Spilnota Detector Media

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

The term “to Macron” first appeared in the Ukrainian information space at the beginning of the full-scale invasion. This concept comes from the name of French President Emmanuel Macron, who at the beginning of the great war was remembered by many Ukrainians not for real help, but only for “deep concern” about the situation in Ukraine. Accordingly, in the Ukrainian lexicon the term “to Macron” is used to mean “showing a worried look regarding a certain situation, but not actually doing anything”.

In the Russian information field, this concept appeared a little later. First in 2022 with the semantics of “calling continuously, repeatedly and to no avail” amid Macron’s constant phone calls to Putin in the hope of stopping the war with diplomacy. And already in 2024, the term “to Macron” in the Russian dictionary acquired a different meaning: “constantly throwing in unrealistic, eccentric, sometimes opposite in content theses to fill the agenda”. And the appearance of such semantics of this word can be called a response of Russian propaganda to the strengthening of the rhetoric of the French President regarding the protection of Ukraine and assistance to it. In particular, this concerns Macron’s statements about the possible dispatch of French troops to Ukraine.

Thus, one can notice some trends. During the time when the French president more or less satisfied the Russians with his cautious policy on the war in Ukraine, they used the term “to Macron” rather in a derisive sense. However, as soon as Macron began to form a new vector against Russian aggression in Ukraine, he openly began to infuriate the Russians. Accordingly, this is how a new semantics of the word “to Macron” arose.

So, Russian propaganda seeks to discredit the French President and devalue his supposed “escalatory statements”, as it makes them, regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war. Russian propaganda may also argue that Macron’s increased rhetoric about the war in Ukraine is a bluff, stupidity, or even crossing Russia’s imaginary “red lines”. However, in reality, this reaction of Russians, in particular the spread of the term “to Macron” with new semantics, rather looks insulted and infantile.

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

Russian propagandists use the term “Ukrobeshenka” to describe Ukrainian migrant women who, in their opinion, behave “inappropriately” abroad and, as a result, allegedly create problems. By resorting to this concept, Russian propagandists seek to discredit the image of Ukrainian women abroad, as well as directly cause pain to members of this social category. It is about slur - an offensive word that hides discrimination against a group of people based on race, sexual orientation, gender, illness, etc. and is used, in particular, to demonstrate a lack of respect.

The National Democratic Institute (NDI) notes that not all hate speech, threats or gender-based attacks against women are cases of gender misinformation, but all fall within the definition of online violence against women.

Thus, pro-Russian resources distributed a video of a conflict that occurred in Germany between a Ukrainian migrant and a Russian man, who assured her that he himself was a “German”, since he had been living in this country for 25 years. However, the clash itself between them arose because the son of a Ukrainian woman exclaimed “Glory to Ukraine!” while playing with other children, and the Russian did not like this. Propagandists began distributing this video online with the following caption: “Ukrobeshenka in Germany hysterically defends the Nazi slogan “glory to Ukraine”. At the same time, it was the man who began to aggressively express his complaints against the boy’s mother, saying, “What the glory of Ukraine?” and “Are you fascists or what?” He also tried to offend the Ukrainian woman, claiming: “What kind of woman are you? You are “ukrop”! During the conflict, the woman reacted with restraint to the Russian’s reproaches, and also assured him that it was the Russians who were fascists, since they attacked Ukraine.

In the end, with the start of the full-scale invasion, the situation of Ukrainian women changed: there were many times more internally displaced persons and refugees, single mothers, widows, relatives of veterans and military women. Women who previously fought for their rights are now fighting for their physical survival and that of their children. And Russian propaganda continues to regularly attack Ukrainian women, in particular refugees, with the aim of influencing their morale.

The Detector Media team conducted a separate large-scale study of how propaganda is trying to discredit Ukrainian women. One can read it at the link.

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

In Russia, a “foreign agent” is a person who is considered to receive funding from abroad and participate in the political activities of the country, disseminate information as media on the territory of the Russian Federation, or collect military-technical information. The Putin regime has carried out systematic repression in Russia in recent years, for example by censoring the media or banning rallies. After the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the persecution of dissent in Russia intensified even more, and citizens disliked by the authorities increasingly began to be included in the so-called register of “foreign agents”. That is, this term is used to attack the opposition, in particular.

Russia's “foreign agents” law, passed back in 2012, requires any non-profit organization allegedly receiving financial support from outside Russia or being “influenced” by other countries to register and declare itself a “foreign agent”. Russian legislation does not specify what exactly should be considered foreign influence. The law has been heavily criticized both in Russia and internationally as a violation of human rights and as a tool used to suppress civil society - especially groups opposed to Putin. We are also talking about pressure on press freedom in the Russian Federation, because projects, for example, Radio Svoboda (Liberty), Voice of America, etc., are included in the register.

Today, a similar law “On the Transparency of Foreign Influence” is being tried to be adopted in the Georgian parliament. Georgian deputies even voted for it in the second reading. Before final adoption, the bill still has to pass the third final reading, as well as overcome the veto of the country's president. However, back on March 7, 2023, mass peaceful protests began in Georgia, which continue today, due to parliamentary support for the law on “foreign agents” initiated by the Georgian “Power of the People” party. The protesters call it an analogue of the Russian law on “foreign agents” and believe that it will remove Georgia from joining the EU.

Previously, only organizations were included in the Russian register of “foreign agents”, but from the end of 2020, individuals allegedly under foreign influence began to be included there — it is no longer necessary to establish the fact of financing from abroad. As of April 2023, there were more than 260 people on the register of “foreign agents”. Almost half of the “foreign agents”, according to the Russian authorities, are journalists: there were 119 of them in the register. For example, already in April 2024, the Russian journalist Ivan Filippov, who runs a telegram channel with an audience of 61.5 thousand subscribers, was added to the register of “foreign agents”. In particular, it contains critical reviews of publications by Russian pro-war telegram channels. Another large group in the register is political and public figures: 79 people.

Also, 18 human rights activists, lawyers and jurists acquired the status of “foreign agent” in Russia; 14 representatives of show business; 13 political scientists, historians, sociologists and philosophers; 11 publicists and publishers; 5 artists, directors and film distributors; 5 businessmen and economists; 2 athletes and even one physicist.

So, today the Russian authorities allow themselves to persecute not only organizations, but also citizens they dislike, working in the field of education, culture, healthcare, ecology, human rights protection, etc., labeling them as “foreign agents”. This term is intended to discredit these individuals and their views or activities to the public.

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

In Russia, the participation of the Russian military in the war against Ukraine is called “heroism”. The so-called “heroes” illegally cross the border of another state, occupy part of it, thereby allegedly “liberating Ukraine from the Nazis”. They kill Ukrainian civilians, rape, and loot. At the same time, it is precisely such actions that are presented in Russian propaganda as “heroism”.

In addition, the Russian military receives state awards for this. Thus, Putin, for example, noted the “heroism and courage” of the 64th separate motorized rifle brigade of the Russian Ground Forces, which carried out a massacre in the city of Bucha, Kyiv region. The head of the Kremlin gave this brigade the name “Guards” for “heroism and courage, steadfastness and courage shown by the brigade’s personnel in combat operations to defend the fatherland and state interests in armed conflicts”.

Also in Russia, children are raised by promoting the cult of war and cultivating their willingness to imitate the “heroism” of the participants in the Russian-Ukrainian war. That is, in this way, there is a legitimation of the occupation, encouragement to violate the laws and customs of war, and the commission of actions that international justice regards as war crimes. This is evidenced, for example, by special ideological lessons, in particular, “Conversations about what is important” and the so-called “Lessons of Courage”; cadet classes; opening memorial plaques in schools to Russian soldiers who died in the war against Ukraine; opening of the “heroes' desks”.

In particular, the rhetoric about the “heroism” of Russian “liberators” is intended to justify the war crimes of the Russian army, to give this war a different, righteous content.

Read also: “The Crucified Boy” became the “hero Fiodor”: How Russian propaganda invents heroes – MediaSapiens.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: the “Ukrainian trace”

Russian propaganda traditionally resorts to rhetoric about the “Ukrainian trace” to explain the causes of internal problems or tragedies on Russian territory. They say that all dangers for Russia are necessarily somehow connected with Ukraine. Yes, official Moscow searched and supposedly even found a “Ukrainian trace” in the Jewish pogroms in the Caucasus, the terrorist attack at Crocus City Holi in the Moscow region, etc.

In particular, during a telephone conversation between Russian Defense Minister Serhii  Shoihu and the newly appointed French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu on April 3, 2024, the former spoke about the information available in Russia about the “Ukrainian trace” in the Crocus terrorist attack. However, in response, Lecornu said that France does not have any information to establish a connection between this terrorist attack and Ukraine. He also called on Russia to stop any instrumentalization of this event. The United States also stated that Ukraine was not involved in the terrorist attack, and Putin’s inner circle does not believe that Ukraine was involved in the terrorist attack in the Moscow region. It is also known that the Islamist terrorist state ISIS claimed responsibility for the shooting at Crocus, however, in this situation, Russian propaganda insists on various versions with a “Ukrainian trace”, which in some places contradict each other.

In addition, the Kremlin can talk about the “Ukrainian trace” in the event of crisis events outside Russia, often directly affecting it. Insisting that “all the ills of the world” are to blame for Ukraine. So, for example, in the case of the Nord Stream explosion, the emergence of weapons from the Hamas terrorist group from the Russian-Ukrainian war (allegedly Ukraine “sold” Western weapons to terrorists) and many others.

For example, Russian Presidential Press Secretary Pieskov spoke about Ukraine’s possible involvement in sabotage on the Nord Streams: “Ukrainian traces of this sabotage and terrorist act are increasingly appearing in various reports, investigations, and media reports. This is true”. In fact, there is no real evidence to confirm this, except for some additional “details”. In addition, in the West questions are being asked, “Why did Ukraine need to blow up gas pipelines that were already under sanctions and were not working?”

Consequently, Russia’s rhetoric about the “Ukrainian trace” in certain troubles of Russia or the world is aimed, first of all, at fixing in the minds of as many people as possible the associative series: “Ukraine = terrorism”. And this while Russian terror against the Ukrainian population continues. Also, in this way, the Kremlin seeks to strengthen anti-Ukrainian sentiment among its own population, in particular. And in this way, Russian propaganda discredits Ukraine at the international level and throws another “argument” into the information space to justify aggression, which sounds like “protection from terrorism on the part of Ukraine”.

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

“Voienkor” (short for “war correspondents”) are propagandists who pretend to be journalists. Although they work in a combat zone, in fact the so-called “military correspondents” are full-time employees of Russian military information units serving aggression.

In modern Russia, the concept of “military correspondent” began to come into everyday use in 2014, when the Russian-Ukrainian war began. Then many patriotic Russians began to cover the events taking place in Donbas. With the start of a full-scale war in 2022, “military correspondents” became a phenomenon, and the term itself became entrenched in the Russian-language segment of the Internet. During the first months of a full-scale war, Russian “military correspondents” gained great popularity, since the Russian audience needed alternative sources of information about the progress of the war, other than the official ones. And above all on telegram as a convenient platform.

In fact, “military correspondents” have become such a significant and widespread phenomenon that the Russian State Duma even proposed equating “war correspondents” covering the war with combat veterans. In addition, some Russian military officers were awarded medals supposedly for their dangerous work in the combat zone.

Despite their feigned criticism, the “military correspondents” always remain in line with the key Kremlin narratives. When necessary, they extinguish indignation and panic. When necessary, on the contrary, they raise the temperature to the required level, looking for the culprits among military commissars, commanders or governors. The main thing is that Putin is never among the culprits of the problems that military correspondents write about. He’s good, it’s just that everyone deceives him and doesn’t tell him the whole truth.

Most military correspondents, after the flight of the Russian army from the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions, sharply shifted their focus to events in other regions where the Russians had at least some success. “Kyiv was not and could not be the main direction”, “Regrouping is a military necessity, often contrary to political expediency”, “the main thing is the South, where there is grain and access to the Black Sea - Odesa, Mykolaiv”. This was followed by hundreds of messages that convinced that the civilians killed in the Kyiv region were a “staged act”. One of the popular Russian “military correspondents”, Kots, positioned himself as an “eyewitness” who did not see the bodies of the dead.

And a similar principle followed whenever the authorities needed the help of “military correspondents” to divert attention or reduce the level of public disappointment due to bad news from the battlefield. For example, while Zmiinyi Island was in Russian hands, it was a “strategic object” that gave Russia control over almost the entire Black Sea. However, when the Russians were kicked out of there, the “military correspondents” at first did not write anything, but about a week later they began to talk about Zmiinyi as “a territory that is important only with complete control over Odesa and Mykolaiv”. And the Ukrainian banner on the island was called a “PR campaign”.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of the newspeak: “independence and sovereignty”

By resorting to rhetoric about “independence and sovereignty”, Russian propaganda ironizes and seeks to challenge both the independence and sovereignty of the Ukrainian state. Propagandists often write this phrase according to Russian transliteration, thereby demonstrating their disdainful, frivolous attitude towards Ukraine. They say that the Ukrainian government is illegitimate, and the country is led either by the “collective West”, or by “overseas masters”, etc. And, accordingly, all important decisions regarding Ukraine are made somewhere in “Western offices”.

This term was also used in a religious context, when in 2022 the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) announced the alleged severance of ties with Moscow, proclaiming this “independence and sovereignty”. However, at that time there was no talk of either autocephaly or autonomy, which could be considered a real achievement. Therefore, Archbishop of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU) Yevstratii Zoria emphasized that the corresponding statement of the UOC-MP really serves as a cover for its lack of independence and sovereignty in the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC).

On August 24, 1991, the Verkhovna Rada of the then Ukrainian SSR adopted a historical document - the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine. The independence of Ukraine was also recognized by the international community - in December 1991 alone, more than 40 countries did so. Then a new independent state appeared on the geopolitical map of the world - Ukraine. In addition, in the Constitution of Ukraine, Article 1 reads as follows: “Ukraine is a sovereign and independent, democratic, social, legal state”. Therefore, the rhetoric of Russian propagandists who doubt the sovereignty of Ukraine is, in particular, another justification for their imperial ambitions to conquer their neighboring country.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “Anglo-Saxons”

About 1600 years ago, Germanic tribes migrated to the British Isles. Today these tribes are known as the Anglo-Saxons. In the terminology of Russian propaganda, this word is used in relation to the British, residents of Great Britain, Americans, Australians, Canadians and representatives of other nations who speak English. Moreover, the term “Anglo-Saxons” designates English-speaking Westerners specifically as “evil”, “warlike”, and “morally corrupt”. “Arrogant Saxons” is a word with the same meaning as “Anglo-Saxons”, but with an additional emphasis on the supposed arrogance, rudeness and insolence of citizens of Western countries.

In November 2021, the press secretary of the Russian President Pieskov, commenting on publications in the American press that Russia was preparing an invasion of Ukraine, said that “the Anglo-Saxon media are whipping up hysteria”. In January 2022, Pieskov again resorted to similar rhetoric: “The Anglo-Saxons, of course, are significantly increasing tension on the European continent. Here we Europeans have something to think about”. In these two cases, one can trace the tactics of reflection typical of Russian propaganda, used, in particular, to divert attention from the real state of affairs.

In 2022, while presenting the World Cup match between England and the USA, a “journalist” from a Russian TV channel called British football players “arrogant Saxons”,  thus demonstrating his disrespect for them. And he did it twice in half a minute. It is not surprising in fact, because a few months earlier in the mentioned incident, the same “journalist-TV presenter” called the Polish football players who refused to play with Russia in the selection for the 2022 World Cup “vile creatures”. It is significant that he said this with a “Z” symbol on the T-shirt - a symbol of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The use of the words “Anglo-Saxons” or “arrogant-Saxons” serves to reinforce narratives of supposedly Western imperialism and interventionism, portraying these countries as orchestrators of events or policies that harm Russia and perhaps even its allies. That is, the “Anglo-Saxon world” in the minds of Russian propaganda is trying to conquer and dominate.

Contrasting the Western community and Russians, propaganda also resorts to the term “Westerns”. As a negative universal term, the word “Anglo-Saxons” is also widely used by propagandists in the context of conspiracy theories. The Detector Media has a section with the appropriate name, the materials of which can be viewed here.

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.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of newspeak: overseas masters

On February 22, 2022, two days before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the self-proclaimed President of Belarus Oleksandr Lukashenko, Putin’s henchman, addressed the Ukrainian people and the country’s leadership with a call that “the Slavic peoples must live in peace and harmony”. At the same time, he suggested that Ukraine “should brush aside its overseas masters”, since they supposedly would not bring any happiness to the Ukrainians.

Russia claims that Ukraine cannot resolve a single important issue of its domestic and foreign policy without agreement with its “overseas masters”. And on one Russian website they even offer synonyms for this phrase: “Western leadership”, “agents of influence”, “a sect of lepers, rootless parasites”.

By the term “overseas masters”, propagandists mean “Washington and London”, in particular, because of their allegedly selfish policy towards Ukraine for quite a long time. However, Ukraine is an independent and sovereign state, and the reproaches of propaganda depending on Kyiv from the “overseas masters” are aimed at declaring the fictitiousness of the Ukrainian government and discrediting it in the eyes of the whole world. In addition, in this way Russia wants to assert that Ukraine is a country of error (“country 404”), and therefore its existence as a whole is supposedly unacceptable.

The assistance provided to Ukraine by the United States and Great Britain can be measured in tens of billions of dollars. They transfer weapons and military equipment, therefore, as a result, they allegedly allow themselves to set a “simple task” for Kyiv: to fight at any cost. Ukraine, in the eyes of propaganda, is a chessboard and supposedly realizes the interests of its “overseas masters”. All its actions are the fulfillment of the will of the latter, and the Russian-Ukrainian war is a proxy war, and not a struggle for independence and upholding the Euro-Atlantic course. According to the conclusions of Russian propaganda, the West’s position regarding Ukraine is aimed at destroying Russia, and so it is “defending itself”. Moscow's retaliatory rhetoric serves as yet another justification for bloody aggression and an unprovoked war.

Yes, without the military support of the West, it is unknown whether Ukraine would have survived the war against Russia. At the same time, this does not give grounds to assert that the Ukrainian state is subject to someone “from overseas”, since it defends the democratic values of the entire civilized world and that is why allied countries continue to support it.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of newspeak: “a retaliatory strike”

According to the Russian version of Wikipedia, “strike” (or second strike) is a nuclear strategy concept that means a massive nuclear retaliatory strike against an aggressor. However, Kremlin propaganda rather uses this term, as well as the phrase “retaliation operation”, not in a nuclear context. Moscow resorts to such rhetoric when it talks about shelling the territory of Ukraine with its “high-precision weapons”, supposedly in response to the “unprovoked” actions of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Thus, the Russian Ministry of Defense called the Russian massive missile attack on the temporary deployment points of Ukrainian Armed Forces units in Kramatorsk on the night of January 8, 2023, an “operation of retaliation”. As a result, they allegedly managed to eliminate more than 600 Ukrainian Armed Forces personnel. This Russian attack was a response to the “insidious attack of the Kyiv regime” on the vocational school building in Makiivka on the night of January 1, 2023, which resulted in the death of about 400 Russian military personnel.

However, Advisor to the then Minister of Defense of Ukraine Oleksii Kopytko said that Russia’s statement about a “retaliatory strike” is an IPSO. It was aimed at “killing the negative” from the attack on Makiivka. In this case, the Russians resorted to reflexive tactics. The information itself about the death of more than 600 Ukrainian Armed Forces soldiers in Kramatorsk was fake - it was refuted by foreign media, the Ukrainian military leadership and even Russian “patriotic channels”.

The missile and drone attack on Mykolaiv and Odesa already on the night of July 18, 2023 was called by the Russian Ministry of Defense a “group retaliation strike” in response to the explosions on the Crimean Bridge the previous night. However, then military-political observer Oleksandr Kovalenko said that too little time had passed since the explosions on the Crimean Bridge (one day) for Russia to be able to prepare such an attack as a “retaliation strike”. In fact, the Kremlin gave it away as such. Cruise missiles and kamikaze drones, then flying towards two Ukrainian cities, had to be given coordinates and target objects, and a route built - this should have taken about 48 hours, Kovalenko added.

That is, after the Kremlin experiences any crushing blow, it resorts to rhetoric, saying, “we have everything under control” - this is a “strike of retaliation”. Thus, propagandists console the internal population of Russia, blur their eyes, and in fact cover up the defeat of the Russian army at the front with new so-called “achievements”.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with newspeak: the “dirty bomb”

The Russians first started talking about a “dirty bomb” on the eve of a full-scale invasion. In December 2021, a fake video was posted on one of the propaganda resources, allegedly filmed by the Ukrainian National Corps, demonstrating some kind of “radioactive-filled device”. The video stated that such weapons would be used if Russian troops advance across Ukraine. At the beginning of February 2022, this story was picked up in a slightly improved form by other pro-Russian media and telegram channels. Subsequently, in the first days of March 2022, after the start of a full-scale war, propagandists claimed that “on the secret order of Zelenskyi”, work was underway in Ukraine to create a “dirty bomb” at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. Allegedly, the increased radiation background characteristic of the Chornobyl zone, which was a consequence of the 1986 tragedy, made it possible to hide the conduct of such work, so the Russians attacked Ukraine, thus delivering a “preventive strike” and protecting themselves.

However, the story of the “dirty bomb” gained the most publicity in October 2022. The Russian Defense Minister Serhii Shoihu telephoned the defense ministers of France, Great Britain, Turkey and the United States to say that Ukraine was preparing a provocation with a “dirty bomb”. France, Great Britain and the United States responded to this with a joint statement in which they called Russia's message a lie.

In fact, Ukraine has never developed a so-called “dirty bomb”, and all statements by propagandists on this topic are fake. The Russian propaganda explanation as to why Ukraine would detonate a “dirty bomb” on its territory is baseless. Russia claims that Ukraine allegedly wanted to increase the number of Ukrainian refugees abroad in this way (for an unknown reason), as well as to pass off a “dirty bomb” as the explosion of a tactical nuclear charge to Russia itself in order to accuse the latter of using nuclear weapons. Then the international community should have condemned such actions by the Kremlin and introduced new sanctions, perhaps even expelling Russia from the UN Security Council, as well as increasing arms supplies to Ukraine.

Russia is speculating on the use of a “dirty bomb” to sow distrust in Ukraine and force the world to waste resources on refuting accusations from propagandists. An IAEA commission came to Ukraine to check whether a “dirty bomb” was really being developed at the facilities that Russia claimed - the Eastern Mining and Processing Plant in Zhovti Vody and the Institute of Nuclear Research of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. The result of the inspection was that the Agency did not identify any signs of such weapons at Ukrainian nuclear facilities.

A report from the American Institute for the Study of War says that Russian propaganda claims about the development of a “dirty bomb” are needed to slow down the process of arms supplies to Ukraine. At the same time, analysts believe that Russia is unlikely to detonate the so-called “dirty bomb” itself: this is just another attempt to “test” the international community in order to find out a possible reaction to the use of nuclear weapons by Russia.

After all, Ukraine has long insisted that Russia be recognized as a terrorist state. The fake news about Ukraine creating a “dirty bomb” is a mirror response from Russia, the purpose of which is to try to convince the world that it is Ukraine that is acting as a terrorist group. This, by the way, is one of the most common messages of Russian propaganda, constantly trying to accuse Ukraine of terrorism, saying that it itself fires at Ukrainian civilians and launches missile strikes on its own critical infrastructure.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the newspeak: “aggressor”

In the run-up to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Putin and Russian propagandists have increasingly spread the narrative that Ukraine is the aggressor in the war, which began back in 2014. They say that then the Ukrainian Armed Forces began shelling the civilian population of the Luhansk region and Donbas. This Russian propaganda narrative intensified in late 2021 after more than one year of a so-called “comprehensive truce” that Russia repeatedly violated. In this regard, it was decided to allow the Ukrainian military in the Joint Forces Operation (JFO) zone to return fire to the occupiers without the approval of senior leadership. Thus, in particular, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi deprived the military of the need to fill out unnecessary documents. However, according to propaganda, Ukraine allegedly “sabotaged the truce”. Moreover, according to propagandists, sooner or later Ukraine would have attacked “defenseless” Russia, since it was also increasing weapons production.

The rhetoric of the Russians that Ukraine is the aggressor can in no way be justified, since it is our country that has been suffering from a war unleashed by a neighboring country for more than nine years. Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine began on February 20, 2014, when Russian troops without insignia entered the territory of the Crimean Peninsula with the aim of occupying it. Only after this did the Ukrainian military begin to resist Russian attempts to seize military installations in Crimea by force. Some time later, at the beginning of April 2014, the Russian military, under the cover of the newly formed quasi-state entities - the DPR and the LPR - declared their intention to establish control over the Donbas by armed means. That is, in the war against Ukraine, from the very beginning it was Russia that was the aggressor.

By spreading the thesis that “Ukraine is the aggressor”, Russian propaganda is trying to justify Russia’s bloody war against Ukraine, in particular, the presence of Russian troops on the territory of our state. They say that if the “liberators” had not come, the “oppression” of Russian-speaking Ukrainians and the killing of Donbas residents by the Ukrainian Armed Forces would have continued. Ultimately, Russia must answer for all war crimes committed in Ukraine and pay reparations for the harm caused to our country.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of newspeak: “crimes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”

According to Russian propaganda, the Ukrainian Armed Forces have allegedly regularly committed war crimes since the start of the Russian-Ukrainian war in 2014. For example, propaganda resources blamed the Ukrainian side for the downing of a civilian Boeing 777 passenger plane near Donetsk in the first year of the war, while denying Russia’s guilt. Then 298 people died - all on board.

In conditions of a full-scale war, propagandists continue to use “reports” and “interviews of residents” who allegedly managed to leave the combat zones as evidence of “crimes of the Ukrainian Armed Forces”. They say that the Ukrainian military, for example, is firing at the cars of people who are trying to evacuate along humanitarian corridors, or they say that civilians are allegedly being used as “human shields”. Or, say, when in March 2022, the online publication Sky News took a comment from the Kremlin Ambassador to the UN Vasyl Nebenzia about the overthrown air bomb on the drama theater in the center of Mariupol, he denied Russia’s involvement in this.

The court in The Hague concluded, in particular, that the Boeing 777 aircraft mentioned in the text was shot down by a missile from the Buk anti-aircraft missile system and belonged to the 53rd anti-aircraft missile brigade of the Russian Armed Forces. As for Mariupol, investigations by a number of foreign organizations unanimously indicate that it was a Russian plane that dropped an aerial bomb on the Drama Theater in the center of the city on March 16, 2022, where about 600 people could have died. The atrocities of Russians in Bucha and Gostomel in the Kyiv region, in Izium in the Kharkiv region and in other de-occupied territories have been confirmed and documented by journalists from the world's leading newspapers - and these are war crimes that Russia commits in Ukraine every day.

The October 2023 UN report on war crimes by Russia and Ukraine in the war for the period from February 1 to July 31, 2023 contains information that during this time six murders of Ukrainian prisoners of war and not a single murder of Russians in captivity of the Ukrainian Armed Forces were recorded. There is also no confirmed information that the Ukrainian Armed Forces fired at civilians trying to leave dangerous territories.

By resorting to newspeak, in this case, Russian propaganda aims to shift responsibility for the war crimes of the Russian army onto the Ukrainian army. Like, “evil in the form of the Ukrainian Armed Forces must be punished”, and “peaceful Ukrainian citizens must be protected”. Deportations of civilians, their torture, massacres, the use of cover for the Russian military (“human shields”) - these and other violations of international humanitarian law by Russia are documented in the 50-kilogram book “Crime Without Punishment”, created in Ukraine and already represented in NATO and the European Parliament.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of newspeak: “great Russian culture”

One of the factors that supposedly symbolizes the unity of Russian society and the state is the “great Russian culture”. In them, domestic literature is an important component of culture, the spiritual habitat of the people. This is about Pushkin, Dostoievskyi, Chekhov, Chaikovskyi, Gogol or Tolstoi in particular.

Russians use the term “great Russian culture” in fact with the goal of overcoming their inferiority complex and artificially exalting it in the international arena. They say that the cultures of different countries and peoples have the right to exist, but the “great” one, that is, with an exceptionally rich heritage, is Russian.

For centuries, Russia destroyed Ukrainian culture: language, history, customs and traditions, cultural elite, and this is not an exhaustive list. The Russians distorted facts and appropriated Ukrainian writers and cultural figures, for example, the writer Mykola Gogol or the artist Kazymyr Malevych. Ukraine is allegedly a territory that has always belonged first to the Soviet and now to the Russian heritage.

Russia's war against Ukraine showed the true face of the aggressor. It turned out that the “great Russian culture” can massively educate murderers, rapists and marauders who have thousands of war crimes to their credit. Russians also show the “greatness” of the culture they grew up with by physically destroying monuments of Ukrainian cultural heritage.

For example, in the town of Ivankiv in the Kyiv region, the occupiers fired at and set fire to the local history museum, which housed almost 20 works by the world-famous Ukrainian artist Mariia Prymachenko. In the Kharkiv region, Russian troops destroyed the National Museum of Hryhorii Skovoroda with a direct missile hit. In the Zaporizhzhia region, Russians robbed and destroyed the Vasylivskyi Historical and Architectural Museum “Popov’s Estate”, which is a national monument. The Ministry of Culture and Information Policy claims that in total, the Russians have damaged 664 cultural heritage sites in Ukraine as of July 2023.

The position of Russian culture as great has always had the goal of justifying violence and disregard for others, which is one of the manifestations of xenophobia. Of course, one can be proud of one’s own culture, but when it actually appropriates the achievements of others of its own kind and tries to rewrite history, then talking about the “greatness” of that culture, in our case Russian, makes no sense. It turns out that there is no “great Russian culture” - this is a fiction, rather aimed at emphasizing the supposed superiority of this culture over all others.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of newspeak: Kyrgyzstan

During the times of the Soviet Union, the names of some countries differed from the names we are used to today. For example, the current country of Moldova is then “Moldavia”, Belarus is “Belarussia”, and Kyrgyzstan is “Kyrgyzia”. Allegedly, out of habit, the former names of these countries continue to be used in the Russian media space. Kyrgyz people consider it an insult to their national dignity and sovereignty that after more than 30 years of independence, their country is still called “Kyrgyzia”, since its official name is now the Kyrgyz Republic (Kyrgyzstan).

In the first half of 2023, a creative team of web designers from Kyrgyzstan developed a browser extension that crosses out the country's former colonial name with a red line and shows the official one. Considering that Kyrgyzstan has been independent for several decades, the team members decided to raise an issue that concerns many of its citizens and separate the Soviet past from the country's present and future.

Russia considers the Kyrgyz Republic, like the rest of the countries that were once part of the USSR, to be its “zone of influence”, that is, a territory where it can dictate its own conditions. It is worth noting that in Soviet times, the Kyrgyz were not spared the constant repression and leveling of identity. Terms like Kyrgyzstan are already outdated and are used only in Russia, in particular in the media, to emphasize the imaginary belonging of these territories to Russia. This is one way of cultivating nostalgia for the Soviet Union, as the older generation hears familiar phrases.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: “coldness”

On October 10, 2022, Russia began a massive shelling campaign against Ukraine’s energy infrastructure. It lasted until March 9, 2023, and then individual cases of such attacks could be observed. As a result, Russian terrorist attacks caused serious damage to the Ukrainian energy system.

After the first large-scale attacks, Russian propagandists tried to discredit the Ukrainian authorities and promoted messages that the “obsolescence” of the Ukrainian energy infrastructure is one of the main reasons for power outages. Other factors behind the problematic power supply in Ukrainian homes were alleged government inaction and inadequate maintenance of power grid facilities. They say that the Ukrainian leadership, led by Volodymyr Zelenskyi, is deliberately tormenting the population of Ukraine with cold and darkness. Russians speculate on the famine (Holodomor), a tragic event in Ukrainian history, and describe this alleged infantilism and indifference of Kyiv as the “coldness” (Kholodomor) of ordinary citizens.

On March 16, 2022, Ukraine officially joined the common energy system of the European Union. This decision was intended to help our country maintain a stable electricity supply system. European electricity began to be supplied to Ukraine, and Ukrainian electricity to the EU. However, on October 11, 2022, the day after the first large-scale Russian missile attack on energy infrastructure, Ukraine suspended electricity exports. This was due to Russian shelling and, as a consequence, the need to cover Ukraine’s internal consumption needs throughout the day, as well as to provide reserves for the evening, when demand is maximum. Already on April 7, 2023, electricity exports were resumed.

If it weren’t for the massive Russian attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, there would not have been widespread power outages. This is confirmed by the fact that there were no problems with electricity generation and heating seasons in the country until the fall of 2022.

Russian plans to completely cut off power to Ukraine failed thanks to the titanic work of Ukrainian energy workers, the support of international partners and balanced decisions of the Ukrainian authorities in the context of the energy crisis. After each attack, power engineers went to facilities that were damaged and, risking their own lives, repaired the stations.

As of June 2023, the Kyiv School of Economics preliminary estimates the damage to Ukrainian energy infrastructure at $8.8 billion. It is Russia, by firing missiles at the Ukrainian energy system, that is responsible for putting it out of action. Already in August 2023, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal reported that five nuclear power units had been repaired in Ukraine, and four more were under repair at that time. Ukraine has been fruitfully preparing for this winter, also purchasing, for example, 100 spare high-voltage transformers, which will be stored abroad for safety purposes in case the need for them arises.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: President of Belarus

Oleksandr Lukashenko has continuously served as President of Belarus from 1994 to the present day. For the authorities of Belarus, there is no doubt that the only legitimate and almost lifelong president of this country is and should remain Lukashenko. The last presidential elections in Belarus took place in August 2020.

Although the elections were recognized by the Belarusian authorities, they were not recognized by its people, Western democracies and Ukraine as well. The European Union also did not recognize the legitimacy of the electoral process, since it was neither free nor fair. During the elections in Belarus there were interruptions on the Internet, the work of social networks and instant messengers, as well as large Internet media. Lukashenko claimed that the Internet in the country was turned off allegedly from abroad in order to “cause discontent among the population”.

The self-proclaimed president of Belarus, then preparing for the election race, “withdrew” three potentially strong opponents in advance - blogger Serhii Tykhanovskyi, ex-banker Viktor Babaryk and diplomat Valerii Tsepkal. Criminal cases were opened against the first two, and the third left the country, fearing criminal prosecution. Subsequently, the headquarters of three oppositionists who failed to register as presidential candidates united and began promoting the candidacy of blogger Tykhanovskyi’s wife, Svitlana. Almost immediately after the presidential elections, she was forced to leave Belarus due to threats and pressure from the authorities.

After the secret inauguration of Oleksandr Lukashenko, which took place on September 23, 2020 in Minsk, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Belarusian cities. Immediately after the ceremony, military trucks, paddy wagons and water cannons began to arrive in the center of Minsk. A little later, fighters in green uniforms without identification marks appeared there, like in Crimea in 2014. The police began spraying people with water cannons mixed with orange dye. Former Minister of Culture Pavel Latushko said: “For us, citizens of Belarus, for the world community, he is now a nobody. An unfortunate mistake of history and a disgrace to the civilized world”.

Back in 2021, Volodymyr Putin and Oleksandr Lukashenko signed a decree of the Union State. We are talking about a superstate formation of Russia and Belarus with a step-by-step organized single political, economic, military, customs, currency, legal, humanitarian, market and cultural spaces. Already in 2022, Lukashenko stated that he fully supports Russian aggression against Ukraine and is an ally of Russia in this war, which he, like Putin, calls a “special operation”. The self-proclaimed president of Belarus appears to the world as Putin's military henchman and dictator controlled by the Kremlin.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: a legitimate goal

International humanitarian law defines the principles of military action during armed conflicts. The 1977 Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions contains Article 48, which reveals the essence of the basic rules for the conduct of hostilities. It states that “to ensure respect and protection of civilians and civilian objects, Parties of a conflict must always distinguish between civilians and combatants, and between civilian and military objects, and accordingly direct their actions only against military targets”.

Russian propaganda uses the phrase “legitimate target” to refer to objects that, although they may have an indirect connection with support for Ukraine in the war against Russia, are not direct military targets under international law. Thus, the Russians are trying to justify their war crimes in Ukraine. At the same time, the purpose of using this term is to block the feeling of guilt among Russians for the actions of their military.

An example of such a crime is the Russian strike on the night of August 15 at the plant of the Swedish company SKF in Lutsk. The Russian Embassy in Sweden called the plant a “legitimate military target”. SKF responded after the tragedy that its plant in Lutsk produces tapered roller bearings, primarily for the heavy civil automotive industry.

Following British Foreign Secretary James Cleverley's statement that military targets outside Ukraine's borders were part of its self-defense, Russian ex-President Dmytro Medvediev responded that any British official could be considered a “legitimate target”. This is further confirmation that Russia is deliberately blurring the boundaries between civilian and military targets.

We previously wrote about how the Russian government uses the phrase “high-precision weapons” to deny its war crimes.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of newspeak: Russian spring

Russian propaganda uses the term “Russian Spring” to refer to the Kremlin-orchestrated events of February-May 2014, which led to the annexation of Crimea and the proclamation of puppet quasi-state entities in eastern Ukraine. Propagandists are positioning this as mass unrest in the south-eastern regions of Ukraine, which supposedly had the goal of declaring a desire to either secede from Ukraine, which has become completely dependent on the West, or join Russia. According to propaganda, the “Kyiv regime”, together with Western curators, planned the Revolution of Dignity, tried to hand Ukraine over to the West, but did not take into account the public opinion - they say that the majority of people did not support the European integration course, but were oriented towards Russia. Moscow's target was Crimea, Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kherson and Odesa regions. And in February-March 2014, they began to organize pro-Kremlin actions in regional or smaller cities, hung tricolors, and tried to seize local regional state administrations. And finally, there appeared “little green men” who positioned themselves as local self-defense, although in fact they were Russian special forces. Actually, propagandists convince that a series of actions carried out with the participation of Russian special services, mercenaries and Ukrainian citizens dissatisfied with the events of Euromaidan, as well as referendums, are exclusively the expression of the will of the Ukrainian people, an attempt to legitimately fight against the arbitrariness of power.

“The events of the “Russian Spring” bring a smile to my face - when the anti-Maidan protesters, armed from head to toe, showed their desire, the desire to become part of Russia”, the authors recall in pro-Kremlin telegram channels long before the big war. They explain that these events are framed by the widespread joy and admiration of supposedly ordinary people who rebelled against the Ukrainian authorities after Euromaidan.

The term “Russian Spring” is not new; it dates back to the mid-19th century, when a series of national movements that fought against reactionary monarchies swept across Europe—the “Spring of Nations”. In recent history, the events of the early 2010s, when mass protests and sometimes full-fledged revolutions against autocratic regimes took place in Arab countries, received a similar name. It is ironic that Russian political strategists created the term by analogy with these revolutions, although the Russian empire was directly involved in suppressing the “spring of nations”, and the Russian Federation supported the regimes of Arab autocrats, even to the point of intervening in the civil war in Syria on the side of dictator Bashar al-Assad. . So, we see another substitution of concepts characteristic of the ideologists of Russian imperialism. The People's Spring and the Arab Spring were democratic popular movements that led their nations toward progressive change. While the “Russian Spring” was a special operation organized by the Kremlin that spread authoritarianism in the occupied territories, and created real military dictatorships (juntas) in the occupied part of Donbas.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: Moldovan language

Issues of linguistic identification were actively used by the Soviet government to divide peoples and deepen political divisions. An example of this is the introduction of the Moldovan language during the USSR.

Moldovan language is a Romanian variation written in Cyrillic. Linguists claim that the literary version of both languages is identical, and the only difference is in the alphabet. The Moldovan language is still a subject of political controversy in Moldova and a litmus test for determining who is supported by Russia or who supports Russia. Soviet authorities created the Moldovan language to disconnect Moldova from Romanian influence. In the current conditions, the Cyrillic alphabet is used in Transnistria, and pro-Russian politicians actively opposed the recent decision to change the wording “state” and “Moldovan language” to “Romanian language”.

Pro-Western forces actively advocated opposition to the Moldavian language, since they considered it a Soviet vestige. Propagandists condemned them and tried to show this as a “desecration” of Moldovan history, as in the case of the name of the country. In particular, they cited erroneous analogies with the situation in Ukraine. They say that Moldova faces a bad future, because in Ukraine they are also dividing people by the issue of language. However, in fact, Russia has created an artificial construct that divides people into “right” and “wrong”. Using this term, they further want to deepen the split in Moldovan society and destabilize the internal political situation in the country for the sake of imperial ambitions.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: high-precision weapons

After yet another Russian shelling of Ukrainian territories, the Russian Ministry of Defense published a message on its official telegram channel with an image of a missile launch and the inscription: “Exactly on target!”. This happened on April 28, 2023, when one of the Russian missiles hit a high-rise building in Uman and killed 23 people, including 6 children. That is, Moscow showed how its high-precision weapons actually work.

Such rhetoric ingrains in the minds of Russians the idea that the weapons of their army are incapable of missing and are used in war as accurately as possible. When the Russian Ministry of Defense says that they attacked some object in Ukraine, they can use the phrase “high-precision weapons” to glorify their achievements. Gigantomania is reflected here too: Russians consider Russia to be the standard of statehood, and its defense-industrial complex to be one of the most powerful in the world, because such weapons are a limited resource.

In addition, in the event of a Russian missile hitting a high-rise building in Uman and other similar situations, Russian propaganda uses deflection tactics and shifts the blame to Ukraine. They say that tragedies occur as a result of inept development of the Ukrainian air defense system. Russian missiles seem to be unable to hit a civilian home. So the Russians are confident in the correctness of their actions - they are opposing the “Ukronazis”.

According to the encyclopedia of the Russian Ministry of Defense, the so-called high-precision weapons are capable of providing the impression of an object with a probability of 50%. Accordingly, the Russians themselves claim that, in theory, every second ammunition does not reach its “exact” target.

To maintain trust on the part of the Russian civilian population and justify the bloody aggression against Ukraine, Russian propaganda resorts to all possible methods. It turns out that “high-precision weapons” are killing civilian Ukrainians, and not getting to the planned geographical coordinates. Moreover, with high accuracy, this weapon is capable of convincing the average Russian that everything is under control in the Russian army in the war against Ukraine.

Tactics and tools How Russian propaganda uses environmental control to achieve its goals

Environmental control (Milieu control) is a tactic that involves the influence of a social group on a person so that, as a result of social pressure, he or she changes their beliefs, values and begins to act, think or behave in a certain way. The term was popularized by American psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton. He noted that various tools, in particular specialized language and slang, can be used to isolate members from the rest of society and deepen connections with a group of people.

Russian propagandists widely use environmental control tactics in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. The occupiers are trying to isolate local residents of the occupied regions by limiting access to the Internet, Ukrainian media and television, mobile communications, and in some cases, even turning off Russian communications and the Internet. Almost the only source of information remains Russian television, which broadcasts Kremlin narratives around the clock, and the group of people who find themselves in the occupied city also do not have access to information externally.

For example, after the liberation of Kupiansk by Ukrainian troops, a group of people from other temporarily occupied cities picked up Russian disinformation that the Ukrainian Armed Forces allegedly drove over Russian teachers in tanks, whom the occupiers brought from Russia to brainwash Ukrainian children. Such messages were distributed in local telegram channels, rumors were transmitted orally and repeated many times. And since the search for alternative sources of information in the temporarily occupied territories is impossible or requires significant effort, people were subjected to social pressure (after all, this is what the social group thinks, and the information was repeated by several sources, which created the effect of objectivity) and began to believe in fakes. Therefore, some people might have fear that when the Ukrainian army comes to de-occupy their city, it will commit the same crimes.

As for the use of a common language that helps identify members of a social group, Russian propaganda uses newspeak - inventing new words and phrases, redefining existing terms. The Russians launch missile attacks on civilian infrastructure, residential buildings, hospitals, schools and kindergartens, but broadcast that they are targeting “decision-making centers” - supposedly the location of the Ukrainian military. Hiding behind this term, Russia is trying to normalize the shelling of Ukrainian territory (even if these are military targets) and hide the murder of Ukrainian civilians. By picking up the newspeak, residents of the temporarily occupied territories not only identify their own kind, but are also influenced by Russian narratives. They begin to think that Russia is only hitting the “decision-making center” and is not doing anything wrong. The use of a newspeak unites these people into a certain social group, which then puts pressure, in conditions of information isolation, on Ukrainians who have the opposite opinion.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of newspeak: Belarus

Russians show disdain for their neighbors, including through the use of state names. We wrote about the name “Moldavia”, and another example of this is the name Belarus.

Belarus is the Soviet name for the Belarusian SSR, which was part of the USSR. After the collapse of the Russian Union, the official name of the former Russian republic became the Republic of Belarus.

Now the Republic of Belarus is one of the most loyal states of the former socialist camp and the USSR to Russia. And the self-proclaimed President of Belarus, Oleksandr Lukashenko, continues to bring his state’s policies closer to the interests of Russia. This rapprochement was even recorded in the 1999 international treaty on the gradual merger of Russia and Belarus into one “union state”.

In Belarus, Lukashenko's opponents use the term “Belarusia” to name the country where Lukashenko rules. And “Belarus” is used to designate a country without Lukashenko. In particular, many Belarusians are offended by the use of the Sovietized name “Belarus”, as they perceive it as a slight.

Using this term, propagandists want to emphasize the subjectivity of the policy of the self-proclaimed Belarusian president and once again remind that it is Russia that leads Belarus.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “return to home harbor”

The Russian leadership systematically stated that the Ukrainian territories were allegedly really Russian. Crimea, Donetsk region, Luhansk region were originally Russian territories, and Ukraine simply brazenly “took them away”. After the occupation of the Crimea, Luhansk and Donetsk regions, Russian propaganda declared that the lands were returning “to their native harbor”. It seems to be where they belong.

In their messages, propagandists seek to promote the message that Russia's main task is to become a safe haven for “all people”. Obviously, for everyone who supports the policy of the Kremlin. At the same time, they are convinced that Russia is “an island of common sense in this crazy world”.

Such rhetoric masks the true face of the terrorist country. Saying that Russia wants to protect all the people of the world, it has committed and is committing war crimes. Since the beginning of the war in 2014, Russia has been wreaking havoc on the territory of Ukraine: destroying Ukrainian cities and villages, killing thousands of Ukrainians, in particular children. At the same time, propagandists are building an imaginary curtain between Russia and the world, saying that there are enemies on the other side. And they instill hatred for others in Russians.

Before the war, the concept of a “home harbour” was associated only with Russia-annexed Crimea, when the Kremlin systematically disseminated campaign messages for a pseudo-referendum on “reunification” with Russia. Now, in the context of a full-scale invasion, anonymous telegram channels use this rhetoric everywhere: all the territories occupied by Russian troops once “belonged” to Russia and it simply returns them.

“The Russian army is making every effort to ensure that all the occupied lands by Ukraine return to their native harbor. It’s worth the wait, because now we are working on it, “Russian propagandists commented (and justified their defeats on the battlefield). They explained that Russia would embrace “all people and all lands” in its arms.

In the end, Moscow is once again trying to whitewash itself and hint at the supposedly good intentions of its bloody actions. In fact, Russia does not return anything, but captures, annexes, and destroys.