All Putinists and anti-Putinists come from the same Stalin’s tunic
I promised to analyze the new narratives of sophisticated Russian propaganda. This is important because many Ukrainians have fallen into the net of new narratives
I will not discuss here the techniques and formats of presentation that are traditional for high-quality Russian propaganda (a lot of truth + some lies and reframing, harsh criticism of Putin, praise of the Armed Forces, etc.) I will not quote the traditional statements ("modern Ukraine would not exist without Russia", etc.). Let's focus exclusively on what is new and see that it is a response to Ukrainian attempts (rather weak so far, unfortunately, but already having frightened the Russians) to find a strategy for victory.
So, the new narratives of Russian propaganda are as follows:
- Ukrainians did not accept Russians who opposed Putin, such as Navalny and the Rain TV channel.
- Ukrainians demanded sanctions against all Russians, including anti-Putinists.
As a result, according to the new Russian narrative, Ukraine suffered four defeats.
- The Russian opposition has removed the war from its agenda.
- Russian soldiers did not surrender en masse under the influence of Russian opposition media and politicians.
- Millions of Russian-speaking Ukrainians have left Ukraine under the influence of the decolonization discourse, and they will not return. Ukraine has also lost potential Russian refugees who are opposed to Putin.
- Most importantly: Ukraine has scared the US so much with talk of the collapse of the Russian Federation that the US has made a strategic decision to preserve the Putin regime.
Briefly, instead of a winning framework of "democracy versus tyranny," Ukraine offered the West a losing framework of "enslaved versus empire."
Now let's take a critical look at the above four points.
- The Russian opposition has no influence on anything in this war, so its agenda is unimportant.
- The influence of the Russian opposition media and politicians on Russian soldiers is approximately zero, especially on military personnel, Wagner's men and prisoners, Kadyrov's people, the rural poor from the national republics, alcoholics with debts from the Russian hinterland, etc. There have been and are Ukrainian programs calling for surrender, but they use better channels than the Rain TV channel.
- Millions of Ukrainians, Ukrainian-speakers and the Russian-speaking population, left because of the Russian invasion, not because of the ban on the Russian language. Whether they will return depends primarily on the security situation, i.e. the course of the war, not the Russian language. Finally, it is illogical to leave for Poland or Ireland because you want to speak Russian. And millions of Russian citizens are a doubtful acquisition for Ukraine, whose value is not obvious, to put it mildly.
- Now, the most important thing is that supposedly, because Ukraine wants the end of the empire, not the replacement of Putin with an anti-Putin at the head of the empire, Ukraine has allegedly pushed the United States away.
The truth is that from the very beginning, the United States was only focused on weakening the Putin regime, not defeating it. We have not seen any weakening of the original American position over the course of the year - only a strengthening, but not enough, in Ukraine's view. We have not yet succeeded in convincing the United States that the scenario of Russian defeat is acceptable and attractive-they have never agreed to it, but now they are closer than ever.
Finally, no one has described the mechanics of replacing Putin with Navalny or Khodorkovsky. So this scenario is entirely hypothetical, and if Ukraine suddenly lost its mind and memory and started convincing the Americans to do this, no one, neither the Ukrainians nor the Russians, would be able to answer how to do it. The only exception is that the FSB knows this method and can implement it. But do Ukrainians have to convince Americans to do what the FSB wants? Hardly.
Russian propaganda calls on us to do what it says is fatal to Putin's regime and criticizes Ukraine for choosing a path that has no prospects for Ukrainian victory.
So what does that mean?
It means it's the other way around.
"You can throw me into the water or fire," cried out Brother Rabbit, "but, for the sake of all, please don't throw me into the cabbage!
Russian propaganda urges us to rely on anti-Putin activists and not to think about de-imperialization, because Ukraine will not win that way.
Thank you, we hear you.
All Putinists and anti-Putinists came from the same Stalin’s tunic. Only the destruction of the empire will bring us sustainable peace.
About the author. Valerii Pekar, lecturer at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.