Another Original LR Translation: “There’s no Information in Truth”

The “Truth” Today

by Dave Essel

pravda-logoThe contents of a newspaper provide a snapshot of the world view it contains, both mirroring and creating the society in which it circulates. Here then are all the headlines from the Russian newspaper Pravda’s website on 5 May 2009 (a random choice – it’s just the day I’m looking). “Pravda” means “truth” in Russian and its rival Izvestia’s name means “Information.”  Both papers date back to Soviet times and retained their Soviet names when the USSR collapsed.  An old Soviet joke was:  “There’s no information in Truth and no truth in Information.”  

No surprise at what one finds: the mixture of nastiness, tendentiousness, stupidity and ignorance is just plain frightening!

WORLD

Lead story:
TERNOPOL TAKES PRIDE IN ITS UKRAINIAN SS DIVISION
“Ukraine is preparing in its own special way for the anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany. A plaque in honour of the Galicia SS division is to be erected in Ternopol…

Other stories:
THE WINDING PATHS OF THE INTERNET LEAD TO …JAIL
About how bloggers can be jailed for their writings. Article claims to quote Committee to Protect Journalists on how bloggers can be jailed for their writings, naming a number of countries but NOT Russia.

LOVE OF ‘PIGALLE’ GIRLS LEADS TO BERLUSCONI DIVORCE
No need for comment.

“CIVILISED” SEPARATISM. WILL SCOTLAND DIVORCE FROM ENGLAND?
Story on upcoming UK local elections with incomprehensible accent on British separatist movements.

NATO IN GEORGIA: AN IMAGINARY OPERATION IN AN IMAGINARY COUNTRY?
“Large-scale war games organised by NATO will be held in Georgia at the Vaziani military base. The scenario to be played is a UN-sanctioned operation to cool a crisis in an imaginary country. Given that the supposed opponent is not named but that Russia is the neighbouring country, these war games are clearly directed against us. Furthermore, the very fact that these imaginary manoeuvres are being held could lead Georgia to entirely real actions in Abkhazia and South Ossetia….”

BRITAIN AND FRANCE DO NOT WANT TO DISARM
“While beginning talks on a new nuclear arms reduction treaty, the USA is not inviting other countries into the dialogue, even though they also have nuclear weapons. Of course, their arsenals are not as large but they have no intention of reducing them, in particular America’s NATO allies France and Great Britain, which plan to modernise their arsenals…”

EUROPEAN UNION: FATHERS AND SONS
“Five years ago, on 1 May, the EU underwent a major enlargement. Ten countries, mainly former partners of the USSR in the socialist camp, joined the Union. Another 2 countries joined a couple of years later. But time has shown that Poland, the Baltic counties, and other newcomers do not measure up to the EU parameters either economically or politically. What was seen as the unification of Europe has turned into a headache for the EU…”

A screenshot of the <i>Pravda</i> website from 5 May 2009

A screenshot of the Pravda website from 5 May 2009

POLITICS

Lead Story:
IGNORING STATISTICAL ERROR
“The opposition loves to search for black cats in blacked-out rooms. Amazingly they actually manage to catch them, even when no so feline is actually in the room. The opposition enjoyed a red-letter day recently when the latest public opinion poll purportedly showed “increasing loss of confidence” in Russia’s president and prime minister. […]”
Article goes on to state that the recorded drops of 3 and 2 percent are within statistical error range and therefore meaningless.

Other Stories:
FIRST OF MAY CELEBRATED CALMLY
“Festive marches were held all over Russia. […]
With particular mention of happy marches in the Far Eastern regions.

1 MAY A RED-LETTER DAY FOR LIBERALS?
“The Communist Party of Russia plans to celebrate Mayday with marches and meetings. However, this time the main holiday of the working people will be held not under the red flags of the CPRF but under the banners of the liberals and other quasi-political clowns….”

POLLSTERS CORRECTLY PREDICTED SOCHI ELECTION RESULTS
“Final results of the Sochi mayoral election were released today by the Olympic capital’s electoral commission. United Russia candidate won convincingly with 76.86% of votes….”

SOCHI ELECTIONS”: MUCH CALMER THAN EXPECTED
No need for comment.

PRE-OLYMPIC BATTLE: BIG POLITICS IN A SMALL TOWN
[dated 23 April but still in today’s headlines!]
What do the Olympic Games mean today? A sporting event with an element of international politics. What kind of opposition mayoral candidate is it that can enter the race under the slogan of moving the Olympic venue? Sounds too conspiratorial to be true? But in August 2008, it sounded strange that Georgian forces deliberately began shooting up Tskhinvali on the opening day of the Peking Olympics – in order to divert attention away from the sporting events?
Article goes on to mention Tibet, some countries wanting to boycott the opening ceremony in Peking, the “free encyclopaedia Wikipedia, so beloved of of Russian opposition”, in a manic and completely incomprehensible rant.

FROM “APELSINOV” THE AUTHOR TO “PALM REVOLUTIONS”
[dated 15 April but still in today’s headlines!]
“Well-known author Eduard Limonov is pretending to the post of President of Russia – and has been for 2 months now, no matter that the Central Electoral Commission says that the race has not started. Meanwhile, the no less well-known former vice premier Boris Nemtsov is hopping to win the mayor’s seat in Sochi. These celebrities, besides their ineffable ambitions. are united by a touching love for the Internet…”
Another weird rant about who is most viewed on the Yandex Russian search engine. Apparently you can get a lot of hits for Apelsinov (“Mr. Orange”) as well as for Limonov (Mr. Lemon”). I have verified this patent lie: search for Лимонов on Yandex at the first page is all hits for Eduard; search for Апельсинов and you get no hits for that name but plenty about growing oranges.

EVENTS

Lead Story:
SUSPENDED SENTENCE FOR SWEET ROBBERY
“It’s well known that thieves will take anything that’s not nailed down. But some thefts can surprise somewhat. For example, people actually steal beehives. Of course, a populated hive is worth about 5 thousand roubles. But one needs to find a buyer for the goods and furthermore know what one is about when carrying out the theft. What about getting stung? In fact, beehive theft is quite common in many countries, including Russia…”

Other stories:
SPECIALITY: CHURCH ROBBER
“Robbery is flourishing these days. People will steal anything, anywhere. Food and alcohol from shops. Equipment, money and jewellery from flats. Some even manage to steal from their place of work. Thieves will take anything, even cheap junk. Churches aren’t an exception, either. They get robbed not just of icons and books, but even of priests’ vestments. Church thieves are called “klyukvenniki””…”

FATEFUL ECONOMY: AN EXPLOSION TAKES 8 LIVES
“On Sunday 3 May an explosion in an Irkutsk apartment block lead to the death of eight people, including three children. Another seven residents were hospitalised with burns and other injuries. It is thought a gas canister exploded…”

CRIMINAL ADVENTURES OF FOREIGNERS IN RUSSIA
Moscow has seen a sharp rise in crimes committed by CIS citizens, so-called gastarbeiters. Even the city police has admitted to this. But such people can only be considered semi-foreigners since we once were all proud citizens of the USSR. But for criminals from other European countries to be operating here is something else again…”
Story about roadside robberies by Romanians.

CONFIDENCE TRICKSTERS: SELLING JOBS
This kind of confidence trick has been around for a long time. We all hope for the best, as the saying goes. Citizens brought up under socialism will still remember how back then one could only get a rewarding job through connections or sometimes for money. The situation is now aggravated by the financial crisis. People left jobless are ready to grab at any offer and will even pay to be found a job. Confidence tricksters are taking advantage of this…”
Story of Ukrainian (of course!) confidence trickster.

“HIGH” LIFE LASTS TWO YEARS
According to independent experts, there are over five million addicted persons in Russia. Up to 70 thousand die of overdoses each year. Such people frequently destroy not only themselves but set others on the same track. Last weeks, federal agents in Tyumen arrested a local man who had organised a drug-taking café in his own flat. According to him, he made and himself used ‘dezomorphine’ out of pure curiosity…”

CONFIDENCE TRICKSTERS: MAGICIANS
According to German folklore, witches and magicians gather on the Blocksberg on the night of 30 April – 1 May. In previous times, witches and other nasties were easily dealt with: if they had brought a curse down, they got a death sentence. Nowadays, one can seek redress for material and moral damages through the courts…”
The article is perfectly serious. Good grief!!!

I’ll spare LR readers the remaining sections: Life – “Pregnant Women’s Weird Feelings and Wishes are not Harmless” and more such rubbish; Science and Technology – “Birds Inherit their Singing Ability” and more such rubbish; Economy – “Russia is Worst of the Best” [?!?!], “Currency Prediction for the Week: Good News Weakens the Dollar” and so on; Health – “Nerves Cause Migraine or Vice-Versa?”; Fashion – “Choose the Best Sandals” (perhaps the only useful article in the issue?); Show Business – “Oksana Pochepa Regrets Shooting Her Mouth Off”.

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17 responses to “Another Original LR Translation: “There’s no Information in Truth”

  1. Silly Russians. The CNN headlines are way cooler.

    * Envoy, medic visit pregnant woman in Laos jail
    * Cops shake down drivers, suit claims
    * Murder charge filed after baby tossed out of car
    * KGTV: Military chopper crash kills 2
    * Historian: Grateful Dead on health care
    * Ticker: Dems diss GOP defector
    * $328,835 plane scare pix to be kept secret Video
    * Porn star seriously considering Senate run
    * iReport.com: Return to ‘normal life’ in Mexico
    * Brit wins ‘best job in world’ competition
    * Gory images of dead teen spread online
    * Geeks rule the pop culture world | Quiz
    * Walking away from credit cards
    * Will topless pix cost beauty her crown? Video T-shirt
    * ‘Idol’ judge admits painkiller addiction Video
    ))))

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    A normal person would be embarrassed to have a permanent statement on the Internet asserting that CNN and Pravda are of the same quality. Such barbaricially ludicrous statements were the hallmark of the Soviet era, sad to see that such ignorance is still front and center where Russophile trash is concerned.

    • Hey “Jerry”, your weird eyeless emoticon indicates you’re really not Jerry (but a Russian).

    • Shouldn’t be a surprise. CNN, stands for ‘Communist News Network’. Don’t they have the lowest ratings ever?

  2. Thanks, Dave.

    Pravda looks like a mix of the National Inquirer plus the daily Kremlin talking points.

    I noticed they have an English language site. The top story is “NATO needs another war to justify its useless existence”:

    http://english.pravda.ru/world/ussr/06-05-2009/107505-nato-0

    And this Inquireresque page is hilarious:

    http://english.pravda.ru/topic/Boriska-30

  3. While CNN is nowhere near Pravda it is only for two reasons: Pracda has had much longer to develop the art of delusionary thinking and CNN still has to function in an environment where some of there potential viewers are not completely on the same crazy page. Western media is studying hard at the knee of corupt and demented state owned media organizations but are limitted as to how common and how blatent they can be in practicing these black arts.

    I hope our media never gets to the state of Pravda but that appears to be the goal.

  4. And the CNN headlines given by jerry are not good examples of what I am decrying in Western media. There is a lot of entertainment news and sensationalism which I am not a fan of but it seemed to be actually true material. It even included a piece that was not complimentary to their hero, Obama.

  5. LR readers might do well to take a look at the series “Behind Closed Doors: Stalin, the Nazis and the West”

    http://www.pbs.org/behindcloseddoors/episode-1/index.html

    It’s all there – Stalin lying about the Katyn massacre to the Poles; the trap that the Germans laid for the Red Army at Kharkiv, because Stalin ordered an ill-advised offensive.

    The special NKVD units that slaughtered 4,000 people in Lviv (at that time, part of Poland) – and blamed it on the Nazis.

    The special NKVD units that were set up behind Red Army lines – to shoot Red Army soldiers. (One interviewee who actually was an NKVD participant says: “what could we do? There was nothing else to be done.”)

    The series points out –

    In Kharkiv, which was at that time controlled by the Nazis, anyone who did not work for the Nazis did not have access to food. So first people ate dogs – which were soon gone. Then rats. Then dead bodies.

    Ukraine got hit, first by the Holodomor, engineered by Stalin, then by the Nazis.

    And, as one of the series directors points out, the people that are interviewed for the series, the ones who shot their own Red Army, the SMERSH operatives, etc., still think that they created something “good” with the sovok union.

    You can also click on the videos to view segments of the program (on the right hand side).

  6. LR wrote “The contents of a newspaper provide a snapshot of the world view it contains, both mirroring and creating the society in which it circulates.” Substitute the word “newspaper” for 24-hour broadcasting network like CNN and its the same thing. So my comparison is as good as any LR.

    • Fang, the Barkeep

      An American Idol judge with a painkiller addiction does not really compare with 70 thousand overdoses per year.

      And really, seeking redress for witchcraft through the courts?

  7. What I am really puzzled about is Pravda’s tag line near the logo “Published since January 27, 1999″. Does anybody know, why? It remains true to its colors since May 5, 1912. May 5 was even a minor Soviet holiday (“Press Day”)
    Other than that – it’s almost the same heading font, almost the same style, and almost the same delusional contents…

  8. What an pathetic idiot!

    Accurately quoting lots of articles in “Pravda” — and having to say nothing, and a bit of cretinous mumbling as his own argument. Pathetic.
    Is this Dave Essel working in the “Pravda-online” advert dept? :)

  9. Felix, there was some complicated split whereby the “Pravda” of pravda.ru (which had, and I still think has, a far more extensive online presence) was set up, not by workers of the “official” pravda newspaper, but by former (possibly dismissed) employees thereof. (This site has frequently, and I would say erroneously, been referred to as “the” Pravda in Anglophone media reports more or less ever since). This site had no connection with any “hard copy” publication, at least initially (as well as having a lot of online stuff in Portuguese as well as English) : although I think they did, possibly temporarily or as a one-off, branch out into ink and paper for a time, and may, just possibly still do.

    The “original” Pravda continues online at http://www.gazeta-pravda.ru in Russian only (and I think is the online equivalent of the newspaper: both of which might be described as kind of semi-Brezhnevite, but far less given to spreading conspiracy theories and such stuff than is the Russian state TV channel aimed at international audiences, Russia Today). It is, like its Soviet hardcopy equivalent, a thoroughly dull read; and a little less tendentious or loopy (and far less overtly provocative) than its “unofficial” offshoot. but, still none the less a bit more loyal to the grey bureaucrats in the current Communist Party of the Russian Federation than is the offshoot.

    But that is why the first one dates its origins to 1999, and not any earlier.

  10. Dominic,
    Thank you so much for the explanation… reminds me how I wondered that there is “Communist Party of India” and “Communist Party of India (Marxist)”. Indeed, gazeta-pravda.ru is “traditional” Brezhnevite paper, and pravda.ru reminds me more and more of National Enquirer with ideology. Neither one is worth the time.

  11. “The contents of a newspaper provide a snapshot of the world view it contains, both mirroring and creating the society in which it circulates” – come on, no one is reading that peace of sh*t… well, maybe just for lulz

    • Agrippa, if the readership has declined at Pravda it’s because the Russian masses are being spoon fed 24/7 propaganda on the all Kremlin controlled tv stations.

      You read Pravda becaue you spew the same garbage, who are you kidding.

      What does a person that is a mindless pro-Putin fascist get out of it but more humiliation in front of those that aren’t and more enslavement in his fascist system?

      You’ve never posted anything here that has changed a fact or an opinion. You need to get a more productive life or paymaster.

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