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Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of newspeak: “vyrus”

The appointment of Colonel General Oleksandr Syrskyi to the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on February 8, 2024 led to a new surge in popularity of the word “vyrus” on pro-Russian resources. This is what propagandists call a person of Russian ethnic origin who has “lost his Russian identity”. According to propagandists, Syrskyi is trying to seem like one among strangers, however, for example, for the Ukrainian military he will allegedly always be an outsider because he has Russian roots. For Russia, he is a “corrupt collaborator”.

The reason for the “denazification” of the new Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was that he was born in Russia (Volodymyr region) and graduated with honors from the Moscow Higher Combined Arms Command School in 1986. It should be noted here that after his studies, Syrskyi served in Lubny, Poltava region, and Chuhuiev, Kharkiv region. And after the declaration of independence of Ukraine, he continued to serve in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Previously, the term “vyrus” was more of a jargon and was used in subcultural movements, but in recent years it has become the norm among the general public. For example, propagandist Simonian uses this word to call those Russians who ridicule Russia.

Also in Russia, the term “vyrus” can be used to designate a person who “breaks his native language about a foreign language”, that is, uses broken Ukrainian when he spoke Russian from birth. They say that this is self-humiliation for a person, because in this way he “expels “Russianness” from himself”. This word, in particular, can be applied to officials or people in the media space who have switched from Russian to Ukrainian.

Russians explain the imaginary existence of the “vyrus” by the influence of “Ukrainian propaganda”, as well as commercialism and miscalculations of “corrupt collaborators”. Propagandists include the current Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine Oleksii Danylov, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Pavlo Klymkin, ex-Minister of Defense Oleksii Reznikov, and Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov and many others as the “vyrus”. In particular, in relation to them in Russia they are promoting the message that “Galicians do not perceive them as real patriots.”

The purpose of calling Ukrainians of Russian ethnic origin “vyrus” is nothing more than to sow discord among the people of Ukraine, as well as to cast doubt on Ukrainian civic identity. Propaganda seeks to assure that there is only one identity - Russian, and that any attempts to communicate in Ukrainian, to live in Ukrainian space, are classified as ignorance of Russia.

However, if you look into the past, in particular, to the creation of the USSR, the deportations and destruction of entire nations, it is not surprising that many can be born in Russia, but with Ukrainian roots or not. People are ready to choose any country to live in, and this also proves that Ukraine exists as a separate sovereign state.

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