Butcher from Bucha: How Russian propaganda works during the war. Fakes of April 3

The Kremlin and its “fake busters” have already claimed that all the atrocities in Bucha are staged. But after “they are not there,” “M17 was shot down by a fighter jet” and “Navalny poisoned himself with moonshine,” nobody expected any better.

In fact, “objective control data” (in the official terminology of the Russian Defense Ministry) has already proved that what happened in Bucha can only be called a genocide. Murder of civilian population. But we will come back to this.  

We’ll start with another episode of Russia’s propaganda show about the influx of refugees in Europe, dedicated to “Ukrainian barbarians breaking shelves with food in a store of the German Regensburg.” At first glance, the video seems legit. But the metadata of the video show that it was actually filmed not in Bavaria these days, but in the Magnit store in the Russian Ulyanovsk three years ago. And the “Ukrainian barbarian” was actually some local drunk.

Ambitious director

Russian fakemakers have not been great at producing video content. The main TikTok warrior of this war, Ramzan Kadyrov, barely had the time to put together another video with distribution of humanitarian aid to “Ukrainians liberated from the Nazi” when it had to be removed immediately. In the footage, you could clearly see that the packaging of goods had Ukrainian inscriptions on it, not Russian.

By the way, Kadyrov was really mad that his TikTok art was not met with due excitement even in the Kremlin and wrote an angry post about Putin’s press-secretary himself, Dmitri Peskov. There are many things in that post: Ivan Urgant, failure to congratulate him on receiving the rank of “Lieutenant Genera,” musings about patriotism like “It’s easy to be a patriot like that, right? It’s not like you are running among heaps of bricks and concrete walls with your uniform.”

By the way, when did you last see a Russian lieutenant general who is running somewhere “with his uniform”? In movies, that’s usually how they run from a sauna during a shelling. But as we can already tell, Kadyrov is hardly a movie expert.

Putin follows Milosevic

“We have broken the backbone of fascism, and God will help us today,” said ROC Patriarch Kirill at a liturgy at the Main Church of the Russian Armed Forces on the morning of April 3 — and the entire world was soon shaken by the horrible videos and photos from Bucha.

Of course, Russian propaganda immediately started screaming that it was “staged” and a provocation. They conducted some “investigations” saying that the bodies were looking wrong or smelling wrong, about some white rags that people were wearing when “Nazis” entered the city.

The Russian Defense Ministry said, as usual, that “while Bucha was under the control of the Russian Armed Forces, no local resident suffered from any violence, which means that pictures and footage from Bucha are just a staging of the Kyiv regime for Western media.”

One part of the Russian propaganda was writing something hysterical, like “Once, we will see and hear the testimonies of these people who, probably held at a gunpoint by Volkssturm, were made to lie down on the cold ground and play dead.”

Another one engaged “memorial analytics,” like “I will explain why Srebrenica in Bucha is a lie. The tactics of video staging ceased to amaze me back in Syria, where the decision to launch massive missile strikes was made based on “White Helmets” stagings. And here we have the same instructors of information and psychological operations, with a clear British origin.”

In fact, a year ago the Russian media wrote that “Ukrainians want to organize ‘Srebrenica’ in Donetsk region.” Now, they did it in Bucha. And they didn’t even hide it much. On March 30, they officially reported they had left Bucha. On April 1, they happily informed that it had been “cleared.” On April 2, they joyously spoke about awarding members of air troops near Kyiv. Probably the ones from the 217th Guard Airborne Regiment from Ivanovo. And the story about “provocations prepared in Kyiv to imitate civilian victims” was actually prepared back on February 24.

However, the statement that “the use of the staged video from Bucha by the West makes it an accomplice to crime” was improvised later.

The most original version for why Bucha was chosen was this: Bucha sounds like the English word butcher — so Western media will now start using this play on words.

But the West is really shaken. That is why the trial against Putin in the ICC, which seems impossible to many, is becoming clearer. Personal sanctions against him used to seem incredible, too.

And for those who think it will never happen, former UN chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte suggests remembering Slobodan Milosevic.  The case against him was started when he was still the incumbent president of Serbia.

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