All Language is Propaganda

The New Russians

The art of propaganda is subtly at work in Ukraine. Of course there have been angry speeches from politicians, diatribes from talking heads, and the usual written invectives from journalists. But all this is quite obvious, and none of it truly propaganda. More insidiously, political agendas have become embedded in the vocabulary of Ukraine’s chaos.

Choice of words alters the truth, making the abuse of language an invaluable technique for politicians and journalists. The near anarchy of Ukraine’s east has stimulated this kind of linguistic propaganda–where facts are confusing, any interpretation can be made superficially plausible. Through the shifting language of crisis, great political forces have manipulated public opinion about Ukraine by choosing how that opinion can be expressed.

One example is eastern Ukraine’s separatists, a motley group likely of local Russian nationalists, citizens’ groups, Russian special forces, Chechen militants, and possibly organized crime. How to make sense of this…

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