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Tactics and tools How Russian propaganda uses ignoring the topic to achieve its goals

This tactic is to ignore the topic of discussion when it changes to the opposite. Ignoring the topic is used by Russian propagandists. After an event occurs that is unfavorable to Russian propaganda, official sources keep silent about it or selectively cover certain aspects. This tactic is used to reduce or minimize the negative aspects of a situation, divert attention from important issues, and create a false narrative. Propagandists hide information, sharing only news that supports their false thesis, while ignoring or blocking the content that hangs them. This contributes to the echo chamber effect.

Even under the Soviet Union, Russian propaganda used the tactic of ignoring the topic. For most Russians, the Second World War is called the “Great Patriotic War” and it allegedly began on June 22, 1941 with the attack of Nazi Germany troops on Poland. However, the fact is hushed up that the Nazi troops invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and the Soviet Union itself occupied Poland on September 17, 1939. Prior to this, Nazi Germany occupied the territories of the Czech Republic and Austria, and the Soviet Union did not call it an aggressor.

During the Soviet period, ignoring the topic was actively used by the then press. The Chornobyl tragedy, which occurred as a result of the explosion at the fourth power unit of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant on April 26, 1986, was kept silent by the Soviet media for several days. Only on April 28 at 21:00 did the Vriemia (Time) television program very succinctly report on the accident, which was supposed to create the illusion of safety for people, and events for the May 1 holiday were also not canceled. They tried to hush up the greatest man-made disaster in the history of mankind: the real diagnoses of people who received radiation damage were hidden. However, due to the scale of the disaster, which affected a number of European countries and foreign media, it could not be ignored. Soviet traditions and ignoring the topic were inherited by modern Russia, which on February 24, 2022 started a war against Ukraine. In May 2023, Russian propagandists disseminated information about the serious injury of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi, due to which he would no longer be able to perform his duties. Murdered versions even appeared on anonymous telegram channels and in media broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. However, already on May 25, Colonel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, blogger and journalist Anatolii Stefan “Stirlitz” published a video with Valerii Zaluzhnyi, and from that moment all the pro-Kremlin media and telegram channels took it in their mouths: no one denied the information about the death of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, but the fact of his public appearance was ignored.

Another topic Russian propaganda ignores is strikes on Russian cities. On July 30, 2023, there was a drone attack on Moscow, which resulted in the destruction of the facades of two Moscow City towers, where Russian ministries are located - the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications. In connection with this event, the air zone over Moscow was closed for flights. However, Russian federal television channels ignored this incident and focused on covering the Navy parade in St. Petersburg and a conversation with Putin’s journalists following the Russia-Africa summit.

Intentionally or unintentionally, by ignoring important information, Russian propaganda prevents the spread of unwanted news among the population. By taking technical measures, Russian propagandists manage to prevent their popularization and prevent the emergence of an undesirable negative reaction among citizens.

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