Putin tabooed the Vinnytsia tragedy: Russian propaganda digest as for July, 14th

They celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first “peacekeeping operation” in Russia, while the topic of missile strikes in Vinnytsia became taboo. Centre for Strategic Communications and Informational Security gathered the prominent fakes and Russian propaganda narratives on July, 14.

  1. Massacre in Vinnytsia in “silent mode”
  2. Death of children as a means of enforcing capitulation
  3. Putin’s crazy facsimile
  4. South Ossetia’s 30-year-long anticipation of the promised

Massacre in Vinnytsia in silent mode

From Russia’s propagandist point of view, the tragedy in Vinnytsia which took place on July, 14 differs from other tragedies like the missile strike that hit the railway station in Kramatorsk. And the difference is that this event was not mentioned throughout the day even by Konashenkov.

Earlier he explained similar war crimes by claiming that they hit “Nazi’s home station”, “machinery and weapons depot”, or simply saying that “the Nazis conducted the strikes on the civilians themselves to put the blame on the Russian army”. However, now he completely ignored the tragedy. 

Here is a brief informational chronicle of what the official Russian media published about the tragedy in Vinnytsia: RIA Novosti published Margarita Simonyan’s post who claimed she was citing her contacts in the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. 

(Translation of the post: I asked the Ministry of Defence what they hit in Vinnytsia. Here is the answer: “We hit the Officer’s House, it was a temporary base for the Nazis”. They also sent me the picture. I publish what I was told.)

Another statement was made by Russia’s UN representative Varganov, who cited the Russian News Agency TASS, while Lenta.ru, “Interfax”, RBC, Kommersant, “Vesti.ru”, NTV, and Channel One Russia simply ignored the trike in Vinnytsia. 

Thus, Russian officials and media silenced the missile attack on a Ukrainian peaceful city hundreds of kilometers away from the frontline for the whole day. 

Even at the end of the day in his evening report, Mizintsev did not mention a word about the strike in Vinnytsia, instead giving a boring list of things like “Ukrainian Nazis mined a bridge, or which residential areas or social infrastracture objects were turned into artillery positions”. He only emphasized that “the Russian army never conducts strikes against civilian infrastructure objects“.

Instead, the majority of posts and commentaries to the posts about the missile massacre in the centre of Vinnytsia, made by Russian Internet users, contained messages like “that is what Khokhly (a derogative name for Ukrainians) deserve”. In some cases, they were simply justifying the war crimes. 

In reality, both the silent mode of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation and the “bloodthirsty orgy” among the pro-Kremlin Telegram users detect a “psychological agreement offered by Russian propaganda to their target audience”, Svitlana Chunikhina, a political psychologist, claims. 

She believes that “after the killing of the civilians in the centre of Vinnytsia some Russians are lying that no civilians suffered from the strike, since they only targeted a military object, while others celebrate the fact that the civilians died. This is the core of the diabolic psychological agreement offered by propaganda to its users. On one hand, it makes them feel like a part of ”that power that wills good”, while on the other hand, it caters to their tremendous bloodthirsty instincts and promises them complete impunity.”

The latter is also proved by the fact that Putin regularly rewards the units that participated in atrocities against the civilians in Ukraine with an honourable “Guard’s” status. 

Death of children as a means of enforcing capitulation

Finally, at the end of the day on July, 14 they published an “explanation” on why they destroyed the maternity hospital and medical centre in Vinnytsia. Pro-Kremlin “fact checkers” found out that “the guilt is on the MRI and X-ray scanners that together with disinfectants caused a big fire”. 

Besides such “fake unmaskers” and official “silent mode”, Russia turned to its classical method of pointing fingers at Ukrainians: blaming the Armed Forces of Ukraine for “missile strikes against Donetsk as revenge for Vinnytsia”. In these posts, they completely mirrored the picture by claiming, for example, that “a child in Donetsk lost a leg due to the shelling”. This propagandist technique was used by the Russians numerous times, as they cannot invent a new narrative.

At the same time there appeared posts conveying “repentance” messages with an unveiled intention to force Ukraine to stop the war under the terms dictated by Russia. It is likely that soon it will become an official trend in Russia, it might also be a good reason why Moscow emphasizes “the humanitarian aspect of the “special operation”. 

In reality, the adviser to the Presidential Office of Ukraine Mykhailo Podoliak claimed that “the attacks against Ukraine’s peaceful cities is not a mistake but a coordinated military strategy. In Kremlin, they believe that by conducting violent atrocities they can shatter the morale of Ukrainians and force “peace by any means” upon them. But every act of violence is uniting the society even more”.

Putin’s crazy facsimile

The main mistake Putin is making is actually believing that Ukrainians and Russians are one and the same people. Russians who were basically turned into slaves by Putin would definitely crawl back to him begging to stop the war after such a tragedy as the one in Vinnytsia. Even though they seem not to see the real war yet, Putin is preparing the Russians for it by placing the bomb shelters on the secret list. 

The State Duma of Russia is often referred to as a “crazy printer” for passing Putin’s fancies with remarkable promptness. Thus, on July, 14 he turned on his “crazy facsimile” to sign 123 new laws that are now turning Russians into silent slaves not only de facto but also de jure. 

Here are some of the most important “Putin’s life rules”: 

  • The law on the “special economical conditions” during military operations abroad. The “special conditions” is a euphemism for using all of the state emergency stores, working extra hours in “certain organizations”, and simplified procedures of Defence Procurement. Therefore, when Russia declares the “special conditions”, Russian companies do not have a right to decline contracts to provide for the “special operations”.
  • Novelties for “Russia’s safety” is several laws. For example, confidential cooperation with foreigners against Russia’s security is punished by 8 years in prison. For multiple acts of propaganda or exposing the symbols of organizations that are considered Nazi or extremist in Russia one might be sentenced to 4 years of imprisonment. 

“For actions aimed against Russia’s security and traveling abroad for the citizens that have access to top-secret information” law implies up to 7 years of imprisonment. Thus, for example, a person who signed the so-called standard form #2 back when they were studying at a university, can be imprisoned in case they went to Turkey for a vacation when already retired. 

  • Law on preventing tortures. Now conducting tortures on someone is punished with 12 years of imprisonment, while in the case of the death of the victim, the imprisonment increases up to 15 years. However, it is interesting that due to the new law, tortures committed by representatives of security, defense, and law enforcement agencies are not considered as such in case their actions are deemed legit. 
  • Law on blocking media without a court’s judgment. Now the media can be blocked without receiving a court’s decision, just with a public prosecutor’s decision for “spreading fakes and appeals to participate in unauthorized protests”. 
  • Law on counter-actions as a reaction to discrimination of Russian media abroad. The prosecutor general can now restrict foreign media in case there were some “hostile decisions” made against Russian media abroad. Also, from now on not only entities but also journalists individually will face punishment for “discrediting” the Russian army, “showing disrespect” to Russian state institutions, and “calls for actions and anti-Russian sanctions”.
  • The new foreign agent law. From now on anyone can become a foreign agent for any kind of wrongdoing. Earlier you needed to receive a bank transaction for at least 200 RUB (101 UAH), but now you can be deemed as such without even receiving any money from abroad. The Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation now only has to judge that the alleged criminal “has received support or was under a foreign influence”. 
  • Law that allows breeding chickens and rabbits in the garden and vegetable plots.

In reality, we could go on with the list of laws, however, there is only one conclusion: almost everything is forbidden in Russia, except for breeding chickens and rabbits. Of course, only until they are needed for Defence Procurement.

In fact, it is an admission of Putin’s economical and political failure that happened thanks to Ukraine’s resistance he could not predict. 

National projects are a list of initiatives promoted by Putin during the presidential campaign in 2018 in which he promised to fight poverty, catch up with the world’s economies, and end the demographical crisis are now either paused or cancelled. 

Putin is now delaying the deadline of the project “Safe and good-quality roads” which is the second biggest money-consuming project financed from the state budget. There was a plan to build and repair 1,800 kilometers of the federal-aid highways by 2024, while now the deadline is delayed till 2030. 

The idea to halve the level of poverty which had a deadline of 2024 is now also delayed for 6 years. Other projects like increasing average life expectancy up to 78 years or becoming one of the top 10 countries with the best general education and science were also put aside till 2030. 

It is interesting that even if Putin instead of all of these “national projects” promises openly said during the last presidential campaign that he would fight with Ukraine and no improvements were to be expected, the Russians would still vote for him. That is why Ukrainians are not Russians. 

South Ossetia’s 30-year-long anticipation of the promised

The last thing we would like to mention is the first “peacekeeping operation” in modern Russia’s history. On July, 14 it was the 30th anniversary of South Ossetia’s occupation. The Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation Shoigu claimed that the “special operation helped to protect the people of the republic”. 

In reality, the “independence” of this region of Georgia was recognized internationally only by Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria apart from the Russian Federation itself. In 2008 South Ossetia started a new era of life in alternative political geography, not recognized neither by the UN nor by the majority of the member states.

This alternative geography is shared by the states invented by the Kremlin and “authorities” of which are functioning on Russia-occupied territories. Due to Putin’s will, they can receive diplomatic recognition or get annexed, they can draw random borders, and later Russia will “help to restore territorial integrity” by means of tanks. 

The position of South Ossetia’s “president” was occupied by a former member of the KGB of the USSR Tybilov who was later succeeded by a former officer of an assault-landing division from Pskov Bibilov. The person responsible for South Ossetia in the Kremlin was Surkov, also known for coordinating the so-called “DPR” and “LPR”.

The separatists of South Ossetia have a dream: since the year 1991, they are trying to become a subject of the Russian Federation. The last attempt to realize this idea by means of a “referendum” which was supposed to take place on July, 17 failed as the ones earlier. The “referendum” was cancelled with an official explanation: “due to unclarity of the legal consequences of the issue discussed at the referendum”.

It is not really clear why the Kremlin cares about the legal consequences of their actions in Georgia and does not care about the same situation in Ukraine if you purely analyse the law. But Putin’s alternative geography is based not upon legislation, but upon his ideas of imperialistic interests. 

Apparently, the “independent” Ossetians are easier to provide for and to be used for different shady schemes of sponsoring.

For example, Russians want to establish a commercial bank for the “DPR” which is not falling under anti-Russia sanctions. That is how in both occupied Donetsk and Luhansk they open a branch office of the “International Transfer Bank of the Republic of South Ossetia” which has a regular transfer account in a Russian bank as their correspondent account. Now the occupants are trying to involve it in establishing a Ruble zone on the temporarily occupied territory of Khersonska Oblast. 

South Ossetia itself is already paying the Russian slaughterous bills. Their “volunteers” are being sent to fight with Ukrainians. However, the Ossetians are not very good at the “denazification” of Ukraine. Already back in March, there appeared information that around 300 of them defected back to their homes since they realised that their “allies” simply left them there to die. 

With such an attitude to their ally’s duties, the republic will not be freed from its “independence” any time soon. Moreover, it is under an obligation to Shoigu who explained back in April that he was granted the title of the hero of the Russian Federation for participation in “military operations” in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Transnistria. 

He is probably dreaming of receiving the second “star” for his actions in Ukraine. But for this, he did not conduct enough missile attacks on Ukrainian civilians yet.  

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