Putin’s Left-wing apologists are falling for his KGB tactics

The Russian President’s manipulative use of Soviet-era deception techniques must be resisted

LIAM FOX. Dec 13, 2021

Once again, Vladimir Putin’s gangster regime is sabre rattling and threatening the peace and security of Eastern Europe. Not content with the illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 or the continued occupation by Russian troops of sovereign Georgian territory, Russia’s President is again trying to use the people of Ukraine as pawns in a wider game. 

Putin’s propaganda, which is so often swallowed by Left-wing commentators in the West, has a familiar refrain. “Russian speakers”, a ridiculously wide definition if ever there was one, are threatened in the Caucuses/Ukraine/Baltics and Putin says it is the duty of the Russian state to defend them. 

This argument is, on its own, one of the reasons why Russia can never be allowed to be part of the family of democratic and civilised nations. Its core belief is that those who regard themselves as being culturally allied to Moscow should be protected not by the laws and constitutions of the state in which they live, but by interventionist forces dispatched by the Kremlin.

Everything we have seen in recent weeks is part of the KGB playbook based on the concept of “reflexive control”. This doctrine results in a sustained campaign of using carefully selected information to convince opponents to make decisions that they believe are their own but are in fact the desired outcome of the Soviet, now Russian, state. Built out of the Soviet concept of maskirovka, or military deception, the aim is to control the psychological reflex of the opponent by creating a particular model of behaviour, taking advantage of familiar moral arguments and psychological tactics, or exploiting the characteristics and behaviour of political and military leaders.

This remains a widely taught concept in the political and security apparatus of Russia and is a key component in their practice of hybrid warfare which blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare with other influencing methods, such as fake news and foreign electoral intervention.

Meddling in the democratic elections of Western states and regular cyber attacks have become a regular part of the modus operandi of Putin’s Kremlin. In 2020, the US government announced that its intelligence services believed Russia was responsible for a cyber-attack that embedded malicious code inside the software systems of governments and companies across the world. In July last year, Britain, the US and Canada accused a Russian hacking group of trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine research from academic and pharmaceutical institutions. 

In 2014, ahead of their last illegal action in Ukraine, Russia deployed forces in uniforms without insignia, a policy of plausible deniability which too many Russian apologists in the West were happy to buy into. Even when Malaysia airlines flight 17 was shot down in July of that year, Moscow’s Western sympathisers urged caution in apportioning blame.  

Putin’s preposterous arguments in recent days that Russian action may be required to deal with discrimination against Russian speakers in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine fits perfectly into his well-rehearsed tactics. More subtle was his use of language that “we see and know what is happening in Donbas … it certainly looks like genocide”. This was designed to have a clear resonance with Western politicians who have been complaining about the Chinese treatment of the Uyghurs, regularly referring to the concept of genocide. By using the same terminology, the Kremlin’s reasoning is that there would be less instinctive opposition to Russian action. 

It is time to call Putin out and make clear that we understand the game he is playing. While it has become a regular part of Russian policy to prod and irritate Western powers without actually provoking a military response, it is up to our political leaders to make extremely clear that the price of Russian miscalculation would be high. 

Understandably, much domestic focus has been on Christmas parties and the omicron variant. But we must not allow our political priorities to play into Putin’s “reflexive control” approach. There is danger here which we must all appreciate.

6 comments

  1. Interesting comment from a DT reader here:
    Iwona Stephenson:
    “In 2008 Putin asked the then Polish PM Donald Tusk to join him in dismembering Ukraine. Tusk, in the presence of his Foreign Secretary Radek Sikorski, turned him down, but shamefully kept the conversation secret. For that he should be a political pariah – way, way beyond any Le Pen.
    Sikorski’s wife and political partner Anne Applebaum is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist at the Washington Post. And was the Bilderberg representative for Poland. She never reported it, but for me it is inconceivable that she didn’t know.
    Frighteningly, Sikorski was a candidate to head NATO.
    Putin killed Polish President Lech Kaczynski in 2010, who was warning all and sundry of Putin’s plans to invade Ukraine – UK MoD scientists found the wreckage tested heavily positive for post-detonation RDX residues (high explosives). Tusk’s investigation ignored the forensics – and he was richly rewarded by his mentor and funder Angela Merkel for services to “Europe”. That’s the “Special place in Hell” bloke.
    Sikorski spilled the beans in 2014.”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. A piece of putrid putinoid scum has again been posting kremkrapper lies:

    Duncan Holburn
    “So the Russians do warfare better than us and we insist upon “Queensbury Rules” whilst they just fight to win. That seems to sum this article up.
    Also, as usual, completely ignoring or failing to recognise the Russian perspective.
    No, I am not a Russian supporter – rather a UK self interest fanatic, and that means fighting to win ONLY when you need to fight.
    Having lost over 22 million people the last time that Western Europe decided to aggressively expand it’s empire, Russians naturally see Europe as a threat.
    Now with the EU led by the same type of people and with the same expansionist and aggressive polices ( if not wholly as military – yet!) is it any wonder that Russia wishes to see a defensive collar of nations around it’s borders?
    We cannot defend against Russia ( or any other nation) by denying their underlying core needs nor by fighting with one arm tied behind our backs – both approaches the above article promotes in abundance.
    Now that we in the UK are out of the EU it is high time that we stepped back and saw the EU for what it is – the major threat to peace throughout Europe. Not Russia – the EU.”

    My response was:

    You keep writing the same putinoid drivel whenever articles like this appear, yet you keep claiming to be on the side of Britain. You have limitless sympathy for the aggressor; Russia, but none for its victims.
    Russia started WW2 in 1939 when it invaded Poland with its ally Germany. It committed appalling acts of savagery there and has continued in the same vein ever since. At first it blamed the Katyn massacres on the Germans, but later admitted the truth. Russia’s current dictator for life has again attempted denial.
    Ukraine suffered 10 million losses in WW2; half of the entire soviet losses. This on top of the planned, systematic genocide committed by Russia on Ukraine just 10 years earlier in the Holodomor. Losses are estimated between four and six million.
    As any civilised person should be aware, changing the internationally acknowledged borders of peaceful sovereign countries by force is not acceptable. Democracies do not wage war on democracies. Useful idiots like you should stop making the job easier for murderous fascist dictators.

    Liked by 3 people

      • Liam Fox, the writer, is an ex Tory Defence Minister and a good guy. I was happy to post it because most articles of this type focus on the astonishing level of alt-right, populist right and far right support for the rodent dictator.
        In Britain there is only one right of centre party; the Tories. Anything further right is putlerite, eg the BNP, Ukip, Reform UK etc.
        the far left of the Labour Party supports putler, but not its current leadership. The far left parties, the Trots etc, all support putler but they are very small.
        Hard left scum that work for RaT, such as CorbLenin, Galloway, Alex Salmond, of course support putler, but their reach is very small.
        The most high profile putlerites who can seriously damage Ukraine are all on the far right : Peter Hitchens, Nigel Farage, Katy Hopkins, Bernie Ecclestone, David Icke etc.
        In the US, the far left is very small. The far left within the Dems is big, but not particularly putlerite, except for the verminous troll Gabbard. Sanders; a communist hiding in plain sight, is not particularly a putler groveler, neither are the witches that he acts as mentor to: “the squad.” They prefer shitholes like Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela etc.
        The huge level of support for putler in America comes from the Trump wing of the GOP and the alt-right, which is huge. The Pauls, Buchanan, Carlson, Alex Jones, Coulter, Savage, Breitbart etc are often so far right that they are virtually indistinguishable from the far left when it comes to Russia. And they have all the exposure; particularly Carlson, who is huge.
        The New York Post, a conservative paper, does its best to counter the above. They have run two op-Ed’s attacking the alt-right in the past few days. You probably saw one of them posted by F1 today. It was called “Vladimir Putin shouldn’t be a hero to the American right.” An excellent piece.

        Liked by 2 people

    • As usual, you gave an excellent response, Sir Scradge! Well done!
      I’ve been over on YouTube a lot lately trouncing on pro-Ruskies there and supporting Larry Kudlow and Sean Hannity whenever they discuss Ukraine-mafia land topics.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. That’s a good article. It reflects our points of view and it uses honest language, i.e. Putin’s gangster regime, a very fitting nomenclature.

    Liked by 4 people

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