Putin Starts Digging Trenches: Russian Propaganda Newsletter over Three Months of War

Since February 24, the Kremlin has been changing the war targets in Ukraine, their rhetoric, deadlines, but eventually gained only the unconquered Kherson and destroyed Mariupol. The Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security has collected the main fake news and narratives of Russian propaganda during the three months of the war.

  1. Russia has approached the “red line”
  2. “Demilitarisation” of Ukraine and what’s left from it
  3. “Denazification” and what to do with it
  4. “Relief from genocide” has turned into destruction of Ukrainians
  5. “Special operation” has also failed in its major aims
  6. Russian society hasn’t consolidated
  7. What’s left in conclusion?

Russia has approached the “red line”

Putin has long promoted the narrative of the “NATO border approaching Russia” (also known as the “red line”). In the minds of ordinary Russians, it sounds like “NATO bases would already be in the Crimea” or “missiles from Kharkiv will reach Moscow in 5-7 minutes.”

“During the meeting of Valdai International Discussion Club Putin stated that Ukraine might formally not become a member of NATO, however the Alliance has been already conducting their military work on its territory.

“This creates a real threat to the Russian Federation, and we are aware of it,” said the President.

Besides, Putin believes that the US Defence Minister Lloyd Austin opened the doors to NATO for Ukraine through paying a visit to Kyiv and delivering his statements.”

Literally a month before the beginning of the war, the Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security explained what Putin is actually meaning when speaking of the NATO “threat”. The Kremlin regime “sold” the war in Ukraine to its people as a means of suppressing the threat of NATO.

IN REALITY, the goal has not been reached. In their efforts to push NATO away from its borders, Russia over the three months of war only achieved the fact that historically neutral Switzerland and Finland are now applying to NATO. Thus, instead of pushing NATO away, the Alliance’s borders strengthened and became longer for 1272 kilometres.

Besides, after the war in Ukraine started the amount of the US forces in Europe increased by 30%. Now there is around 102 thousand of the US soldiers in the EU operational zone.

“Demilitarisation” of Ukraine and what’s left from it

These are the words of Kremlin press secretary Peskov explaining the meaning of this term, “Demilitarisation is the neutralisation of the military potential. Obviously, it means the neutralisation of the military potential which has been much upgraded recently, including considerable assistance provided by the Western nations.”

Russian Ministry of Defence specified that it presupposed only the “neutralisation of military infrastructure objects in Ukraine”.

IN FACT, this aim hasn’t been achieved. When it became obvious (within the very first week of war) previous narratives about “NATO approaching borders” has been gradually supplanted by the story of the “collective West organizing a proxy war against Russia until the last Ukrainian remains”.

Here are the figures of various (mostly military) assistance provided to Ukraine as of May 10:

$64.5 bln was given to Ukraine by 36 nations, including $34.7 in military component, $18.5 bln for economic support, $12.5 bln for humanitarian needs.

Among them we see the assistance of US – $43 bln, UK — $4,8 bln, EU Commission — $4.1 bln, Poland — $2.6 bln, Germany — $2.35 bln, France — $2.1 bln, Canada — $2 bln, Italy – $0.48 bln, Norway – $0.32 bln, Sweden and Japan – по $0.29 bln apiece.

The total expenses to support Ukraine have topped $100 bln as of May 10.

On May 9 Joe Biden signed the law approved by the Congress on lend-lease to help Ukraine. Additionally, US have assigned $40 bln, including $19.7 bln to weapons for Ukraine, $8.8 bln — to support Ukrainian economy, $4.35 bln — to support in foods and humanitarian issues.

On May 23 around 20 countries more announced new packages of defensive assistance to Ukraine and the Contact Group concerning Ukrainian matters extended up to 47 nations.

The financial support of the Western nations to lead their proxy war against Russia is unprecedented,” they say now in Moscow.

“Denazification” and what to do with it

It is the most mysterious aim of the Putin’s war. At the very beginning every Russian Federation official failed to explain the meaning of this term. They dwelled something on the prohibition of some mythical ultra-nationalistic, Nazi, neo-Nazi parties and organisations in Ukraine as well as cancellation of some standing legislation concerning “glorification of the Nazi and neo-Nazi figures”.

In one his speeches Putin has somehow secondarily claimed that he intends to demand the denazification of the executive power agencies and bodies in Ukraine, “I talked to my Western colleagues: you have some radical elements, we gave some radical elements. However, we don’t have any radical elements in our governments. Ukraine has as everybody acknowledges.”

IN FACT, this aim hasn’t been also achieved. The massively consolidated Ukrainian people resisted from Kherson to Uzhhorod, and Putin’s Russians applied factual genocidal measures. Bucha, Russian-speaking Mariupol, Kharkiv became real symbols of evils committed to the Ukrainian people by Russian fascist invaders.

The Ruscist genie of hatred to everything Ukrainian, European, and civilizational has been let out of its bottle.

The rhetoric of the Russian officials and their propaganda staff has changed. Now, there are no stand-alone Nazis, but “the whole Ukrainian people are Nazis because they were poisoned with Nazism in the 30 years of independence.” A kind of their manifesto has been revealed in the article The Ukraine We Don’t Need. It clearly articulates that “de-Banderasation is not enough for the denazification. Bandera’s element is just an executive and cover, camouflage for the European project of a Nazi Ukraine so the denazification of Ukraine is its unavoidable de-Europesation.”

This is how the “liberators’” balaclavas have been finally removed. A real bacchanal propaganda feast has started ranging from tuning Russian society to the “fight against overwhelming Ukrainian Nazism supported by the Western nations for the sake of Russia destruction” to the threats to use nuclear weapons. Any real successes of “denazification” are absent. They have nothing to show as a victory to the Russian society.

A story of Azov Regiment, its heroic fight and further captivity from Azovstal was processed within this frame. It has galvanized Russian “victory”. The so called trial of Azov Regiment fighters is needed by Russians to finalize their “denazification” story. They just won’t have any better TV picture for average Russians. There’s no one else to be “denazified” in Ukraine. Apart from its whole people.

“Relief from genocide” has turned into destruction of Ukrainians

Another aim of the “special operation”, “the relief of Donbas people from genocide”, was a mere pretext to reach the first three ones from the very beginning. This pretext was created by Putin eight years ago.

IN FACT, this aim hasn’t been also achieved. From 2014 to February 2022 we had such figures of civilian deaths in this war: 3,375 (UN count) and even less if we take the RF Investigative Committee’s count—2,600 (“L/DPR”). Most of these victims died in the first year of Russian aggression in 2014—2015.

Only first three months of “special operation” brought as many deaths as the previous eight years. According to the UN data, there 3,811 civilian deaths among which there are 255 children. 4,278 civilians have been wounded. However, factual losses are much higher.

 “Most of the civilian casualties recorded were caused by the use of explosive weapons with a wide impact area, including shelling from heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems, and missile and air strikes,” states the UN report.

Russia keeps obstinate silence and doesn’t report its military losses. Most recently Russian Forces HQ informed about 1,351 deaths on March 25. According to the Ukrainian General Staff information, Russian Federation military losses amount to nearly 30,000 personnel. In April the “DPR” reported 1,201 killed in action.

This is how the “relief from genocide” really looks like. It resembles more the deliberate destruction of the Ukrainian people, both in the Russia-occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts and the rest of Ukraine.

“Special operation” has also failed in its major aims

The main aim of the “special operation” was announced by Putin when he declared war, and reiterated once again by Russian MFA chief Lavrov in April, “Our special military operation is aimed to stop any reckless expansion and reckless domination of the USA and other Western nations under [their influence] in the international scene.”

IN FACT, this aim hasn’t been also achieved. Here are just some facts.

–   US have increased their economic impact on Europe. Washington’s insistent requests to limit EU dependence on Russian energy supply have been supported by Europeans. News outlets inform how European nations keep on refusing Russian electrical energy, coal, oil, and gas on a daily basis. Moscow has lost its Nord Stream 2 project whose mere construction cost 10 bln Euros.

–   Germany which was Russia’s main economic partner has intended to refuse Russian gas completely in two years.

–   Some of the biggest international oil and oil service companies which apply modern methods of oil prospecting and extraction have left Russian market. So Russia won’t be able to develop offshore deposits as it massively planned earlier.

–   The sixth package of sanctions is impending now. Previously announced packages have already made Russia the most heavily sanctioned country outstripping Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Myanmar and North Korea.

It is worth mentioning that even Switzerland has joined the leaders among the nations which applied sanctions to Russia.

This country remained neutral even during the Word War II. However, as we can see, this time Sweden, Finland and Austria haven’t also tolerated Russia’s “special operation” providing a good example.

–   Russia also has failed it with its allies. PRC and India take cheap Russian energy resources almost for nothing. Bank of China and ICBC (biggest credit organisations of PRC) have stopped providing letters of credit to Chinese companies for procurement of Russian raw materials. Besides, local IT companies aren’t supplying their goods and services to Russia anymore. Chinese transit to Europe has also stopped in the Russian territory.

Russia’s main economic partner among the post-Soviet nations, Kazakhstan, has blocked nearly $22 mln in the Russian affiliated banks accounts pursuant to the regime of applied sanctions.

Russian society hasn’t consolidated

Despite all the efforts of vehement propaganda Russian society has failed to consolidate in Ukraine war matter. Sure, if you don’t just take the so called opinion polls for granted.

As you remember, Konstantin Abramov, Russian Public Opinion Research Centre CEO, has actually confessed in data manipulation and distortion, “There is no effective censorship in Russia. There is some filtration of undesirable information. Ninety percent of Russians believe that the information of such kind must be blocked. Since we started blocking of unfriendly channels the situation has much improved.

IN FACT, this aim hasn’t been also achieved. We can see it because in a mere week after the Russia’s invasion in Ukraine they had to adopt the law to punish the dissemination of “untruthful information” on Russia’ military activities. A person can be imprisoned up to fifteen years in colony for the expression of some value judgments and even specific words. Also, they have adopted the law which sanctions up to a three-year imprisonment for calling to sanction Russia. Only a country which is afraid of its own people can make such laws. Fears do not facilitate consolidation.

What’s left in conclusion?

So, all these actions actually gave Putin only two cities. One of them is a nearly totally destroyed Mariupol. The other one is Kherson where the invaders faced local population’s strong opposition.

After long-term sanctions Ukrainian territory which has been occupied since February will become and additional and heavy burden for Russian tax-payers. Putin has no trophies in this war against Ukraine to boast of.

These “trophies” don’t include either “denazification”, “demilitarisation” or “NATO borders moving back” with “the end of US domination”.

That’s why Russia’s plans to “conquer Kyiv in three days” after three months of war have narrowed down to mere “special operation to liberate Donbas”. Instead they will have to wait really long for the end of US domination as instead of lightning war in Ukraine Moscow’s got a “mental war” with Western nations.

This is the reason why Putin is now digging huge trenches in the conquered territories and preparing for defence, both military and political. He will keep on sending missiles at Ukraine, he will bargain for it with US and EU. He will blackmail everybody with using nuclear weapons and “global hunger”.

However, this will become the final chapter of this war. IN FACT, the final and winning chapter. Not for him, but for Ukraine and the rest of the world. So, let Putin dig his trenches. Let’s treat this as the rehearsal of his digging something else in the nearest future.

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