The British government's Conflict Prevention, Stability and Security Facility (CSSF) Foundation has reported on its programs for the fiscal year 2019-2020. As it follows from the documents that RT has read, London, among other things, has allocated more than £ 23 million for an initiative to combat disinformation and media development in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Thus, the UK expects to diversify the media, primarily Russian-speaking ones, to “improve” their work and provide the population with access to “reliable information”.
“The UK is working with a number of its partners, striving to improve the quality of work of state and independent media (including those broadcasting in Russian) in such a way that it is possible to promote social cohesion, maintain universal values and provide reliable communities to people living in Eastern Europe information, ”the CSSF document says.
The British fund emphasizes that the Russian government allegedly "invests heavily in propaganda", which was deployed as part of some "illegal" activities in Georgia and Ukraine. However, specific examples, as usual, are not given.
“The Russian government is spending huge amounts of money on propaganda, which complemented illegal actions in Georgia and Ukraine. In the production of propaganda in Russian, it initially has the advantage, occupying a dominant position among the other distributors of Russian-language media messages on the territory and outside of Russia, ”the report says.
According to the British authorities, the United Kingdom "is recognized worldwide as a leader in the field of objectivity and independence of the media." Thanks to this recognition, in combination with knowledge in the field of capacity building abroad, a network of representative offices in Eastern Europe and the ability to unite other countries, London has a unique position that allows real changes to be achieved, we are confident in CSSF.
At the same time, the UK is allegedly not going to respond with propaganda to propaganda, the report states. Instead, authorities will “promote the free flow of reliable information” and engage those who are most prone to “Russian misinformation”.
Next year, London plans to invest more than £ 8 million in its “independent media” support program, which will also include projects in the Baltic states and Ukraine.
Britain’s plans to finance the fight against disinformation in Eastern Europe became known back in July. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the country, they were prompted by the incident with the poisoning of ex-GRU officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia. Recall that the British authorities claim that Russia was allegedly involved in the incident, but so far have not provided evidence of this. Moscow has repeatedly denied such allegations.
As Yury Pocht, professor of comparative political science at the RUDN University, noted in a conversation with RT, Russia's position, which pursues its national interests, defends international law and appreciates the sovereignty of others, does not suit Western countries. Because of this, the UK and a number of other states interfere in the work of the media and impose their vision of the world, he noted.
“For them, unfortunately, controlled chaos is the best way to lead other countries. And if it is impossible to conduct direct military operations against Russia, then an information-psychological war is connected. This is the demonization of the country's leadership, and the blackening of our population, and opposition to our media. Only the Western “post-truth” has a place to be, and the Russian point of view, in their opinion, is subversive activity, ”the expert said.
Recall that this year in the UK they repeatedly tried to discriminate against Russian journalists. In September, Sputnik was denied accreditation to the Conservative Party's annual conference without explanation. And in July, RT was not allowed to attend the press freedom conference organized by the British Foreign Ministry. Later, the Foreign Office explained that they refused access, allegedly because of the active participation of the channel in the "dissemination of misinformation."
Such a prejudice against the Russian media was criticized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. According to the head of the department, Sergey Lavrov, the West is actually introducing political censorship.
“The purpose of such unofficial projects, which invite only their own, is to blur existing universal and non-discriminatory standards of media freedom, introduce biased regulation of information resources, divide them into“ ours ”and“ not ours ”. And to put it bluntly, to introduce political censorship, ”Lavrov said.
- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
- © Ilya Pitalev / RIA News
Control of the Balkans
The British government also intends to “help” the Western Balkans. Here, in addition to working with the media, it will fight against cyber attacks and promote the reforms necessary for the countries of the region to join the EU and NATO. For these purposes, in the reporting year, £ 16 million was allocated.
“The goal of the Conflict Prevention, Stability and Security Fund's program, called“ Media, Cyber Resistance and Defense Ability of the Western Balkans, ”is to increase the stability of the region. It is achieved by improving the most important parameters of resistance to instability. These activities include helping to maintain the functioning of independent media, countering disinformation, strengthening cyber resistance and invulnerability to cyber attacks, defense activities, and supporting the reforms needed for the region to join the EU and NATO, ”the CSSF document explains.
Stable and able to withstand threats, the Balkan region meets the interests of Great Britain, the government fund notes. And the funded projects, in turn, are designed to increase the stability of the Western Balkans to negative external influences, promote British values and help bring countries closer to NATO and the European Union.
The program also plans to train the Balkan media to effectively interact with the audience on political issues. In addition, it is planned to support the training of professional military men oriented towards security reform, as well as to increase the ability of the Armed Forces of the Western Balkans to cooperate quickly and deploy in accordance with the standards of the British Ministry of Defense and NATO.
Not only London, but also the Euro-Atlantic community as a whole pays great attention to the Balkans, political analyst Yuri Pochta notes. This part of Europe is not yet under the full control of the West, which is why they implement various programs of “foreign aid” in order to drag them into their structures.
“When Yugoslavia was defeated and the country was actually divided into six and a half states, this was incredible happiness for the West. But now it’s necessary to “digest” everything and master it, it is necessary to discipline, connect to various programs, and promise to join NATO and the EU. So they expect for many years to tie the region to the western centers of influence, ”the expert said.
At the same time, Western countries fear that the Balkan states will maintain close ties with Russia, and deliberately accuse Moscow of "negative influence" on the region, the Post added.
For example, earlier, the Institute for Security Studies in the European Union said that the Russian Federation “impedes” the integration of countries into the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance. Meanwhile, the Russian Federation has denied such allegations. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, persistent attempts are being made to turn the Balkans into another springboard for actions against Russia.
“We know that serious pressure is exerted on Belgrade with the aim of forcing to wind down mutually beneficial cooperation with our country. Serbian brothers confidently oppose him. Moscow highly appreciates the independent multi-vector foreign policy of Serbia ... ”- noted the head of the Russian foreign affairs agency Sergey Lavrov.
- Protesters against NATO in Montenegro
- © Stevo Vasiljevic
"Prevention" in Ukraine
According to the report of the British fund, another £ 17 million will go to support civil society and the government of Ukraine.
“The importance of Ukraine from the point of view of European and British security is still significant. Strategically important parameters are associated with it, on which the security, stability and prosperity of continental Europe and the UK depend in the long run. We are carrying out work, the purpose of which is to ensure the establishment of a unified, stable, sovereign and sustainable Ukraine by implementing a significant set of political measures and programs, ”the organization said.
The assistance program to Ukraine has been implemented since 2017. Last year, within its framework, the British government allocated about £ 11 million. With this money, London planned to “protect Ukraine from foreign aggression”, train the armed forces and advise the Ukrainian Ministry on issues of temporarily occupied territories. The same tasks are indicated in the new report.
The funds will also go to a post-conflict settlement. In particular, the United Kingdom intends to help confront the challenges associated with the conflict in Ukraine, and expand the peacemaking methodology in the south-eastern regions of the country, achieve social cohesion of the inhabitants of these regions, and restore land affected by mines.
According to the Ukrainian political scientist and economist Alexander Dudchak, the West, including Great Britain, initially contributed to the destruction of Ukraine, and the current goal of such programs is to maintain established control.
“The West systematically worked to establish control over Ukraine and deprive it of its sovereignty. They invested quite a lot of money in the collapse of the country, and now they are engaged in prevention, that is, they support everything in the same mode. There is no question of any restoration. And what stands out, as they say, for “civil society”, is in fact a frank interference in the affairs of an already sovereign state, ”Dudchak said in an interview with RT.
He is also convinced that in Ukraine, almost all branches of government, public life and the media are controlled from the outside.
“It is difficult to meet any other opinion, except the imposed one, in Ukraine,” he concluded.
However, the document of the British fund outlines other goals. It is expected that as a result of the implementation of the program, Ukraine will be able to strengthen its defense potential, implement military reform in 2020, better explain its policies to the public and foreign sponsors, and also strengthen the fight against corruption.
However, as Dudchak noted, the reality is completely different. Ukraine has turned into an arena of clash between various political forces of the West, where each external player has his own interests, and against this background, corruption in the country has reached a new level, and the indicative "attempts" of the Ukrainian authorities and its partners to counter this phenomenon are actually worthless lead, the expert stressed.