YouTube - Former KGB Agent Yuri Bezmenov Explains How to Brainwash a Nation

 
KnownSQASHED
 
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KnownSQASHED
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14 June 2017 10:24
 

Greetings!

I just made an account here to post this very interesting interview.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve long been skeptical of Sam’s hard line on all things Russia. This interview has gone a long way to convincing me personally.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5It1zarINv0

 
sojourner
 
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sojourner
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14 June 2017 12:59
 

Apologies, because I’m about to be very blunt (and this is directed at this conspiracy theory in general, not you in particular) - but I am 90% sure that this theory is the purview of those who played one too many games of Dungeons and Dragons as a teen and occasionally still wander off into those daydreams and forget the real world is far more boring, and honestly, far more obvious and feckless in its cruelty. I mean come on, have you ever tried to brainwash a nation? How do you think you would go about doing that? How is it that people generally understand how hard it is for guys to convince a girl to go on a date with them - one person, one matter - and yet think brainwashing a huge group of people is something you randomly just ‘do’ if you feel like it? Why haven’t we, with the most advanced psychological research and marketing companies in the world, figured out how to convince everyone in the world to break out in world peace, stop being ISIS and buy American cars?


If simply brainwashing people were possible, every country would have already brainwashed each other a long time ago. There are some very serious geopolitical issues with Russia. Hacking the elections. Murder of dissidents. A nuclear power that often seems to operate from an entirely different set of assumptions than we do (Remember the whole Able Archer thing? I mean the difference in perspectives there is just mind boggling to me - they really thought we were just randomly going to first strike them. We do not have good theory of mind with each other, in terms of interaction.) I think we should take those seriously. But ascribing almost supernatural powers to another is, in a way, a way of dehumanizing them, and that is never a good way to proceed. They (the Russian government involved in such matters) are clueless primates just like us. They may act like jerky, election hacking clueless primates sometimes, but they’re people, not wizards.

 
 
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14 June 2017 15:51
 

I don’t mean to be dismissive, but did you actually watch the video in its entirety?  The title is an intentionally provocative shorthand to sensationalize the details.

There are two reasons I ask this: you seem stuck on the term brainwashing, which is most prominently featured in the title; and at no point did you address any details presented firsthand by Yuri Bezmenov.

 
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14 June 2017 17:39
 
KnownSQASHED - 14 June 2017 03:51 PM

I don’t mean to be dismissive, but did you actually watch the video in its entirety?  The title is an intentionally provocative shorthand to sensationalize the details.

There are two reasons I ask this: you seem stuck on the term brainwashing, which is most prominently featured in the title; and at no point did you address any details presented firsthand by Yuri Bezmenov.


Someone else posted about Bezmenov a little while ago so learned about him in another thread. I skimmed the video to get the gist, but I guess I don’t see the point at this stage in the game. Even I, who had next to no modern global history in school (global history always started with ancient Sumer and we never made it to the end of the book by summer - my hazy knowledge tapers off somewhere around ancient Rome or the Renaissance at best) was relatively aware of how awful the Soviet government was. I think that’s one of the few historical points that just about everyone in the US did learn about Russia’s history. It’s pretty close to asking if people are aware that the Nazis were bad, in terms of obviousness.


So, I guess if you’re saying you weren’t aware that the government in the USSR sucked until watching this video, then ok, I can see how it would impact your opinion. But other than that, I think most of what Bezmenov says is either obvious (shady governments engage in false and misleading propaganda to make themselves look good) or inconsequential even if it is true (Some of the schemes Bezmenov talks about range from bizarre to totally nonsensical.) But the stuff he’s talking about happened almost half a century ago and their internal dynamic has reorganized drastically since then. Putin, while he lies about many things, does seem to be telling the truth about wanting unity in his country, and discouraging Russian-on-Russian discord with the kind of fear mongering “can’t trust anyone” mentality fostered in the USSR is a genuine part of that, I think. I think their government is clearly still hostile towards us (Often in inexplicable ways… like, they decided to try and hack our election because Clinton once made some lukewarm boilerplate comment about supporting voter rights in Russia? And based on that they thought she sent out her magical Clinton Bat Signal [I believe the words they actually used were ‘a signal’] that made them hate her for-EVAH? I mean Christ on a cracker, if Putin does that when someone does the political equivalent of waving, kissing a baby and going “puppies are great and stuff”, what does he do if someone goes so far as to, I dunno, insult his cooking? Patiently wait 30 years and then kill them Cask of Amontillado style? This is for saying the soufflĂ© was adequate but lacked zest, BLAHAHAHAHA!) - but you can’t really get a good sense of where they are now by looking at the assertions of one KGB agent from 40+ years ago.


I kinda feel like looking at the situation in the here and now is much more informative, while dredging up awfulness from decades ago seems like nothing more than steeling one’s mind against someone as an enemy, taking a “See how bad they are!” approach. While I think there are geopolitical dangers with Russia that are very real, I also don’t think they’re beyond influence and dialogue. They need to be encouraged into the modern world, not dehumanized out of it - that’s my take, anyways. So I don’t think we should be stupid about their dangerous behavior, but I think we should be careful not to demonize them unrealistically either.

 
 
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14 June 2017 20:32
 

IMO, pretty much any state attempts to brainwash its residents. Also, IMO, people are predisposed to be brainwashed, as a side effect of our very strong predispositions to be social animals using symbolic communication to accelerate learning.

 
 
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14 June 2017 21:00
 
NL. - 14 June 2017 05:39 PM
KnownSQASHED - 14 June 2017 03:51 PM

I don’t mean to be dismissive, but did you actually watch the video in its entirety?  The title is an intentionally provocative shorthand to sensationalize the details.

There are two reasons I ask this: you seem stuck on the term brainwashing, which is most prominently featured in the title; and at no point did you address any details presented firsthand by Yuri Bezmenov.


Someone else posted about Bezmenov a little while ago so learned about him in another thread. I skimmed the video to get the gist, but I guess I don’t see the point at this stage in the game. Even I, who had next to no modern global history in school (global history always started with ancient Sumer and we never made it to the end of the book by summer - my hazy knowledge tapers off somewhere around ancient Rome or the Renaissance at best) was relatively aware of how awful the Soviet government was. I think that’s one of the few historical points that just about everyone in the US did learn about Russia’s history. It’s pretty close to asking if people are aware that the Nazis were bad, in terms of obviousness.


So, I guess if you’re saying you weren’t aware that the government in the USSR sucked until watching this video, then ok, I can see how it would impact your opinion. But other than that, I think most of what Bezmenov says is either obvious (shady governments engage in false and misleading propaganda to make themselves look good) or inconsequential even if it is true (Some of the schemes Bezmenov talks about range from bizarre to totally nonsensical.) But the stuff he’s talking about happened almost half a century ago and their internal dynamic has reorganized drastically since then. Putin, while he lies about many things, does seem to be telling the truth about wanting unity in his country, and discouraging Russian-on-Russian discord with the kind of fear mongering “can’t trust anyone” mentality fostered in the USSR is a genuine part of that, I think. I think their government is clearly still hostile towards us (Often in inexplicable ways… like, they decided to try and hack our election because Clinton once made some lukewarm boilerplate comment about supporting voter rights in Russia? And based on that they thought she sent out her magical Clinton Bat Signal [I believe the words they actually used were ‘a signal’] that made them hate her for-EVAH? I mean Christ on a cracker, if Putin does that when someone does the political equivalent of waving, kissing a baby and going “puppies are great and stuff”, what does he do if someone goes so far as to, I dunno, insult his cooking? Patiently wait 30 years and then kill them Cask of Amontillado style? This is for saying the soufflĂ© was adequate but lacked zest, BLAHAHAHAHA!) - but you can’t really get a good sense of where they are now by looking at the assertions of one KGB agent from 40+ years ago.


I kinda feel like looking at the situation in the here and now is much more informative, while dredging up awfulness from decades ago seems like nothing more than steeling one’s mind against someone as an enemy, taking a “See how bad they are!” approach. While I think there are geopolitical dangers with Russia that are very real, I also don’t think they’re beyond influence and dialogue. They need to be encouraged into the modern world, not dehumanized out of it - that’s my take, anyways. So I don’t think we should be stupid about their dangerous behavior, but I think we should be careful not to demonize them unrealistically either.

I mean, I’m right there with you, having received a less than ideal world history education until college.  Even then, though, I don’t remember learning much after the end of the second world war.  My understanding of the timeline of Yuri’s experience might be slightly off, but there are several points he makes in the interview that I found incredibly interesting.  His explanation of the distinct stages that the KGB understands in the process of overthrowing western governments (near the end) is difficult to watch without drawing fairly obvious parallels.

That being said, I understand what you’re saying - anytime you demonize a group of people, you make rational dialog impossible. I simply didn’t understand the degrees to which the Russian government was willing to go in an attempt to breed instability in the US as late as the 1980’s.  As far as Putin is concerned, I’m inclined to be skeptical of a former KGB agent turned President/Prime Minister who has already held power for nearly 2 decades.

My understanding of the Putin/Clinton relationship is that it was personal between the two of them going into 2016 due to his belief that she was largely responsible for a failed riot/attempted coupe in the ‘90s(?).

 
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15 June 2017 06:24
 
KnownSQASHED - 14 June 2017 09:00 PM

I mean, I’m right there with you, having received a less than ideal world history education until college.  Even then, though, I don’t remember learning much after the end of the second world war.  My understanding of the timeline of Yuri’s experience might be slightly off, but there are several points he makes in the interview that I found incredibly interesting.  His explanation of the distinct stages that the KGB understands in the process of overthrowing western governments (near the end) is difficult to watch without drawing fairly obvious parallels.


Did you never watch Red Dawn, ha ha! Wolveriiiiiiiiines. Ahem. Sorry. I dunno, I assumed this was common pop culture knowledge, if you ever read so much as a Mad Magazine, or, I dunno, watched the Nikita video (wherein Elton John implicitly threatens Communists by showing a depiction of how he will kidnap their women and force them to go bowling with him in his nightgown during cheesetastic 80s montages.) Maybe not, though.

 

That being said, I understand what you’re saying - anytime you demonize a group of people, you make rational dialog impossible. I simply didn’t understand the degrees to which the Russian government was willing to go in an attempt to breed instability in the US as late as the 1980’s.  As far as Putin is concerned, I’m inclined to be skeptical of a former KGB agent turned President/Prime Minister who has already held power for nearly 2 decades.


Definitely. I don’t think I said anywhere “You know, I think any skepticism towards Putin is unwarranted.” Clearly there is a lot of mafia-esque Game of Thrones style stuff going on in that government. We spent decades trying to get out from under that kind of thing in this country and I think we should have very clear lines about not inviting it back in (that the Russian government has seemingly murdered dissidents on UK soil says a lot - they’re not even willing to keep it to their home turf.)


That said, they’re still a developing country, getting back on their feet after near collapse in the 90s. I’m generally of the mindset that a country’s development takes time and we should be supportive of it, even if from a distance. Putin has his problems, but I think they are largely different problems than you would find from studying the KGB in the 70s / 80s. I think he has some good qualities - he cares about his country and he at least attempts to minimize harm and bloodshed rather than maintaining power via brute force, which you’re always reading is the historical trend in Russia (I’m hesitant to say that’s true because I don’t know, and I don’t want to insult the Russian people if it’s not - but you tend to read about how the political system is built around a strongman and that’s what people look for.) He also does, I think, genuinely seem to care about global stability (people often say he sows chaos, and I think that may be true to a point, but I also think he would not try to push things past a tipping point where real instability resulted - if there’s one consistent theme about him, it’s that he loathes the whole Hobbesian anarchy thing) and wants to modernize Russia. I also think he has some difficult qualities - he is the leader of a country where oligarchs literally kill people they don’t like, and a totally gentle leader could well be a dead one. He’s paranoid about the US and the West. He puts pragmatics over principles and ideals (although he at least pretends to promote principles, which is a step in the right direction, I guess,) making his methods - as in the election hacking - very unscrupulous. And he has fallen into the trap that all leaders of fractured nations tend to fall into - senseless war and imperialism as key to unity. Those are serious issues, but I don’t think they have anything to do with the wilder machinations of the KGB in the 80s.