June 25, 2022

УСІМ | UWIN

Українська світова інформаційна мережа | Ukrainian Worldwide Information Network

UNDERSTANDING RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA

8 min read

1.

Russia is the biggest exporter of war and terrorism worldwide.

All the last wars of the 20th and 21st centuries, from the Second World War to the war in Ukraine, are the result of russia’s imperial ambitions. Almost all the recent wars that reject humanity in the development of civilization have been provoked or directly waged by russia. We are talking about the wars in Syria, Georgia, Transdniestria, Chechnya, Bosnia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine. Just think about it.

Is it true that Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine began even earlier than 2022? Was the war in Donbas an internal conflict within Ukraine?

Russia started the war in peaceful Ukraine in 2014, simultaneously with the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. As of 2016, the Info Napalm initiative has identified service members from 75 military units who fought against the legitimate government and the people of Ukraine in the Donbas. According to a Bellingcat investigation, thousands of Russian military personnel were involved in hostilities.

Russia used tactics to shell Ukrainian positions and unoccupied territories from residential areas of Donetsk, Luhansk, and nearby cities, making it impossible for them to be liberated. However, in its propaganda materials, Russia turned out to be the fact that Ukraine was shelling the cities of Donbas and “destroying the Russian-speaking population” this thesis was used as an argument for the need for a “special operation” (that how russians call “the war” in their propaganda materials). Bellingcat found that in the summer of 2014 alone, Russia fired heavily at Donbas 149 times.
Quantitatively, it amounted to thousands of shells.

For these 8 years, Ukrainians have been trying to convey to the world community that Russia has started a war in our country, civilians are dying, patriots and supporters of Ukraine are suffering in prisons and disappearing in the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions.

Can’t Ukrainians just give their lands to the Russians to stop the war? Due to the stubbornness of Ukrainians, our checks have skyrocketed. Why do we have to pay for this war?

The Russians do not stop there. It confirms the history of the occupation of Ukrainian lands in 2014. Russia has used the indulgence of world democracies to aggression as an opportunity to gather strength and attack in 2022. It will be repeated if the aggressor is not stopped.

It is also crucial not to confuse the victim and the aggressor. It is worth remembering that the economic and food crises are not due to the stubbornness of Ukrainians but due to Russian aggression. Only Russia can stop the increase in utilities and food prices by ending the war. The very formulation of the question leads us to mention another weapon of Russia that the world must overcome. It is propaganda in which the aggressor blames the victim.

And, of course, we need to remember that Russia’s leaders openly express their intention to occupy not only Ukraine but also other European countries, so stopping Russia in Ukraine means protecting them from war.

It is Putin’s war. Russians are also victims.

Putin did not arrange the massacre in Bucha. It was not Putin who destroyed Mariupol; it was not Putin who fired on residential neighborhoods in Ukrainian cities every day. Putin did not rape women and children. It is not Putin who destroys schools, hospitals, and kindergartens with ballistic and cruise missiles. If you were given a criminal order, would you execute this order?

74% of Russians support the Russian war in Ukraine. Calls to kill Ukrainian children are regularly spread over social networks. The justification for killing Ukrainian children is that they will grow up to be “Banderist” (a fake term invented by russian propaganda). Does it sound familiar?

Russia and the russians are the aggressors, so its isolation should be a natural consequence. No one cared about Germany’s losses during World War II – the world united because it had to stop the evil, the scale of which was hellish. And after the change in the social order of Germany, the whole world helped restore it. Russia expects the same path. But not before her remorse and reparations.

It is inappropriate to equate Russians with Ukrainians as victims because Ukrainians are suffering as victims of an attack by Russians in the most significant war on the European continent since World War II. Instead, the Russians have spawned, supported, and continue to support the political regime of tyranny that now prevails in Russia.

In the photo, you can see the intensity of the fire… Ukrainian field, russian missiles.

2.

You are fraternal nations, so why do you fight?

Manipulation starts with this question because our nations are not fraternal; we only have a common border. For the last 400 years, Ukraine has been fighting for independence from Russia’s aggressive neighboring with its various imperial reincarnations.

The Ukrainian language is phonetically much closer to Belarus and Polish than to Russian. The Ukrainian mentality is the desire for self-government, self-determination, and understanding that the value of every person’s life, rights, and freedoms prevail over the state’s interests as an organizational form of society.

The myth of the “three fraternal nations” (Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians) originating from the common cradle of Kyivan Rus spread during the totalitarian communist regime to “legalize” Russian activities as a “titular nation” in the occupied territories.

Slavs in Eastern Europe originally inhabited only the territory within the modern Ukrainian Polissya and Forest-Steppe natural areas. Rus (historical name of the state, do not confuse with Russia) as a state was formed based on modern Ukrainian lands. Rus conducted trade and diplomatic affairs with Europe even when Moscow was not even founded (in the IX-XI centuries, when the other European states were formed. Moscow appeared in the middle XII).

Obviously, the Empire could not recognize its “secondary” nature and began to claim the ethnic heritage of the Rus. Even the state’s name, “Russia” was taken from the historical “Rus,” which confuses many people today.

Historians note the cultural, linguistic, and architectural continuity from Rus to modern Ukraine. Thus, and taking into account many more historical and genetic and linguistic evidence, Ukraine is the successor of Rus.

The treatment of Ukrainians as “younger brothers” is an imperial manipulation.

We need to listen to both sides. Not everything is clear in this situation.

That is why Ukraine is suing Russia at the Hague tribunal. The independent party must find out the degree of guilt and the degree of punishment of Russia as an aggressor and the extent of its reparations to Ukraine as a victim.

It is difficult to determine how many decades it will take people within the borders of present-day Russia to plead guilty and change their political and public cultures, admit cultural theft, renounce nuclear weapons, and find their place in the world.

The recovery of German, Italian, and Japanese societies from fascism lasted for decades and required the change of several political generations. As for Russia, we don’t even know when it will start.

This war benefits the United States; it finances it. Both Ukrainians and Russians are victims of American political games.

The economic problems caused by this war affected Americans no less than Europe and the rest of the world. America is suffering the most incredible damage from famine prevention and epidemics in the world due to the food crisis. Russia has provoked this crisis by blocking food exports from Ukraine.

It is the war of the totalitarian empire against the foundations of a democratic world. The world defends itself and its values in unity and shares the burdens of war between the countries that belong to it.

Why do we talk so much about Ukraine but not about Syria?

Because Ukraine is in Europe, Russian shells explode 20 kilometers from the EU borders. Clearly, the conflict’s neighborhood worries Europeans more than war, which is not a direct threat to its inhabitants. It does not diminish the tragedies in Syria, Georgia, Transnistria, Chechnya, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Afghanistan, and other places where Russia is waging or provoking war.

We must not forget these wars and the fact that Russia must return the occupied territories not only to Ukraine but also to all other countries, including Japan.

3.

Is it true that there are Nazis in Ukraine who seized power? It is precisely the accusation that is often heard from Russia.

This question can be divided into two parts. On the one hand, there are radical right-wing movements in Ukraine. They could be found in any country of the world, and Ukraine is not an exception. As in any country in the world, it is one of the poles of the political spectrum. BUT in the current parliament of Ukraine, no (!) the radical right-wing party received the electors’ support. As in other democracies, right-wing radicals are considered more like marginal movements’ representatives. Experts from Bellingcat investigators say that according to the latest opinion polls in Ukraine, a small number of citizens support parties with a solid far-right ideology. That is why the Nazis not only did not seize power in Ukraine, but they are even not presented in any power structure.

Are there Nazis in the Azov Regiment, which is officially part of the Armed Forces?

The Azov Regiment was founded in 2014 as a special police patrol service battalion. At its foundation, it was based on members of the radical organization “Patriot of Ukraine,” led by Andriy Biletsky, and the public initiative “Avtomaidan.” However, the ranks of the Azov Battalion were open to everybody. Starting in November 2014, when the regiment had become part of the National Guard of Ukraine, it was wholly depoliticized. In the National Guard, as well as in the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, there are no units created on ideological grounds. In 2017, Denis Prokopenko became the regiment commander. Azov is still part of the National Guard. Ukrainians of different ethnic backgrounds (including Russians, Jews, Crimean Tatars, etc.) and religious and political views have served and continue to serve in Azov. There are no restrictions or preferences in this regard.

Why should we cancel russian culture? Aren’t we following the path of those regimes that burned books in the squares?

Culture shapes the way of life and understanding of what is acceptable and unacceptable in society. It is the culture that motivates modern European states to resolve disputes through agreements, not armed conflicts. Russian culture has formed a paradoxical worldview of its citizens: they do not even try to realize that they have become a Nazi, chauvinistic society in its worst manifestations. We see that Russia’s culture has made it possible for 74% of the country’s population to support the war (according to the Levada Center).

Today, Russian culture is a tool of achieving Russia’s imperial ambitions.

A culture that supports fascism, Nazism, and chauvinism threatens all humankind, so its publicity and spread are harmful to the civilized world.

Canceling Russian culture is not a sufficient step. Support and restoration of Russia’s oppressed postcolonial cultures are also needed.

Photo by Kostiantyn Sova

Nastya Melnychenko

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