Monday, June 9, 2014

June 8-9 Public Diplomacy Review

"Sois sage, ô ma Douleur, et tiens-toi plus tranquille.
Tu réclamais le Soir; il descend; le voici:
Une atmosphère obscure enveloppe la ville,
Aux uns portant la paix, aux autres le souci."

--Baudelaire; image from


Here's A Nazi Propaganda Video Saying The D-Day Invasion Failed -

Why We Fight Part 5 - The Battle of Russia - 1943 WW2 Educational Film - S88TV1 - You Tube


Yeni Diplomasi. Image from blog, with caption: #ComeSeeTurkey By @Curious2119


Madam Secretary Made a Difference - Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: "Clinton recognized that our future will be more about Asia than Europe, and she pushed hard to rebalance our relations. She didn’t fully deliver on this “pivot” — generally she was more successful at shaping agendas than delivering on them — but the basic instinct to turn our ship of state to face our Pacific future was sound and overdue. More fundamentally, Clinton vastly expanded the diplomatic agenda. Diplomats historically focused on 'hard' issues, like trade or blowing up stuff, and so it may seem weird and 'soft' to fret about women’s rights or economic development.

Yet Clinton understood that impact and leverage in 21st-century diplomacy often come by addressing poverty, the environment, education and family planning. ... Clinton was pioneering not only in the way she expanded the diplomatic agenda, but also in the tools she forged to promote it. She pushed government-to-people relations and people-to-people ties. Some of this was pioneered in the George W. Bush administration, but Clinton greatly escalated public diplomacy with a rush into social media. 'She was very clear about it: This is the 21st century, and we’re fools if we don’t use it,' recalled Michael McFaul, who became ambassador to Russia in this time. McFaul then had no idea what a tweet was, and there was strong resistance from senior diplomats. 'I said the boss wants to do this,' McFaul recalled, and he ultimately became a champion tweeter. Today it’s routine to use social media in multiple languages to communicate U.S. diplomatic messages to the world." See also. Image from

What Hillary Rodham Clinton Did - Nicholas Kristof, New York Times: "[T]he public diplomacy that I mention in the column [see above] is still a weak point for the US. We do it much better than we did a decade ago, but there’s still a sense that real diplomacy is what happens when foreign secretaries meet, not when we reach out and shape public opinion abroad in ways that will influence that foreign secretary.

I think we can still do a much better job with social media to promote diplomacy, and also a much better job promoting people-to-people contacts in ways that benefit the national interest." Image from

Russia’s Information War: Latvian Ambassador, Finnish Strategist Warn On Cyber - Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr., [Comment by] Don Bacon • 3 days ago ....but from the Russian point of view cyber is primarily the information sphere” — what the Soviets would have called propaganda [.] Like the US doesn't try to control information with Radio Free Europe, the New York Times, The Washington Post, etc. U.S. propaganda is defined as 'public diplomacy' at State and 'strategic communication' at Defense. Neither definition has anything to do with truth, but rather 'informing and influencing' and the 'advancement of United States Government interests, policies, and objectives.' State: The mission of American public diplomacy is to support the achievement of U.S. foreign policy goals and objectives, advance national interests, and enhance national security by informing and influencing foreign publics and by expanding and strengthening the relationship between the people and government of the United States and citizens of the rest of the world. DOD: Strategic communication is focused United States Government efforts to understand and engage key audiences to create, strengthen, or preserve conditions favorable for the advancement of United States Government interests, policies, and objectives through the use of coordinated programs, plans, themes, messages, and products synchronized with the actions of all instruments of national power."

How has American entertainment become omnipresent in the Arab world? - Assim Al Moussaoui–Nador: "It is clear that major US media giants have large footsteps in the Arab media market, thanks to the Arab media enterprises that eased Americans’ access. Specifically, it is members of the Saudi royal family that allowed the penetration of American entertainment into Arab media. It seems that these American media conglomerates enjoy an unmatched influence over the political landscape. In the US, they colluded with the American government to support President Bush’s claims during the Iraq war in return for loose legislations that paved the way for more mergers and consolidation of the media.

In the Middle East, the ruling class served as a Trojan horse to speed up American entertainment products’ domination over the region. Was this a mere business coincidence, or is a give-and-take on a political scale? Does the ruling class in the Middle East seek to influence their societies by importing an American model? Since suspicious relationships already exist between American officials and American media giants’ CEOs,is it possible that this easy access to American movies and TV shows is part of a deal to carry out public diplomacy, affecting mainly the cultural side, by convincing the ruling families in the Middle East to facilitate the spread of American entertainment products? Be it a coincidence, a strategy, or pressure, as a result of the ‘sleeper effect,’ increased exposure to such programs will surely affect Arab audiences. If Al Hurra and Radio Sawa aspire to change Arabs’ perceptions towards American policy in the Middle East, broadcasting American entertainment on a large scale can bring about the eradication of Arabs’ values and culture in favor of an embrace of American lifestyle."

After thoughts on Memorial Day 2014 - Patricia H Kushlis, Whirled View: "As Donald Bishop, the President of Public Diplomacy Council has pointed out, there remains a major and frightening disconnect between what this country invests in its military and the amount it does for diplomacy – which, in reality, is the normal way the US conducts its relations abroad: by and through career diplomats. ... Why shouldn't US diplomats who died in the service of the country also be honored by the US government in its official Memorial Day ceremonies - along with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and Merchant Marines.

Maybe if they were and the public had a chance to learn their stories, Americans would come one small step forward towards understanding that its diplomats are every bit as important as its military in the making and implementing of US foreign policy by initiating, keeping and restoring the peace." Uncaptioned image from entry

D-Day + 70 Years: President Roosevelt Calls the Nation to Prayer - Donald M. Bishop, Public Diplomacy Council: "Public Diplomacy is much about communication, advocacy, and appeals. Public Diplomacy practitioners can learn this from textbooks, theories, and seminars, but the past opens another window. American were keyed up on June 6, 1944, when President Franklin Roosevelt spoke to the nation.

From fragmentary news reports – the wire services always monitored German broadcasts – most of the nation already knew the Normandy invasion had begun. ... The former Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, Charlotte Beers, counseled that there can be a place for emotion in Public Diplomacy. The President’s speech reached beyond the presentation of facts and policies, beyond national pride and will. He sought a full engagement of the nation’s deepest values and religious emotions." Image from entry. See also (1) (2).

Voice of America to target Americans despite ban on funding domestic news distribution, critics say - BBG Watcher, "In a politically unwise press release, which according to critics at best violates the spirit of U.S. law, Voice of America (VOA) executives are bragging about making VOA programming available in the U.S. by mobile phone. BBG Watch supports making Voice of America programs available to U.S. citizens and residents who request them, but not at the cost of failing to manage the organization and neglecting news reporting for foreign audiences because VOA and International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) executives and employees are too busy promoting domestic distribution of VOA programming while collecting salaries paid by U.S. taxpayers. There is also always the risk that U.S. government officials will choose to target specific groups of American citizens. But the greatest risk specifically to the Voice of America is that bragging about distributing VOA programs in the U.S. will trigger another backlash against supporting U.S. funding for VOA from Americans concerned about civil liberties. We have seen such a backlash against the Voice of America and the Broadcasting Board of Governors after the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 was recently modified. There is no good reason to invite another one through unwise decisions and press releases from the VOA management. This kind of backlash triggered by poor decisions and poorly worded Voice of America press releases can also negatively affect support for funding U.S. public diplomacy programs carried out by the State Department.

By not adequately covering U.S news for overseas audiences while using U.S. tax dollars to promote domestic distribution of VOA programs, Voice of America executives are playing with fire. Individuals in charge of VOA should keep in mind that Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has announced his intention to introduce a bill that would eliminate federal funding for the Voice of America because they are failing to observe the VOA Charter which calls for distributing VOA news overseas, not in the United States. The U.S. law clearly states that 'No funds authorized to be appropriated to the Department of State or the Broadcasting Board of Governors shall be used to influence public opinion in the United States.' We know, however, that while VOA senior executives made arrangements for domestic distribution of VOA programs and for preparing a 623-word press release on VOA programming being now made available in U.S. by mobile phone, they only managed to offer a 161-word VOA English News report on President Obama’s upcoming trip to Europe and his meeting with Ukraine’s President-elect."Uncaptioned image from entry

Voice of America needs to keep its objective voice - Editorial, "As authoritarian states such as Russia and China ramp up well-funded and sophisticated global propaganda operations, U.S. officials and members of Congress fret that the U.S. government’s information operations are lagging behind. There is some reason for concern. The five international broadcasters funded by the federal government have long suffered from poor organization, bad management and confused missions. Though spending $750 million a year, they lack the slickness of Al Jazeera or Russia Today — not to mention the latter’s single-minded and frequently mendacious retailing of the official line. A bipartisan bill headed for the House floor after more than a year of study and drafting would tackle some of these problems. But it also would take a dangerous step toward converting the most venerable and listened-to U.S. outlet, Voice of America, into another official mouthpiece. Currently, VOA prides itself on its objective and thorough reporting in scores of countries, including many that lack their own independent media. Critics say it has drifted from its mission of reporting to the world about the United States and its policies and instead is duplicating the work of the four ‘surrogate broadcasters’ — Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcasting Network — that aim to report the news for local audiences in countries where media are restricted. The bill sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Edward R. Royce (R-Calif.) and ranking Democrat Eliot L. Engel (N.Y.) would refocus VOA on reporting ‘United States and international news and information,’ which might eliminate some of the overlap. It also would usefully reorganize the management of the surrogates, combining them into one non-federal entity called the Freedom News Network and creating an independent governing board similar to the one that directs the National Endowment for Democracy. However, the bill would define VOA as an instrument of U.S. ‘public diplomacy,’ fold it into a new United States International Communications Agency and require programming that ‘is consistent with and promotes the broad foreign policies of the United States.’ Quarterly meetings would be required with the State Department undersecretary charged with directing public diplomacy. This mandate inevitably would conflict with VOA’s historic mission of producing ‘accurate, objective and comprehensive news’; how could stories about controversial subjects such as the Guantanamo Bay prison or National Security Agency spying be ‘objective’ and supportive of U.S. policy? The result could be an exodus of VOA’s best journalists and a steep drop in its credibility with international audiences. The bill’s supporters argue that listeners already assume that VOA is meant to promote U.S. government views and that tax dollars shouldn’t support a purely journalistic operation. But VOA distinguishes itself from state services like Russia Today by embodying the democratic values of independent media and open debate. The United States will never beat China and Russia in the game of official propaganda, but it can win the war of ideas — if it doesn’t lose faith in its own principles.” See also.

David Ensor on Combating Propaganda in Ukraine with Voice of America programs [video] - BBG Watcher, "Even though the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America (VOA) failed to cover a gathering of international leaders in Poland at which VOA Director David Ensor spoke and did not report his comments and later posted a video report from the presidential inauguration in Kyiv which failed to note the presence of Vice President Biden and the bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation, David Ensor says in this Atlantic Council video from the Wroclaw Global Forum 2014 that the Voice of America is effective in combatting the Kremlin’s propaganda in Ukraine. He added that VOA could use more funding from the U.S. Congress to do an even better job. We believe that what the Voice of America really needs is better management and observance of its Charter.

Once reformed, VOA could use more funding. But reforming VOA will not be easy. Sources told BBG Watch that during his European trip, Director Ensor adamantly argued with his contacts against the passage of the bipartisan Royce-Engel U.S. International Broadcasting Reform Bill, H.R. 4490. In addition to management reforms, the bill also has controversial wording about links between VOA and U.S. foreign policy. Some are worried while others point out that the bill merely reinforces observance of the VOA Charter, which already calls for VOA news to be objective while also requiring VOA to report on U.S. policies and institutions and to present different points of view. In this video, Director Ensor talks about VOA combatting propaganda and accepting money directly from the State Department. He could have chosen his words more carefully, but no matter what he says, it does not change the fact that VOA is poorly managed and can’t even post his comments on social media, not to mention reporting adequately on such U.S. news as the visit of Vice President Biden and members of Congress to Ukraine." Ensor image from entry

Biden, U.S. Congress delegation not mentioned in VOA video report from Ukraine - BBG Watcher, “Even though the VOA Charter requires the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America to 'present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, a VOA video report from the inauguration Saturday of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko failed to mention that the event was attended by Vice President Joe Biden and a bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation, which included Sens. John McCain, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson and Rep. Marcy Kaptur.

In recent years and months, the Voice of America has often failed to report on key U.S. news, was late in reporting them or offered only superficial coverage. Critics blame it not on individual journalists but on mismanagement by senior VOA officials.” Image from entry

With US Iran relations back on track there's no need for the VOA - Behrouz Bahmani, "Thankfully no one in or outside of Iran watches the VOA." Via MC on Facebook

Indonesia to host UN forum promoting harmony in global civilization - "Indonesia's leisure island of Bali is scheduled to host the 6th United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) to be attended by 2,000 participants from 114 countries and 25 international organizations, an official of Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry said here Friday. The two-day event will be held in Nusa Dua Bali from August 29 with the confirmed presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and leaders of 11 countries. Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was scheduled to open the forum. "With the nation's motto that says Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity), Indonesia was assessed a role model to the world that with persistence of difference in beliefs, people can live harmoniously in one country,"said the ministry's information and public diplomacy director-general Esti Andayani. The event is expected to produce an outcome called Bali Declaration containing views, joint commitments and joint steps to the future formulated by participants in the event, she said."

We need to bring back the World's Fair: Can you imagine Beyoncé and Michelle Obama waving from the front seats of a hovercar? It's a lot better than boring expos and Silicon Valley keynotes - Ann Friedman, "The website of the Bureau of International Expositions, a group that is sort of like the International Olympic Committee for these things, explains that today's expos – the term "fair" was retired in 1967 – have 'become a unique platform for international dialogue, for public diplomacy and for international cooperation'.

Which is to say, really safe and boring. ... People are, nonetheless, still showing up for these things. The 2012 expo in Yeosu drew more than 8m visitors over the course of three months. ... Expos are 'a unique PR opportunity' for the host country, according to Vicente Gonzalez Loscertales, secretary general of the Bureau of International Expositions. Barack Obama recently announced that Americans – namely those who work for him in the White House – were anticipating the 2015 expo as an opportunity to eat and shop in Milan. He seems far more excited about the possibility of some pasta and fine leather goods than the chance to "showcase American innovation to improve health and nutrition of people around the globe". Who wouldn't? Global nutrition is an important issue in the here and now, but not the sort of sexy topic that gets people buzzing. And maybe that's why the World's Fair – sorry, 'exposition' – doesn't really matter anymore. It does more to expose current problems and solidify existing international bonds than it does to inspire flights of futuristic fancy." Image from entry, with caption: Is the day of World's Fair glamour really gone forever?

'Bazaar' a great exchange in understanding Pakistan today - Atia Musazay, In Pakistan, one way to become really good friends with people, jokes author Haroon K. Ullah, is to 'eat three mangoes' with them. Ullah never realized that years worth of late night conversations with the Rezas, a middle-class family from Lahore, whilst 'dripping all over' with the ridiculously messy fruit was part of the bargain when he embarked on his journey to Pakistan in 2004.

'I went with one idea to Pakistan and what I found was very different,' said Ullah, a Pakistani-American, who lived eight years in Pakistan to do research on U.S.-Pakistan relations and the military. The result, The Bargain from the Bazaar: A Family’s Day of Reckoning in Lahore is a refreshing perspective on the current political situation in Pakistan through the eyes of the Reza parents and their three sons: Salman, Daniyal, and Kamran. It offers valuable insight into a country constantly on the news. While the public is inundated with notions like drones, Malala, and suicides attacks, few people have a grasp as to what they actually refer to, and more importantly how they shape the lives of average people, which makes The Bargain from the Bazaar timely and necessary reading. ... The author now serves as staff adviser to the U.S. State Department, focusing on public diplomacy and countering extremism. He was trained at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where he served as a Belfow fellow." Image from entry

Delhi Delay - Paul Rockower, Levantine: "[M]y flight from Delhi to Dubai was delayed and I would have missed my connector. So I spent 4 hours working it out, and used enough public diplomacy to get myself on the same flight a day later."


World Opinion on U.S. Leadership Improves in 2013, but Still Down from 2009 - Surveys in 130 countries through 2013 show world opinion about U.S. leadership rebounded last year from 2012, but levels were generally lower than the start of the Obama administration in 2009. The findings were contained in the fifth annual U.S. Global Leadership Report, compiled and published by Gallup and Meridian International Center. Excerpts from the report here.

Shale Gas Is America's Geopolitical Trump Card: Russia's $400 billion natural-gas deal with China pales beside the significance of U.S. drilling innovations - Joseph F. Nye, J., Wall Street Journal: The shale revolution has a number of implications for American foreign policy. Shale-energy production boosts the economy and produces more jobs. Reducing imports helps the balance of payments. New tax revenues ease government budgets. Cheaper energy makes industry more competitive internationally, particularly energy-intensive industries like petrochemicals, aluminum, steel and others. There are also domestic political effects. One is psychological. For some time, many people at home and abroad have bought into the myth of American decline. Increasing dependence on energy imports was often cited as evidence. The shale revolution changes that dependence and demonstrates the combination of entrepreneurship, property rights and capital markets that are this country's underlying strength.

Airbrushing the European Web: The latest attempt to block search results will fail as long as the U.S. administers the Internet - Gordon Crovitz, Wall Street Journal: The highest court in Europe has launched a grand experiment to see whether regulators can close off the free flow of information on the Internet, which is structured to spread knowledge. The European Court of Justice last month announced a "right to be forgotten." Europeans can demand that search engines remove links to news stories and other information they don't want discovered, even if it is accurate. It's not fashionable these days to note how American exceptionalism is reflected in the underlying architecture of the open Internet. In the U.S., free speech is second nature, with broad agreement that the more accurate information is available, the more knowledge spreads. The Web, built largely in the U.S., is "permissionless," requiring no licenses or government approvals. Open, uncensored communication is the default. Everyone in the world who uses the open Internet gets a taste of the First Amendment. Many others, including the European judges, instead believe information is for governments to control. There is a vast difference in worldview on the free flow of information between the U.S. and governments of almost every other country—not just China and Iran, but European democracies too. That's one reason the Obama administration plan to give up U.S. oversight over the Internet ran into fierce opposition. The House of Representatives last week passed an amendment to the Commerce Department authorization bill to bar the administration from carrying out its plan to transfer control over the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and the root zone filenames and addresses on the Internet.

An Opening for Obama in South Sudan: His Atrocities Prevention Board has missed previous chances to prevent further killing - Benjamin Kahn: Events in South Sudan have once again shown the awful costs from acting too late.

The U.S. must do all it can to help stop the violence in South Sudan and stave off the impending famine. For the “international community” to be more than a pleasant phrase, America must stand strong by the people of any nation so desperately in need of help. Uncaptioned image from entry

Peaceful Nonreconciliation Now - Dani Dayan, New York Times: John Kerry's failed Middle East peace effort has made it clear that a negotiated political agreement is impossible at the moment. The two-state formula enjoyed decades of exclusive stardom, in which its appeal thwarted all innovative and alternative thought. Government officials in Washington, Brussels and other capitals seem to have no idea how to proceed or are clinging desperately to a bygone idea. But despair is not an acceptable policy. There are practical issues that can and should be solved. First and foremost, Palestinians deserve drastic and immediate improvements in their everyday lives.

‘Zionists seek to demonize Palestine’ - It is time to set the record straight on Israel’s apartheid policy and genocide against Palestinians and to confront the enemies of truth. The decades-long extermination of Palestinians, their Arab, Islamic and Christian cultures would not have been possible had the people in the US and Europe had access to objective media reports and facts about the situation in Palestine and Israel.

In reverse, European and US citizens have tolerated their governments complicity with Israeli crimes against Palestinians because billions are spent on a propaganda industry that positions Arabs as villains and sub-human while Israelis, Jews and indeed US and European citizens are positioned as the noble victims. Image from entry, with caption: An Israeli bulldozer demolishes a Palestinian house in East al-Quds

Expert notices change in Turkish and Azerbaijani propaganda - Armenian News Agency: The anti-Armenian propaganda of the Turkish and Azerbaijani sides undergoes changes, while nowadays the two sides are still in "ceasefire" regime. This was stated by Samvel Martirosyan, media expert, who talked about the possible changes in the anti-Armenian propaganda. “Turkey is trying to get out of the strict denial policy by changing its format. This can hinder us, because the Armenian lobbying organizations over the years have made their projects based on Turkey’s strict denial policy, and now Turkey turns to mitigation of its positions” – reports “Armenpress”, citing Martirosyan. According to him, nowadays there are more interesting developments in the Azerbaijani side, which are rarely covered. "Azerbaijan is now seriously trying to engage in establishing of lobbying centers abroad. In other words, they are creating a diaspora, copying the Armenian side. The lobbying organizations are funded by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan (Socar), and according to the latest data, those centers are included in the USA’s top ten organizations by the volumes of their funding" - said Martirosyan. He noted that in contrast to those centers that are becoming increasingly influential, the Azerbaijani propaganda in the media

Don't Forget Crimea - Steven Pifer, John Herbst, William Taylor, New York Times: The West should not accept Russian jurisdiction over Crimea, consistent with the decision of the United Nations General Assembly, which in a 100-11 vote called on states not to recognize a change in Crimea’s status. Russia stole Crimea using military force, an action many thought that Europe would never see in the 21st century. American and European policy should support Ukraine’s claim to sovereignty over Crimea as long as Kiev insists on it. That includes driving up the political and economic costs — including continued economic sanctions — to Moscow of continuing its illegal occupation

Russian State Media Focuses Attacks on Kerry’s Spokeswoman - Robert Mackey, New York Times: "The rhetorical sniping between Russian and American officials over the separatist uprisings in Ukraine appeared to escalate a notch this week when state television channels controlled by the Kremlin devoted an unusual amount of time to reporting on, and so amplifying, recent attacks by Russian bloggers on a State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki.

As the Global Voices researcher Aric Toler explained, nationalist Russian bloggers have been working overtime to transform Ms. Psaki into a figure of fun — sharing cartoons, satirical news reports, remixed video and Photoshopped images mocking her in often shockingly crude terms — since she misspoke on two occasions recently while briefing reporters on the crisis in Ukraine." Image from entry, with caption: Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, at a briefing in Washington in February.

Tightening the U.S. Grip on Western Europe: Washington’s Iron Curtain in Ukraine - Diana Johnstone, CounterPunch: The United States and the European Union undertook an aggressive provocation in Ukraine that they knew would force Russia to react defensively, one way or another.

Russian propaganda machine 'worse than Soviet Union' - Bridget Kendall, BBC: As the West threatens further sanctions against Russia over Ukraine, critics are warning the message being pumped out by nationalist Russian media is reminiscent of the propaganda produced in the Soviet Union. The sheer volume of different state-controlled channels is overwhelming. All glossy and well funded, each with their own slightly different but ultimately similar versions of the news - hours of slick, punchy and emotionally charged reports, set to thumping music, making your heart race.

"Aggressive and deceptive propaganda... worse than anything I witnessed in the Soviet Union," is the verdict of Lev Gudkov, the director of the Levada Centre, Russia's most well respected polling organisation. Image from entry, with caption: President Vladimir Putin visited the Crimean port of Sevastopol in May.

Russians Yearning to Join Ukraine Battle Find Lots of Helping Hands - Andrew E. Kramer, New York Times: Carol Saivets, a Russian specialist for the Security Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said the switch from reliance on local eastern Ukrainian men to a force with more Russians started two weeks ago and is almost certainly proceeding with the blessing and backing of the Kremlin, “even if the Russians are indeed volunteers rather than serving military men.”

She added, “Putin has so stirred up Russian nationalism, and with the propaganda barrage that there are fascists in Kiev, it’s not inconceivable that some lost souls will sign up to serve. Image from entry

Show us your Soviet-inspired propaganda: Whether you lived through the Soviet era or watched from afar, we want you see your Soviet-inspired memorabilia. Share your photos with GuardianWitness - Maeve Shearlaw and Guardian readers, The Soviet Union was one of the most formidable empires of the twentieth century. Its legacy remains to this day, most felt in the 15 countries that emerged from its fall in 1991Soviet propaganda had a huge role to play in keeping the USSR together, and has had a lasting impact on culture and design around world.  Whether you have family photos which were taken in the former USSR, collect press cuttings from the era, or even just have a penchant for vintage posters, we are asking readers to share photos of their Soviet-inspired memorabilia.

And while you’re at it, why not tweet your pictures at @GuardianNewEast. Share your photos or videos with GuardianWitness by clicking on one of the blue 'Contribute' buttons. If you're using our new Guardian app you can contribute here. Don’t forget to tell us where you live and we’ll use the best contributions on the New East Network.  GuardianWitness is the home of user-generated content on the Guardian. Contribute your video, pictures and stories, and browse news, reviews and creations submitted by others. Posts will be reviewed prior to publication on GuardianWitness, and the best pieces will feature on the Guardian site. Image from entry, with caption: 'Everyday work is step towards communism'.

Northwestern U. exhibit draws on Birobidzhan propaganda: The folio of Jewish artists’ works that helped promote the controversial Russian Jewish homeland is on view till June 22 - Menachem Wecker, A 1931 Russian lithograph poster shows a man wearing a hat pointing his finger in a manner reminiscent of the Uncle Sam “We want you!” genre. But in this case he implores the reader to spend 50 kopecks on a lottery ticket “to build a socialist Birobidzhan, the future Jewish Autonomous Region.” Another lithograph poster from 1930, which was also hawking lottery tickets to benefit Birobidzhan, appeals, “Let us give millions to settle poor Jews on the land and to attract them to industry.” Founded in 1928 along the Trans-Siberian Railroad, Birobidzhan (also spelled Birobidžan) was designated as a “Jewish Autonomous Region” (J.A.R.) in 1930. Subsequently, international ad campaigns soliciting both domestic and foreign funding went into full force. In 1928, about 525 Jews moved to Birobidzhan, and six years later, the number of immigrants who arrived reached 5,250, according to the YIVO Encyclopedia of Jews in Eastern Europe. But, the encyclopedia adds, 60 percent of the 1934 immigrants left that same year, and Jews continued to flock away from the would-be agricultural Jewish utopia, including a recent emigration in 1989-1991. Today, Birobidzhan has a population of about 76,000 people, 2,000 of them Jews, according to Eli Riss, a Chabad rabbi who leads Birobidzhan’s Jewish community.

In an email, Riss said he believes the Jewish community actually numbers a good deal more than the official statistic of 2,000: between 4,000 and 5,000 people. Beyond trying to attract constituents via lottery posters in the 1920s and 1930s, the J.A.R. administration published smiling photos of Birobidzhan Jews holding Yiddish newspapers, carrying sacks on their shoulders — with bulging muscles, of course — and playing mandolins, accordions, and guitars. The experiment also fascinated some Jewish immigrants, who came to the J.A.R. from Lithuania, Argentina, and the United States. “Like many early Zionist pioneers in Palestine, the foreign Jews who settled in the J.A.R. were attracted by the mystique of tilling the land and engaging in physical labor,” writes Robert Weinberg in “Stalin’s Forgotten Zion.” “And yet they chose not to go to Palestine and responded to the propaganda campaigns of pro-Soviet organizations by moving to the J.A.R., even if not always permanently,” he says. Among the cheerleaders from afar were a group of 14 Jewish Chicago artists, who created a series of woodcuts titled the “Birobidjan Folio,” which they sent to the J.A.R. And, in 1944, Marc Chagall illustrated a wedding scene in Birobidjan, which he based on a poem by ltzik Feffer. The works of the former group is part of the current exhibit “The Left Front: Radical Art in the “Red Decade,” 1929-1940” on view through June 22, 2014, at Northwestern University’s Mary Leigh Block Museum of Art in Evanston, Ill. Birobidzhan remains an important Jewish region that thrives both in real life, and in history books and exhibitions. Image from

B2B Marketing Basics from Classic Propaganda - Max Stinson, Propaganda has been a political tool since the dawn of time. So are its main goals of swaying public opinion and influence decisions.

Some might look back at the period’s posters and laugh but that doesn’t change how propaganda shares some similar techniques used in today’s B2B marketing. Image from entry. On B2B see. Uncaptioned image from entry

6 Works of Propaganda That Backfired in Hilarious Ways - Among them (below image), with caption: "Eh, it still isn't the worst thought out idea we've had," said the People's Daily, from their giant dong building.


Война США и СССР глазами американских художников (War Between the USA and the USSR in the Eyes of American Artists). Via IK on Facebook. Among the images:


Российское ТВ показывает потоки беженцев из Донецка... Которые на проверку оказываются албанскими беженцами, из за которых американцы стали бомбить Сербию
[Russian TV shows refugees from Donetsk ... [loose translation:] Which upon checking turns out to be Albanian refugees, because of which the Americans began to bomb Serbia]  -ejournala6ludatelb.liv

Via DR on Facebook

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