Fake news and Russia

Not much happens anywhere in the EU without these keywords popping up here and there. I think we're not seeing fake news or foreign electoral intervention in context, and we're not playing the right game with Russia. Both problems have boring solutions.

Fake then, fake now

Fake news is old news. Propaganda is an ancient tool, though perfected in the previous century, but in various forms seen for thousands of years. Foreign intervention in elections has quite a history, and that page only covers the greatest hits. We know who does it, how they do it, why they do it. Of course social media is providing new platforms and methods but the players are the same, so is the game.

Naturally social media platforms are working hard against this issue. Sometimes fake news is just affecting voters a bit. Sometimes it can even be deadly, when people stop vaccinating their children. It's good for Facebook, Google and others to be awake, but the only real and lasting solution is media criticism. We have to learn to read media, verify what we see, be critical and be smart. It is an ongoing project and a continuous challenge for all of us, but it's the only real solution we have.

The always interesting Russia

No matter what we talk about, Russia is there. They might not make a point to comment, but we're certain to raise their name all the time. Any criticism about the EU? It has to be Russian trolls, we say, and RT makes a joke about it. Every talk about peace, war, business, energy, elections, you name it - Russia is in the headlines. While it's imperative that we need to keep up sanctions as a response to a highly illegal act of conquering Crimea, it doesn't affect Russia. They just love seeing their name said, be it good or bad. They have a way to make it sound good for them. Doesn't take a lot of studying Russian media to see how it works.

All that I've learned from Russians - not just Putin - is that they would rather suffer in cold and hunger than submit to western demands. This is how they are, as they have been for centuries. Right now they're also suffering from a notable world superpower hangover. They've said it themselves, the fall of the Sovient Union was the biggest tragedy of the previous century. And we're fueling their old dreams by making them a key subject of everything we talk about or do.

They're not a superpower. Not economically, not militarily, not scientifically. They're a small player and we should start treating them as such. We should move Russia on the list of meeting topics from key subject one to subnote 17 paragraph 13. In these meetings we should talk about Russia for five minutes, not five days. We should stop fueling their need to be seen and heard. We should make Russia boring for once. They're not worth our undivided attention.

If they want more attention, they're welcome to decide so on their own, vote for the right kind of leadership on their own and choose on their own to start playing world politics by global rules. We'll be here if that happens. If not, we should not provide the current way of aggression any more energy.