IT was once the mouthpiece of the Soviet Union during the Cold War – now news organisation Pravda is due to open an office in Scotland.
The Russian media giant is due to come to Edinburgh next January. Bosses at the online news site insist that they have no “Cold War propaganda campaign” planned and are no longer connected to the Communist Party.
UK editor Oliver Haste said that the publication is coming to Scotland to give Russia’s foreign strategy “more influence” among the UK’s media.
Mr Haste also said that Pravda will “counterbalance” the mainstream media in Scotland.
He said: “I would ask people to look at the facts on the ground in the Middle East and ask if western policy has made the world a safer place.
“I think it is fair to say that Russia does wish to have more influence in the media environment in the UK, but I don’t think this should be seen in the context of a Cold War propaganda campaign.
“It is important to have a counterbalance to the US administration-led consensus regarding the Middle East.
“We broadly believe that Russian foreign policy in the Middle East has been correct and therefore support the current government strategy. Our support of the Russian government is not due to blind nationalism but because their policy in the Middle East has been proven to be wiser.”
Recent articles run by Pravda include: “Why East Europe will be the future of Europe” and “Russian Army General: Americans have good reason to be afraid of S-300 in Syria”.
Despite wishing to provide an alternative to western media, the new source’s website features several western celebrities holding the Pravda print publication.
Celebrities pictured on the home page include Harrison Ford, Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio.
Pravda – “Truth” in Russian – was first published in 1912, when it was used by Lenin to promote Bolshevism.
After the 1917 revolution it became the mouthpiece for the Communist Party, using the phrase “Iron Lady” to mock Margaret Thatcher. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the paper was sold off to a Greek business, and is now privately funded.
Pravda is the second Russian news agency to set up in the Scottish capital this year, following the state-run organisation Sputnik.
Several experts claimed Sputnik’s arrival in Edinburgh was part of a Russian campaign to promote Scottish independence and split up the UK.
Speaking at the time, security analysis expert Bruce Jones said: “It is part of Russian doctrine to go in as deep as possible into an enemy society and strike there.
“Part of that strategy in Britain is to encourage a schism between Westminster and Holyrood.”
The Pravda name is also used by a separate publication, which is still run by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation.