Report: Disinformation and Democracy

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  Two Examples of Disinforamtion in the Eastern Bloc

In the USSR manipulation of the population was one of the big tasks for the government. But manipulation got even further, for example when the English expert John Maynard came back from a visit in the Ukraine in 1933, he told about poverty but not about hunger. In fact he did not have seen anyone starving as the Soviets just showed him the things they wanted to show. Maynard was involuntarily used to spread Soviet disinformation. As a person from the West, the Western media tended to believe him.

A nearly humorous variety of disinformation was ordered by Nicolae Ceausescu in the 1980s. It was a very cold winter and too little heating material was available. Therefore Ceausescu made a law that TV-forecasts-weather-forecasts were not allowed to talk about temperatures below 15° Celsius. Like this he hoped to keep the population quiet.

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Nicolae Ceaucescu
Nicolae Ceausescu (1918-1989) was State-Secretary of Romania from 1967 to 1989. He is supposed to have been one of the cruelest dictators of the Eastern Bloc. His power was assured by a huge system of spies called the Securitate. In 1989 when the other Eastern-European countries started liberalizing their politics, he tried to follow the same policy as before; in December he had to flee but was betrayed and ended up being shot together with his wife right after a short and secret trial. Today it seems as if the revolution of those days had been organized by the communists to assure power. In the meantime the situation for the people has not improved at all but rather worsened.