It’s true – clouds do have silver linings. If it weren’t for the mindless hysteria of the Russiagate mythology promoted in the USA and UK I would never have heard about this delightful children’s animated video series – Masha and the Bear.
This isn’t the first silver lining I have come across. The mainstream media have now and then offered up lists of automated “Russian bots,” “Russian trolls, social media accounts promoting “Russian propaganda,” and alternative media sources the mainstream media want us to steer clear of. These lists have given me, and others, media sources and social media accounts which often give information and news of a far higher quality than that promoted by the mainstream media.
In one of these lusts I even came across an amazing Ukrainian pianist, Valentina Lisitsa, who was described as an automated “Russian bot” by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. (The Digital Forensic Research Lab is currently helping Facebook remove “fake” and “inauthentic” accounts – so no wonder there are problems.)
Valentina Lisitsa plays a Rachmaninoff Prelude. She had been identified as n automated “Russian bot” by the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab.
But now the mainstream media has brought Masha and the Bear to my attention (see UK Times: Children’s show is propaganda for Putin, say critics and The Daily Mail: Is Masha and the Bear a Putin stooge? Critics claim cartoon with 4.18m subscribers is made by Kremlin to subvert children). Apparently the child video series is simply another of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plots to spread discord in the West! Specifically by subverting our children! And not just our children – also our adults, according to The Times:
“A spoiled girl and a bear, which certainly symbolizes Russia, penetrate into the immature children’s mind and influence it, while adults obviously fall under the influence of ‘Russian propaganda channels’,”
The authors of these articles found quotable sources in countries bordering the Russian Federation to “prove” their point. They even found an intelligence expert from The University of Buckingham, Professor Anthony Glees, to give “expert” academic backing to their story.
Russia has a deserved reputation for high-quality animations so it is not surprising this series is very popular. It has received more than 30 billion views on YouTube (see How a goofy Russian cartoon bear is conquering the world, ‘MASHA AND THE BEAR’ TAKES ON THE WORLD and ‘MASHA AND THE BEAR’ RISES TO THE TOP)
Judging from comments on these articles claiming the child videos are “Putinesque,” readers are laughing. Many comments are from parents whose children regularly watch and love Masha and the Bear. One commenter attempted to start a rumour that Masha was sighted in Salisbury earlier this year. Another wondered if his son would develop the habit of riding bare-chested on his teddy bear.
Problem is that one should really be concerned when supposedly “reputable” news media publish this sort of rubbish. Perhaps even more concerned that a reputable academic, expert on intelligence and security matters and advisor to governments is promoting this sort of hysteria.
Oh well. At least I have discovered Masha and the Bear and I am looking forward to using these videos in my future babysitting tasks.