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Tactics and tools How Russian propaganda uses show business to spread anti-Ukrainian narratives

The Kremlin uses show business as a tool to influence public opinion and to spread Russian propaganda. Artists with a large number of fans publicly express their support for Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine, and also perform at propaganda events both in Russia itself and in the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories.

So, a year ago, Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine was accompanied by massive reports of Russian “starship landings”. For example, Russian singer Nikolai Baskov wrote on his Instagram that “Russia's operation is in full compliance with international law”. He believes that Russia is using the right to self-defense and the protection of its allies (the so-called DNR and LNR). Baskov's position was supported by the Russian radio and TV presenter and actress Alla Dovlatova. Another TV presenter, Tina Kandelaki, rebuked those who condemn Russia's aggression against Ukraine. These people relayed Kremlin talking points to justify Russia's actions.

In addition, the Ministry of Culture, together with the Russian Ministry of Defense, recently announced the formation of propaganda teams, which include Russian artists. These brigades are created, in particular, in order to organize concerts, including in the regions, to raise the fighting mood among the mobilized. Similar propaganda teams also existed under the Soviet Union, when artists were used for political agitation and propaganda.

At the same time, Russian artists spread propaganda not only in Russia. They also travel with concerts to the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and perform at propaganda events. Moreover, some representatives of the Russian show business at one time received the passports of the so-called DNR and LNR. Thus, they tried to legitimize these pseudo-republics and support the position of the Kremlin.

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