Books as a propaganda medium

I recently came across a series of tweets by Sergej Sumlenny, discussing how Russia had used books, as well as other entertainment media, to prepare its citizens for war in general, prior to its invasion of Ukraine.  Here’s an excerpt from Threadreader’s aggregation of the tweets.

Let’s start a long thread about how Russian book market prepared Russians for a full-scale war against Ukraine, NATO, the West, and promoted stalinism and nazism, and how this was ignored by the West. Keep seat belts fasten, you will see a lot of nasty things here.
One of the first indicators of Russia preparing for a full-scale turn to dictatorship and a global war was the mass production of books about cool sides of Stalin and Stalinism and about upcoming war against the West. These books appeared on Russian bookshelves in early 2010s.
The appearance was so massive that it could not be a coincidence on a book market which was under a strict control of secret police FSB. “Be proud, not sorry! Truth about Stalin Age” “Stalinist’s Handbook”, “Stalin’s Repressions: A Great Lie” and “Beria: Best XX Cent Manager”.
The wave of stalinist books was so massive, that in 2011 a grass-root initiative “Stop Publishing Stalinists Books” emerged with a call for publishing houses to stop. It was ignored of course.
The idea to create authoritarian and militarist mood through bookstores was brilliant. In 2015, I visited Moscow’s central bookstore “Biblio-Globus”, and that what were the goods welcoming you just after the doors: military uniforms, accessories, and books about Stalin and war.
This was the prelude. Soon after, Kremlin has started to publish what they called “battle fantastic”. Mass-produced low-quality books about Russian military superiority in all possible conflicts. The whole book series appeared. Here: “Battlefield Ukraine series” “Ukraine on Fire”.
The whole series is playing with the same idea: Ukrainian “nazis” need to be destroyed. Covers were like created on drugs. Here: “Wild Field: On Ukraine’s Ruins” – a “DNR” tank smashes what can be identified as “Ukrainian Azov Nationalist Mercedes SUV”.
“Ukraine in Blood: Banderite Genocide” (the cover pictures Maidan in Kyiv, note the “Azov” connection of the “Nazi”).
“Ukrainian Hell: It is our War!” (A Russian soldiers captures a US pilot).
“Ukrainian Front: Red Stars over Maidan” (US planes got destroyed).
“Broken Trident”.
What is inside? Here is a typical description: “WW3 starts on Kyiv Maidan! With Nato “Peacekeepers” start Baderites genocide of Russians, wiping out the whole cities. Polava does not exist anymore. Novorossiya fights back, Russia helps! We take Kyiv! This is our final battle!”
As you see, most of these books have the same narrative: bad Ukrainians act as marionettes of the West, the US want to destroy Russia, but Russians go into a full-scale war because they are not afraid and are mighty. Same books were published about Georgia, but not so many.

There’s more at the link, including book covers and other images.  Recommended reading.

I was struck by what we’ve seen from social pressure groups in the USA over their agendas.  How many of us have noticed the explosion in the number of children’s books promoting the LGBTQetc agenda?  They’ve slowly crept into the market, unnoticed by many adults, yet now they’re an overwhelming presence in many school and public libraries, even if we don’t see many of them in mainstream book stores.  (After all, how many people take their children to bookstores any more, anyway?  Most of them encounter books in their school libraries – which is why that’s the logical place to propagandize them.)  Don’t believe me?

Look at how we’re being propagandized to eat bugs, as part of the World Economic Forum’s agenda to introduce insect protein to replace meat in our diets.

The old Soviet Union was notorious for demanding that the arts should serve the State and the Communist Party, by incorporating officially approved themes and excluding those that were not approved.  How soon before we’re facing that problem from the politically correct commissars of our day?  Well, we already are, at least from the traditional publishing industry.  Try to market a manuscript to them that doesn’t hew to the “approved” view of topics such as those mentioned above, and see how fast it gets rejected.  When J. K. Rowling, one of the best-selling authors in history, is pilloried for her dissenting views on transgenderism, what chance do the rest of us have?

This is really getting out of hand. A beloved children’s author is being etched out of her own work like some commissar who got on the wrong side of the party leader. And for what? For saying and believing things that are shared by the vast majority of the population.

Those of us who are independently published aren’t (yet) subject to the same pressures as traditional publishers and authors:  but the time can’t be far away when we are.  Food for thought.

14 thoughts on “Books as a propaganda medium

    1. They also transmit some really ugly diseases. “Farmed” crickets apparently still host all the same parasites/viruses/bacteria that “wild” crickets do, and for the obvious reasons. You get one wild cricket in your farm and wait a week, the whole farm caught all those things.

      No one seems to be talking about that of course, cricket meal is always “fresh” and “clean” like the driven snow.

      There is, as usual, a REASON that humans only eat bugs when they are starving to death. Bugs are really bad for you.

      1. And we’ll just ignore the large percentage of “protein” in bugs that human’s are not equipped to digest. Because all protein’s alike, and cows are bad.

        Pass the bacon-wrapped beef filet, please.

  1. In 2005-2008 several Russian grad students came through the program at Flat State as part of a sort of guest-exchange program. They were flabbergasted, and very angry, that the US students had a very different understanding of WWII than Russians did. One practically collapsed when shown the tables of materials sent by the US/UK to the USSR to keep the country in the war, and had never heard about Pearl Harbor or the US and UK in the Pacific.

    I’d heard rumors about how WWII was being taught “a bit differently” as one British historian delicately phrased it, but wow, to see how thorough the Russo-Soviet blanket had been in all the years these people had been in school was impressive. Not in a good way.

    1. They defeated the Germans because they had the most casualties. Also they defeated the Japanese despite the casualties there being vastly American.

  2. I’ll admit that I’m worried that the lesson taken from this by our overlords will be a little different from the one that you see:

    “The Russians allowed books about fighting Ukraine, and see, then they attacked Ukraine! Clearly, books are harmful. ‘Racist’ books will lead to minorities being murdered by the hundreds. Allowing such a book is as good as pulling the trigger yourself. We must get rid of all books that contain badthink, or society is doomed!”

  3. “I was struck by what we’ve seen from social pressure groups in the USA over their agendas.”

    It hasn’t only been pressure groups. We’ve all noticed, and complained bitterly, and even campaigned over it since around 2010. Sad Puppies was us all kicking over the traces because we weren’t going to pull their little Red wagon anymore.

    But, since the 2020 election, it has been the GOVERNMENT doing it. Just like Russia.

    The Let’s Go Brandon administration has been telling social media what to allow and what to bury. This is now not a conjecture, it is a fact revealed in legal discovery proceedings.

    I -conjecture- that the administration has been doing the same thing with the publishing industry. As we saw with Dorothy’s post on the 9th, the publishing industry is not doing anything that sane private sector companies would do. 70% of all sales are backlist? Maybe 4% of books break 10k copies? But there they are, keeping on their course for the reef. Almost as if they were a branch of government and know they can’t go broke.

    In Canada of course -nothing- gets published that isn’t hand-in-glove with the Canada Council for the Arts. Literally, if it doesn’t come with a Canada Council grant it won’t get published. If American dead-tree books are struggling to break 1000 copies sold, imagine Canadian books. As Kathy Shaidle once told me, they get dozens of sales. Like, three dozen. Maybe. If they get push at Chapters, the only bookstore still running in Canada. the only money that the author or the publisher get comes from the government. And they like it just fine that way.

    Incidentally, the Liberals are threatening to pass a law allowing them to do out in the open what the Let’s Go Brandon DemocRats have been doing in secret. The government will determine what’s trending on Farcebook and what results you get in Google search. Yes, that’s really what they’re doing. Openly!

    So, how long until Amazon starts choking off certain types of books? Next election? Maybe they’re doing it already and we just can’t see it yet. You notice Bezos isn’t CEO anymore? He decided to dodge instead of fight would be my guess.

    1. The Obama Administration quietly removed rules preventing the use of propaganda against Americans. Look at the last decade through that lens and things start to make sense.

    2. And I wouldn’t know at all how to check the analytics but there has been speculation that tw%%%er would not pay for itself if it didn’t get money under the table so that it could be THE one platform. Which of course makes it a censorship choke point. Note that before Elon turned it down, Disney did about a decade ago. And the mouse (used to) know money quite well.

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