Fake State Secret of Moscow’s Security: A Digest of Russian Propaganda for July 13

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The success of HIMARS caused panic among Russian bloggers, and for disclosing the address of bomb shelters in the capital of the Russian Federation, you can get up to 4 years in prison. The Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security has collected the main fakes and narratives of the Russian propaganda of July 13.

  1. HIMARS wins the information war against Russia
  2. Tehran keeps drones away from Moscow
  3. Putin’s “second woman” is joining the authorities
  4. In case of a nuclear strike, Moscow residents are recommended self-defence

HIMARS wins the information war against Russia

At the beginning of June, Putin stated that the supply of American HIMARS MLRS to Ukraine would not change anything, since Ukraine “already had similar systems of Soviet and Russian production.”

After this, the Russian narrative of “the Western support does nothing but prolong the war” was supplemented with patriotic bravado: “We are not scared of HIMARS.”

After the news that HIMARS is indeed a bit scary, a fake appeared that Ukrainian mercenaries are “selling” HIMARS for USD 800,000.

IN REALITY, for Ukraine, weapons are a matter of survival. Control over weapons is a priority. Any other ‘rumours’ are trivial propaganda operations aimed at disrupting the supply,” said advisor to head of the Office of the President Mykhailo Podoliak.

Bonnie Denise Jenkins, United States Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, said the same: “the American side is confident that the Ukrainian government is committed to due security and accounting of defence equipment we provide.”

Meanwhile, the inability to stop HIMARS has caused a true internal information war in Russia.

Military experts stated that “Ukrainian propaganda is making HIMARS into a ‘miracle weapon’, provoking panic among Russian bloggers.”

Citing an “informed source,” RIA Novosti assured its readers that “HIMARS missiles are not a difficult target for Russian air defence systems and are regularly stricken down.”

When the “regular strikes” somehow failed to defend Russian munitions storages, Moscow immediately came up with a new story about “barbaric shelling of civilians with HIMARS.”

IN REALITY, eyewitness videos, as well as other data on HIMARS missile strikes, indicate that the weapon is used to destroy military targets. Even the Russian side admitted that the recent strike in Nova Kakhovka hit warehouses, but they said they were civilian instead of military. According to the occupation administration of the city, they were used for storage of saltpetre.

Satellite images also indicate that the target was a warehouse with munitions, as reported by CIT founder Ruslan Leviev, since the smoke produced by the burning of saltpetre is usually brownish red, while in Nova Kakhovka, it was grey.

In addition, the video recorded by eyewitnesses and published by RIA Novosti clearly contains the sounds of explosions, which indicates that it was indeed munitions.

The authorities of the so-called “LPR” explained that on July 13 that “the air defence forces were unable to detect the targets because there were several of them at the same time, and they were mistaken for one.”

The Russian show Evening with Solovyov went even farther, claiming that “an American satellite hovered over Nova Kakhovka and pretended that it was jammed to adjust HIMARS strikes on ammunition storages.” We are looking forward to the next story, in which an American satellite will probably not just pretend to have a broken engine, but also personally shoot Russian soldiers in the backs from an ambush.

Another thing to note is that, starting from February 24, the Russian propaganda had the same attitude — first arrogant, then tragic — to Javelin and Bayraktar.

Tehran keeps drones away from Moscow

The Russian win on the subject of their “response to Bayraktar” has flopped entirely without even starting. First, Jake Sullivan, national security advisor to the US President, said that Iran “is preparing to provide Russia with up to several hundred UAVs, including weapons-capable UAVs on an expedited timeline.”

Moscow was already celebrating. Even the federal channels were admitting that the war in Ukraine was lost on the UAV front. The so-called “military correspondents” were rejoicing most, anticipating the use of Iranian combat-ready drones.

IN REALITY, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein-Amir Abdollahian said on July 13 that his country would not help Russia despite the defence agreement. According to him, the official Tehran is avoiding any actions that can lead to further escalation in Ukraine, which also includes supplying military equipment.

Moscow was clearly irritated by Washington’s statement and Tehran’s response. Peskov said that Putin does not plan to discuss the purchase of UAVs during his visit to Iran next week.

There is another interesting aspect in this UAV story. The Russian media circles actively discuss how come Iran, which has been under severe sanctions for a long time, is able to produce UAVs, and Russia cannot.

It seems that, among other things, they were planning to create something “purely Russian” on the basis of Iranian drones (actually intercepted American ones, an old version) and happily report it to Putin.

Putin’s “second woman” is joining the authorities

The fact that “a certain” Ekaterina Tikhonova became the co-chair of the coordinating council on import substitution and technological independence at the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs proves that something must be done immediately in this regard.

The media repeatedly called her Putin’s youngest daughter, but he never officially recognized her. When he was asked at a 2019 press conference about the connection between the business of Maria Vorontsova (the eldest daughter) and Ekaterina Tikhonova with the government, the owner of the Kremlin responded by calling them “first woman” and “second woman.”

After Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the US, EU, Canada and Japan imposed sanctions against these women. In response, Peskov said that “using restrictions against family members speaks for itself,” effectively acknowledging that they are indeed Putin’s daughters.

IN REALITY, no matter how much they play secrecy, the very fact that one of the dictator’s daughters was appointed to an official government post means that the backup of people Putin trusts personally is running scarce.

This is also illustrated by the fact that Vice PM Borisov, who failed to prepare the Russian defence industry for the war in Ukraine, will probably replace Rogozin, who is being removed from Roscosmos despite being just as loyal.  

They aren’t yet sure what to do with the latter. But based on the nondescript publications about his “professionalism and loyalty to Putin,” no place for Rogozin has been found so far. Even though at this level, all personnel rotations are agreed in advance.

Meanwhile, the fronts of import substitution and technological independence, where Putin involved his daughter, most likely involve the search for, and theft, of other countries’ technologies. The responsible agency is the Foreign Intelligence Service.

IN REALITY, the idea of Skolkovo as “the answer to Silicon Valley,” which should propel Russia forward technologically, was a non-starter even before the war against Ukraine. The investigation into the disappearance of funds and the lack of technologies for which these funds were allocated in “Skolkovo” is still ongoing.

So Russia has to resort to the tried-and-true practice of stealing technologies. There is no other task facing the new structure.

What else can you ask of a country where on July 13, they officially proposed to reduce the size of shop labels due to the lack of the necessary ink and paper? 

It makes sense to reinforce the new agency with a family member. Of course, this would help to exert greater control. If there is no result, she can at least oversee spending. The agency will be funded from the secret part of the budget. Which is probably redundant to say, considering that the Russian budget is all about secrecy, and there hasn’t been any public control over it for a long time. So Putin’s habit to classify everything he can comes from his KGB days. Just like in the situation with “the first woman” and “the second woman.”

In case of a nuclear strike, Moscow residents are recommended self-defence 

And finally, let’s discuss another secret. In his speech on February 24, in which Putin declared war on Ukraine, he literally said that “our actions are self-defence against the threats posed to us and against an even greater calamity than what is happening today.”

It was followed by many things, including another threat to turn the US into “nuclear ash” or calculating how long it would take a Sarmat nuclear missile to reach the UK. Even head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Lavrov himself admitted that “the risks of a nuclear war are now very significant.” So, there is official recognition that there is a problem of using nuclear weapons and responding to them. What about protection against it?

IN REALITY, while the NYC Emergency Management is publishing video guidelines in case of a nuclear strike, Moscow keeps the location of bomb shelters in secret.

A member of Moscow City Council demanded the city government to provide their addresses in case of a nuclear strike. “In connection with the fact that the state propaganda and individual MPs are threatening foreign countries with nuclear strikes, the risk of strikes on Moscow in response is clearly growing.”

Deputy mayor of Moscow Biryukov answered that the addresses of protective structures constitute state secret. Disclosing a state secret in Russia is punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

According to BAZA, bomb shelters in the capital of Russia are rented out to be used as shops and warehouses, to house migrants or to store various municipal and national property.

So, residents of Russia can only count on self-defence. Just like Putin promised them when he started his war in Ukraine. And those who disagree are facing charges on numerous articles of the criminal code. There are certainly more of those than of bomb shelters. 

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