quarta-feira, 19 de outubro de 2016

Putin calls officials families back home: revealing a misunderstanding

(Russian President pictured on November 11th 2015: if it was a year ago, the Putin´s call to the return of the government officials´ families wouldn´t have the same impact.)

The news that Vladimir Putin would have ordered that government high-ranking members take their families back to Russia caused an uproar in Western media. The order had been issued for members of the federal and regional authorities, lawmakers and public companies employees. The event was interpreted as an emergency action in preparation for a possible nuclear war with US and NATO.

Apparently, the main responsible for this interpretation were the British tabloids like the Daily Star and the Daily Mail. This latter cited as source the Russian site news Znak, based in Yekaterimburg, saying that Putin would have ordered that government´s high-officials come and take their families back to Russia "amid hightened tensions over the prospect of global war". The non-acompliance of the order would have as punishment the prejudice to the officiers´ careers. Although the Daily Mail says that the reason of the order wasn´t clear, the event was interpreted in the context of the sudden deterioration of relations between Russia and the West, especially in the diplomatic and military divergences about the Syrian Civil War and positioning of the missiles in Europe, that I mentioned in my last text in this blog. The report also cites a Russian political analyst that says Putin would be preparing the Russian elite for a "big war".

In my last text I suggested that the relation between the Putin´s order and a possible world war wasn´t correct. I also commented that could be a relation between this call and the political reform the president is leading in the country. But according to the informations there seems no relation between this fact and the mentioned political reform. The reason would be another.

(Russian students in an exchange program in Michigan, USA, in 2013: Kremlin wants to reduce the Western cultural influence.) 

The Snopes.com, that in it´s Twitter account appears as "the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation", says the Daily Mail´s attitude would be instilling fear in the population to misinterpret the Znak´s news, written in Russian, and mixing internal issues with recent international tension. Explains the report:
 The Daily Mail cited the Russian-language news web site Znak, which posted a piece entitled "Home!" Translated from Russian, the piece said that Putin's administration had issued an informal request, not an order, that Russian officials and their family members who are living abroad return home. The piece discussed not a pending military conflict, but a public perception problem stemming from Russian elites' sending their children to be educated at expensive Western schools while their homeland is in the midst of challenging the West and jockeying with the U.S. for global power. It does not seem to be a red flag that World War III is imminent.
The report also cites a Russian political scientist, who said the education of the country´s elite children generates constant derision and complaints to the government. "You can not serve two gods, one must choose", he said, alluding that the families must choose, or Russia, or the West.
According to Russia Today the Znak´s report cites five government´s anonymous sources who said have received an unoficial recomendation of the Kremlin about their families abroad. The Russians in foreign universities should continue their studies in Russia, otherwise this could mean the end of their careers.

The Snope.com´s analysis was base for another report written by The New Zeland Herald´s staff wrriters, from New Zeland, one of the few Western countries´ newspaper to give this version of the facts. 

The Putin´s call would have relation, therefore, with an internal matter: the attempt to "purify" the country´s elite from the Western cultural influences. Since his second term (2004-2008), Russia has invested in a public diplomacy expanding the reach of it´s media, think thanks, cooperation agencies in the political and cultural area and, of course, the political alliance system with European extremists, separatist groups and an estrategical alliance with China and the BRICS. The goal is to create a challenging global order to the American one, and this includes the cultural dimension.
(In the Western media spread images that combinated a Putin´s aggressive figure with a nuclear explosion: conclusion on a global conflict are hasty and exagerated.)  
The "informal order" for returning of the officials´ families sounded worrisome due to the deep crisis between Russians and the West in recent days, what really gave the impression that was a preparation for a more serious conflict even without a clear signal of what was the order´s purpose. Beacuse of this the Western agencies that gave this interpretation immediately related the Putin´s call with the events of the last weeks. This doesn´t mean, however, that the Kremlin isn´t preparing for a wider war. The explosive rethoric like the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader and Putin ally, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who "warned" (indeed threatened) the US about a possible nuclear war only reinforces this perception, and is one reason for the sensationalism in Western media. But Russian leaders also make their histrionic words a propaganda war. Any final conclusion that it´ll be a global conflict US-Russia enters the realm of speculation. We have to wait to see what will be the next steps on both sides.

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