Russian propaganda works in the spirit of “zuesse”: a digest for November 30

Russia is preparing another “referendum” in Ukraine and explains to Europeans why it was “forced” to attack it. The Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security collected the main fakes and narratives of the Russian propaganda for November 30.

  1. The Kremlin should pay attention to other figures from von der Leyen
  2. Warsaw refutes the fakes of Moscow even before they appear.
  3. Kremlin narratives in Modern Diplomacy
  4. Russians hate Americans with fake illumination.

The Kremlin should pay attention to another figure from von der Leyen

On November 30, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought death, devastation, and untold suffering,” and estimated that in Ukraine, allegedly “more than 20,000 civilians and 100,000 military personnel have died.”

Later, this part of the statement of von der Leyen was disavowed. But Russia immediately commented on this in the spirit that the head of the EC “was lectured by Washington, the European Union is the 51st state of the United States and does not make a decision on its own.”

IN FACT, if we are talking about the figures from the president of the EC, then, according to the classical formula of the ratio of losses in defence and attack (1 to 3), it turns out that 300,000 Russian occupiers have already died in Ukraine.

And Moscow should mention the “killer-funny” mathematics from the Ministry of Defence of Russia, which the whole world laughed at back at the beginning of November.

READ ALSO: Konashenkov “destroyed” more than half of the Ukrainian army

However, other figures, apart from those figures mentioned by von der Leyen in her address, are much more important for Russia. And the address, let us remind you, was devoted to the plan of confiscation of Russian assets and creation of a special tribunal to punish Russia.

Thus, the European Commission has officially proposed the creation of a fund of frozen EUR 300 bln of Russian state assets and RUB 19 bln of Russian private assets to compensate for payments to Ukraine.

Given the fact that the EU is gradually putting an end to Putin’s “black market,” and the creation of a special fund to support and restore Ukraine at the expense of frozen Russian assets is gradually moving from the plane of simple discussion to an increasingly practical one (for example, through the recognition of Russia as a country sponsor of terrorism, which gives legal grounds for appropriate solutions in each of the countries), it is better for Moscow to pay attention to these real losses, rather than to rejoice at the indicators of Ukrainian losses on the battlefield according to a highly overstated assessment of the EC president.

Warsaw refutes the fakes of Moscow even before they appear.

On November 30, Simonyan, who already started preparing for The Hague, said: “Ukraine is a huge country, obscenely huge, we need to make it smaller, which we have been doing successfully.”

Russia is trying its best to involve the closest neighbours of Ukraine in its “successful” plans. On November 30, Naryshkin, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service, responsible for the Polish direction (one of Putin’s friends from the KGB, who, let us remind you, together are almost 350 years old) said that Warsaw is already “forcing preparations for the annexation of Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, and most of Ternopil Oblast of Ukraine.”

Moreover, according to him, the President of Poland Andrzej Duda has already even instructed the relevant services to quickly prepare a formal justification of Polish claims to Western Ukraine.

Since there has been nothing creative in Moscow narratives for a long time, Russia is also following its fake referendum template in promoting its ridiculous “Polish case.” Naryshkin stated that “Poland intends to hold referendums in western Ukraine to justify its claims to its lands.”

At the same time, the Director of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service added that the Polish leadership wanted to act “actively and persistently” due to alleged fears that NATO partners will try to negotiate with the Kremlin during the winter, “regardless of the interests of not only Ukrainians, but also Poles.”

IN FACT, a small warning, firstly, for Simonyan. If someday, for example, neighbouring overpopulated China decides to “make an obscenely vast Russia smaller” by occupying (certainly not without “referendums”) the neglected and sparsely populated Far Eastern territories, RT’s editor-in-chief should recall her own words.

Secondly, it’s not even funny anymore, given that the topic of the “Polish question” and the chief intelligence officer of Russia has already turned into something like “Nebenzya and mosquitoes.” They were appointed in the Kremlin to be responsible for these areas, so they are responsible. As much as they can.

But it is a little easier for Naryshkin than for Nebenzya. At least because the former is not regularly ridiculed at the UN. In addition, he is strongly supported by Putin, who himself periodically promotes the point that Poland retains the idea of annexing western regions of Ukraine. The last time he did this was on November 4, when he declared that Warsaw, Bucharest, and Budapest were carrying plans to reclaim territories lost after World War II.

In response, Poland said that Putin once again told “fakes very far removed from reality.” The Romanian MFA responded that they fully support the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and condemn Russia for its military aggression. Even the Hungarian MFA, in spite of Orban’s scarf, said they did not agree with Putin’s statements about territorial claims to Ukraine.

The last time Warsaw debunked those stories even two days before Naryshkin announced them again. The reason, too, was connected with Poland having “claims” to Ukrainian territories.

READ ALSO: Poland in the Information War against Russia: What Polish Online Media Are Saying About Ukraine

As a reminder, the cause was the fake letter allegedly from the Polish Embassy in Ukraine alongside claims that Warsaw planned to annex Ukraine’s Western regions.

Kremlin narratives in Modern Diplomacy

European media are also used in the promotion of the narrative on “Poland’s aggressive plans for Ukraine.” At the end of October, Russian media teamed up to spread the almost identical stories, saying that the Modern Diplomacy portal reported that Poland was preparing to hold a referendum on the annexation of the Western regions of Ukraine.

IN FACT, the page with this “editorial” (as described by the Russian media) article no longer exists. The link provided, for example, by Life.ru is inactive.

It is unclear who is the intended target audience of such fakes. Probably Naryshkin alone. 

However, Modern Diplomacy does openly promote Russian narratives. On November 30, it issued a text with a highly “original” title Debunking Lies about the War in Ukraine.

In this article, the author (who calls himself a “research historian”), Eric Zuesse, “debunked” four “lies” at once. For example: “The war began on February 24, 2022, not in 2014” or “Why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was legal.”

Zuesse’s text contains phrases like “America’s demand that its vassal-nation Ukraine must have a ‘right’ to place U.S. missiles only 5 minutes from Moscow.”

READ ALSO: Kremlin Propaganda in Europe and North America: how Russian narratives are reproduced in Western online media

Or take a look at this paragraph: “The Obama Administration perpetrated in February 2014 a bloody Ukrainian coup (hidden behind popular anti-corruption Ukrainian demonstrations that the CIA and State Department had trained and organized local racist-fascist anti-Russian Ukrainians to lead) overthrowing the democratically elected President of Ukraine and replacing him by a racist-fascist (ideologically nazi) regime.”

The entire article is in the same spirit. Modern Diplomacy, of course, clarifies that “views expressed in the publication are solely those of the authors and in no way represent or reflect the views of Modern Diplomacy, its advisory and editorial boards, sponsors, partners, or affiliates.”

But Russian media will absolutely refer to this text, and this is the technology and style used by the Kremlin propaganda in the entire world.

Russians hate Americans with fake illumination

And finally, a story about a fake illumination which prominently shows Russia’s attempts at friendship with the Iranian people.

READ ALSO: Propaganda of “genetic peculiarities” and what the Russian football has to do with it

On November 29, before the 3rd round game of the group stage of the FIFA World Cup between Iran and the US, information was published that the wall of the Oktyabr cinema located in Novy Arbat Street in Moscow featured a banner supporting Iranians saying “The US is always small. Iran, Russia is with you!”

IN FACT, on November 30, it turned out to be a fake. Kirill Rukov, editor-in-chief of the Russian-language version of The Village, said: “It was a fake. We have already removed the story. There was only one video of this banner, and it went viral, spread by a pro-Kremlin bot farm on Twitter and on pro-Iranian Telegram channels. There were no other witnesses who took a picture from other angles.”

Later, other publications also confirmed it was a fake. 

As usual, Russian propaganda has no shame. All the way down to writing “The US is always small” on an American iPhone. But this all comes from an inferiority complex. Not just in terms of technology, but in terms of mentality.  

Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security

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