Russia’s Warfare on Ukraine: Six Months of Lies, Applied


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“Every single day we combat so that everybody on the planet lastly understands: we’re not a colony, not an enclave, not a protectorate. Not a gubernia, an eyalet or a crown land, not a chunk of a overseas empire, not a ‘a part of the land’, not a union republic. Not an autonomous zone, not a province, however a free, impartial, sovereign, indivisible and impartial state.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

The date August 24, 2022, marks the thirty first anniversary of Ukraine’s declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. This yr’s Independence Day carries explicit significance because it coincides with six months of Russian President Putin’s full-scale struggle of aggression in opposition to the individuals of Ukraine, their sovereignty, and cultural id.

The Kremlin’s disinformation and propaganda have accompanied and supported Russia’s army actions in Ukraine, together with the tried annexation of Crimea, assist of separatist actions in japanese Ukraine, and the continuing struggle of aggression. The Kremlin repeatedly makes an attempt to delegitimize Ukraine as a nation and state within the eyes of the Ukrainian and Russian publics, and worldwide group.

Exposing President Putin’s Playbook

President Putin repeatedly denies that Ukraine is a real nation. In 2008, he informed  President Bush “Ukraine shouldn’t be a rustic,” and in July 2021, he publicly recognized  Russians and Ukrainians as “one individuals” and declared “the true sovereignty of Ukraine is feasible solely in partnership with Russia.” Putin has repeatedly tried  to depict Ukraine as “solely created by Russia” on Russia’s “historic lands ,” arguing that Ukraine is an “inalienable a part of…[Russia’s] personal historical past, tradition and non secular house.” In a February 2022 missive, he blamed  the primary Soviet chief, Vladimir Lenin, for “creating Lenin’s Ukraine” and known as it “worse than a mistake,” days later launching a full-scale struggle, in an try, to redraw the map based on his personal distorted model of historical past. Over the previous six months, Russia’s disinformation and propaganda machine has used Putin’s false claims as a blueprint for campaigns aiming to disclaim Ukraine its proper to independence and even existence.

Imperialism Redux and Weaponization of Maps

Imperial revanchism permeates Kremlin propaganda because it tries to disguise Russia’s need to re-colonize Ukraine. Dmitry Medvedev, Deputy Chairman of the Safety Council and former President of Russia, displayed maps to query Ukraine’s legitimacy as a state. Medvedev invoked visions of Russia’s imperial previous, sharing in a July 27 Telegram publish  before-and-after maps of the area  through which Ukraine had been shrunken to simply the realm round Kyiv with the caption: “In President Zelenskyy’s drugged-out mind the image of his nation’s vibrant future might appear like this, however Western analysts assume that in actuality it is going to be this.”

Medvedev cited these supposed “Western analysts” with a view to propagate Russia’s colonial fantasy: envisioning Ukraine’s territory lowered to simply the Kyiv area, whereas the rest of Ukraine could be divided amongst Russia, Poland, Romania, and Hungary. Such a story remembers Putin’s February 2022 speech  questioning Ukraine’s statehood and accompanies intensifying Russian calls to develop its “particular army operation” to appreciate its imperial map. The top of the so-called “Donetsk Folks’s Republic” (DPR), Denis Pushilin, falsely claimed  that the “Russian cities” of Kyiv, Chernihiv, Poltava, Odesa, and Dnipro should be “liberated from Nazism,” whereas Speaker of the “Crimean Parliament” Vladimir Konstantinov added  Mykolayiv and Kharkiv to this record.

Russian Historic and Cultural Propaganda Desires to Erase Ukrainian Cultural Identification

Ukraine has existed as a definite cultural and nationwide id for hundreds of years, and Putin’s makes an attempt to violently assimilate them into Russian tradition are particularly heinous given the historic focusing on of Ukrainian nationals within the Soviet Union. Underneath Joseph Stalin, greater than three million Ukrainians died within the Holodomor, or Nice Famine— a purely synthetic meals scarcity the place your complete inhabitants of Ukraine was thought of secondary to the belief of the Soviet’s five-year financial plan.

Along with disconnecting the area from Ukrainian telecommunications, the Russian authorities is placing up billboards  in Kherson depicting famed Russian poet Aleksandr Pushkin and historic commander Aleksandr Suvorov  alongside the tagline “Kherson – A Metropolis with Russian Historical past” and patriotic quotes. The billboards possible serve two functions : to say a typical cultural historical past and reply to Ukraine’s elimination of a number of Pushkin statues throughout the nation. As one commentator  described them, the billboards are the end result of Russia’s “bloody” institution of management by “Tanks – struggle – loss of life – occupation – Pushkin.” On the identical time, busts of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko are defaced, Ukrainian museums are burned and looted, and when UNESCO officers visited Ukraine in July, they confirmed over 160 cultural websites had been broken since Russia’s full-scale invasion started. Russian bombing has even broken the memorial at Babyn Yar, the place 100,000 Jewish and different Ukrainians had been executed by the Nazis throughout World Warfare II.

Dehumanizing Rhetoric Plus Denials and Threats

Russian propagandists are utilizing dehumanizing language about Russia’s struggle in Ukraine. On his primetime propaganda program “Solovyov Dwell,” Vladimir Solovyov employed a metaphor  evaluating Ukrainians to worms being faraway from a cat by a veterinarian in a “particular operation.” On the “60 Minutes” program, host Olga Skabeyeva mentioned Ukraine is a “nonexistent nation ,” whereas considered one of her company characterised the battle as a “holy struggle” and described Ukrainian Protection Minister Reznikov as “the final bug in line that we nonetheless should put in his place.” Belarusian dictator Lukashenko mentioned on July 21 that the difficulty of whether or not Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson are a part of Ukraine “is not being mentioned.” MFA spokeswoman Zakharova denied  U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s July 13 assertion denouncing Russia’s systematic filtration camps and compelled deportation of no less than 1.6 million Ukrainians. Each Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov  and the U.S.-sanctioned , SVR-directed New Japanese Outlook  just lately claimed that Poland is subsequent on the record for Russia’s “demilitarization” of NATO.

The Puppetry of Annexation

Putin’s statements have falsely portrayed Moscow’s seizure of Ukrainian land as “returning and reinforcing” Russian territories, particularly because the Kremlin has escalated its efforts to annex parts of southern Ukraine. In a July 20 interview,  Russian Overseas Minister Lavrov revealed Moscow’s long-term intentions for its additional invasion of Ukraine by stating “geography has modified” since its March negotiations with Kyiv: “Now we’re not simply speaking about Donetsk and Luhansk provinces. It’s Kherson, Zaporizhzhya, and different territories.” Russian authorities and their proxies in Kherson and Zaporizhzhya reiterated these claims by asserting  an election fee would maintain a referendum  on becoming a member of Russia. In the meantime, Russian authorities are integrating “specialists ” into the safety companies of Russia-held Ukrainian territories and advocating for the institution of everlasting Russian army bases  in Zaporizhzhya province to function a “safety assure” and to discourage Ukraine’s efforts to liberate these areas. Russia is advancing its “passportization” coverage by requiring Ukrainian enterprise homeowners to re-register  their companies with Russian passports. Lastly, Russian proxies circulated a video  on social media asserting the creation of the “Odesa Brigade,” claiming Odesa and Mykolayiv are the following targets for Russian “liberation.” The Kremlin possible intends these efforts to counter Kyiv’s introduced offensive to retake Kherson and Zaporizhzhya by the top of the yr. Russian authorities in Kherson additionally introduced the formation on July 5 of a “Kherson authorities” led by “Russian professionals ” and modeled on the authorities that govern Russia’s federal topics  to assist expedite “reintegration” regardless of the pretense of alternative by a referendum. Each techniques intention to disclaim Ukraine’s statehood and legitimize Russia’s colonialism.

Any claims by the Kremlin that Ukrainian individuals yearn to be annexed by Russia are merely not true. Opinion polls present an amazing consensus amongst Ukrainians that they oppose Russian aggression. In line with a College of Chicago June 2022 ballot , 97 % of Ukrainians see Russia’s invasion as a significant menace to Ukraine’s safety, and 97 % need Russia to compensate Ukraine for the destruction it has triggered.

False Claims About Ukrainians’ Affinity for Russia

Russia’s disinformation and propaganda ecosystem is working to point out that individuals dwelling in Russia-controlled areas of Ukraine are looking forward to Russian rule. In each Russia-controlled area, there are credible studies of occupation authorities withholding meals, water, and medical assist from Ukrainian civilians till they’ve accepted Russian passports. State propaganda retailers like Sputnik  then depict traces of residents searching for Russian passports as voluntary, with residents who supply conveniently pro-Kremlin statements. Russian state media broadly reported outgoing head of Zaporizhzhya’s Russia-installed “military-civilian administration” Yevgeny Balitsky’s July 14 assertion {that a} referendum  on whether or not “to affix Russia or not” will happen within the first half of September . Balitsky added, “we is not going to be a second Kosovo ,” claiming NATO had break up the previous Yugoslavia aside and not using a referendum. But polling knowledge reveals that in a free referendum, Ukrainians within the occupied areas wouldn’t select to affix Russia. The Nationwide Democratic Institute’s Could 2022 ballot  discovered that solely 3 % of Ukrainians would really like Ukraine to affix the Russia-led Eurasian Customs Union, and 90 % need Ukraine to grow to be a member state of the European Union, with the bottom quantity, within the east and south, nonetheless an amazing majority at 84 %. Recognizing this actuality, Russian authorities are stepping up efforts at “re-education.” Whereas Balitsky and different Kremlin-appointed officers unfold “denazification ” rhetoric and Zaporizhzhya’s Russia-installed “governor” Anton Koltsov varieties a puppet authorities, efforts to impose a brand new academic system on Ukrainians in Russia-controlled territories intensify. The Washington Publish has reported  Moscow is providing lecturers in Russia profitable salaries to maneuver to Zaporizhzhya and Kherson to “right” what kids there have been taught prior to now.

Kremlin state media retailers falsely allege that Ukrainians within the Kharkiv area additionally search Russian identities. Vitaly Ganchev, appointed by Russia because the “head of provisional civil administration of Kharkiv province,” claimed  in a July 6 TASS interview that residents of the “liberated” Kharkiv area “intention to affix Russia. ” “Folks hear that there’s a energy vertical, we’re enacting legal guidelines, the introduction of the ruble fills a key financial area of interest, and they’re reorienting to simply accept the brand new actuality,” he mentioned. Kremlin disinformation  retailers  instantly amplified  these false claims. Ganchev was accused  in April by the Kharkiv regional prosecutor’s workplace of excessive treason for collaborating with Russian forces and making an attempt to prepare a “referendum” to declare a “Kharkiv Folks’s Republic,” once more . His techniques seem aimed toward laying the groundwork for tried annexation of the Russia-controlled areas, which represent 30% of the Kharkiv area, and seem timed to Russia’s elevated efforts at “passportization.”

The information are clear: the Ukrainian individuals in any free and truthful referendum would vote overwhelmingly in opposition to becoming a member of Russia, together with these dwelling in Ukraine’s east and south. In a survey  carried out by the Worldwide Republican Institute in April 2022, greater than 90 % of Ukrainians mentioned their opinion of Russia has worsened because the February 24th invasion. Russian officers acknowledge this actuality regardless of their disinformation and propaganda efforts. U.S. intelligence signifies that Russian officers are involved about low voter turnout in these sham referenda and know their efforts to legitimize the unlawful land seize will lack legitimacy and won’t mirror the need of the individuals.

Ukrainian individuals are deeply united within the face of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Surveys  mirror that Ukrainians are dedicated to their nation’s democratic improvement, with a historic 94 % saying that absolutely functioning democracy is vital to them. Regardless of the full-scale invasion, 87 % of Ukrainians present unprecedented optimism about Ukraine’s future.

Ukraine Will Stay Sovereign and Impartial

Thirty-one years in the past, the individuals of Ukraine proclaimed their independence as a sovereign nation. Since 2014, and notably throughout the previous six months, the world has witnessed President Putin utilizing each army power and misleading statements to undermine Ukrainian sovereignty. He has failed in that aim regardless of the struggling he has inflicted on Ukraine. As this struggle continues, the braveness and power of Ukraine’s individuals has been extraordinary. As Secretary Blinken identified, “Ukraine has not and won’t be conquered. It should stay sovereign and impartial. The USA and our allies and companions will proceed to face with them and assist present exactly what they should defend their freedom.”


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