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Tactics and tools How Russian propaganda uses economic problems to achieve its goals

Russian propagandists use the themes of economic problems in the world, increasing tariffs in Ukraine and energy costs to intimidate Ukrainians and force them to end the war in any way (on Russia’s terms, abandoning territories seized by Russian occupiers) and to increase the spirit of the pro-Russian audience.

Last year, propaganda cables spread the message that the world economy would collapse unless sanctions against Russia and Russian businessmen were lifted and conceded on the front. Russian propaganda uses intimidation tactics to cause fear in people and get what they want: sanctions were lifted from Russia, and Ukraine recognized the occupied east and part of the south as Russian territories. It seems that this will help maintain the economy and prices. However, the whole world and Ukraine adapted to the new conditions, of course, not without increasing tariffs, but the economy turned out to be more flexible than the Russians expected. However, Russia itself has learned to circumvent sanctions.

Russian propaganda spread messages to Russians and residents of temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories about improving life in contrast to the “decadent” and supposedly impoverished Ukraine. Allegedly, with Russia, utilities become cheaper, Ukrainian companies that took out loans during the occupation may not repay them, and people who need medical care in Nova Kakhovka travel for free to a safe place for treatment. Here propagandists use love bombing tactics. Russian propaganda is trying to convince people that they need to support Russia, because it cares about them. Propagandists also use the tactic of repeated repetition - they repeat the narrative many times about the “piece of paradise” that populated areas supposedly become after the arrival of the Russians. They just keep silent about the fact that they are destroying Ukrainian cities and killing Ukrainians. About those territories that the Russians failed to occupy, propaganda deliberately spreads narratives about crisis, decline, and describes the worst-case scenario, causing fear among people. “Financial problems in Ukraine indicate that in the fall the economy will go into a steep decline and default”, they wrote in one of the telegram channels.

Russian propaganda also tried to show that the sanctions imposed on Russia for allowing a full-scale war in Ukraine are disadvantageous for the whole world, because protests are taking place in different countries, especially in the countries of the European Union. Propagandists spread many versions that “soon gas will be at $4,000 and oil at $200”, “in the coming days the price of gas in Europe will be very interesting” and disseminated information about what saving measures can be taken in connection with the rise in prices of energy carriers. Moreover, sometimes Russians even equated economic means of pressure on them with the destruction of the Russian people. Thus, Russian propaganda tried to manipulate and make the audience feel guilty, to intimidate readers, to impose the opinion that Russia influenced the world agenda and without cooperation with it, Europe and the whole world simply cannot exist.

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