Geographic Discoveries Awaiting Russia: A Digest of Russian Propaganda for July 20

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HIMARS has forced the Kremlin to once again revise its territorial plans for Ukraine, and sanctions in Russia are gradually bringing it closer to “sovereignty.” The Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security has collected the main fakes and narratives of the Russian propaganda of July 20.

  1. Why Lavrov is extending the “geography” of the war
  2. Why Putin ordered “sovereignty”
  3. How Russian innovations will affect the global order
  4. Who is next in line for “denazification”

Why Lavrov is extending the “geography” of the war

On July 20, the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov, who should theoretically be making maximum efforts for a diplomatic resolution of the Russian-Ukrainian war, added fuel to the fire.

He has been a supporter of the war throughout its duration. But the fact that he was the one to officially announce the change of the “geographic tasks of the special operation” shows that he is now the mouthpiece of the imperial expansion.

Now, instead of the administrative borders of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, Russia’s appetites are extending towards Kherson and Zaporizhia oblasts and “a number of other territories.” If Western countries supply long-range weapons to Ukraine, they will be pushed back even further,” threatens Lavrov.

IN REALITY, this hardly comes as a surprise to anyone. Another question is what prompted Moscow to change its rhetoric so dramatically from “we are not going to occupy all of Ukraine” to “expanding geography”? 

The answer is simple: Ukrainians’ resilience and their support by the West. Particularly, with the help of long-range weapons, which Russians cannot handle. That is why the new “geography” included the Kherson and Zaporizhia oblasts, which did not give any grounds to believe that they wanted to be part of the “Russian world”. But their accession will allow Putin to apply the so-called “Russian defence doctrine” to them as well, intimidating Ukraine and the world with the use of nuclear weapons. 

He is now highly concerned about the use of the HIMARS MLRS (despite the regular fakes on their destruction en masse), whose supply will continue, according to US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin.

Given that the “second-best army of the world” only advanced by 117 km as of July 4 and has not made any substantial progress since, Russia is in for more “geographic discoveries” in Ukraine.

One of the discoveries is that Putin’s “great” army cannot advance by 15 km to its next target, Siversk. They are currently unable to storm Bakhmut, not to mention Sloviansk or Kramatorsk. How the Russian army is going to advance across the front line which is as long as the distance between Warsaw and Barcelona is unclear, seemingly even to the most creative Russian propagandists.  

Why Putin ordered “sovereignty”

On the same day of Lavrov’s “great geographical discoveries,” Putin himself spoke out. At the “Strong Ideas for a New Time” forum, Russia’s president stated that “the freedom of Russia’s national development ensures its sovereignty. Its most important component is a nationally thinking and nationally oriented civil society.”

It is rather unclear what “civil society” means in the context of the concentration camp into which Putin has turned Russia. The main thing is that the “society” shouldn’t realize that his attempts to turn the whole world into the “Russian world” have failed, making the entire country into a pariah.

This is, of course, the fault of the West, which, accuses Putin, “can no longer offer a model for the future.”

IN REALITY, theft of Mariupol metal, Kherson crops, Melitopol cherries and pigs in Zaporizhia oblast from regular people hardly seems like “a model for the future,” but that seems to be Putin’s idea of how things should work.

He has effectively admitted his defeat. The narrative of “sovereignty” in the Kremlin’s rhetoric has been coming up more and more frequently in recent weeks. And it makes sense. The war goes on. The sanctions are putting pressure on Russia. Europe is not begging Gasprom on its knees. The only point of reference for survival is Iran. Erdoğan humiliates his Russian counterpart by making him wait, on-camera. Lukashenko is asking for more money to make up for the default. 

What is left for Putin to do? On July 20, he became the head of the supervisory board of the Russian “pioneer” movement and then tasked the son of Security Council Secretary Patrushev, previously appointed the minister of agriculture, with replacing “chemical Coca-Cola” into “a national drink from bay willow.” Did the dictator want this? Of course not.

This is what he said back on January 27, 2021, speaking at the economic forum in Davos: “Russia and Europe must be together. We have to forgo the phobias of the past. If we can rise above them, a positive stage in our relations awaits us.”

Just one year after these words, Putin sent his tanks to invade Ukraine, irrevocably breaking up Russia’s relations with Europe. But naturally, Putin is having a hard time admitting this. That’s where the narrative about “Russia’s spiritual and technical sovereignty” comes from. And it seems that it’s not going anywhere for a while.

How Russian “innovations” will affect the global order

Against this backdrop, Putin’s words about the “new innovative economy“, “modern technologies on the basis of Russian competitiveness on the world market” are reminiscent of Khrushchev’s slogan “we will catch up with, and surpass, America”. In this pursuit of the loathed America, Putin is trying to put together its other “haters,” such as North Korea or Iran.

IN REALITY, the difference between those “haters” and Russia is that, first, they are used to living under sanctions (North Korea even seems to like it), and second, neither Pyongyang, nor Tehran, unlike Moscow, cries about its exclusive role in the change of the global order. In order to change the world, Moscow needs to offer something more innovative than “May 9” and “gas with oil.”

For now, even before the sanctions kicked in, the situation looked like this:

  • innovative business in the Russian Federation “died out” at an average rate of more than a thousand companies per year;
  • over four years, the number of innovative companies in Russia dropped by 22%;
  • ¾ of the processing sector in Russia has no contact with science or with developers of new tech solutions;
  • almost 30% of all advanced technologies used in production in the Russian Federation were purchased abroad, and the costs of these technologies increased 12 times over the past 20 years;
  • the share of innovative goods and services in Russia is only 6.1% against 27.9% in Spain, 27.3% in the UK, 19% in Germany, 18% in Austria.

It is probably up to mental health professionals to tell what kind of new world order, based on Russia’s innovative “technological sovereignty,” Putin has in mind now that he is further restricted by sanctions. The same goes for speaker of the Federation Council Matviyenko, who was sincerely surprised to learn that Russia does not even produce its own nails.

Who is next in line for “denazification”

Russia will not just take anyone into its “new world.” There will be a strict selection among countries and their leaders. Russia often makes erroneous judgments (look at Trump!), but never learns from these mistakes.

We can remember Putin’s insistence that Germany, with or without Merkel, is not going anywhere, that Italy was “Russian” under Berlusconi and would remain such, that Zeman would handle everything in the Czech Republic, that Austria may be neutral, but Kneisl was “their man,” etc.

IN REALITY, the bloodier the war in Ukraine becomes, the fewer people are ready to work with Putin. So, Russia is forced to make a list of potential enemies for future “denazification.” 

Detector Media carried out an in-depth study of this, analyzing over 65,000 publications on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Telegram.

Key findings:

  • The historically hated Anglo-Saxons (now led by Biden and Sunak/Truss) still strive to conquer the world.
  • Russia, represented by Naryshkin and other officials, regularly reports a threat for Ukraine from Poland.
  • Looking for the next victim has become one of the favourite subjects for Russian propagandists. The options include Kazakhstan, Poland, Baltic countries, and Finland.
  • Accordingly they are targeting the leaders of these and other countries, from “weakling Macron” to “traitor Tokayev.”

And this is not a draft, this has already been firmly decided. At least, until they (as Russian propaganda convinces itself) “admit their mistakes.” Or until their countries change through a procedure called “fair elections” — something rather mysterious for Russians.

Putin does not believe that foreign policy in these countries will remain largely unchanged regardless of the name of the person in power. He just cannot comprehend something like this. That is why he regularly invests in Le Pen in France or in Salvini in Italy.

With this approach, Russia is indeed going to have quite a few geographic discoveries. It is already preparing for this. Kiselyov has already started commenting on the future map of the space currently called the Russian Federation. It contains “the Republic of Siberia,” the “North Caucasian Federation,” and even “the republic of Russia.” But it is much smaller than Putin and Lavrov envision in their sick imagination.

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