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  Report: Disinformation and Democracy

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  The 2nd Chechnya-War

In the summer of 1999 between 1.200 and 2.000 Muslim rebels from Chechnya fell into Dagestan. Rumors say that Russian soldiers closed their eyes pretending not to see anything. During the fightings that started soon, many persons got killed. The hole issue was blamed on Chechnya.
At that time there were rumors that there would be heavy bombing in Moscow in September. And there was. Those two things together brought back the hatred against the Chechnya rebels. The 2nd War between Russia and the Muslim country began. While the first war was lost at home, because the Russians, especially mothers, did not understand why their sons should fight against Chechnya, this time the atmosphere was completely different. In the cities 85% and all over Russia 65% of the Russian population agreed with the war. This time the war was a national issue, a legitimate defense.
The media emphasized this.
Alexander Zilin, a journalist, found out that the truth was far from the one presented in the media: First of all there was no evidence that the Moscow-bombings were organized by Chechnyans. On the contrary it is more than probable that the crimes were organized by a governmental institution for national security. The disinformation was part of the strategy to make the population support another war with Chechnya. The media were part of the story, maybe without knowing. They kept on the government's and army's side, showing only special and patriotic parts of the war. For example the number of dead Russian soldiers was held back.

The U.S.-behavior on this:
The USA would like to intervene but they are afraid of ruining the weak relation to Russia. For years the main topic of U.S.-politics has been the struggle against terrorism. Now Russia pretends to be fighting terrorism. How could it be criticized for that?

The reason for this war is rather cynical: it worked as a public relations-campaign for Vladimir Putin, candidate for the president's elections in. When Putin came into power as minister-president of Russia in August 1999, opinion polls gave him 2% for the elections in summer 2000. By the end of November he got already 46%! And finally he won. The public relations war worked well.
At the same time a propaganda-campaign against his rival Y. Primakov (98), formerly the most popular candidate, was spreading lies and bad rumors. Opinion-polls showed very fast that he had lost the elections because of this black propaganda, even before the elections took place.

browse Report:
Disinformation and Democracy
-3   Exchange of the Text
-2   The Gulf War
-1   The Kosovo-Crisis
0   The 2nd Chechnya-War
+1   Conclusion