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    22 april, 2020

    About the "masterstrokes" of American propaganda: the coronavirus in Komi

    Author: Alexander Malkevich, no comments

    Recently I read an article by Moscow Bureau Chief for the New York Times Andrew Higgins who presented to his shocked American audience the faraway northern Russian Republic of Komi, which is nearly as big as California. The article read: “the authorities are hiding everything.”

    What exactly? Firstly, “the complete lack of a health system.” Secondly, “the number of patients with coronavirus.”

    The reason why the New York Times article is interesting to media observers like myself is that it allows you to see firsthand the level of preparation and the style of publication in the American media, especially in a world famous newspaper considered to be respectable. That is, the benefit (for us) is the possibility to carry out a comparative analysis of journalistic work in Russia and the USA.

    By the way, in the 21st century, the New York Times wrote about Komi (before) only once: in 2005, in connection with the prohibition by the Komi Ministry of Culture of staging the opera Balda at the Opera and Ballet Theater.

    I want to highlight three "masterstrokes" in the text.

    To start with the first one, I will present the translation: “Russian President Vladimir Putin, well aware of the dysfunctions of his country, spent most of the past week haranguing officials in far-flung regions, ordering them to get the situation under control. But, faced with a pandemic that does not respond to Kremlin propaganda and repression tools, Mr. Putin has basically delegated the handling of the pandemic to the same regional leaders. In doing so, the Kremlin has only empowered instincts, deeply rooted in many local authorities, in trying to cover up the bad news.”

    I especially liked the part about “haranguing officials.”

    The second brilliant stroke: while reading the article you come across a certain “independent republican news outlet”. It is interesting that independent media in the reports of American reporters based in Russia usually appear only when necessary. We remember that in other cases there is no independent media in Russia.

    And the third masterstroke. The article is crowned by a photo of the cemetery in Syktyvkar. The image of the graveyard with freshly dug graves against the backdrop of a gloomy, gray sky and a lonely chapel, as it were, proves to American readers about the mass graves for coronavirus victims. And of course, it hints that in Russia people are dying of the pandemic like flies; while the authorities, of course, are “hiding everything.”

    In general, the whole text revolves around the idea of “covering up the coronavirus outbreak in Syktyvkar.”

    However, I would like to remind you that this “outbreak” claimed three to six lives in Komi, compared with 10 thousand who lost their lives in New York!

    Perhaps this explains the need for such an article?

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