstreet on the cover.

Coming back to the topic of this video, I wonder, what does RT get out of taking the time to construct this? Sure they get views, but will anybody maybe take more time to analyze the network and see that it isn’t just non-stop anti-American rants?  Maybe if more Westerners acknowledged this RT would see there’s value in producing this kind of content, and thus produce more.   Just a thought.

2 thoughts on “Positive Reinforcement

  1. Estragon

    RT is aimed at foreigners. So the proper analogy would be if the BBC Russian service or the Voice of America, etc., did a story for Russian listeners on Soviet military victories. Do you know?

    1. Big Bill Haywood Post author

      CNN has its international bureau, and the BBC is pretty much international. The thing is I caught a bit of the Russian news today(Rossiya 24 I think), and they also had a big story about D-Day.


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