Russians should be ready. Putin follows Maduro: December 12 digest

Putin urged not to believe Konashenkov, and Medvedev complains about Mishustin. The Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security has collected the main fakes and narratives of Russian propaganda for December 9–11

  1. More than a third of Russia’s entire budget is allocated for war
  2. Why the G7 chose an oil price cap rather than an embargo
  3. The Russian Orthodox Church appoints a new arch-strategist
  4. Six Putin’s Statements from Medvedev

More than a third of Russia’s entire budget is allocated for war

On December 9, Putin finally urged Russians not to believe Konashenkov’s reports on the war in Ukraine. “You can trust no one, only me,” he said. Let us remind you, this is the phrase of Chief Gestapo Müller from the TV series “Seventeen Moments of Spring.”

Müller said this a couple of months before Germany surrendered in World War II. So, Putin thinks that he still has a bit of time, although very little.

And he tries to make up for it in the way his Soviet consciousness tells him — by increasing military expenditures.

ISW writes that the law on the federal budget of Russia, which Putin signed, states that next year more than RUB 9 trillion (USD 143 billion) will be allocated for defence, security, and law enforcement agencies. This is a significant increase compared to previous years, now the war will take more than 30% of the entire budget of Russia.

READ ALSO: What did Putin’s “lack of weapons in the West” lead to?

Analysts suggest that Putin’s budget is overly optimistic about expected revenues and expenditures. And therefore, other parts of the Russian budget (primarily, social) will continue to be reduced to cover the priority costs of the war.

Although, IN FACT, it is not known if there is still room for cutting. The fact that the minimum salary in Russia is lower than in the countries of Europe (do not forget that the Kadyrovites are going to fight to the last European), was expected.

But the minimum wages in Latin America, which Putin, as the self-proclaimed leader of the “world anti-colonial movement,” is now inspiringly exempting from the “American dominance” somewhere under the Ukrainian Kurdiumivka, should really surprise average Russians with their USD 241.

Costa Rica — USD 541, Uruguay — USD 494, Chile — USD 455, Ecuador — USD 425, Guatemala — USD 396, Argentina — USD 366, El Salvador — USD 365, Paraguay — USD 354, Bolivia — USD 326, Honduras — USD 300.

Therefore, whatever Russian propaganda tells in Latin America about the war in Ukraine with the “collective West,” these figures for Latin Americans should clearly indicate that Russia is the same Venezuela. Which, moreover, supports Putin’s Russia. 

Let us remind you that Venezuela — the richest oil-rich country in the world — has been experiencing a deep economic crisis for many years due to corruption and inefficient economic management. On November 30, President Nicolás Maduro proudly announced a 150% increase in the country’s minimum wage, from VEF 1,800 to 4,500 (USD 9.5), effective December 1. 

So, Russians should get ready. They still have everything ahead of them. Putin with “believe only my words” is already following Maduro. And Latin Americans should not succumb to Russian propaganda.

Why the G7 chose an oil price cap rather than an embargo

Considering the recently introduced “oil price cap,” the propaganda again started repeating the messages “sanctions work in our favour,” “The West only harms itself.” Now, the topic is being disseminated that India and China will benefit the most from the cap.

For example, TASS reported that “… the introduction of price cap for Russian oil by the G7 carries many mistakes and brings benefits to China, as it will be able to purchase energy from Russia at a large discount…”

IN FACT, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already demonstrated the “profitability” of relations with the current Russia, who, according to Bloomberg, denied Putin an annual traditional face-to-face meeting because the latter threatened to use nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine.

And as for China with its “cap benefit,” if Beijing really purchases Russian energy carriers at cheaper prices, then experts believefirstly, that the margins of Russian companies (and, therefore, the federal budget revenues) will inevitably be lower — which, in fact, is the reason for the restrictions introduced. Secondly, the cap will free up the volumes of energy carriers from other producers that can be procured by countries that have imposed restrictions against Russia.

READ ALSO: Nobody needs Russian oil and gas

The West had two tools to choose from as to how to limit Putin’s oil revenues: an embargo or a cap.

The embargo — as a direct-action measure, indeed, would remove part of Russia’s oil volumes from the market, but under its laws — it would inevitably create a deficit and, accordingly, an increase in prices.

The cap does not remove oil from the market, but through the process of redistribution of volumes dramatically worsens the situation of Russian companies (and, accordingly, the budget of Russia), which sooner or later, but will lead to the depletion of the Kremlin’s resources. At the same time, the main goal of sanctions — a significant reduction in the income of the Russian budget — is being fulfilled.

Propaganda, on the other hand, does not sell the whole story with the oil cap, but covers its small Chinese plot, according to which supposedly nothing bad will happen to the Russians.

Or it’s just wishful thinking. For example, the headline of Russian media writes: “Saudi Minister: Western sanctions and the cap on the prices of Russian oil are ineffective”

But the text of the news says that “the impact of European sanctions on Russian oil and measures to limit prices have not yet yielded clear results, and their implementation is still unclear.”

This is how Russian (in this case, economic) propaganda works: it doesn’t seem to lie (as with China), but it doesn’t tell the entire truth. Or it just primitively manipulates — as with Saudi Arabia’s energy minister.

The Russian Orthodox Church appoints a new arch-strategist

Putin stubbornly does not want to announce the end of mobilization by his decree. At the same time, artificially, in his KGB style, he brews tensions, giving reasons to talk about the second wave, which will begin immediately after the winter holidays.

But at every opportunity, the dictator says that there are no reasons for a new mobilization in Russia. He announced this most recently on December 9, while in Bishkek.

At the same time, Kremlin court lawyer Klishas says that “Putin’s word is stronger than the decree on the end of mobilization.” Good one.

IN FACT, what seemed funny on December 9 quickly turned absurd the very next day.

The Russian Orthodox Church actually compared Putin with Archangel Michael: in the prayer books distributed to mobilized soldiers, the President of the Russian Federation is hailed as the “Leader of the Heavenly Host.” 

READ ALSO: Strengthening Putin in His “Trinitarian Faith”

In the film, which was shown on the Spas TV channel, Russian priests somewhere in the Donbas distributed “military” prayer books with crosses and AKs to soldiers, which said, among other things: “Grant to the Supreme Commander-in-Chief Volodymyr, the courageous arch-strategist and God-loving Ruler…”

“We Can Explain” clarifies the genesis of this phenomenon. Since the beginning of the 2000s, Putin has been mentioned in the “prayer for the president” without a patronymic, and archangel Michael was named to be his assistant.

The prayer did not change for 20 years, but in the fall of 2022, Gundyaev (Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Kirill) proposed a new prayer: for the health of “Vladimir Vladimirovich.” 

Since autumn, they also began to use prayers for the tsar to pray for Putin. On November 4, Gundyaev openly hinted at Putin’s tsarist status, indicating that they should sit next to each other, as the tsar and patriarch usually did. Now, they took it one step further, comparing Putin with the archangel.

READ ALSO: Propagandist in Church Robes

By the way, in the same film, Igor Fomin, the abbot of the temple at MGIMO, talks about the sacred right of the head of state to kill: “The rulers have the right to punish, stop earthly destinies and give people awareness even through such a terrible event as deprivation of life.

Six Putin’s Statements from Medvedev

And finally, news from the “Russian Ouroboros” section, which has recently turned quite a bit more active than before. First, the military correspondents started fighting with the MoD, then Girkin delivered bitter truth for the Kremlin about the situation on the frontline.

This time, the propaganda snake in the form of Andrey Medvedev got Russian Prime Minister Mishustin. The reason was his decision to allocate 5.7 billion rubles for the creation of Russian-language schools in Tajikistan.

IN FACT, Medvedev’s letter to Mishustin (i.e. to Putin) provides at least six statements, which we highlighted, and which completely undermine the construction of Russia’s future.

“In the situation with the allocation of almost 6 billion rubles for Russian-language schools in Tajikistan, it is not even surprising that all this is happening in the midst of the “military operation”, when people put together 50-100 rubles on equipment, sights, and rifles.

It is unclear in principle, why do we need schools in Tajikistan? So that its citizens learn the Russian language? Only this is all profanation. We all know how language exams are taken here in Russia. You can pass even if you don’t know a single word in Russian.

And all this apparent integration is an even greater profanation because migrants live in closed communities, they do not learn the language, they don’t care about traditions, for them, Russia is only a food base, nothing more…

READ ALSO: Tajiks will no longer tolerate disrespect

And most importantly. Millions of Russians live in Asia. Why… are we once again creating conditions for migrants who are completely alien to us in spirit and essence?

The USSR has been gone for a long time, and there is no common past. Not for them. They read about the horrors of the Russian imperial occupation in their textbooks.

These 6 billion, it is not a question of where and why we even spend money. This is a question of what kind of future we are building in Russia,” Medvedev concludes.

We believe these statements alone are enough to understand: with the help of “50–100 rubles for wood burners,” Putin is trying to recreate something that nobody believes, even in Russia itself. He is told directly that there is no common Russian language and that textbooks of former Soviet republics detail the horrors of the Russian occupation (not only in Ukraine). And on this lack of a common past, Putin is going to build the future of Russia.

But this “Russian ouroboros” can keep eating at itself. What kills it makes Ukraine stronger. 

Centre for Strategic Communication and Information Security

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