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Tactics and tools How Russian propaganda uses heroization tactics

The tactic of heroization is one of the methods of military propaganda that has several key tasks. First, to consolidate the masses around a common goal – in the context of Russian aggression, this goal is the”denazification” and “liberation” of Ukrainian territories. Secondly, to inculcate the “correct” values and types of behavior, that is, to consolidate loyalty to the regime, active support for the army, and a desire to join military operations in society. Thirdly, to divert attention from urgent problems, compensating for them with dubious “achievements”. Fourth, once again justify and rationalize aggression by strengthening the desire for revenge. In addition, heroization gives rise to a romanticized vision of death, destruction and human suffering, and thus darkens the realities of war and emasculates the cost of human losses.

This tactic became popular with the outbreak of full-scale war. After all, during the first eight years of the war, Russian propagana appealed to suffering images: “the outcast people of Donbas”, “Russian-speaking Ukrainians curtailed in their rights”, “tortured children of Donbas”, “Orthodox believers persecuted for the truth”, “desecrated Soviet monuments”... The propaganda aim is to appeal to torment and suffering - to cause, on the one hand, hatred for the “punishers”, to demonize and dehumanize them, and on the other hand, to arouse sympathy for the “victims” and rationalize the generous “aid” - gum convoys of weapons. It is difficult to maintain morale if it is based only on sympathy or pity. That is why Russia glorifies 11-year-old Fiodor from the Briansk region: a group of “Ukrainian saboteurs” allegedly attacked him and two schoolgirls. The guy was wounded, the “NATO bullet” was stuck in the body, but he did not lose his head, he saved himself and the girls, running away to a safe place.

The story of the boy Fiodor appeals to strong emotions. Russian propaganda is trying to arouse sympathy for Fiodor: the little guy got into a situation from which not every adult could get out. It makes one empathize and admire - a wounded “hero” with a bullet in his body saves himself and two of his age. In addition, the courage of the schoolboy contrasts with the audacity of the “saboteurs”. If one projects these emotions into specific actions, they will get respect for the “heroism”, fierce hatred for Ukrainians and a desire for revenge.

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