The April 13, 2022 issue of The Jewish Post & News carried my article, “Conversations with a Friend in Russia,” about the war in Ukraine.
My friend and I have continued to exchange messages about the ongoing illegal war of aggression by Russia via a secure network.
Here is an edited version of a recent long letter my friend asked me to send via email to Russian dissident émigré Mark Feygin.
Feygin is a former Russian lawyer and human rights activist. He also served from January 1994 to December 1995 as a deputy of the State Duma and was the vice mayor of Samara, notes Wikipedia.
In 2011 and 2012, Feygin was active in opposition to President Vladimir Putin, and announced that he was forming an opposition party. Since the February 24, 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, he has gained a following on YouTube, hosting daily discussions with Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovych on his channel. I have made some minor grammatical and syntactical corrections to the letter.
“I hope my letter will not only reach you, but you will find time to read it. I considered it important to share with you the following considerations. I developed them as a result of a long – since February 24, and continuing all the time – following the course of Putin’s war against Ukraine.
‘“… this (Putin’s lies) is not obvious to the Russian layman …”’ These were your words in the New Year’s Eve stream at Zhdanov’s. That’s exactly what it is – for the main contingent, from which Putin’s occupying army is replenished, Putin’s lie is not obvious! This category of citizens has their brains blocked by many years of Putin’s propaganda. But it is necessary to make sure that Putin’s lies, his real war crimes and crimes against his own people become obvious even to the most recent idiots in this country! We need replacement drivers in their primitive and zombied brains.
“Why is it important to do this now, and not wait until Putin is somehow demolished and his accomplices, remaining in power, begin to explain to the masses that the dwarf ‘turned out to be not a father, but a bitch’ (as Andrey Piontkovsky voiced this scenario).
“This must be done now, in the midst of the war; because the doubts sown in the brains of marginals deformed by Putin’s propaganda is a real mechanism for influencing their motivation. This is a real mechanism to reduce the ranks of creatures ready to become consumables in Putin’s occupying army. The more degenerates join the ranks of the occupying army, the longer the war will last, the longer the torment of Ukrainians will continue, the more destruction there will be in Ukraine, the longer the maniac will be able to continue his terrorist activities. Therefore, it is important to reduce their ranks and change their motivation.
“The human psyche is a plastic material, an easily induced substance, but in order to reorient it, it must be acted upon. Putin’s propagandists, for their part, make an active direct impact on the brains of this redneck mass (and very effectively), but there is no counter-influence on this contingent.
“Clever verbose analytical streams of opposition bloggers and experts do not solve the problem of suppressing the drivers operating in the heads of this category of the population. They do not hear and do not listen to these clever arguments.
Here, Kiriyenko calls on the masses to make this real terrorist war the people’s war…. And, who is calling the Russian layman to the people’s war against Putin and his occupation regime?
Some of the citizens come to understand the realities themselves. But the majority in this demographic cohort won’t make it on its own. If such appeals are heard, then (it must be done) in the verbose context of analytical reasoning and assessments.
“But in this format, these appeals will not pierce the brains of idiots. They must be broken through with short and sharply directed formulations – directly calling Putin the only enemy of their homeland, of their nation.
“Cattlemass, which includes representatives of all social categories of citizens, does not care about the suffering of Ukrainians. On the contrary, they rejoice at this because they have already had hammered into their heads that their enemies have settled in Ukraine, and Putin is their protector. These deformed brains cannot be reoriented by clever reasoning and revelations.
“They need to briefly and clearly drive other formulas into their minds: that Putin is an enemy of the Russian (their) people; that Putin has plundered their country and is now finally destroying it; that Putin is an enemy of Russia, destroying the population of their country, exterminating them; that Putin is depriving their children and grandchildren of a future in this country; that each of their volleys in Ukraine is a volley that destroys their own country; that those who serve Putin are traitors to their country and there will be punishment for this; that Putin in power in Russia is Hitler’s revenge for the defeat in the Second World War, etc. – that Putin must be destroyed in order to save Russia and restore a normal life in their country for themselves.
“Your own shirt is closer to the body” and this should be emphasized in the information war. For them, these formulas should sound short, repeated and continuous. Otherwise, the majority will not reach.
“The lamentations of some well-known anti-Putin and anti-Russian bloggers-journalists that ‘Russians are genetically predetermined slaves’ are not just stupid and unfair (remember how the people rose in Khabarovsk, at least) – they are harmful, because they only help Putin’s mafia to consolidate the rednecks around Putin and use them as an instrument of his crimes.
“For the benefit of the cause of victory over Putin’s evil, it is necessary to reprogram these deformers as far as possible, in all possible ways, right now. Seeds of doubt can only germinate if they are thrown into the ground. Otherwise no.
“There is such a formula: “If a person is told every day that he is a donkey, he will soon scream like a donkey!’
“This is how the human psyche works. Putin’s propaganda actively and aggressively uses this principle, it is built on this. And it gives results, as we all see. And yet there is no effective counteraction to this in the information war! The situation in the information field is similar to the situation in the real war on the combat front, where the defenders of Ukraine are forced (so far) to respond to massive shelling by the occupiers only by shooting down missiles in their skies and destroying the occupiers within their own territory.
“In the information war, Putin’s people are persecuting lies, but by a method that affects simple brains. They aggressively stigmatize the victims of their aggression as ‘Nazis’, attribute all their own crimes to the victims, inspire their inhabitants that this is a holy war for the ‘defense of the Russian world’, etc. In the brains of Russian inhabitants (in very many) induced by Putin’s propaganda, there was a merger of retrospective images of the Second World War with their perception of the current acts of Putin’s occupiers as the war against enemies. And, in response to that from the so-called opposition on the information field, only wordy explanations of the depth of the maniac’s mental deformation, endless exposure and ridicule of his paranoid delirium, repeated discussions of his health and the vile tricks of his lackeys, etc.
“This also needs to be voiced, of course, but this is absolutely not enough to achieve a result. Where are the active direct accusations and calls for a people’s war against the occupiers? The information war on the part of the anti-Putin forces should change from debatable and explanatory to offensive and accusatory, calling for resistance.
“Moreover, now the long-winded and repeatedly repeated arguments of anti-Putin bloggers also come with oppositionists (true and pseudo) attacking each other and their mutual denials. I do not give examples, they are well known. Well, what result should be expected from such an ‘information war’? Oppositionists cease to be trusted. The opposition seems to be there, well, at least this, but the result? In the current format, these moans of the opposition can last forever.
“To achieve success on the field of “information warfare” an active, aggressive counter-action is needed. We need a consolidation of all forces, and not neurotic outbursts and mutual pecking. If there is real resistance, it will objectively work to sow doubts in the zombie brains of the bulk of the Russian layman, reprogram them – point them to their real enemy, urge them not to become accomplices in the destruction of their own country. Moreover, it will be pure truth, reinforced for them by what they experience every day in their own skin. They experience, but endure and do not think about the reasons, because they are under hypnosis. There is no anti-hypnosis. There is no massive ‘trench agitation’. (It is all the more strange that it does not exist in a country with such historical experience – let us recall what successes the Bolsheviks achieved with their “trench agitation”).
“Orcs can only be changed by driving other motivating blocks into their minds – that their real enemy is the one they currently serve. There are still surprisingly few examples of such active offensive work on the information front (as Arestovich said – “little, bad, not enough” – that’s exactly the case here!)
“A positive example of how this should be done is the New Year’s address of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine Reznikov. Everything is on point, strong and concise. It is all the more strange that “trench propaganda” is not used by anti-Putin informationists, when a maniac and the actions of his gang provide abundant objective texture for guilty verdicts and calls for a people’s war against a real enemy.
“These accusations and appeals must be made not only on some Telegram channels and (intricate, lengthy, often contradictory) on some YouTube streams, but in 24×7 mode, on all possible channels, briefly, persistently, with conviction and clearly.
“It is necessary to use all available modern technologies in order to convey the necessary messages to the addressee. It is necessary to hack federal TV channels and load them with the necessary content (experience with regional TV has already begun to appear).
“It is necessary to hack the loading of advertising plasmas on the streets of big cities and display the necessary frames and appeals on them. (It is technically possible, because there was a case when an amateur hacker put a porn video on Moscow street plasmas). Well, and so on. Do it now, and not wait until after the victory over Putin’s fascism. Information warfare is important as a direct instrument of real physical warfare, but to be effective it must be carried out with methods that penetrate to the target.
“That’s all for now. But, there’s a lot more to say.
“Good luck and victories in your fight!