Russia Russian invasion of Ukraine Stratcomm

Reading Between the Gray Old Lady’s Lines

The strategic communications (stratcomm) of the gray old lady, paper of record New York Times (NYT) gets increasingly easier to decipher, especially regarding Russia . Stratcomm is the post-modern term for propaganda, often fake news or false ‘facts’, and has nothing to do with journalism, no less the ‘science’ its purveyors often claim to revere so. If you doubt that, then recall Obama’s ‘Russiagate’, Biden’s Ukrainegate, the Clintons’ many gates, the Wausheka terrorist attack (which you can’t forget because you already did because NYT will not write about it unless the black perpetrator turns out to be white, a Republican, or a former exchange student in Russia where he was likely recruited to collude with Moscow), etc., etc. We can see this in almost every article about Russia (or Republicans) published in the NYT.

The NYT recently reported: “The British government said Saturday that the Kremlin was developing plans to install a pro-Russian leader in Ukraine — and had already chosen a potential candidate — as President Vladimir V. Putin weighs whether to order the Russian forces amassed on Ukraine’s border to attack.” “The highly unusual public communiqué by the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, issued late at night in London, comes at a moment of high-stakes diplomacy between the Kremlin and the West” ( Odd that; just coincidence surely. As usual there were the “provided no evidence,” “few details” and “amonymity” of the intel sources and report.

The NYT ‘report’ proceeded to throw in everything but the kitchen sink: the new British ‘intelligence’ of an attempt to repeat what the West has done twice effectively in Ukraine, once in Georgia, Serbia, and other places—install a friendly government in Kiev; and Zelenskiy’s claim of a Russian-backed planned coup in Kiev on December 1-2; previous US ‘intelligence’ claiming Putin has sent “saboteurs into eastern Ukraine to create a provocation that could serve as a pretext for invasion,” a false flag op in for Donbass, apparently. It’s a grave threat to the West a country that can’t keep its invasion plans, two coup plots, and a false flag op in Donbass secret, isn’t it? One gets the feeling that either Western capitals are in the thralls of their own stratcomm, having come to believe their own Putin tales, they are attempting to expose and thereby pre-empt any imaginable step Putin might take—from invasion to fals flag to coup.  

The report stipulates: “In Washington, officials said they believe the British intelligence is correct. Two officials said it had been collected by British intelligence services. Within the informal intelligence alliance known as “Five Eyes,” Britain has primary responsibility for intercepting Russian communications, which is why it played a major role in exposing Russian interference in the 2016 elections.” It is odd that Five Eyes puts the Brits in charge of gathering intel on Russia, only to produce such sterling product as the Steele dossier, isn’t it? Speaking of Steele, why has he never been publicly questioned in adversarial conditons in the country where he meddled in the 2016 US presidential election? Speaking of Steele, where are the Skripals? We heard from them how many years ago? Related: No doubt Putin has enriched himself in office – something unheard in the Pelosi…umhum…I mean the U.S., and it certainly is a mighty, mighty inconsistent Five Eyes intelligence community and British intelligence that know about Putin’s plots in real time but cannot show us the paper trail and location of Putin’s $40 billion in wealth, isn’t it?

The NYT noted: “At a security conference in Kyiv on Saturday, participants, most of them high ranking members of Ukraine’s political opposition, spoke darkly of fifth columnists and enemy collaborators. ‘We are not just talking about large-scale aggression by Russia,’ said Pavlo Klimkin, a former foreign minister. “We are talking about the wish of Russian officials, including Putin, to destroy Ukraine as such.’” Four Ukrainians, including the Russian plot’s prospective Russian puppet leader, were named in the UK intel and NYT reports as coup-plotters without any evidence of their conspiring included.

It went unreported that Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy issued a statement calling on Ukrainians to remain calm and that and Ukraine has been under threat from Russia since 2014 so nothing had changed. He stated that he did not expect an invasion before the anniversary of the Maidan snipers massacre, February 20th and that the Ukrainian National Council for Security and Defense had made its assessment based not on making loud statements in the media but on a sober analysis, adding any Russian invasion was “physically” impossible before February 20th ( An oddly calm statement for a president whose country, according to its good friends and allies, is about to be destroyed by an invasion and a claim that directly contradicts Biden regime claims of a Russian invasion occurring by mid-February, already moved back one from mid-January. The next day, he again warned against the idea of imminent invasion, noting: “Every day you read dozens, even hundreds of new items. And, unfortunately, not all of them have an honest goal. Some are just rumors, some are outright (unfortunately) fakes. Some without understanding the global context can push to the wrong conclusions and make you feel anxious” ( Clearly, even the Ukrainians smell a rat and that they might be being as pawns by Biden’s need for a victory after so many resounding failures and collapsed popularity ratings.

One would surely need to be oblivious to recent post-Cold War history to read the following without scratching one’s head and wondering why its sounds so familiar: “(I)t would not be the first time the Kremlin tried to install a pro-Russian leader or interfere in Ukraine’s government. In 2004, Russian efforts to fraudulently sway a presidential election set off what became known as the Orange Revolution, which forced a redo election that led to the defeat of Mr. Yanukovych, who was the Kremlin’s favored candidate. In 2013, when the Kremlin pressured Mr. Yanukovych, who eventually was elected president, to back out of a trade pact with the European Union, Ukrainians again poured into the streets. Mr. Yanukovych was eventually driven from power, prompting Mr. Putin to order the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula and instigate a separatist war in eastern Ukraine.” It should sound familiar because the West has tried and succeeded twice to install a pro-Western leader or interfere in Ukraine’s government. It was the West, mostly Washington, that financed the groups that led the 2004 Orange and 2013-14 Maidan revolutions. The report mentions the pressure the Kremlin exerted to get Yanukovych to back out of siging the EU associationagreement in November 2013 but ignores the Western pressure on Yanukovych to sign, conditioning economic assistance on his signing, the provocative nature of the agreement with its military clauses designed to prepare Ukraine for NATO membership.  

In a WSJ piece published by long-time stratcomm nedium, Michael Gordon, we get the following gem: “Another factor in the timing of a Russian invasion may be geopolitics—and the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Rob Lee, a former Marine infantry officer and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, a Philadelphia-based think tank, has noted that Russia attacked Georgia in 2008 during summer Olympic Games… (” Oddly enough, Gordon, Lee et al missed the part where Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, taking a break from chewing on his necktie, ordered hundrds of inaccurate GRAD rockets to be fired on a sleeping city, Tskhinval, on August 7, 2008, killing tens if not hundreds of South Ossetiyan citizens (citizens of Saakashvili’s own Georgia in Saakashvili’s and the West’s view, by the way) and 19 Russian peacekeeping troops to kick off his invasion of the lone ago broken away republic, the night before “Russia attacked Georgia in 2008 during summer Olympic Games.”

One more thing about that NYT piece. It closes with a shocking adventure in lack of self-awareness dictated by its stratcomm purposes and those those purposes serve. The last sentences read: “The disclosure also comes amid a swirling political scandal over Downing Street garden parties in 2020 that violated lockdown restrictions, which has mushroomed to such a degree that it threatens Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s hold on power. Critics have suggested that Mr. Johnson may try to exploit the tensions with Russia — and Britain’s more assertive diplomatic and military role — as a way to deflect attention from his political woes.” Somehow – I could not imagine how, surely nothing to do with being a Democrat party-state media organ – the NYT failed here or in any other piece the possible connection between its boss, Joe Biden, his disastrous political straits, and the constant banging of the war drum of an imminent Russian invasion. Biden’s political situation is after all far worse than is Jordan’s: runaway inflation and consumer price index, rampaging COVID, open borders and multiple murders by illegal aliens he let in, the disastrous Afghan withdrawal and human tragedy occurring in the country (and not covered by the NYT), exceedingly low public approval ratings, Democrat Party-state election defeats this passed November and certain loss of the House majority this November, and the imminent publication of Peter Schweizer’s Red-Handed, exposing Biden’s corrupt use of the White House to conduct ‘business’ along with his son Hunter business deals with China and……wait for it….. Russia and Ukraine. So who needs an ‘I stopped Putin’s invasion moment’ for his political future?

What might have inspired to the NYT to implicitly suggest the potential ‘rally around the flag’ domestic political motive might be connected with the British intelligence report? Certainly, the NYT is not shy about touting exaggerated claims about Putin’s Russia and enjoys few things more than ringing the ‘Russian threat’ alarm bell. Could it be that Biden is a Democrat Party-state president and global ‘liberal’ and PM Johnson is conservative? Or because Jordan ended the COVID mask mandate? Would the NYT and its patrons like to kill two birds with one stone? Does the sun set in the west? Trump is no longer president after all, and the globalists’ revolution from above needs a ‘white supremacist’ in the West along with their one in the East to cover the waterfront, do they not? A careful reading of the NYT between the lines renders the gray old lady to be still the paper of record, if unwittingly. Does the sun set in the West?

For the ‘Biden stopped Putin and saved Ukraine’ narrative to produce the requisite effect in public opinion polls, the Russian threat must be played up to the hilt. Hence, the US government has joined its media organs in dramatizing the impending doom. Our State Department has thus authorized the withdrawal of government employees from Kiev and ordered the evacuation of all family members of US embassy staff ( In addition, the US ambassador in Kiev met with the capitol’s mayor to discuss the defense of Kiev! ( These steps expose the whole ‘imminent Russian invasion’ scam. There is not a sane soul in Washington (no that’s not the end of the sentence), who believes in the Putin invasion ruse, who also believes that Putin would attempt to push his army to Kiev. Not one. Even if the Ukrainians or, less likely, the West provokes Putin to act, he will only occupy Donbass to put Minsk 2 behind, end Donbass residents’ misery under the Ukrainian army and its neofascist volunteer battalions’ occasional mortar and artillery attacks, and gather in Donbass coal. The evacuation order is government stratcomm, nothing more and nothing less. The question remains: What is the purpose? The Biden stopped Putin model or provoking Putin into a war that hawks believe will bring down his regime?




About the Author – Gordon M. Hahn, Ph.D., is an Expert Analyst at Corr Analytics, and a Senior Researcher at the Center for Terrorism and Intelligence Studies (CETIS), Akribis Group,

Dr. Hahn is the author of the forthcoming book: The Russian Dilemma: Security, Vigilance, and Relations with the West from Ivan III to Putin (McFarland, 2021) He has authored four well-received books: Ukraine Over the Edge: Russia, the West, and the “New Cold War” (McFarland, 2018); The Caucasus Emirate Mujahedin: Global Jihadism in Russia’s North Caucasus and Beyond (McFarland, 2014), Russia’s Islamic Threat (Yale University Press, 2007), and Russia’s Revolution From Above: Reform, Transition and Revolution in the Fall of the Soviet Communist Regime, 1985-2000 (Transaction, 2002). He also has published numerous think tank reports, academic articles, analyses, and commentaries in both English and Russian language media.

Dr. Hahn taught at Boston, American, Stanford, San Jose State, and San Francisco State Universities and as a Fulbright Scholar at Saint Petersburg State University, Russia and was a senior associate and visiting fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Kennan Institute in Washington DC, and the Hoover Institution.


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