Zarina Zabrisky: A Crash Course on Russian Propaganda & Cyberwar 7pm Free

When Hillary Clinton met the Russian Foreign Minister in Moscow in 2012, she handed him a symbolic gift: a plastic button with the word RESET in English and--well, not really in Russian. Not only the word was spelled in Latin alphabet instead of Cyrillic, it missed a syllable and meant OVERCHARGE. Five minutes of research would have saved the Americans the embarrassment, and--who knows--could have led to a different future. Knowledge is power. 
Russian Spetz Propaganda Workshop provides basic education on the psychological war as taught in prestigious Russian universities. Based on unclassified textbooks and designed for the American social media users, it offers a crash course on goals, strategies and methods used by the Kremlin on the US population as well as simple defense tactics. The 60-minutes class is followed by 30 minutes Q&A session.
  • Role of propaganda in the current political situation in the US
  • Role of Russian propaganda in the US elections 2016
  • Putin’s goals
  • Summary of the Kremlin ideology
  • Propaganda projects in the US and Western Europe
  • Overview of major Russian propaganda outlets (RT, Sputnik, etc)
  • Basic principles, goals and methods of propaganda
  • Examples of visual, neuro-linguistic and psychological manipulations
  • Practical guide to identify Russian propagandists, trolls and fakes
  • Ways of coping with propaganda and psychological defense
    Zarina Zabrisky is an award-winning American author of five books published internationally.  Zabrisky acquired her knowledge of propaganda and brainwashing techniques while receiving her MA at the Philology Department at Leningrad State University (alma mater of Putin, Medvedev, Sechin and Olgino trolls.) A compulsory combat propaganda course was a part of her English language and literature curriculum. Zabrisky is familiar with US mass media through her work as a Business Manager of the CBS News Bureau in Moscow in 1990s and, recently, through providing research support to multiple publications, including WSJ, BBC News, Time, the Guardian and more. Zabrisky analyzed the Russian propaganda attack on the West for two years prior to the US Presidential elections and is the author of over twenty articles on the subject of propaganda and political technology, published in Indivisible Movement, Digital Left, Crossing Genres, Anthropology Now, and other publications. She was featured as a top writer in the Psychology and History genres in 2017 and a suggested writer in Politics on Medium. You can find more at
    Olga Tomchin is a human rights lawyer with a focus on fighting deportations, prisons, and transphobia. In addition to being the Senior Strategy Consultant at Services, Immigrant Rights, and Education Network (SIREN), Tomchin, a Soviet Jewish refugee, is a major community organizer of progressive Soviet immigrants. Previously, Tomchin worked as the Deportation Defense Coordinator & Staff Attorney at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON). She was also a 2013 Soros Justice Fellow at Transgender Law Center where she founded the Immigration Detention project. Tomchin serves on the board of the Pride Law Fund and spent three years on the board of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California before resigning publicly due to ACLU representation of the Charlottesville Nazis. Tomchin completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California and her law degree at Berkeley. Her legal scholarship has been published in the California Law Review and cited by federal courts. 


    Putin’s first move as the President in 2000 was establishing the government control over the TV. He arrested and exiled the oligarchs, shareholders of the main Russian TV channel. By January 2001 all eleven directors of the TV channel were appointed by Kremlin. In 2010, Putin’s government spent $1.4 billion for international propaganda only. RT (formerly Russia Today) is a 24/7 news channel broadcasting in English, Arabic and Spanish worldwide was setup by presidential decree with an annual budget over $300 million (as of 2016) and is a major cyberwar weapon. RT employs mass media, Internet, PR, marketing and advertising techniques, Western mass media experts and channels, religious institutions, oppositional political parties and modern art. It combines modern technology with the Nazi, Communist and Cold War brainwashing methods.
    RT alters minds and emotional patterns using the brainwashing techniques based on physiological factors. It covers mainly natural catastrophes, disasters, crime, and conspiracy theories and creates the atmosphere of danger and crisis. The continual flow of fabrications instills fear, paranoia and confusion and causes stress. Then it offers solutions in the form of ultra-nationalistic ideas, militarism and the cult of personality. Trump's campaign used these principles and succeeded.
    Most Americans do not realize that RT stands for the Russian government-sponsored agency. When articles and videos pop up in Google engine an average Internet user pays attention to the content and not to the source. Skillfully engineered information is then shared and gets quoted by other news sources and social media. 
    The Russian government will not stop at installing Trump as Putin's puppet. Its short-term goal is to stop economic sanctions and have the US leave NATO but the ultimate goal is to weaken the US through the internal conflicts, schisms and, ultimately, dissolution Brexit-style. By inspiring separatist moods, the difference of opinions and supporting the conflict between the left and the right, it will promote chaos and break the opposition just as it did so in Russia. If not stopped, RT will continue its cyber war against unprepared American population. Acting now might still prevent the anti-utopian scenario. 
    A pilot webinar taught for 4,500 members of Anti-Trump Soviet Immigrants FB group (the advanced audience familiar with the Russian propaganda) got 1,200 views in a week and glowing reviews with requests for series:
    "...I had tears in my eyes watching your live video because I felt the passion for our common cause of counter-balancing Kremlin's propaganda. And I salute you for bravery! The things you mentioned in the webinar HAVE TO be shared with our American neighbors - the good spirited people, the keepers of our democracy. Some of the things you revealed in the presentation were surprising to me, too. Especially HOW any information sifted through propaganda manipulation settled down in our unconsciousness to become powerful stereotypes that would drive people to do what they do. It is the power over human minds that the Soviets perfected over a long time. CIA knows it but the majority of Americans don't as that "intelligence" of the intelligence agency is simply not shared with them. At one point in time during your presentation, I felt privileged to be following/watching it. It's as if I was watching secret agents (true patriots of democracy who happened to come from a different country!) divulging in an ever-so-needed disclosure of some very clandestine information. This information must become mainstream common-knowledge for everyone to realize the dangers that come from Russia. Thank you a million times!"
    "This needs to be on Fox, MSNBC, Wall Street Journal, CNN... We are all being played one against the other. Resistance should be reaching out across the chasm of our beliefs and principles to the other side, trying to find common ground, using our human good side that is in everyone. And we need to find the way to do it outside of Facebook. Otherwise, we are just the other useful idiots for Putin."
    "We need to start sharing it as soon as possible!"
    "I would love for my husband to watch it. It is a great illustration of Russian propaganda that I am able to spot and understand but not explain to him. He still thinks reason will prevail."
    "Great information necessary to be heard by NON-Soviet immigrants."
Saturday, December 16, 2017 - 7:00pm