Dmitry Medvedev and the aliens

johne1618

Member
Paging @Trailspotter - can you confirm the translation is accurate and provide any context?
There are Russian speakers in the YouTube comments who confirm that the subtitles are correct. The only subject of debate is his recommendation at the end of the clip to see a documentary called “Men in Black” available in several versions. Did he mean a YouTube doc of that name or one of the Hollywood movies?

I believe the interview was given off-air in 2012 at the beginning of his tenure as prime minister.

I don’t know if his voice is faked by someone else and the subtitles follow the faked voice. There might be some lip sync issues with the video that show the voice was added later.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Since the Youtube documentary doesn't actually have any information on a government agency controlling aliens (and doesnt have sequels, unlike the movie), it looks like Medvedev gave a silly answer to a silly question (with perfect deadpan delivery).
 

DavidB66

Active Member
People in the background seem to be laughing when he mentions the 'documentary' 'Men in Black'. I think he is just making a joke. I presume that the Hollywood film with that title would be familiar in Russia.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I presume that the Hollywood film with that title would be familiar in Russia.
The Youtube clip dates from December 2012. MiB 3 was released that year.
Article:
The film was released on Russian screens on May 24, 2012. The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on September 18, 2012.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I don’t know if his voice is faked by someone else and the subtitles follow the faked voice. There might be some lip sync issues with the video that show the voice was added later.
The footage is real, it happened Dec 7th 2012.

Article:
Dmitry Medvedev let his guard down after an interview with five Russian television stations when he failed to realize the cameras were still rolling.

“I believe in Father Frost. But not too deeply. But anyway, you know, I’m not one of those people who are able to tell the kids that Father Frost does not exist,” he said in a jovial reply to a question about Russia’s equivalent of Santa Claus.
[..]

Another of the journalists asked whether the president is handed secret files on aliens when receiving the briefcase needed to activate Russia’s nuclear arsenal.

“Along with the briefcase with nuclear codes, the president of the country is given a special ‘top secret’ folder. This folder in its entirety contains information about aliens who visited our planet,” Medvedev answered playfully.
“Along with this, you are given a report of the absolutely secret special service that exercises control over aliens on the territory of our country ... More detailed information on this topic you can get from a well-known movie called ‘Men In Black’ ... I will not tell you how many of them are among us because it may cause panic,” he says.

None of the television stations that interviewed Medvedev broadcast the off-air comments, but they were delivered to Reuters as a pool signal and some were shown on YouTube.

Obviously none of the journalists present understood the reply to be serious (else it would have made the news), and the laughter on the soundtrack of the video underscores that.
 

Trailspotter

Senior Member.
Paging @Trailspotter - can you confirm the translation is accurate and provide any context?
I am not sure about this person being Dmitriy Medvedev or his lookalike, but the clip is branded РЕН (REN TV), a TV network known to promote conspiracies. Even if the speaker was clearly joking (e.g, referring to MiB movies) they probably would have edited the interview to sound serious.

 

johne1618

Member
Medvedev answered playfully.
His manner wasn’t obviously “playful” to me. It was everyone else who chose to take his words as a joke. Maybe he was calling their bluff and actually giving them the truth about aliens once and for all?
 
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JMartJr

Senior Member
His manner wasn’t obviously “playful” to me. It was everyone else who chose to take his words as a joke. Maybe he was calling their bluff and actually giving them the truth about aliens once and for all?
He told them to watch MiB movies. I am comfortable in asserting those are fiction.
 

Woolery

Member
I watched this with no context, was expecting Medvedev to just be another UFO believer who happened to also be a politician, and when he delivered the MIB punchline he had me laughing out loud. What a delivery. Like a Russian Bob Newhart. Funny guy.
 

gargamel

New Member
Medvedev is, in spite of his dull appearance and the dull political environment he works in, rather savvy of Western culture. When he was a youngster in the waning days of the USSR, he was enjoying and distributing bootleg hard rock records, evading the watchful eyes of Soviet censorship, and so on.

He refers to MiB by the Russian translation of the movie title. The term in this context, with its insinuations didn't exist in the Russian language before those films. So, yeah, a deadpan joke.
 

WhistlingWinds

New Member
Even if it is Medvedev and not a joke, which it seems to be, I wouldn't put very much stock into him talking about that specifically, especially the frame it seems to be spoken in. His career and the context of what it specifically entails add into that heavily.
 

WhistlingWinds

New Member
I don't understand this remark; could you please explain it a little?
Digging into the hosting source (the channel, REN TV), plays into it a bit. REN TV ranks upon some of the CIS networks that disseminates disinformation, misinformation, and mal information while trying to retain a semblance of legitimacy as a broadcasting network for the region.

Here is a nice and tidy list of just one of the people affiliated with REN; https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=pervy&disinfo_issue=&date=

And some from REN TV in general; https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=REN TV&date=&per_page= ("REN TV")
https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=REN&date=&per_page= ("REN")

Also, just for reference, I don't think he's talking about the Men in Black movies from the US, pretty sure he's referencing a documentary called "Men in Black" that was made by REN TV (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sIXp2sT5yU
)

Russian politicians and affiliated (and/or controlled) media have a very long history of being integrated into certain forms of influence in relation to their position. It's not uncommon for Russian politicians to project conspiratorial narratives on media outlets. Doesn't help he's projecting a western narrative, talking about western stories using western terminology talking about a subject he'd know about within his own country anyways. I'd probably articulate it horribly and it'd end up being a very very long post, so I'll leave other references instead;

Dezinformatsia by Richard Shultz and Roy Godson
Active Measures by Thomas Ridd

The old Active Measures Working Group has a lot of its contents released;
https://jmw.typepad.com/files/state-department---a-report-on-active-measures-and-propaganda.pdf

http://insidethecoldwar.org/sites/default/files/documents/Soviet Active Measures Substance and Process of Anti-US Disinformation August 1986.pdf
 

Agent K

Senior Member
Also, just for reference, I don't think he's talking about the Men in Black movies from the US, pretty sure he's referencing a documentary called "Men in Black" that was made by REN TV
No, that series is called "Secret Territories." I'm pretty sure Medvedev was referencing the movie about me, which he called the "famous newsreel documentary film Men in Black. Several versions came out."
 
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gargamel

New Member
No, that series is called "Secret Territories." I'm pretty sure Medvedev was referencing the movie about me, which he called the "famous newsreel documentary film Men in Black. Several versions came out."

Indeed, he is clearly referring to the Smith/Jones movies, and it's such an inconsequential, obvious little joke that it baffles me that it's still making the rounds after all these years. President Obama quipped "regarding aliens, there are things I can't tell you on-air" when being a guest on one of those late night talk shows years ago, did people go wild over that too?

Anyway, the particular 2011 episode of "Secret Territories" mentioned above is indeed called "UFOs: The truth about the 'Men in Black'", so I can understand some of the confusion, but the YouTube uploader up there is blatantly lying for clickbait. It's not been "endorsed" by anybody.

It's just one episode of a very long-running series that disseminates all the usual stuff about pyramids, UFOs, crystal skulls, crop circles, psychics, astrology and yadda yadda. Ren TV has been doing this ever since they first went on air all the way back in 1991, like an unholy combination of the Weekly World News and post-2000s History Channel.

Had a cursory look at their broadcasting schedule today (October 4th, 2021)...
Series "The most shocking hypotheses", today's topic being mermaids and "the fourth state of water".
Series "Land of misconceptions", did humans really evolve from apes, is the "Big Bang" theory scientifically sound, blah blah blah...
Series "How the world works"...
Series "Mysteries of humanity"...

The Russian Ministry of Science and Education which gives out annual awards to people and publications, projects etc for deeds in science communication and -popularization "awarded" Ren TV with their "Razzie" so to speak, back in 2016 for qualifying as being, I quote: "the most harmful pseudoscientific project"... "The channel actively promotes conspiracy theories and distrust in science. Baseless and fictional stories are being presented under the guise of being documentary and scientific, misleading the audience".
 
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FatPhil

Active Member

That site looks to be as biased as the sources it's criticising. The first debunk it claimed to have where I could have any relevant knowledge (about Estonia https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/russian-speakers-are-barred-from-running-in-estonian-elections ) was so sloppy with its terminology and logic - hasty generalisation and/or equivocation on "Russian" - that it couldn't be considered reliable at all. Even its attempt to support its argument by citing Estonian laws completely failed to recognize that there are Estonian-born default non-citizens here - which is what the original complaint not being debunked is actually about (this being the hasty generalisations, from this group to "Russian speakers", implying all Russian speakers) - any law that says "citizens may..." is utterly irrelevant. (And as an aside, some of these nonpersons are born to Ukrainian parents, not Russians, just to mess up their narrative.)

That doesn't mean that all of the site's points are invalid, it's just that I wouldn't use it as a reference to support an argument from what I've seen so far.
 

gargamel

New Member
That doesn't mean that all of the site's points are invalid, it's just that I wouldn't use it as a reference to support an argument from what I've seen so far.

The phenomenon of fighting disinfo with more disinfo is unfortunately way too common here in Europe.

This junk goes way beyond the scope of this forum though, so...
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
This junk goes way beyond the scope of this forum though, so...
Dunno, "General Discussion" has a fairly wide scope, but it'd probably be a good idea to make a new thread and there actually quote the site to debunk it (instead of just referencing it).
 

Agent K

Senior Member
That site looks to be as biased as the sources it's criticising. The first debunk it claimed to have where I could have any relevant knowledge (about Estonia https://euvsdisinfo.eu/report/russian-speakers-are-barred-from-running-in-estonian-elections ) was so sloppy with its terminology and logic - hasty generalisation and/or equivocation on "Russian" - that it couldn't be considered reliable at all. Even its attempt to support its argument by citing Estonian laws completely failed to recognize that there are Estonian-born default non-citizens here - which is what the original complaint not being debunked is actually about (this being the hasty generalisations, from this group to "Russian speakers", implying all Russian speakers) - any law that says "citizens may..." is utterly irrelevant. (And as an aside, some of these nonpersons are born to Ukrainian parents, not Russians, just to mess up their narrative.)

That doesn't mean that all of the site's points are invalid, it's just that I wouldn't use it as a reference to support an argument from what I've seen so far.
The site cited the source of the quote: "In Estonia, most of Russian-speaking inhabitants may vote according to the laws, however they cannot run in the elections and occupy state-positions."
НТВ [from 00:39:30 to 00:40:08]

The timestamp appears to be wrong. The quote is at 34:45.
 
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FatPhil

Active Member
The site cited the source of the quote: "In Estonia, most of Russian-speaking inhabitants may vote according to the laws, however they cannot run in the elections and occupy state-positions."
НТВ [from 00:39:30 to 00:40:08]

The timestamp appears to be wrong. The quote is at 34:45.

Disclaimer: The whole thing looks like two highly-biased parties flinging poop around. I really don't want to participate in their squabbles. Neither party has demonstrated that they're interested in presenting the relevant facts, so I would default to them both being bad actors. Which is where I came in.

Your timestamp seems to align with the youngish presenter in the library reading out something from a Latvian book. I don't speak Russian, but did detect a reference to Estonia in that segment. However, I have no idea what she's actually saying.

If the above quote is a reliable translation - which is not something I would assume up front - then that's just some talking head in front of a camera - no actual evidence was presented to support such a claim, and therefore it can be dismissed as swiftly as it's presented. Mostly because as it's worded it's a misleading claim - for example it says that Russian citizens (which is probably over a third of the Russians here) can't stand for office in Estonia, no-one would expect otherwise. Making a fuss about that is making a fuss about nothing. Less than a third are non-citizens, the stateless ones who are not being availed their generally-agreed-upon rights. But you add those two proportions together, and, oops, you do get "most" as claimed.

So is it true? As worded, kinda sorta. Russia 1, Anti-Russia debunkers 0! (Given the above caveats) But it's not a useful claim, except to stir up dissent.

And the important proportion, the stateless, is an ever shrinking proportion as the young replace the old, and they're keener to, and more capable of, pass the naturalisation test. (It seems 41500 under-18s were already naturalised, and only 88618 residents remained stateless, in 2014 according to a very untrustworthy translation (google's) and interpretation (mine) of https://www.err.ee/524236/riigikogu-asub-arutama-kodakondsuse-andmise-lihtsustamist 's "Eestis elab umbes 41 500 alla 18-aastast isikut, kes on naturalisatsiooni korras saanud Eesti kodakondsuse." and "Eesti elab praegu 88 618 kehtiva elamisloa või elamisõigusega määratlemata kodakondsusega isikut.")

And yes, this subthread has now deviated far from the origin. I'll be happy to see it wither on its own.
 

Agent K

Senior Member
Your timestamp seems to align with the youngish presenter in the library reading out something from a Latvian book. I don't speak Russian, but did detect a reference to Estonia in that segment. However, I have no idea what she's actually saying.
Were you looking at 33:45? My timestamp was at 34:45. She was saying what she was quoted as saying.
 

FatPhil

Active Member
Were you looking at 33:45? My timestamp was at 34:45. She was saying what she was quoted as saying.

I watched several minutes around that, listening out for keywords.

If it's an accurate quote, then it's technically true, but misleading, and the debunking site does not show what's wrong about it, and therefore has failed in its purpose.
 

gargamel

New Member
Dunno, "General Discussion" has a fairly wide scope, but it'd probably be a good idea to make a new thread and there actually quote the site to debunk it (instead of just referencing it).

Politics just give me a bad taste, and that "project" is a political tool, not an honest attempt at enlightenment.

The MO is this, after having looked through loads of their material:
  • Western media writes something bonkers or something that is otherwise disagreeable for whatever reason, and that is later picked up by some Russian equivalent = it suddenly becomes "Russian disinformation", evil Russian state policy and an attack on the West.
  • Random Russian person says something bonkers or otherwise disagreeable for whatever reason on Russian TV or in some other Russian media outlet, state-affiliated or not = it's "Russian disinformation", evil Russian state policy and an attack on the West, regardless of how who this person is.
  • Russian media outlet says something that broadly seems to be legit and true but where there is some possibly erroneous little detail to be found = it's "Russian disinformation", evil Russian state policy and an attack on the West.
  • Russian tabloids, television channels and other outlets that publish a lot of pseudoscientific and "mysterious" junk as part of their "style", such as the aforementioned Ren TV and heaps of print media, are somehow worse than the multitude of similar things elsewhere in other countries, just because they're Russian and it's all evil state policy and an attack on the West (even though the consumers are 99% Russian)

And so on. They aren't keen on issuing any corrections either, eg when things they've labelled disinformation later were confirmed by sources more reputable in their eyes.

That's not to say that there isn't an awful amount of junk being disseminated in Russian media, because there is. But projects like these aren't being particularly level-headed about it, to them it's black and white, and everything is hatched by Kremlin spin doctors or the like. I'd argue that the most competent tackling of bad information coming out of Russia is done by Russian media themselves, such as the recent Nobel prize winner Novaya Gazeta et al.

But yeah, this all is for another topic at another time.
 
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