Cooks Joining the Fight: a Digest of Russian Propaganda of May 25

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“Denazification” of Ukraine has turned into forcible issuance of passports for the residents of the occupied territories, “defended” by a whole melting pot of mercenaries from Russia. The Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security has collected the main fakes and narratives of the Russian propaganda of May 25.

  1. Modern Trends of Russia’s MoD.
  2. A Melting Pot of “Liberators”
  3. Putin’s No Step Back Order
  4. Moscow is preparing “lend-lease” for the occupied territories

Modern Trends of Russia’s MoD

On May 25, the State Duma of the Russian Federation passed a law abolishing the age limit for concluding the first contract for military service. If earlier the first contract could be signed only by people under 40, there are no limits at all now.

That is, people can sign up for the Russian army since they graduate high school and up to those who personally witnessed the October Revolution.  

The “anti-ageist” army law was passed in three (!) readings at once. Russia’s Defence Ministry explained this by “modern trends.”

IN REALITY, the occupiers’ urgent shortage of “cooks, drivers and paramedics” is explained by:

First, the losses in Ukraine being about 10 thousand people a month.

Second, the continuation of the covert mobilization that began in Russia in March, when it became clear that there would not be enough forces to “quickly take care of the Ukraine problem.”

Third, reluctance to declare a general mobilization, because in this case they will have to call the “special operation” a war officially, and to admit it was started by Russia. After all, Putin himself in a televised address on February 24 at 5.30 am literally stated: “I have decided to conduct a special military operation.” That is, he will have to be the one to decide to start a war, which does not fit into the official ideology of “Russia has never attacked anyone.”

Fourth, there is a real surplus of “cooks, drivers and paramedics” in depressed Russia, who have not found a normal life after the two Chechen wars. Maybe someone wants to find death in the abnormal life.

Fifth, the reluctance of Russian youth to join the army, as military enlistment offices are more likely to get “Molotov cocktails” than young men ready to die on Ukrainian soil.

Sixth, Putin does not really have enough troops to attack while also (which is more important to him now) maintaining control over already occupied territories. By the latter, we mean primarily “L/DPR”.

A Melting Pot of “Liberators”

The lack of manpower is already affecting the occupiers’ ability to advance in the only feasible direction, in the Donbas. Due to the lack of people, units that have not managed to restore either forces or ammunition are being transferred from one area to another.

These facts are confirmed in the broadly disseminated video address of the forcibly mobilized residents (who can hardly be referred to as “fighters”) to “DPR” head Pushylin.

IN REALITY, the Russian army in Ukraine is now holding its last breath. Thousands of losses in manpower force the command to change tactics for not only actions, but also replenishment of fighting ranks. 

Some of the losses are currently being offset by the reassignment to Donbas of units involved in unsuccessful Moscow operations near Kyiv, Sumy and Kharkiv. Russian “peacekeepers” from South Ossetia and Syria have also been sent to fight in Ukraine. Forced conscription into the “L/DPR” “armies” and “Kadyrov’s voluntary detachments” is another way.

They also made sure to give due consideration to the “cooks,” or, to be more specific, mercenaries from the private military company of Yevgenii Prigozhyn, who is also called “Putin’s personal chef.” However, nobody can really save the situation any longer. The losses are too high.

That is why Russia seeks to get the “old guard” involved.

Putin’s No Step Back Order

To prevent the melting pot of Russia’s team from deserting from the battlefield, special draft laws have been registered in the State Duma on May 25.

An attempt to surrender may be considered “siding with the enemy during warfare,” which entails 20 years in prison.

And something like “screw Putin and his war,” which can absolutely be a desperate scream of a commander in a burning tank somewhere near Avdiivka, can now be equated to “public call to action against Russia’s security.”

IN REALITY, all this is very reminiscent of the legendary Stalinist order 227 of 1942, known as “No step back.” It aimed to eliminate defeatist sentiments in the Soviet army, as well as to increase the level of discipline and responsibility of the commanding staff.

Those who got scared or panicked were supposed to be destroyed on the spot, and penal battalions were envisaged. Subsequent events showed that all these measures could not stop the retreat of Soviet troops, which took place throughout 1942.

80 years later, it seems, Putin decided to revive these “traditions” in the hope of his own 1945. But there are no more allies, no more lend-lease, and no more quality cannon fodder fighting for the fatherland and for Putin himself. As much as he’d hope it’s all still there.

Moscow is preparing “lend-lease” for the occupied territories

Therefore, Moscow decided to invent its own version of the “lend-lease”, calling it “the patronage of the Russian regions over the liberated territories.” It is, of course, also forced.

The same Kursk region, which itself receives more than 3.6 billion roubles in annual subsidies from the federal budget, does not need “patronage” over the occupied Pervomaiskyi rayon of sovereign Ukraine, to put it mildly. But there is an order, and it must be obeyed.

At the same time, on May 25, Russia suddenly decided to issue passports to the inhabitants of the occupied territories. Putin had barely signed the order, and someone named Selivanov, a man calling himself deputy head of the Chief Directorate of the MIA in Zaporizhia oblast, already claimed that over 90% of oblast residents would request Russian citizenship. He probably conducted the poll himself. During the air strikes, no doubt.

In the occupied Mariupol (“patronaged” by St. Petersburg), the authorities of the so-called “DPR” already started issuing Russian passports to local residents on May 25. Adviser to the mayor, Petro Andriushchenko, stated that the de facto annexation of Mariupol had begun.

IN REALITY, the imagined large-scale denazification operation of Ukraine turned into a “special operation on issuing passports.” 

First deputy head of Kherson oblast council Yurii Sobolevskyi said that “the oblast is on the brink of humanitarian catastrophe caused by the occupiers’ actions. These passports are going to be imposed on people as a condition to receive at least some medical services and so on. The locals do not need them; only a marginal number of people will want them. What figures the occupiers will show is another matter altogether. This always differs from reality.”

Putin has long been at odds with reality. On February 24, he lost touch completely. And if the “cooks” are now joining the fight, Ukraine is really showing Russia what “Hell’s Kitchen” looks like.

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