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Reading Russia Today for a Week Made Me Believe in Anything

24/12/2014 03:26 GMT | Updated 22/02/2015 10:59 GMT

"This is what happens then there is no second opinion" as those filthy and badly painted ads of Russia Today say all across London tube stations. I agree, this is exactly what happens when there's no other voice in an authoritarian country. A PR agency starts masquerading as a proper news organisation. But I though, if RT manages to collect almost 2.3 million likes on Facebook, maybe I should try it at least for a week?

Opening the homepage of Russia Today is a bit like entering the winter wonderland in London. There're so many things you want to object. Mulled spirit drinks? That's a travesty going against all natural laws. Equally, look at RT logo, on the right of it you see "question more" - a universal slogan for every crackpot conspiracy site. Once you look at the content it provides, the jingle lives up to its name. You get that feeling of mass plot against Russia every single time. Political news related to the west, mostly consists of inflammatory statements such as "MH370 was 'shot down by US military', claims former French airline boss 454" - forgetting to mention that he's a washed out, unpopular novelist evidently seeking to remind his presence to the public. So far, the first impression is that giving space to anyone who can chirp the view of the Kremlin is the trend there.

I don't know any other English news site by a non-English country which primarily focuses on European, British, and American news rather than the origin's country. But in the world of RT, this is the norm. Only by scrolling down you can reach the brilliant coverage of Russian politics. By brilliant, I didn't mean to imply the objectivity of reporting, only brilliant in a way that whatever Russia does is admirable and have that 'praise the leader' vibe. Russian politics section contains self-indulging proclamations like "Putin is the Man of the Year" and then continuing debauchery on how Russian population adores the dear leader. Again, an extremely important piece of fact, Putin was elected the man of the year for the 15th time in a row. This is not mentioned because, well, even for a brainwashed Kremlin parrot this sounds a bit suspicious.

Understandingly, Russia Today did not report Putin's findings of Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which divided Europe, as not troubling at all. Nor did it write about Ukraine's democratic elections as according to the international standards. That's not part of the narrative Russia Today is assigned to project.

The business section, without a doubt, is a masterpiece. People complain that western media's reporting is biased, but compared to RT's business section, Greek Goddess Lady Justice is in charge of the western media. We know for certain that the Russian economy is on the brink to become a barter economy based on vodka as the new currency. The Kremlin, if it has any senses left, is worried about rouble that acts as a man going diving with a brick stringed to his foot, but not in the world of Russia Today. The problem of rouble being worth next to nothing isn't for Russia, of course not, it's Europe that should treble. You see, Russia owns a lot of money to Europeans and the harder for the government and companies to pay that back, the worse it's for the lenders, apparently. Russia did a massive favour to Europe by getting itself into debt just so that banks could issue loans. Very thoughtful and carrying of them, however, in the event of bankruptcy, the mass exodus of capital and investors surprisingly won't cause much harm to the country, contrary to Europe that will suffer enormously.

But enough of this technical talk, Russia Today is the youth medium, a place for them to read about serious opinionated political stuff among the lines of anti-west sentiment. Since western left-wing press is too capitalist and Vice Magazine too juvenile, the organisation fills the vacuum. Instead of calling the opinion page "OpEd" as in most publications, it's called "OpEdge" suggesting a good job done by young interns there. Yet, while the latter named it, the contributors of the page crammed it with the most heinous propagandist white noise. I cannot point out the exact articles that especially caught my eye the most, as all of them had a reason for awe. There was one claiming that the most likely power in the world to pull the trigger of nuclear weapons would be NATO. Or that Putin actually has a "nuclear option" and could just go on vacation with debt repayments to European banks thus throwing the whole continent into depression. For young comrades, this is good high.

It appears that the lesson RT teaches with its infamous slogan is that questioning more effectively means conformist belief in anything. Those who regurgitate that RT is merely contributing to the larger debate either have never visited the site, aspire to work there, worked there, or paid to say so. I exclude the group who genuinely believes in the objectivity of RT, but that's just due to their inherent worldview. We never compliment anyone by saying that someone is 'a reader of' some specific publication. Claiming that somebody is a man of one book, or in this case - news site, is the greatest passive-aggressive insult.

After a week of reading Russia Today and trying to use it as the main source of news, I started to feel a great anxiety. It takes a great deal of unawareness to honestly believe in the things it states, to throw away knowledge of everything and accept that Russia is exceptional and exempted from all rules and workings of the world. This was an enhanced torture, a masochistic experiment I imposed upon myself. I know for sure what will be my New Year's resolution: avoid Russia Today at any cost.