“New Stage of Dismantling Ukraine” and “Not a One-Time Event”: Change in Rhetoric of the Kremlin’s Propagandists regarding Missile Attacks on Ukraine

After the massive Russian missile attack on Ukraine on October 10 and 11, “it’s not us” by Kremlin propagandists turned into “let’s go again” and “it’s high time.” Russian TV channels were flooded with videos of the consequences of the shelling, and Telegram channels distributed various maps of missile attacks and reports of explosions in cities in real time.

Kremlin propagandists tried to focus on two things — the Crimean Bridge and the cold winter. Recently, we have already refuted the “point” why the bombing of the Crimean Bridge was not a “pretext” for the Russian shelling of Ukraine. And the “revenge for the Crimean Bridge” did not circulate long in the Russian media.  The dominant message was “destruction of infrastructure as a target to deprive Ukrainians of electricity.”

It was this message that the propagandists disseminated all week, mixed with the posts about “Europe without light and heat because of sanctions.”

“A new stage of the ‘special military operation’ starts”  

Petr Akopov, a propagandist, wrote about the “new stage of the ‘special military operation’,” and more specifically about the “new stage of dismantling Ukraine” on October 11, the day after the massive missile attack. In the material, Akopov urges the Russian authorities not to stop and carry out missile strikes until the complete destruction of the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine, despite the humanitarian catastrophe that this destruction causes.

The day before its publication, it was Dmitry Medvedev who called for the “full dismantling of the political regime of Ukraine.” Akopov’s material only explains his “point” in more detail. 

Olga Skabeeva expressed a similar “point” in the “60 Minutes” programme, commenting on the massive missile attack on Ukraine. “This is not a one-time event, but a radical change in the tactics of the Russian army during the special operation,” said the propagandist.

Invited guests, “experts,” and commentators also expressed support for the message about “a change in the tactics of the ‘special military operation’.”   

“Missile shelling must be regular”

Propagandists “praised Russia’s skill” and called for “repeated and regular” shelling during the week after the massive missile attack on October 10 and 11. They see “critical infrastructure” as their main goal.

The Russian propagandist Anton Krasovsky also began to spread similar statements.

 

“Ukraine needs to be deprived of comfort”   

According to propagandists, “Ukraine has adapted to the current war through support of the West.”

Here is how one of the Kremlin Telegram channels describes the current situation in Ukraine: “The entire budget is formed at the expense of Western subsidies. Weapons are provided. There are enough people to mobilize. Preparations for the winter were under way. So, they can fight for a long time. And now there is a prospect of being left with no electricity and light, no water, gas, sewerage before the winter.”

“Ukraine needs to be returned to the Stone Age”

In support of the previous messages, there were calls to “really bring Ukraine back to the Middle Ages” or “the Stone Age.” 

“From Nazis to Terrorists”: How the Kremlin Justifies Its Actions Now

If previously propagandists considered Ukraine to be for the most part a “country of Nazis and fascists,” now, Ukraine is increasingly becoming a “terrorist country” in the Kremlin media. In August, members of the Just Russia — For Truth faction even submitted a draft law “On Recognition of Ukraine as a Terrorist State and Confiscation of Property Belonging to Its Citizens in Favour of Russia” to the State Duma. Therefore, this “point” is now most often repeated by Russian propagandists and officials, in particular, commenting on the massive missile attack on Ukraine.

Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security

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