No reason to demonise an entire country

I WOULD like to draw the kind attention of all to foreign news agencies’ articles republished in local media that defame the Russian Federation, such as a recent report implying that Russia provides safe harbour for ransomware.

I would like to make two comments. Firstly, ICT-related crimes are a common challenge for the whole world, and Russia is one of the biggest victims: our economy lost more than US$33bil (RM136bil) in 2019 because of hackers’ activities, and the still uncalculated losses in 2020 are expected to be much higher.

Secondly, the huge batch of official documents revealed some years ago by Wikileaks regarding government-backed cyberattacks were not about Russia.

I believe it is important to talk about the nature of such “news” articles.

Beginning from the early days of antagonism between the United States and what was then the USSR (or Soviet Union), there has been a so-called “propaganda war” going on. Propaganda is a very powerful weapon that, as explained by Wiki-pedia, “is used to dehumanise and create hatred towards a supposed enemy by creating a false image in the minds of soldiers and citizens”, and “is communication that is primarily used to influence an audience and further an agenda, which may not be objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a particular synthesis or perception”.

The media is one of the most efficient propaganda tools because of our unconscious trust in it.

During the “Cold War” (a propaganda formula announced by British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in 1946), both sides – physically and virtually separated by the “Iron Curtain” (a term previously used by German Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels to describe the Soviet Union, according to Wikipedia) – did their best to portray each other as an “evil empire” (a label introduced by US President Ronald Reagan in 1983).

While the Eastern Bloc withdrew from the “propaganda battlefield” right after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the West was so excited by its “success” that it couldn’t stop seeking new enemies. And the choice of new Russia and, later, China, Iran and some other countries, was considered “natural” – if not them, then who?

No one is perfect, neither Russia nor Western and other countries in the world. But that is not a reason to label or demonise a country. And, of course, it is not an excuse for fake news and distortion of facts.

I respect sincerely the work of journalists and truly understand how difficult the process of

producing daily newspapers and TV and radio programmes is. And it is indisputably not the fault of local media that some foreign powers don’t want to stop their “propaganda war”.

The only thing I would like to ask is that since you have a right to select content to republish, please do so in a critical way.


Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation in Malaysia

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Russian Embassy , hackers , cyberattacks


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