The more the West ignores Putin’s provocations, the more he escalates

Michael Khodarkovsky writes: The Russian media have been talking up war for some time, but it has now reached new heights of warmongering. Dmitry Kiselev, a television journalist known for his close ties to the Kremlin, keeps threatening the West with nuclear weapons. Another ally of President Vladimir V. Putin, the voluble ultranationalist party leader Vladimir V. Zhirinovsky, recently declared that if Hillary Clinton were elected, it would mean World War III.

Clearly, the Kremlin is deliberately creating a sense of impending war by having its own media insist that NATO has put Russia under threat — from the military alliance itself and its democratic ethos. Ominously, Mr. Putin loses no opportunity to extol the Russian people’s wartime virtues of heroism and martyrdom.

Most recently, the war scenario moved from talk on television to Russian city streets. From Oct. 4 to 7, a Russian civil defense drill reportedly involved 40 million civilians and 200,000 civil defense experts who instructed citizens in schools, factories and offices. The government-controlled media rhapsodized that the bomb shelters were found to be in good order, as the people drilled in what to do during a nuclear, chemical or bacteriological war.

In one Moscow district, local authorities posted fliers asking residents to contribute money to hasten construction of a bomb shelter “because of the growing international tensions, particularly the expected nuclear aggression against Russia by the unfriendly countries,” clearly a reference to the United States and its allies. Maybe all that these fliers signify is pandering to the Kremlin by local bureaucrats eager to impress the authors of a propaganda blitz. But there is no denying that such announcements are strengthening a genuine bout of war hysteria, emanating from the Kremlin. [Continue reading…]

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