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The psychological protection of our peoples

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] I [/yt_dropcap]n all likelihood, the peoples of our Western countries are not shielded and protected against actions, operations and manipulations typical of the most modern psychological war. Operations which, after all, also come from our current opponents: States, non-State actors, large global companies, State and non-State opposing agencies and international organisations. The State does no longer exist there, but there are global mainstream communicators that have taken its place. As I will do later on, it would be interesting to analyse the communication and advertising agencies dealing with seemingly non-commercial issues.

Those who managed the end of the Cold War – that often, in the marginal countries of the Western bloc, had been an operator and an opponent in the context of the Cold War, probably not recognized as such – decided that, after the anti-Soviet propaganda, there should be no longer people’s psychological and information protection.

A huge mistake that generated others: in fact, the Cold War is not over and it has only changed its nature and modus operandi. The Islamist jihad is a global enemy (also for Russia and China) and globalization is a kind of Hobbesian bellum omnium contra omnes (“war of all against all”) that does not take prisoners, even if possibly not a single shot is fired.

Or rather, shots are fired in the disputed regions, not in those where a master has already been assigned.

When the Democratic Republic of Germany collapsed, it had a debt totalling 22 billion marks, equivalent to one thousand million Western marks.

It was like the sale of a bankrupt company – favoured by the one-to-one exchange rate with the Western mark, which destroyed Eastern companies from the day until the morning. Nevertheless the old Soviet East sold us many failed politicians, managers and officials – in the specific meaning attributed to this term by the intelligence world.

Oleg Gordievsky – a great Soviet intelligence officer who defected silently, as a double agent, from the KGB in 1972 and was later ordered back to Moscow, and physically taken there with the so-called techniques used at the time by the intelligence services, as early as 1985 – told us that currently the Russian Federation has more intelligence agents in Great Britain than at the time of the Soviet Union.

Anatoly Golitsyn, a British citizen since 1984, wrote an extraordinary book on estern Soviet destabilization, New Lies for Old.

I do not mean that the Russian Federation is just a mask of the old USSR. Quite the reverse, but I wish to underline that the universal and global world is still today a lie – and also a danger.

This is not the right time to analyze Golitsyn’s book – we will do so in a future article – but its underlying concept is interesting: there is no ideological tension between a political system and another – as the foolish Westerners believe – but a structural and geopolitical clash, which does not consider the ideologies with which current and old worlds are “covered”.

To create this covering, we must at first preserve the national traditions, which are a substantial part of national interest. Without national interest – and hence without the corresponding identity – we are brutally sold to the highest bidder. This is exactly what is currently happening in Italy.

Furthermore, if the people are exposed – without psychic and cultural protections – to all the strangest trends, often well-designed and developed in the current thought manipulation centres, the people are sold to the global mass training and disinformation agencies.

The gender obsession produces people who do not reproduce themselves – hence are perfect for the new Western geopolitics, aimed at replacing those who have lost the war, known as globalization, with the African or Asian “poor” in an engineering frenzy manipulating peoples, cultures and economic systems, on the basis of foolish GDP growth forecasts – the only ones these fools understand.

If there is no product innovation, which now costs too much and has no longer a market in new Western poverty, there must be process innovation, which is carried out, above all, by paying the labour force ever less, down to a point of indifference that is the one accepted by a part of migrants.

Here is the social engineering idea underlying these follies, which we will pay dearly. Therefore what matters is only what the GDP is worth and what the average productivity is worth, without adding taxes. Hence the democratic regimes accept only the great transhumances – but the ideologies supporting these and other similar actions are always valid. Consumption unification, cultural de-Westernization, as well as education and training destabilization, which do not allow the mainstream discourse to express itself in its fullness.

However, as the great liberal masters of the “Austrian school” taught us, society is always a natural organism, which does not left itself be tampered with impunity by the societal “engineers”, those who move populations today in the Middle East and are about to do so also in Western Europe.

The mind, which is always identity-based, never works like that. The same applies to the mechanism of the brain amygdala that enables us to distinguish between the “friend” and the “enemy”, as in the title of a great essay by Carl Schmitt.

Hence believing that social communication can quickly transform people’s primary reactions is a mistake fraught with very severe dangers.

Because, in essence, the political notions are always the same, namely that there are no universal friends, but enemies who are defeated or otherwise weakened.

Inimicus and Hostis, the personal enemy the community’s enemy, are absolute but always changing criteria.

Therefore it is the urge for war that the West – implicit but anyway foolish servant of its enemies – always destructures in its own peoples who find it hard to accept the superficial ideologies of multiculturalism or anyway of defeat, such as the teenagers who, in Turin and Manchester, lay their hands on their necks, as if to surrender to the enemies before their coming.

If the great jihad wave comes – and we can rest assured this will happen – there will be no information manipulation that will spare us: many people will react, others will surrender to the enemy without fighting, while others will still try to negotiate.

There is no manipulation – although very strong as the one currently in place – which can unify behaviours in a phase of extreme danger.

This is the true psywar against the West that the Western countries wage carefully, but only against themselves, even as if it were in their own interest. We are those who wage against us the psychological warfare of our enemies.

With the damned offspring of the 1968 movement who is currently in power, we have created a multicultural myth that is influenced exactly by the ideological system which has enabled the 1968 ideology to last.

America was behind the riots of the 1968 French young people. The United States retaliated against the favourable exchange rate of the franc against the devalued dollar, which anyway needed gold or hard currencies to be, at the time, the universal means of payment in France.

The rest must be silence now for the immigration, anti-marriage and anti-sexist ideology (and what does it mean?) or anyway against those traditional ideas which create a cultural barrier, a wall against the current, self-styled modernity.

A Soviet defector, who had worked in India, always recommended – in his lectures – people’s psychological and cultural stability.

With a view to justifying himself, he showed a picture in which he was with the well-known Mahatma Maharishi, the reference point of the Beatles and of many stars of the 1960s and 1970s.

What does pseudo-Indian mysticism have to do with the KGB? A lot. Because, as the defector explained, if we instil anti-science trends in the West, we will have to do with young people who will not study “serious things” – hence a country will not have a ruling class living up to the   challenges is shall meet.

Not to mention the drugs trend, which is now deeply rooted throughout the West.

Furthermore, the escape from Piazza Cavour, Turin, causing a toll of 1,400 injured people, eight of whom very severely, is another extremely serious sign.

Few units of the law enforcement – now reduced significantly after a sequence of Ministers all yielding and obedient to the resulting 1968 ideology; very few funds for security and defence – an image of “fascists” in uniform, often supported by politicians, as shamefully happened in the case of the two Italian marines, unjustly detained in India, or in many negotiations in the Middle East, which were handled with excessive respect for the criminals who agreed to mediate.

Italy, a State founded by cowards like the fearful Don Abbondio, the character of Manzoni’s historical novel The Betrothed. Appease and quieten, as the Father provincial of the Capuchins told to the uncle Count in that novel.

A constant apology for having being “fascists”, a term equating all the dictatorships of the 20th century – and here again there is a serious historical mistake – and above all for frustrating our strategic ambitions in the Mediterranean which today, unlike what happened during the First Republic, we can no longer afford.

The crazy Western operation against Libya, which was still ours with Gaddafi – a Colonel of Sirte we had selected, with our intelligence services, in a hotel in Abano Terme – has hit the mark. We do no longer count anything exactly where we were princes.

Libya, Tunisia – the first to be destabilized, coincidentally, by the nonsense of the “Arab Springs” – and Egypt, placed by the United States in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which it was freed by a great leader of the intelligence services, namely Al Sisi.

The destabilization of the Maghreb region means our own destabilization – and we must be aware of it.

Hence some additional concise considerations are now appropriate:

a) we have no ideology against the jihad, other than the stupid repetition of a foolish song by John Lennon. Thanks to these indolent and incompetent politicians, we have nothing shielding our people against the enemy propaganda, which in fact spreads with our support.

b) We are those who, for ignorance or interest, passively accept the propaganda – which we do ours – accusing us of being the ones who starved the African black peoples. Instead of telling the truth, namely the Central-African youth bulge or the small economic boom of those who remain in Africa with fewer competitors, less marginal population and even fewer people asking for help or charity. Immigration is a transfer of marginal peoples who in the past, as colonizers, we could have kept in the countries of origin. As some scholars have noted, immigration is a form of “indirect strategy” of the poor against the rich. From their viewpoint the countries favouring the exodus are fully rational; they impoverish an excessive workforce they cannot integrate and send it to the “bad” colonialists.

c) All the information operations of the European West are such as to dangerously weaken the demographic threat of Islam or, anyway, of Africa.

d) Is this really the final strategy of mainstream communication? Or is it an anthropological engineering operation that ultimately creates more problems than it believes it can solve? Is not the notorious “populism”, which these poor-wretched pseudo-intellectuals declare to be a danger, the electoral reaction of those who have everything to lose with their crazy globalization? And how do they intend to proceed, with increasingly technocratic governments, which obviously last from the day until the morning, or with governments really ruling but without the naive idea of fixing the situation and then returning to business as usual?

e) Moreover, in the imagination of the Africanism spread by google or the various social media, as well as by stars online, shall we also be those who wait for their commercial and political moment of the global spreading of our way of life? Nevertheless, currently have we not the money to manage – possibly with some misinformation – the perpetrators of the jihadist threats against us? Finally, are we able to respond to the image that the global jihad has conveyed about us? No, we are not. And, once again, there is a strategic mistake at the root of the issue.

f) As early as the time of Brzezinsky, the West has believed in Columbus’ principle “buscar el levante por el poniente” (to try to reach the East through the Atlantic Ocean by circumnavigating the earth westwards) – namely to use the jihad against the Soviet Union. To surround, as Brzezinsky said, the USSR “with a green belt of Islamist republics”. Hence the Afghan jihad became global, with its first major migration to the West, during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s, having Alja Izetbegovic’s Bosnian Republic as axis – and in Sarajevo Osama Bin Laden was like one of the family. Nobody at that stage ever thought that the jihad support to the crazy policy disrupting former Yugoslavia was expensive, dangerous or ambiguous. At that time no one thought it was better to have a Russian-Serbian axis of the endless jihadist madrasahs, from Kosovo to Tuzla up to Sarajevo and beyond. At that time al-Qaeda filled a void and the stupid common sense of many Western analysts and decision makers did the rest, with a correlated exaggeration of our psychological and political strength and stability.

g) Hence what happened? Simply the West has never realized that the jihadist Islam was about to accomplish the program of its continuity, after Russia and after the United States. As in the lyrics of a song at the top of the Afghan hit parade: “We have destroyed the Kremlin, we will also destroy the White House.”

h) The lack of psychological protection put in place by the West with its masses has done the rest. Throughout the West, we live as if we were still in the phase of economic expansion – which is not the case, as we all know. Moreover, currently the mass psychological control tools are only linked to immediate, sexual, subjective and autonomous self-satisfaction. And also symbolic – it is a great synecdoche in which the part is used for the whole. Theorizing consumerism when there is little to be consumed and, above all, when there is a polarization of social classes no longer allowing any American, social-democratic or liberal “dream” to come true, is pure madness.

i) The current social communication has eliminated all identitarian discourses, dismissing them as “fascists,” and has created a space that will be filled only by what the Western mainstream leaders call “populism”, while the immigrant masses are exposed to the systematic propaganda of the sword jihad. They have arrived as poor in a country which is going to become poor, and they react like all those whose dream has been spoilt.

j) Indeed, the public communication system has brought the ever increasing and widespread dissonances together into a set of predetermined subjective and instinctive models: gay marriage, gender, the “Other” from a different ethnic group, the migrant. It is worth noting that the current manipulated ideological discourse includes both the acceptance and the refusal, both vague pacifism and rampant rage. We have responded to an identity crisis of our peoples with the 1968 ideology typical of a provincial high school. The greater the need for a new ideological and mass identity bond, the more decision-makers and mass culture big agencies have reacted with preconceived ideologies, always modelled on private consumption – that does no longer exist. Advertising can certainly afford to portray the world as if everything were a young, wealthy, happy and “normal” middle class. Politicians cannot do so, otherwise they will lose any contact with voters, with their own militants, the people and their own ideals. The opposite of the current identity is not the subjective consumption – on which, however, today’s political communication is shaped – but a new identity. In this regard, it is worth noting that the current political systems are always late, proud of their crazy belief in communication manipulation. Europe’s myth came as a huge weight just after the failure of the French referendum on the European Constitution of May 29, 2005. The machine of “democratic wars” collapsed when in February 2003 the then US Secretary of Defence, Colin Powell, showed to the UN the notorious “vials” of chemical weapons allegedly available to Saddam Hussein’s regime, which, as stated by the Secretary of State, was the State part of non-State jihad, namely al-Qaeda. Positivist and primitive manipulation of the public and, indeed, scarcely professional manipulation, but there is ultimately an interest in voiding Iraq to favour Saudi Arabia and redesign the Middle East.

k) Indeed the US victory in Iraq was a major strategic gift to Iran, which got rid of its traditional Sunni opponent. Furthermore, the first Governor of Baghdad, after the defeat of Saddam’s forces, organized the road traffic in a chaotic Middle East city like Baghdad by enforcing the same rules applied to Boston’s road traffic. The whole world had to like the West, but it is hard to understand that the world is not all in the West. And it does not want to be so. The fact is that understanding the world means above all intus legere, to read inside the Other and not necessarily homogenise him/her by force. If you do not read inside him/her, he/she will always be the Other and the enemy.

l) Hence, as is also the case with finance, the current psycho-political sequence is the creation of a series of “altered states” we cherish the illusion of being able to manage. The first altered state is that of body identity, which becomes transient and indefinite. The second one is the rejection of reproduction, considering that the insanity of “social engineering” will replace current populations with migrants who, however, have other identities that the current decision-makers do not see and, indeed, interpret – according to the criteria of vulgar Marxism – only as “poverty” and “need”. The third one is the disruption of the traditional non-State social units: family, civil society and the State – entities that are replaced by fluid pre-political identities, but capable of becoming – according to the delayed-action 1968 ideology currently much in vogue – “a distribution mass”, just to use Elias Canetti’s terminology. Today, however, there is nothing to distribute and hence a token, a “symbol is created – but, indeed, leaders not even create it – which only allows the repetition of the association game, as well as its duration which is considered indefinite. Opportunity and not career, gig economy but not employment, temporary income but not wages and salaries – everything today is token, but not substance.

m) Symbol, replacement, partial satisfaction, repetition. This is the chain uniting communication and economy. And it is by no mere coincidence that, in this phase of Western political communication, everything repeats the well-known “victories” of the past. The liberation of the black population in North America. Partial, like all “liberations”, was the female or feminist issue, after the old suffragettes and the big boom of female employment. The students, now considered only mass of manoeuvre for all “liberations”. It springs to our mind when in the 1970s the Canadian federal government theorized, in one of its documents for internal use, that child education should imitate the Maoist “cultural revolution”. Hence, today every social class has not employment as a goal, but mainstream communication. Everything must be covered by weapons of mass distraction having the sole purpose of changing the discourse and providing predefined identities to people who, however, must no longer have the real identity that has always objectively characterized them. No longer workers, but “citizens”, no longer unemployed, but people “looking for a job”, no longer housewives, employees, teachers, but only “career women”.

n) Hence the creation of a much subtler neo-language than the one theorized by Orwell in 1984 is part of the operation for creating a fictitious reality. It is the neo-language creating reality, by obsessive repetitions (think of contemporary music) and prohibitions of repeating what has been known for long time.

o) Currently Plato’s dream of the dialogue The Republic has come true. Poets – who, in fact, in Plato’s vision are those who remind us of the City history and heroes – have been excluded from the perfect New City. In the globalist model – which, however, currently the West has not even the financial, military and strategic possibilities to create, although continuing to think of being capable to do so – we need to forget not only our own identities – which are all “fascist” – but also those of the others. Hence hilarious explanations of the jihad are provided, according to which it is allegedly the war of the poor (and possibly “exploited”) Muslims of the Third World. Or the self-reduction of our own traditions is theorized – a diminutio which is used as a form of “acceptance” of the usual African or Middle East “poor”, which results being a communication and media self-destruction which is unparalleled in the modern Western world.

p) We are still blamed for being “rich” – and possibly now no longer so – and all our wealth allegedly comes from the cynical exploitation of the Third World’s natural resources that we “steal” from the “poor”. This is obviously a way to create mass acceptance for our future poverty – a way to artificially justify globalization and finally a way to justify our enemies. It is worth noting, however, that contemporary social communication is based on three pillars: firstly, the loosest atheism, that is the loss of a criterion going well beyond temporary or silent “distribution masses” – as Canetti would call them – and hence a criterion justifying the lowest instinct as the only law, a law that seems subjective but is biological and universal. “Materialist” atheism is a way of avoiding any vertical value, any kind of identity affecting the spirit and hence also culture.

q) Secondly, youth. Contemporary society is an organization of “juvenation”, of the eternal permanence of all individuals among young people or among those who believe to be so. As everyone knows, young people, women and, to some respects, children, are the trendsetter groups in advertising. Thirdly, hate for “high” culture – in short, tradition – and this is the core of the issue, all the identities existing before the contemporary world. Rousseau plus Orwell, Eden without God that created it, eternal childhood against the dangers and disappointments of maturity. These are the images of the contemporary world according to its deep communication model.

r) We could add to the three pillars also the leader’s myth, but only provided that the leader is obviously insignificant. His/her current role is not to act as katèchon, as the one who “postpones the End Times”, but only to represent the weaknesses, ignorance and puerile pathos of the masses. He/she must be “good,” exactly as “good” is the Antichrist in the Shiite theology of the End Times. It is only when he/she cries that currently everyone loves the Leader, not when he/she exercises his/her power, which must be possibly subjected to the mainstream one. Currently culture, politics and science are categories of Repetition that creates hypnosis.

s) Hence today the Islamic jihad is the “full”. Supreme Leader, identitarian violence, omnipotence of religion, which we believe to fight with few talentless, third-rate Voltaires – a stable, very motivated and warring mass, while we are peaceful and almost powerless, now only creating vague tribes, not States or communities. We believe we can fight this “full” with our “void” – the refusal of strong thought, natural identities or political traditions – with the even comical obsession for an economy that is still getting out of our control, as well as with the eternal present of primary instincts instead of critical thinking and of idealistic and superior models of human behaviour. We will not manage to fight this “good fight”. As the recent jihadist operations in Europe have demonstrated, we just want to stop, to be subservient and enslaved, so that they will probably stop and quit it. As worthy heirs of the Left anti-militarism and, indeed, of so many Catholics, we put our hands behind our heads, as a sign of surrender to every noise or violent act. We are now devoid of self-control, as recently happened in Piazza San Carlo, Turin and a mere paper bomb is enough to generate 1,527 wounded people. Hence the psycho-politics of mass and low-quality consumption, applied to today’s politics, is a complete failure. The identity of citizens, not producers, creates illusory images of themselves. The Other, to be incorporated and homogenized, does not want to do so, regardless of our giving in shamefully – as already happened too many times. The void we have created to “accept” the non-West is precisely the space that the Other will fill and occupy.

Advisory Board Co-chair Honoris Causa Professor Giancarlo Elia Valori is an eminent Italian economist and businessman. He holds prestigious academic distinctions and national orders. Mr. Valori has lectured on international affairs and economics at the world’s leading universities such as Peking University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Yeshiva University in New York. He currently chairs “International World Group”, he is also the honorary president of Huawei Italy, economic adviser to the Chinese giant HNA Group. In 1992 he was appointed Officier de la Légion d’Honneur de la République Francaise, with this motivation: “A man who can see across borders to understand the world” and in 2002 he received the title “Honorable” of the Académie des Sciences de l’Institut de France. “

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How Putin’s Russia is Exploiting Jihadists Against pro-Navalny Protesters?

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Who is Putin’s terrorist: Navalny or Jihadist?

Russia’s strongman Vladimir Putin is considering using old tactics to stem the growing wave of nationwide protests in support of his fiercest critic, popular opposition leader Alexei Navalny. This tactic was developed in the late 90s by the KGB ideologists and successfully applied in order to bring to power Vladimir Putin, who is ruling the country with an iron hand longer than all his Soviet predecessors except Joseph Stalin. The tactical skills of the Putin’s policy architects were aiming to frighten Russian citizens by Islamist terrorism and Chechen separatism and unite patriotic and nationalist forces around a new leader capable of challenging the West.

Thus, when the nationwide protests in support of Navalny from Yakutia to Kaliningrad became the most serious challenge, the Kremlin began to trumpet the threat of Islamist extremists and international terrorists. This time, the Putin regime is intimidating protesters with impending terrorist attacks of Central Asian and Caucasian jihadists and their Syrian parent organization, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

On the eve of the next nationwide protests on February 14, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the Investigative Committee and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russia warned of the inadmissibility of calls to participate in an unsanctioned rally. Russian state news agencies RIA Novosti and TASS have disseminated information that the most powerful Sunni militant faction of HTS in northern Syria is preparing a series of lone-wolf attacks during the upcoming mass street protests of Navalny’s supporters in various Russian cities. In doing so, however, the pro-Kremlin media cited its undisclosed law enforcement sources and ultimately spread merely conspiracy theories.

According to anonymous sources of Russian security services, HTS-backed Uzbek Jihadi battalion Katibat Tawhid wal Jihad(KTJ), Chechen militant groups Ajnad al-Kavkaz (AK) and Jaysh al-Muhajirin wal-Ansar (JMA) are planning to carry out explosions and attack protesters. To achieve these purposes, terrorist groups allegedly recruited Russian citizens and Central Asian migrants, who expect their leaders’ commands.

pro-Navalny protesters

The Putin regime faced the most serious challenge when anti-government protests took place across the Russia in support Navalny in recent weeks. As is known, in mid-January, Navalny returned to the country after recovering from a chemical Novichok poisoning that nearly took his life and was immediately detained and later jailed for alleged parole violations. The robust Putin regime first demonstrated its grave alarm when tens of thousands pro-Navalny protesters demanded his resignation in more than 100 cities and towns, chanting Putin as a ‘thief’. Police detained more than 11,000 people at what they say were unsanctioned protests that the Moscow condemned as illegal and dangerous.

Alexei Navalny’s political creativity and tactical skill inspired Russian liberal youth weary with the corruption-plagued political order presided over by Putin. Fierce clashes between protesters and riot police during the mass rallies indicate that a new generation is not afraid of arrests and the repressive state machine. And to stop the pace of marathon confrontation with the opposition, Putin resorted to his long-standing KGB tactics, intimidating society with possible terrorist attacks and explosions by Islamists.

Will Uzbek and Chechen Jihadists hit pro-Navalny Protesters?

But the fact is, it’s not the first time Putin’s Russia has intimidated society with possible terror attacks by Islamist terrorists and Chechen separatists to achieve political goals. During the transition of power from Boris Yeltsin to Vladimir Putin at the end of the second millennium, Kremlin ideologists successfully tested anti-Islamist tactics to overcome the challenges of the political opposition. The ideologists of Putin’s election campaign created his image as a decisive and strong leader, the one who can defeat Islamist terrorism, Chechen separatism and preserve the integrity of Great Russia. His image as the only savior of the Russian Empire was accompanied by radio and television spots and news about the atrocities of Chechen militants and their beheading of Russian soldiers.

Meanwhile, there is a conspiracy theory in Russian political circles that the powerful FSB orchestrated apartment bombings in the Russian cities of Buinaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk in 1999 to boost Putin’s approval rating aiming to ensure his victory in the presidential elections. As a result of these “terrorist attacks”, 307 people were killed, more than 1,700 people were injured. Russian officials concluded that there was a “Chechen trail” in the bombings, but no proof of their involvement was adduced. Many still doubt the results of the investigation and consider Putin to be the culprit of this tragedy.

That’s when Putin uttered his famous phrase: “We will pursue the [Islamist] terrorists everywhere. If they are in an airport, we’ll kill them there. If we catch them in the toilet, we’ll exterminate them in the toilet.” Many still believe that the apartment bombings and the FSB’s tactic against Islamist extremists catapulted Putin into the presidency. Putin soon launched a second war in Chechnya and emerged victorious in the intra-Kremlin struggle. His ratings soared. He met with huge approval in a society weary from the economic collapse, corruption and crime of the Yeltsin era.

Usually people prefer to keep quiet about this tragedy. Russian political figures Sergei Yushenkov, Yuri Shchekochikhin, Anna Politkovskaya, Alexander Litvinenko, and Boris Berezovsky worked to unravel the mystery of apartment bombings. But all of them were brutally murdered under mysterious circumstances. Ultimately, the Kremlin’s tactics to combat Islamist terrorists not only helped to rocket Putin to the political Olympus, but also increased Islamophobia, nationalism and chauvinism in Russian society.

Today, even 22 years after Putin came to power, the Kremlin’s ideologists have begun to intimidate Russia’s liberal society with likely Islamist terrorist attacks again as the nationwide protests seriously threaten his regime. This illustrates the regime exhaustion and the lack of confidence in face of the strategic sophistication of Navalny’s team.

So far, neither HTS, nor Central Asian and North Caucasian Salafi-Jihadi groups have officially responded to the FSB on the plotting of terrorist attacks in Russian cities during opposition rallies. However, in encrypted Telegram chats, Uzbek and Chechen jihadists actively discussed the “leak information”.

Thus, one of the KTJ’s followers on Telegram under the name Al Hijrat said in Uzbek: “Kafir Putin frightens his people with the just sword of Allah.But the people of the blessed land of Sham know that he himself is the main terrorist. Russian infidels and Putin’s Nusayri puppy (Alawites regime of Bashar al-Assad) bomb Greater Idlib to destroy Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah. Executioners will have to hold a harsh response before the Almighty for their crimes.”

A pro-Jihadi chat “Inspire” in Telegram wrote in Russian: “the information about the impending attacks by Ajnad al-Kavkaz is fake. The authorities are trying to hold Russia’s awakening people from mass protests against Putin’s criminal group. To intimidate civilians, the Russian siloviki (FSB) can and are ready to commit terrorist acts, blaming HTS for this, which are not interested in what is happening there in Russia. The Putinists have a lot of experience in killing their own citizens and blowing up their houses.” In this message, Chechen militants indirectly protect HTS from accusations by pro-Kremlin media on impending terrorist attacks in Russian cities during opposition protests. This is no coincidence, since Ajnad al Kavkaz is known for its close ties with HTS.

On Telegram channel, some Russian-speaking jihadists from the post-Soviet space mocked at the ‘leaked information’, some expressed their anger against the “Russian occupants” in Sham, some advised protesters to be vigilant before the FSB provocation. A pro-Jihadi chat Icharkhoin Telegram recommended Muslims of Caucasus be ready for new repressions of Russian infidels and local Murtad (apostate), because after the bombings of houses in Volgodonsk, Putin started the 2-Chechen war and took away the independence of Ichkeria. The Telegram chat “Muhajireen” says that the Kremlin is preparing for a harsh suppression of the mass protests.

It is not the first time the Russian authorities have accused Central Asian and North Caucasian Jihadi networks of organizing terrorist act. On April 3, 2017, the Russian FSB blamed KTJ for the bombing on a subway train in St. Petersburg that killed 16 people and injured 67 others. On October 15, 2020, the FSB once again accused the Uzbek KTJ militants of preparing subversive and terrorist acts in Russian cities of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ufa, Maikop and Volgograd. In a statement, the intelligence services claimed that during the counter-terrorist operation, they prevented explosions and eliminated two members of KTJ. Then FSB distributed photos and videos of firearms, ammunition, IED’s chemical components, and religious literature seized during the operation.

On October 16, 2020, KTJ in its statement denied the Russian authorities’ accusation in these attacks. The Uzbek militant group stated that “according the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham’s policy, our activities are limited to the territory of Sham, and we do not conduct jihadi acts outside of it.” Further, KTJ assured via its Telegram channel that it “does not have its cells in Russia and is not involved in organizing terrorist acts there.”

Jihadi factor of Russian democracy

The Russian authorities often make thunderous statements about plotting terrorist attacks by “international terrorist groups” and how siloviki (FSB) successfully prevented its. This time, trumpeting about terrorist plots by HTS and its foreign subsidiaries during mass protests in various Russian cities, Moscow hoped to hit two birds with one stone. First, the Kremlin hopes that alarm on terrorist attacks could become a cold shower for Navalny’s supporters, as a result of which the activity of protesters will subside and the scale of the rallies will decrease. Second, by accusing HTS of plotting terrorist attacks, Russia is trying to justify its bloody bombing in northern Syria before the international community.

However, experts on jihadism and political Islam were skeptical about accusations of HTS for plotting terrorist attacks in Russia.HTS, Syria’s most powerful rebel group, is trying to implement a new strategy to transform itself from a global jihadist outlook into a local “moderate national liberation movement”. Today its new agenda is entirely dedicated to Syria and the Syrian local Sunni community. Within this new strategy, HTS severely restricted external attacks by its subsidiaries – Central Asian and North Caucasian Salafi-Jihadi groups –KTJ, AK and JMA. Consequently, HTS, which holds the last major rebel bastion in Idlib province and backs the local Salvation Government, is focused only on the internal Syrian jihad than organizing external terrorist attacks.

HTS emir Abu Mohammed al-Julani is well aware that any terrorist attacks in Russia could place his group among the global terrorist organizations, such as ISIS and al Qaeda, from which he decisively disavowed. HTS pursues a pragmatic approach to the political context, and its external attacks outside of Syria could undermine its fragile legacy, which Julani has achieved with great difficulty.

According to the new strategy, HTS has excluded Central Asian and local hardliners from its ranks. Those jihadists who did not want to submit to its new policy, such as former KTJ emir Abu Saloh al-Uzbeki and HTS Shura Council member Abu Malek al-Talli, were arrested or taken out of the Syrian jihad zone. Given the ability of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to pressure Russian-speaking militant groups to abandon its global jihadist ambitions, it can be concluded that the Russian FSB’s accusation against HTS raises many questions.

In conclusion, the Russian authorities alert about Islamists terrorist attacks during pro-Navalny protests is aimed at an internal audience and pursues exclusively domestic political goals. And these goals are clear as plain as the nose on the face. Using these methods, the Kremlin wants to stop the turbulent development of mass protests and divert the attention of people from the Navalny factor. If they succeed, the authorities will take time out to gather strength for the parliamentary elections in the fall of 2021.But if the wave of protests grows ever stronger and threatens Putin’s regime, then a repetition of the 1999 scenario is quite possible. As then, radical Islamism and terrorism can become a starting point for strengthening authoritarianism in Russia.

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Corona pandemic: Realism limitation in solving 21st century security threats

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Today, most serious threats of the 21st century are not ones we can protect ourselves by using armies or advanced weapons. Indeed, the popularity of extreme-right politics, unilateralism based on nationalism and COVID-19 are threatening the world’s post-war security architecture. 

The state-based unilateralism and the trends of national response to the 21st century’s biggest security threat trigger lack of coordination, diplomatic divisions, and incoherent global answer to COVID-19. Hence, as we face the biggest challenge of the contemporary century today, we need to rethink the very nature of our comprehension of national security threats. By doing so, we need a different approach to facing security threats.

With the Corona pandemic as a security threat, one of the foundational international relations theories, the realism, has been revealed to be far limited in terms of its explanatory power than it declares. The argument is that realism has a valid logic and reasons for confidence since answers to the pandemic have confirmed the supremacy of sovereign states, the grounds for the state’s power competition. Nevertheless, the pandemic also presents realism’s weaknesses as a source for successful policy answer to this security challenge. In other words, realism is better at defining risks and threats than suggesting solutions. Put simply, realism’s explanatory power lies in diagnosis rather than treatment or prevention. To make this clear, one insight the theory emphasizes is the representation of states as the fundamental actors in world politics. 

As the coronavirus hit, states shifted quickly to close or tighten international borders, controlled movement within their borders. However, while much independent national action is understandable from a realism’s point of view, it’s insufficient. Unilateralism and state-based measures, such as border controls did not spare states from the pandemic, and unilateral measures risk ending up in national economic and social crisis. 

To fight the Corona pandemic most efficiently, policymakers will have to shift to other theoretical traditions to overcome this security threat. They will depend more and more on greater international openness, trust and cooperation. Hence, while from the realism’s view, unilateral and state-based actions may serve national interest to fight the pandemic “within the national borders”, the pandemic is a global security threat and thus remains unsolved so long as other states and non-state actors have not done the same and states move on unilaterally. 

Solving global crises and security threats such as a pandemic, similar to world economic or other security crises cannot be solved based on the realist considerations of zero-sum competitive logic. Instead, transnational security threats, such as Coronavirus, is unmasking the limitations of individual states actions in the global system. Thus, while realism does an excellent job of “diagnosing the problem”, it does not offer solutions to that problem.   

Considering the necessity of worldwide medical items and actions, coordinated and offered by international organizations and non-state actors, the uncoordinated state-based actions result in an ineffective solution to this security crisis. The perspective this article aims to offer is that given the limitations of realism, we need more faith in international transboundary cooperation based on mutual trust, especially trust vis-a-vis international institutions. However, neither the United Nations nor the World Health Organization (WHO) nor any other non-state actor can overcome the Coronavirus on its own; nor non-state actors such as international institutions are alternatives to national states in international relations. 

Instead, they are an instrument of foreign policy and statecraft and states need to rely on them, incorporating them in finding solutions to global security threats. According to constitutionalists, Robert Keohane and Lisa Martin, “States are indeed self-interested, but cooperation is often in their interest and institutions help to facilitate that cooperation.”

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The Media System Within and Beyond the West: Australian, Russian and Chinese Media

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This article takes Australian, Russian and Chinese media as three examples to differentiate media systems and elucidate their political or economic context to understand media systems globally. Arguably, the concept of media systems “does not possess a normative or even generally accepted definition“, mainly because the notion is posited on existing publications and empirical research rather than normative theory. More precisely, “this is so for two reasons: firstly—because of the term’s content specificity; secondly—because it is dynamic and variable in time and therefore difficult to precisely define“.

Drawing on the current research of advanced capitalist democracies in Western Europe and North America, Hallin and Mancini propose “there are two main elements of the conceptual framework of Comparing Media Systems (setting aside political-social system variables): the set of four “dimensions” of comparison, and the typology of three models that summarizes what we see as the distinctive patterns of media system development among our 18 cases”. Furthermore, they clarify the four major dimensions that can be compared in different media systems: “first, the development of media markets, with particular emphasis on the strong or weak development of a mass circulation press; second political parallelism; that is, the degree and nature of the links between the media and political parties or, more broadly, the extent to which the media system reflects the major political divisions in society; third, the development of journalistic professionalism; and fourth, the degree and nature of state intervention in the media system”.

Drawing on the four dimensions, Hallin and Mancini summarize three modules from Western Europe and North America: “the Mediterranean or Polarized Pluralist Model, the North/Central European or Democratic Corporatist Model,

and the North Atlantic or Liberal Model”, which will be elaborated on by the next tables.

Table 1 Mediterranean or Polarized Pluralist Model

Country ExamplesFrance, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain
Newspaper IndustryLow newspaper circulation; elite politically oriented press
Political ParallelismHigh political parallelism; external pluralism, commentary-oriented journalism; parliamentary or government model of broadcast governance—politics-over-broadcasting systems
ProfessionalizationWeaker professionalization; instrumentalization
Role of the State in Media SystemStrong state intervention; press subsidies in France and Italy; periods of censorship; “savage deregulation” (except France)

Table 2 North/Central European or Democratic Corporatist Model

Country ExamplesAustria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland
Newspaper IndustryHigh newspaper circulation; early development of mass-circulation press
Political ParallelismExternal pluralism, especially in the national press; historically strong party press; a shift toward neutral commercial <p>press; the politics-in-broadcasting system with substantial autonomy
ProfessionalizationStrong professionalization; institutionalized self-regulation
Role of the State in Media SystemStrong state intervention but with protection for press freedom; press subsidies, robust in Scandinavia; strong public-service broadcasting

Table 3 North Atlantic or Liberal Model

Country ExamplesBritain, the United States, Canada, Ireland
Newspaper IndustryMedium newspaper circulation; early development of mass circulation commercial press
Political ParallelismNeutral commercial press; information-oriented journalism; internal pluralism (but external pluralism in Britain); professional model of broadcast governance—formally autonomous system
ProfessionalizationStrong professionalization; noninstitutionalized self-regulation
Role of the State in Media SystemA market dominated (except strong public broadcasting in Britain, Ireland)

Source: created by the author of this thesis and based on Hallin and Mancini.

Furthermore, it is unfeasible to simply apply the conceptual framework to other countries without appropriate modification. In fact, the “four dimensions” and “three models” are just perfect types, only loosely matched by the media systems of different countries. The ultimate purpose is not to classify individual media systems but to identify the “characteristic patterns of relationship between system characteristics“. Consequently, these inherent patterns of media systems offer “a theoretical synthesis and a framework for comparative research on the media and political systems“.

The Australian media system as an outlier in the Liberal Model

Hallin and Mancini illustrate that Australia should be another example of the Liberal Model. It is because firstly, the “Liberal Model is the broadest, attempting to bridge the trans-Atlantic gulf that regularly emerges in the comparative literature“. Secondly, Australia has historical connections with the UK and the US regarding “early democratization and highly professionalized information-based journalism“. This association has led to strong characteristics of Anglo-American conventions in the Australian media structure, with the quintessence of a dual media system. The binary design has combined the UK-style PSBs (public service broadcasters) such as ABC and SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) with the “US-style commercial networks“. Thirdly, Australia is famous for one of the highest commercial media ownership concentration rates globally, particularly in the newspaper area.

However, the Australian media system does not offer the quintessence of the Liberal Model. Jones and Pusey apply the Liberal Model to the Australian media system and identify four remarkable discrepancies. More precisely, compared to the Liberal Model, Australia has “historically late professionalization of journalism; comparatively low levels of education of journalists; low per capita investment in PSBs; poor regulation for accuracy and impartiality of commercial broadcast journalism; and slow development of relevant bourgeois liberal institutional conventions and rational-legal authority, e.g., formal recognition of freedom of the press”.

Furthermore, Jones and Pusey contend that Australia has several similar features with the Polarized Pluralist Model, especially in clientelism. Based on the definition of Hallin and Mancini, “clientelism tends to be associated with instrumentalization of both public and private media. In the case of public media, appointments tend to be made more based on political loyalty than purely professional criteria”. More concretely, Jones and Pusey outline the following examples to indicate the similarities of the Australian media system with the Polarized Pluralist Model: “the widely accepted recognition that appointments to the ABC Board have been more often than not party-political; the infamous ‘Murdoch amendments’ by the Fraser government to broadcasting legislation in the late 1970s to facilitate Murdoch’s concentration of television ownership; and the long history of proprietorial intervention in the political world”.

Thus, to this extent, there is a certain degree of political parallelism in the Australian media system. However, the Australian one does not match the Polarized Pluralist Model in some key areas. More precisely”, Australia does not have a highly polarized political culture and a strong tradition of mass-circulation party newspapers“. Therefore, it is arguable to perceive the Australian media system as an outlier of the Liberal Model, which can be shown in the following figure:

Figure 1 Relation of individual cases to the three models

Source: derived from Jones and Pusey.

Beyond the West: the unique Russian and Chinese media model

Although the Australian media system is an outlier in the Liberal Model, it still belongs to the typology and scope of the three models, posited on the empirical reality of Western Europe and North America. However, bringing the Russian and Chinese media models into this global comparative apparatus involves two distinct and peculiar systems into the Western-centric framework. Thus, the three models’ classification cannot apply to Russia and China’s two unique systems. Nevertheless, the four dimensions of comparison as a tool for analyzing systemic characteristics still work. However, they are not perfect and need to be modified in the application, as mentioned before.

The Russian media system as a statist commercialized model

After the disintegration of the USSR, Russia took a series of measures to adopt elements of the Western media apparatus, such as “abolition of censorship, freedom of press concepts and related legislation, privatization of media, a shift to more objective reporting, and increasing control by journalists and editorial boards over news production“. However, arguing that the Russian media have been westernized only shows “a poor understanding of” the legacy of the Soviet Union and the “complexity and dissimilarities of the post-Soviet society“, ignoring the most influential factor in the Russian media system: the state. Arguably, the interplay between the state and media has defined the essence and main features of the Russian media system. Historically and culturally, “in Russian public communications, relations between the state and a citizen have involved a clear subordination of the individual to a social power that has always been associated in the Russian context with the state“.

Thus, even though the Polarized Pluralist Model is the most similar of the three models to the Russian one, the Russian media system is still far from the Mediterranean apparatus. The Russian state’s role has exceedingly overshadowed that of the Mediterranean states, suggesting that they cannot be classified as the same type. Ivanitsky differs the Russian media system from the Polarized Pluralist Model in that “it is the state which defined the particular journalism modes such as Court journalism, Imperial journalism, Communist Party journalism in Russian history. Currently, while liberating the media’s economic activity, the state is not ready to relax the control over the content”.

This overwhelming influence of the state also reflects in Russian political parallelism. Although new political parties have appeared after the formation of the Russian Federation, Oates argues that “rather than encouraging the growth and the development of a range of political parties, media outlets in Russia have worked at supporting relatively narrow groups of elites”, part of which have been formed due to the privatization. These elites, combining old political and new emerging business elites, “became key players in the media scene“. More concretely, they created “a particularly Russian form of political parallelism” by using “political media as traditional instruments of political elite management“. Besides, due to the dominant role of the state in Russia, “media, particularly television, have been used to subvert the development of a pluralistic party system“.

Furthermore, in terms of the media industry, the influence of the state is also ubiquitous. Ivanitsky believes the state “has produced practically unsolvable tension for the media themselves trying to function both as commercial enterprises and as institutions of the society”, even though Russia has achieved rapid development in its advertising and media market. Hypothetically, these tensions between the media and the state are supposed to be the “decentralized market competition as a vital antidote to political despotism“. However, Vartanovaargues that “the aims of the state converged with those of the advertising industry, and commercially determined content became both a means of increasing depoliticization and instrumentalization of political communication, and of stimulating consumption”. From another angle, de Smaele believes that the Western influence on Russian media has only been limited to market demand, with the lack of Western notions such as “independent Fourth Estate”.

As for Russia’s professionalization, “journalism as a profession had a rather late start” with a strong censorship history, thus resulting in a self-censorship tradition until now. Another factor contributing to the self-censorship is that “formally declared freedom and autonomy of media professionals came into conflict with the efforts of the new owners”, deeply connected to the state and political elites, “to use these new professional values to further their own interests” rather than the public interests and social responsibility. Thus, to notch economic successes and avoid potential political risks, Russian journalists have become increasingly market-driven and apathetic to politics. Due to the different “professional identity“, Russian journalists have a dissimilar “literary style and attitude to facts and opinions“, which has restrained them from integration into Western journalism.

However, this statist media policy does not mean there is no freedom regarding the Russian media system’s political news. Admittedly, the state has strong influences on “television channels with national distribution“, which has been regarded as “the main source of information about Russia and the world“. By comparison, the pressure of the state has become weak and even non-existent in some less disseminated areas such as the television channel “REN-TV“, the radio station “Ekho Moskvy“, and the newspapers “Novaya Gazeta“, “Nezavisimaya Gazeta” and “Kommersant“, as well as almost the whole of the internet.

Therefore, it is possible to say that the duality of authoritarian attitudes to mass media and journalism—a statist media policy deeply rooted in the framework of state influence on media combined with the growing market-driven economy—has become the most crucial characteristic of the Russian media system“. To this extent, the Russian media system can be described as a statist commercialized model.

The Chinese media system as a state-dominated model

If there is still a likelihood to compare the Russian media system with the Mediterranean Model due to a certain extent of similarities, “bringing the Chinese media system into a worldwide comparative project is to bring one of the most dissimilar systems into the non-Western empirical reality“. Furthermore, if the role above of the state in the Russian media system can be portrayed as “strong influence”, the Chinese state’s position or the sole ruling party CPC in its media apparatus should be regarded as dominant. As mentioned, regarding the political news, Russians still enjoy some freedom in less influential media. In contrast, there is no autonomy in the Chinese press, with the omnipresent regulative measures such as media censorship and the internet Great Firewall in China. Thus, considering the state’s special role, the Chinese media system is far beyond the intervention framework in the West.

In fact, despite Deng Xiaoping’s reform, the Chinese media system of the post-Mao period has still applied the “different versions of Marxism and socialism” to “build socialism with Chinese characteristics” by “providing moral guidance to the population and engineering economic development and social change“. One of the most important reasons that may clarify this “guidance”, namely, strong and resilient media control, is the media ownership in China. It is undeniable that the post-Mao economic reforms have expanded the private capital to some areas that had been commanded by the Chinese government or state-owned enterprises for decades. However, Zhao argues that “in the media sector, although the Chinese state has not only drastically curtailed its role in subsidizing media operations but has also targeted the media and cultural sector as new sites of profit-making and capitalistic development, the state continues to restrict private capital, let alone the privatizing of existing media outlets”.

In fact, the Chinese state has opened the door to private and even foreign capital participation in “the media’s entertainment function” such as the film industry with the intention of profit-making. However, this profit-making entertainment also needs to be filtered by the ideological orientation of the state. More importantly, “the production and distribution of news and informational content” and the “ownership of news media outlets” have remained “monopolized by the state“. Furthermore, this monopoly also results in the fact that the state has appointed major media agencies’ leadership.

Despite the state’s overwhelming control, the Chinese media market has boomed for years since the economic reform of Deng Xiaoping, attributable to the power of marketization. For instance, in 2004, there were 6,580 daily newspapers published worldwide, and the number of daily newspapers published in China ranked first in the world, accounting for 14.5% of the global daily newspapers. However, the commercialization of the Chinese media industry has not surmounted the ideological control of the state. The media market has constituted “two distinct and yet institutionally intertwined press sectors or subsystems“. The first press sector is market-based as the film above industry, while the second is “the party organ sector“, which combines the duality of the political instrument and profit-making. This is because “most state media outlets no longer receive large government subsidies and have largely to depend on commercial advertising“. Nevertheless, rather than causing tensions, the dual roles the party organ sector plays have adopted and contained the marketization within the current political control by the statist implementation of “licensing system and the sponsor unit system“. Consequently, these two systems have guaranteed the predominance of the state over the commercialization and marketization.

As for the political parallelism, the state-dominated Chinese media system has top-level political instrumentalization, indicating “all the features of a quintessential party-press parallelism“. Almost all the media content should and, in practice, have revolved around the official ideology and slogan of the state. This is pertinent to another aspect of four dimensions, based on the theory and standard of Hallin and Mancini: the utterly low professionalization in Chinese journalism, where journalists have to successfully balance the “market forces and the party-press system” to obtain financial benefits and political security. Furthermore, Pan and Lu argue that Chinese journalists “do not fit their practices into the universal model of professionalism”, but “utilize and appropriate diverse and often conflicting ideas of journalism through their improvised and situated practices”, leading to the “truncated and fragmented in Chinese journalism”. Also, unlike the Western conception of relative objectivity in journalism, Hackett and Zhao create a term “regime of objectivity” to describe how Chinese journalists portray information on the precondition of conforming to the state ideology.

Therefore, due to its restricted commercialization and dominated state, Chan summarizes the Chinese media industry’s development as commercialization without independence. Drawing on the above, the Chinese media system can be described as a state-dominated model.

References

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  • Zhou, Shuhua. “China: Media System”. In, edited by W. Donsbach2015.

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