Russia’s Big Bet On India To Fight Ukraine’s Info War Falls Flat; Kremlin’s Media Loses To US-Led West: OPED

OPED By: Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

Criticizing US President Joe Biden for secretly granting permission to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to use American long-range weapons and F-16s to strike the Russian mainland while a large number of military and geopolitical experts are saying this would lead to nuclear war, such warnings are not appearing in the majority of the media outlets in the West. 

Although Biden granted permission for using American weapons on Russian territory in limited cases, Zelensky may turn this scope to use the weapon in an unlimited case, thus hitting dozens of targets inside Russia – and such actions may begin immediately after the Swiss Conference.

Responding to this latest development, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Putin had delivered “a very significant warning, and it must be taken with the utmost seriousness.” He warned American leaders “against miscalculations that could have fatal consequences.”

Commenting on Biden’s secret permission to Kyiv, Daniel L. Davis, a Senior Fellow & Military Expert for Defense Priorities, a retired Army Lt. Col with four combat deployments, wrote in The National Interest, “There is nothing for the United States to gain and a great deal to lose by expanding the allowed target list of our weapons and ammunition to Ukraine. Risking nuclear escalation is foolish to the highest degree. Biden’s permission last week should be rescinded immediately before any damage is done”.

Meanwhile, according to media reports, Biden has publicly apologized to Ukrainian President Zelensky for the months-long congressional holdup in American military assistance that allowed Russia to make gains on the battlefield.

Whatever Kremlin officials or military analysts say about Biden’s secret permission to Zelensky, Washington has no scope to rescind it. The Biden administration is desperately looking for Ukraine’s victory before the November 5 elections in the United States or at least to prove that Kyiv has succeeded in shattering Moscow through military offensives with the help of America.

In my opinion, Russia is going to face ruthless attacks from Ukraine during the next several months, thus posing a serious threat to the country’s security and sovereignty. And if Zelensky sees success through such strikes, he may reverse the course of the war thus shifting it to the Russian mainland.

If anything happens as anticipated, can Moscow really save its soil from foreign attacks and give an equal or much stronger response? Most possibly, the Russian response will be much crueler even without using nuclear weapons because Moscow enjoys superiority in military warfare where Kyiv forces may ultimately land on their knees.

Russia Loses Media War

Anyway, such consequences are still mere assumptions or speculation, while by now, Russia has already been defeated by Ukraine in a media war, which is seen in modern warfare as extremely crucial and important.

Despite the fact that Western media is clearly supportive of Ukraine and ferociously against Russia, diplomatic missions of Ukraine are playing an extremely vital role in further expediting anti-Russia and anti-Putin media assaults throughout the world, thus giving an impression to the international community – Russia already is losing the war and Kyiv’s victory is imminent and very near.

One of the key advantages of this massive media dominance of Ukraine is resulting in increasing support of the Western masses in favor of Kyiv, while people also are gradually accepting the perception that Russian President Vladimir Putin is a cruel dictator and an evil person. Such perception in Western society is helping the policymakers in continuing to send billions of dollars to Ukraine without much criticism or obstruction.

Prior to the upcoming peace summit in Switzerland, Ukrainian envoys in various countries are writing byline articles in the local media justifying President Volodymyr Zelensky’s peace proposals.

File Image: Putin and Zelensky

Meanwhile, alongside the pro-Kyiv Western media’s favorable coverage criticizing and condemning Moscow for “unjustly and illegally invading Ukrainian territory,” Kyiv’s own media outlets are also enjoying tremendous patronization from the West. For example, Yahoo News is regularly republishing content from the Ukrainian media, thus helping to significantly increase its global reach.

In contrast, with the continuous hostility of Western media, Russian media is absent in the West and most of the world. Moscow’s exclusivity depends on its own media outlets, such as RT and Sputnik. However, both news outlets and the video-sharing platform YouTube are banned in the West.

None of these Russian news outlets is indexed by Google News, which is one of the prime channels for spreading the content of any media outlet to hundreds of millions of readers and viewers around the world.

On the other hand, although RT and Sputnik operate their bureau offices in India and exclusively cover Indian issues, none of these news outlets are quoted by Indian media, and readership and viewership of RT and Sputnik in India are also very low. Thus, by establishing their studios and large newsrooms in India, both Russian media outlets remain almost irrelevant to the Indian audience.

There also are fundamental problems with the approach and editorial policies of RT and Sputnik. They still operate a similar pattern that had followed during the Soviet era.

Despite this fact, RT, in particular, has all the potential to become a dominant media outlet, at least within the Global South. Moreover, due to a ban imposed on it by YouTube and major search engines, the contents of these news outlets are unable to catch the attention of a large prospective audience.

With all such troubling scenarios and Russia miserably failing in soft war or media war, authorities in the Kremlin, as well as Russian missions in the world, are showing surprising reluctance to focus on international media that are favorable to Moscow or not parrot Western and Ukrainian rhetoric centering Russia’s special military operations, although there are very few such independent media outlets.

Such an attitude can only contribute to Russia’s further isolation from the international audience and may even be interpreted as self-destructive.

  • Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning journalist, writer, research scholar, counterterrorism specialist, and Editor of Blitz, a newspaper published from Bangladesh since 2003. He regularly writes for local and international newspapers. Follow him on X @Salah_Shoaib