Strangeness From Russia

President Obama is in Russia at the moment, which must cause the more reactionary old farts in the Republican Party some consternation, since in conservative parlance, such a statement would use the phrase “Great Satan” twice. This not-really-momentous occasion seemed a good opportunity to check out my two favorite Russian news websites – Ria Novosti and Pravda and see what they have to say.

What you have to kind of remember is that both of these news outlets are propagandists of the highest order, who at times make Fox News look “fair and balanced”, and that neither are above publishing the most ridiculously sensationalist stories imaginable. Don’t believe me? Really, I couldn’t make this stuff up. National Enquirer, eat your heart out.

There is some actual not-batshit-crazy news on these sites, though, though you need to be fairly savvy about Russian politics and propaganda to understand them all correctly. Don’t worry, though; if you carefully read through a few stories, you’ll figure out who the country’s current political enemies are. (cough, the Ukraine, cough.)

Still, when it comes to self-promotion, especially of Russia’s military, they can be an interesting source, though the accuracy of information is always suspect. This story, on the reorganization of the Russian military, is a good example – as far as I can tell, they’re pulling numbers for NATO and Chinese forces out of their butts. (“China will have about 4,000 to 5,000 tanks, including 2,000 modern tanks, by 2020.”) And some of their editorials leave one scratching one’s head a bit – “Nuclear weapons are surely not weapons as such; they cannot be used to achieve victory, as Adolf Hitler planned to use them and as America actually used them in 1945.”

Craziness and propaganda aside, these sites do report on stories you don’t read about elsewhere, however worrying those stories might be.

Feel free to poke around their websites and try to find the most ridiculous stories; while you’re doing that, I’ll leave you with a couple of odd photo galleries, courtesy of Pravda:

Itty-bitty foxes

Navy Day in the Ukraine

and the female side of the U.S. Army, a photo-essay whose raison d’etre I can’t quite fathom, especially given that it seems to encompass photos from the last thirty years…

Published in: 'D' for 'Dumb', Geekiness, General, History | on July 6th, 2009| 2 Comments »

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  1. On 7/8/2009 at 12:52 am Anton Pavlovetsky Said:

    US actually used nuclear weapons in Japan and Hitler actually would, so what is your point of head scratching?

  2. On 7/9/2009 at 1:54 pm Nemo Said:

    The head scratching is over the assertion that nuclear weapons “cannot be used to achieve victory”, which seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom, at least where smaller nuclear states are concerned.