An Iron Curtain descends on Europe and the USA

In recent weeks, I have received a number of complimentary emails from readers of my essays who took note of what they consider my even-handed approach to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian military conflict which is at variance with the fired-up Russophile and Russophobe positions that we find daily in alternative and mainstream media respectively. Some have gone on to say that they have profited from my reporting on the content and changing views aired on Russian political talk shows these past few months, all of which is rarely featured in mainstream Western news and analysis. My intent in such reporting was to ensure that at least some people here understand what Ukraine and its Western backers are up against, so as to better understand the course of the fighting on the ground and who may be winning.

In this context, I announce with sadness that the job of even-handed reporting has just become much more difficult as a result of Eutelsat’s implementation yesterday of a policy decision announced just over a month ago, but which went unnoticed by most everyone, myself included.

I quote from Google Search:

“Eutelsat to remove banned Russian channels. Eutelsat ready to immediately stop the rebroadcasting of the Russian channels RTR Planeta and Rossiya 24 on its satellites on June 25.  13 May 2022”

Indeed, the main state news channels of the Russian Federation can now no longer be received via satellite antennas here in Belgium or elsewhere on the Continent. They are partially and sporadically accessible on the internet via but the level of interference from Western censors makes such viewing a dismal exercise. “Freezing” of frames seems to be most common with respect to the talk shows “Sixty Minutes” and “Evening with Solovyov,” two programs which I had been following and reporting on most regularly. However, it also is applied against Russian shows which might be characterized as being simply entertainment, such as the currently running historical serial about the life and times of the 18th century tsarina Elizabeth. I dare anyone to get more than a minute or two into the broadcast before the curtain comes down, so to speak.

The curtain in question is an updated Iron Curtain, which this time has been dropped on our heads by the powers that be in Washington.  After all, it is Washington that pressured the French controlled Eutelsat rebroadcaster of television channels that dominates the European and other global markets to throw out the Russians.

The argument behind that demand was to exclude “Russian propaganda” from the airwaves. 

In the spirit of fairmindedness with which I opened this essay, I agree that Russian state television is practicing propagandistic methods insofar as it withholds certain information from viewers while promoting other information favorable to its paymasters.  For example, on Russian state television news you will not find a word about the civilian casualties and damage to residential buildings of Russian artillery and rocket attacks on Kharkov. You are shown only the civilian casualties and damage to residential buildings in Donetsk and towns of the Donbas caused by Ukrainian artillery and rocket strikes. 

On the other hand, however, European and U.S. newscasts feature the damage caused by Russian strikes on Ukrainian towns while saying not a word about the sufferings of the Donbas population from military assaults by Ukrainian forces.  Just as they have been entirely silent about such suffering and death among the Donbas population that Kiev has inflicted on them for the past eight years, since the outbreak of the civil war in 2014.

Each side in the Ukrainian conflict accuses the other side of using cluster bombs and other internationally prohibited weapons against civilian populations.  These accusations are put on air by Russian and Western news programs only as they are set out by their favored respective side.

My point is very simple: by silencing the so-called Russian propagandists, Western propagandists have the field to themselves here in Belgium, in the broader European Union and in North America. The possibilities for the public to form an independent view of what is going on are choked off, and with that there is no basis for informed policy discussion in the expert community. As The Washington Post so nicely puts it: democracy dies in darkness.

And what about the Russian side? Are they also cut off and ignorant as my remarks on coverage of casualties above might suggest?  I commented on this question in my travel report on my six week stay in Petersburg that began in May:  Western news channels have been removed from the cable television distributors in the city. For this I blame not Russian government prohibitions but the commercial decisions of Western content providers who terminated their contracts with Russian distributors just as did the Hollywood studios. Meanwhile, Western stations remain accessible on the internet without interference and they remain accessible on satellite television.

At my dacha, I had no difficulty receiving the BBC and Bloomberg for free courtesy of my parabolic antenna. How long this will be the case given the tit-for-tat nature of the relationship between the West and Russia generally I cannot say. But if someone does pull the plug on Western ‘propaganda’ in Russia, it will be in response to the West’s dropping the Iron Curtain on Russia, not the other way around.

It is sad that Western leaders are destroying with their own hands the underpinnings of democracy at home through this censorship.  The only likely result will be total shock and surprise throughout the Western world when the Russians complete their liberation of Donbas, take the Ukrainian Black Sea coast including Odessa and declare victory over what will by then be an utterly destroyed Ukrainian army.

In the meantime, under greatly constrained conditions, I will try my best to follow the Russian side of the story on talk shows, on news reports of Russian war correspondents embedded with their forces on the front lines, and to share with readers what appears to be afoot on the other side of the barricades.

©Gilbert Doctorow, 2022

36 thoughts on “An Iron Curtain descends on Europe and the USA

  1. Try Telegram. There is a channel for Россия СМИ 24, and quite a few other Russian language channels. Also quite a few channels in English on what’s going on in Ukraine, eg. Intel Slava Z, and Scott Ritter.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am hoping to awaken one fine morning to discover Vlad and company have melted the entire propagandist eastern coast to a pool of hardened glass . Until then we are in a “news Desert”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A sad state of affairs when Europe and the USA have so little faith in their propaganda that it is deemed necessary to shut out contrary opinions. Thank you for your spot on essays.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Importante ter acesso a múltiplas opiniões, aqui no Brasil fico confuso, os canais de comunicação difundem informações sobre o sucesso de determinadas operações, e no final, os fatos os contrariam, porém, partem para outra realidade ou irrealidade, como se não tivessem divulgado nada a respeito, apostam no esquecimento e na falta de importância que o seu público cativo dá aos fatos.


    1. “aqui no Brasil fico confuso”

      Eu penso qeu esta o estado normal da maioria da população das nações do Ocidente. Em tudo, a situação e mutio facil para explicar, o exército de alliance é decimar as Ukrainas.
      (desculpa pelo errors, estou aprendendo portugues)


      1. O seu Português’ é compreensível, mas sinta-se a vontade com o inglês, recorro sempre ao tradutor google.
        Torço para que um dia o nacionalismo não supere o humanismo em nenhum lugar da Terra.


  5. Hi, I was pleasantly surprised that my IPTV connection actually put Rossiya24 back up. For a short time during the onset of the Ukrainian war, they had actually replaced the Russian channels with Ukrainian channels! But now I get about 40 various Russian channels and it includes this one – just checked. Am watching now. So I suggest you give this a try because you can use it over the internet and pay for 2 connections – you can use one in Russia and one in Belgium.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This censorship of information coming into Europe and North America will have very evil consequences. North Americans have gotten used to living in a bubble, but I believe it was always possible to access at least the essential news and cultural content, even if only by mail order. Lately I have had success using a VPN (Kaspersky) with a Russian or Serbian IP address to access Russian media online.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, sir. I read this “sad” report with rapt, undivided, total attention and respect.

    Democracy (sic) has indeed died,and I believe its [danse macabre] death throes are manifest not only in hypocrisy, the theater of political propaganda and its venal operatives and puppets and an ignorant, apathetic public but in the demise (choking) of diplomacy, journalism (sic) — most apparent in the dearth of its investigative subset with few honorable exceptions such as John Pilger, Abby Martin, Julian Assange, and Gilbert Doctorow; rampant/rapacious capitalism; an out-of-any-control militarism; the financial sector; academe (w/exceptions: e.g., Professor John Mearsheimer); and other realms beyond my instant capability of calling them out. Somewhere in the depth(s) of Russian and Chinese “authoritarian” policy and intellectual spheres must be a sense of irony and inevitability–and perhaps some wry amusement along with (e.g., nuclear) angst?

    So be it. Que sera sera. I’m 78 yo and don’t, frankly, really give a damn. But I am a bit sad….


  8. I think there is an undeserved equivocation expressed here, an almost apples to oranges one when describing the civilian damages inflicted by either side in this conflict, in particular the heavier weapons damage. More by omission than commission, but it is significantly relevant here in comparing the official stifling of news by either side.

    Because Russia, by all appearances and available evidence, has chosen to make the heart-wrenching decision, one of supremely painful sacrifice, of its own beloved young in order to minimize damages to all things civilian in the liberation of the Donbass republics.
    This, even as the Ukrainians by all accounts I’ve heard have callously and even vengefully used these same ethno-Russian civilians the Russians are trying to protect, as expendable objects, as hostages, and their homes and surroundings as further cover to dissuade the Russian armed forces from retaliating to their directed amoral and intentional shelling of civilians.
    These continuing attacks on non-military “targets” in all-civilian population centers such as Donetsk exhibit the Ukrainian Nazis’ predisposition and predilections for and of a nihilistic ethos. This is the pattern now long-established, a lowdown public normalizing of breaking the laws of conventional warfare among nation-states, a thing once reserved to what the West would deem ‘terroristic’ but now likely euphemized to a vague ‘asymmetric’ warfare classification in order to rationalize and dilute its actual ugly truths.
    So when it is stated that the Russians too do not mention civilian casualties they themselves have inflicted, it fails to make the distinction between not only the two opposing forces’ tactics and strategic operations, but especially their near opposite means by which they intend to insinuate their opposing worldviews to quite different ends.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. In the first place, thank you immensely for your articles on this blog. They have been a godsend, for everyone it appears.

    In the second, the censorship you describe is the act of a failed state. I have no doubt whatsoever that it corresponds exactly to the environment in the Third Reich as their losses mounted and the end came in view.

    In the third, what choice does the US have now except to turn this into an overt war between NATO and Russia? What pretext will be used is immaterial. Perhaps a Gulf of Tonkin incident in the Baltic. Whatever it is, it will elicit an existential response from Russia. What is most tragic is that the US does not win or ever fight wars. It promotes terrorism. Terrorism of civilian populations, anywhere where opponents cannot fight back. The most recent elementary school shooting, using a military weapon, was a perfect example of what the US, up to and including the highest court in the land, promotes and allows.

    The best book on the market right now is American Kleptocracy by Casey Michel. I recommend it for reading when you might otherwise simply be experiencing the Iron Curtain.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “It is sad that Western leaders are destroying with their own hands the underpinnings of democracy at home through this censorship. ”

    You are being too polite. No country currently on the planet is a democracy. Here in the United States we used to have a constitutional republic with some democratic privileges. But these have all been revoked and taken away. Same thing in the UK, the EU, NATO, and the west. What we have now are failed states protecting something (making the world safe for), something that does not exist. The emperor’s new bulletproof vest. Handing out $40-Billion dollars in money that no longer exists. Since value used to materialize meaning call it the emperor’s new money.

    Censorship, propaganda, cancel culture, can’t hold a candle to what the goal of MSM really is: leave the average person with nothing but stories about endless wars (and school shootings), and rumors of wars (more school shootings). Twenty-year wars are nothing. Advanced, complex societies need 100- and 200-year wars.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have a limited interest in what brutalities the Russian SMO happens to inflict here or there since the “problem” has been going on for too many years and the locals and civilian population should have known how surgical and thorough the LPR/DPR militias and the Russian military were going to be. I have been sickened, frustrated, angered and upset to no end how the Ukrainian military AND the ruthless leaders in Kyiv operate and I feel IMO, the general population had to have known how they would have responded. The smart ones got out of the country early.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think the distinction between Russian attacks upon civilian areas and Ukrainian attacks upon civilian areas, is that Russian-speaking attacks come in response to Ukrainian forces deliberately mounting attacks from civilian buildings, while Ukrainian attacks respond to no such provocation, but are merely opportunistic war crimes, motivated by an essentially fascist programme of ethnic cleansing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The European Human Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms states in Article 10:
    Freedom of expression
    1 Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
    2 The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

    The EU Charter on Fundamental Freedoms states in Article 11:
    Freedom of expression and information
    1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.
    2. The freedom and pluralism of the media shall be respected.

    The EU has stated
    “In line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, these measures [suspending Russian broadcasting activities] will not prevent those media outlets and their staff from carrying out activities in the EU other than broadcasting, e.g. research and interviews.”

    The EU has thus simply ignored its own citizens’ rights under the Charter to receive information and its duty to respect the freedom and pluralism of the media.

    Liked by 1 person


    Any attempt to encroach on Crimea will lead to a declaration of war on Russia, If a NATO country does this, WWIII will begin. – Dmitry Medvedev.

    Moscow’s retaliation for Kaliningrad transit ban could pull plug on Lithuania — Medvedev
    Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council noted that “the EU didn’t even insist” on such radical steps as a transit ban, realizing the possible problems.

    Anglos want WWIII as pretext to cancell their ponzi of trillions of debts and quadrillions of derivatives.

    EU is NATO as Putin said, which means now Russia must nuke Brussels as a last call for the others.

    Otherwise all nato countries will be wiped out of the face of the earth.

    Western politicos believe they are playing in a video game, they find that funny like at the G7(7 most endebted countries in the world).

    Soutern countries understand and are running to the sane people (82 % of world population), more and more will join BRICS +

    West is just comitting collective suicide.They are on the Titanic approaching the iceberg.

    I don’t understand why Russia let this clowns show continue, they should have decapitated Kiev power a long time ago.Slow and light war a mistake, not in terms of military as Russians are winning, ukie army is destroyed at 85%, but because western politicos only see that in terms of P R, com, twitter…the more the war lasts the more they are forced to take more sanctions, send more weapons even to the point to empty their stocks and bankrupt their people and economies…or lose face.Inflation, recession, energy prices have zero impact on these people.

    After Russian army left Kiev, western politicos took that as weakness, and since then they believe their own lies and can only double down like neocons otherwise their career is finished

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “After all, it is Washington that pressured the French controlled Eutelsat rebroadcaster of television channels that dominates the European and other global markets to throw out the Russians.” What evidence do you have to write this ?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. If transmission on smotrim is poor, use the symbol a the top to maximize the screen, which will add the settings symbol, where you can reduce the resolution to a minimum, which should reduce freezing etc. considerably.


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