Spilnota Detector Media

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.

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

Russians show disdain for Ukrainians in many ways, including using offensive names. An example of this is the word “westerners”.

Russian propagandists and users of social networks call residents of the western regions of Ukraine this way. At the same time, they try to portray them as either too arrogant towards people from other regions, or worse than residents of other regions of Ukraine. Very often, propagandists point out that it is the “westerners” who go to Poland every day for purchases and are ready to hand over their country to the West, because they allegedly do not understand all the risks. Moreover, they claim that the “westerners” are the root of evil in Ukrainian society, because they allegedly dream of Bandera and spread their views throughout Ukraine. The Russian propaganda also explained that most people from the western part of Ukraine take advantage of the war and supposedly everyone flees to Poland in the status of refugees. It seems that they frightened the Poles with “Nazi slogans” and the like. By the way, we refuted such a case in our disinformation chronicle.

Using all this, Russia wants to reinforce inferior stereotypes about Ukrainians and split our people. Pro-Russian politicians also resorted to this, creating myths that “Donbas feeds the westerners”. All this helps Russia to extend its imperial ambitions to Ukraine. Like, Russians are better than Ukrainians, who cannot even live in harmony with each other. However, it is Russia that is trying to divide the Ukrainians in order to realize their harmful ideas.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “restoring historical justice”

The Russian propaganda machine constantly promotes theses about the alleged historical belonging of some Ukrainian territories to Russia. They say that Lenin came up with Ukraine when he created the USSR, and Khrushchov “gave” it foreign territories. At least since 2021, Russian politicians have supported this thesis. With the outbreak of a full-scale war, a few hours before the invasion of Ukraine, Putin called Ukraine “a country named after Volodymyr Illich Lenin”. Accordingly, the seizure of Ukrainian territories is “the restoration of historical justice”.

Russian propaganda began to broadcast this thesis more systematically already in the conditions of the great war. At the same time, the propagandists found an excuse for the barbarian invasion. And they explained that Russia, as the successor of the Soviet Union, allegedly claims the lands of Ukraine. It seems that these are primordial Russian territories, and Ukraine “captured” them after the collapse of the Union. According to propagandists, Crimea, Donetsk region, Luhansk region or even Kharkiv region and Kherson region have always been Russian, and Russians live on these lands. Thus, the authors hide their real actions - the occupation of Ukraine - and call it a call for justice.

“At the end of September, people from Kherson and Zaporizhzhia made their choice - to reunite with Russia and restore historical justice in the region”, propagandists commented on the holding of pseudo-referendums in the territories temporarily occupied by Russia. However, Ukraine's fictitious referendums are not the will of the Ukrainians, but only an attempt to give legitimacy to Russia's attempts to seize part of another state.

Russia disguises its hostile actions as “good goals” for people, but in reality it seizes land, destroys cities and villages, and hinders peaceful life.

Accordingly, the rhetoric about the protection of “Russian territories” is beneficial to propagandists, in particular, so that they instill the erroneous impression that all Russia’s actions are correct and even more good. This is how Russian politicians achieve loyalty and public resistance. Because the Kremlin allegedly protects the Russians from the Ukrainians (liberates the Russians from the yoke of Ukraine), and does not wage a bloody war.

As a result, Moscow simply legitimizes its actions in the eyes of the Russians: the seizure of Ukrainian territories, their annexation, the holding of false referendums, and so on. And he distorts it in such a way that Russia does not capture someone else's, but returns what was lost. However, the term “restoration of historical justice” hides another and real one – the occupation of Ukrainian territories and the search for justifications for a bloody war.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “decision centers”

Russia shells Ukraine almost every day, destroying civilian infrastructure, houses, hospitals, schools and kindergartens. Propagandists explain that Moscow allegedly does not resort to terrorist attacks, but aims at “decision-making centers”. Like, the Kremlin attacks only facilities where military equipment is located or military personnel are located, which means that the terrorist country “does not violate” any norms and customs of warfare.

Russia is trying to hide its criminal actions against peaceful Ukrainians, hiding behind the term “decision-making centers”. But it finds an excuse that the shelling of military facilities is the norm for a war. However, Ukrainian cities are suffering from Russian missiles and drones.

For example, this is how the propaganda channel commented on the terrorist shelling of the drama theater in Chernihiv: “In Chernihiv, there was no hit in the theater with peaceful Ukrainians. We ended up in a place of negotiations between officers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and NATO. Not a single civilian was hurt”. But, according to the head of the Chernihiv regional military administration, Viacheslav Chaus, as a result of a Russian missile attack on the center of Chernihiv on August 19, 181 people were injured, of whom seven died. 41 people are in the hospital, four of them are in serious condition and another 16 people have been operated on.

That is, the authors are trying to deny their own attacks and hits on civilian infrastructure. They disfigure reality and convince people of their “truth”. And they say: wherever they strike, there are definitely soldiers there. However, the authors do not provide any facts.

However, these are not rare cases of Russians denying their own attacks. In early 2023, the Russians shelled a residential area of Dnipro, where 46 people were killed and nine went missing. The occupiers launched rocket attacks on Kramatorsk, destroying residential buildings. They got into a multi-storey building in Zaporizhzhia: the regional administration confirmed that there were no military facilities near the house. In Mykolaiv, the Russians also hit a high-rise building, killing one person and injuring 23. Due to rocket attacks on residential buildings in Uman, 23 people were killed, including six children. And this is not a complete list of attacks on Odesa, Kryvyi Rih, Kyiv, Lviv and many peaceful Ukrainian cities, towns and villages.

That is, the occupiers do not aim at “decision-making centers”, but purposefully engaged in the genocide of the Ukrainian people, killing them in their homes, in public places. At the same time, Moscow is trying to whitewash itself and deny any crimes. But the documented cases of Russian terror show what the terrorist country is really up to.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: a puppet state

Russian propagandists claim that Ukraine is a state that is actually guided by someone “outside”, although formally it is sovereign and independent. Like, all political decisions regarding the domestic agenda of Ukraine are made by other countries that have “own interests” in the development of the Eastern European region.

The Kremlin is trying to show that the management of Ukraine is, of course, concentrated in the hands of the “collective West” - allegedly constantly threatening the sovereignties of countries. That is why correspondents of propaganda telegram channels resort to the rhetoric that European and American officials have “ambitious interests” in turning Ukraine into their colony and do not hesitate to call the West “imperial”.

“The fate of Washington's puppet states is obvious: Russia will destroy them. And it will also put an end to the dominance of the West on the Eurasian continent”, the correspondents of the Russian segment of social networks concluded. This is how they commented on the propaganda message that Volodymyr Zelenskyi “repeats the fate” of the former President of Georgia, Saakashvili. After all, according to the author of the publication, on August 8, 2008, Russia “protected” South Osetia from the influence of allegedly puppet Georgia at that time. Allegedly, Western leaders, because of their own ambitions, forced the then leadership to shell part of their country. Although, as you know, Russia attacked Georgia unprovoked and created a quasi-state, as it is now in Ukraine.

Moscow is once again resorting to “rescue” tactics from ephemeral threats, such as the pernicious influence of the West on other countries. At the same time, the propagandists contrast the West and Russia and portray the former as an invader and colonizer, and themselves as liberators. Accordingly, the Kremlin interprets the pro-Russian course as not threatening.

That is, the authors hint that it is the West that deprives countries of subjectivity and establishes its own regime there to achieve its own goals. Thus, the propagandists demonize the EU and the US, instill mistrust in the consumers of propaganda towards these countries and their decisions; they see a contrived enemy.

But Russia is an aggressor country acting in its own imperial interests. In particular, it creates puppet and fictitious states in the previously occupied territories of Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova. Even in the conditions of a full-scale invasion, in the event of the capture of Kyiv, the occupiers prepared puppet governments to establish their own order.

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

Russians show disdain for other states because of the perversion of their names. In particular, this also applies to such offensive names as Khokhols (Ukrainians), Bulbashes (Belarusian) , Psheks (Poles), etc. An example of this is the situation with the use of the name Moldavia.

Russian propagandists and social media users often use the word Moldova as the name of the state. It has been going on since Soviet times, since that is what the Moldovan lands within the USSR were then called. However, when the state became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova became its official name. Despite this, the Russian media and ordinary Russians continued to call Moldova “Moldavia”. Later, this turned from a habit into a political action, which reached its peak during the Russian invasion of Transnistria.

By using this name, Russia wants to show the “inferiority” of Moldova and its lack of subjectivity. Thus, it enhances its imperial ambitions and “targets” potential victims with the help of the language. They say that Moldova without Russia is not capable of anything and is not even a state, because we only know about “Moldavia”. However, the Republic of Moldova is the official name of an internationally recognized state, and by ignoring this, Russia shows that it does not care about internationally recognized rules.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: new regions of Russia

Russian propaganda claims that the inhabitants of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine dream of becoming part of Russia. Like, people dream of exercising their right to express their will. The occupying authorities systematically convinced people that after the seizure of Ukrainian territories by Russia, in particular Kherson and part of the Zaporizhzhia regions, the locals seek to reunite with Russian lands. In response to the “request”, Moscow held the so-called “referendums” and initiated the Ukrainian lands as “new Russians”.

Since then, propagandists have been convincing that the territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia have already become Russian. They created fake infographics, maps, on which Ukrainian territories were designated as being part of Russia. Foreign publishers consciously or unconsciously played along with propaganda: they created maps with different variations in the location of Ukrainian lands. Our analysts have researched that twenty foreign publishing houses print and publish occupation maps of Ukraine in six versions. For example, the German publishing group Mairdumont (and its subsidiaries) recorded the Russian “referendums” of 2022 in the territories occupied by Russia. And in the bookstores of Moscow, pseudo-maps of Russia with Ukrainian lands went on sale. Propagandists are gradually trying to show that their reality is real - and referenda, they say, are recognized by the whole world. Proof of this is the maps with “new regions of Russia”.

The Kremlin is trying in every possible way to demonstrate that local residents strongly support the entry of “new regions” into Russia. In the Russian telegram channel, “delegates” were invented who came to the occupied territories with support for referendums. They also covered the presence of “foreign observers”, who highly appreciated the work of the occupation exit polls. But the “observers” turned out to be supporters of Russia and, obviously, covered the work of the Gauleiters in a biased way.

In fact, fictitious referendums in the temporarily occupied territories are not the will of Ukrainians, but evidence of Russia's desire to legitimize its criminal actions, in particular, the capture of Ukrainian regions. This is a completely illegitimate vote. Its results, in addition to Russia itself, are recognized by the same “sister states”, such as the People's Democratic Republic of China. That is, we are not talking about any “new regions”. This is the occupation of foreign territories by Moscow. And the referenda served as a way to whitewash Russia and present itself as a peacemaker. This is how propagandists relieve themselves of responsibility: the initiative to join Russia allegedly came exclusively from local residents. And the Kremlin seems to have simply given people space for self-determination.

Moreover, the decision to change the territories of Ukraine is allegedly made only on the basis of an all-Ukrainian referendum. And the issue submitted to the referendum cannot call into question the territorial integrity of Ukraine. That is, this is a question that changes the territory of Ukraine in an illegal way. And most importantly: voting should be voluntary, and not at gunpoint (when armed occupiers, together with members of the “electoral commissions” collect votes from apartments).

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “Everything is the best in Russia”

In contrast to the deteriorating situation on the battlefield and the state of the economy, Russian propagandists need to give something positive. Often it has to be sucked out of the air, because it is necessary to maintain a sense of national pride, for no reason to do so. That is why Russian propaganda is trying hard to play on the feeling that “everything is the best in Russia”.

In particular, this also applies to “import substitution”, which Russia reacted to because of international sanctions. Russian manufacturers are trying to create the impression that the West is simply jealous of the quality of Russian goods. Also in this context, it is said that Western brands allegedly do not want to leave Russia, since the Russian audience loves them faithfully. Propagandists even create and spread fakes to support this message, as with a fake package of “taste of victory” Pringles chips.

Russia cannot do without the fact that it calls itself the best in spiritual terms. By fighting for traditional values, Russia, in particular, justifies its aggression against Ukraine. This is the culmination of several years of Russian propagandists portraying the “collective West” as a “gay hell” where children are forced to change their gender.

Such formulations are toxic. The game, in its exclusivity, is yet another confirmation of Russia's imperial ambitions. In addition, often Russian goods are the best only in words - many products from Western manufacturers who left the Russian market could not be reproduced due to sanctions on resources and technologies. By demonizing people with a great lifestyle, Russia only deepens its inferiority complex, which results in an attempt to assert itself at the expense of victims among Ukrainians. Detector Media has already written about Russian disinformation against LGBT people and its threat.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: irresistible Russian technique

Russian propagandists systematically spread messages that the Russian army, they say, constantly wins thanks to “powerful” equipment. They explain that Russian equipment has a “higher combat capability” than any Western “analogues”. In support of such theses, the authors assured that the Russian army allegedly destroyed Ukrainian tanks in different directions, noted that one missile was allegedly capable of destroying a third of the annual production of missiles up to the American Patriot anti-aircraft missile system, etc.

Russian propaganda often speculates on the topic of Western weapons and exaggerates the “achievement” of the Russian army, claiming that they have destroyed an incredible amount of weapons and equipment. So the Russians seek to hide their failures on the battlefield and convince the domestic audience of constant victories. In addition, propagandists hint at the technological perfection of their technique. Anonymous telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric wrote:

“Our effective army has once again destroyed the western garbage. In the video [which was added to the publication, ed.] you can see how a small drone destroys this colossus - a tank of the Armed Forces of Ukraine”.

However, it turned out that it was a dummy tank - a false tank, a bait for the invaders. The propagandists presented the destruction of the dummy as a real combat achievement. This is not a one-time case of anonymous telegrams lying about the destruction of weapons. They publish fake photos, videos, and simply throw in information that the Ukrainian side has “lost equipment”. The purpose of such messages is to intimidate and demoralize Ukrainians, to impose the delusion that the Ukrainian army is constantly losing, so there is no point in fighting further.

It is impossible to argue that the Russians do not destroy Ukrainian equipment on the battlefield, because this is more than possible during the course of the war. However, propagandists deliberately exaggerate the amount of “destroyed” equipment on the battlefield, thus hinting at the supposedly low combat capability of the Ukrainian army. They also discredit the Western partners of Ukraine and level their help.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “three sisters”

Many peoples of Eurasia have tales about how a family saves from trouble and helps to overcome evil. One of the modifications of this story is the “tale of the three sisters”. It is told in Azerbaijan and the Czech Republic.

Russian propagandists overlaid the instructive fairy tale plot with the thesis that Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians are part of one people. With methods about this, they come to the occupied territories and promote them there in education. In the Russian interpretation, the West is setting Ukraine, Belarus and Russia against each other. They say that Ukraine could succeed in peace with the “sisters”, but the United States wants to break the greatness of Russia, which lies in the agreement between the “sisters”.

Such formulations are toxic. The peoples of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia are Slavic. They are part of the world's history. But now they are developing in three independent states. And each of them has its own characteristics. Belarus is ruled by a dictator dependent on Russia. Russia, too, is dominated by an undemocratic regime that is trying to expand the borders of its state by returning to its control the countries that became independent after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Ukraine, on the other hand, is building democracy, preparing to join the European Union and resisting Russia's armed aggression.

The “cultural proximity” of the Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian peoples was imposed  when the Ukrainian and Belarusian lands were part of the Russian Empire and the USSR. At that time, cultural proximity served as an instrument of oppression and destruction of the identity of the Ukrainian and Belarusian peoples.

With stories about “three sisters”, propagandists justify Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, because this is how Russia looks like an “elder sister” who admonishes and saves the younger one. They also parasitize on the image of the Soviet past, but they fail to remember that in the USSR the unity of peoples was served along with repressions and a shortage of basic products.

The appeal of propagandists to fabulous and mythical stories should not obscure the facts that Russia attacked Ukraine and continues to commit terrible crimes and violate international law.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: Russian-speaking population

Russian propaganda systematically claims that there are many people in Ukraine who communicate only in Russian. Like, the Russian language prevails Ukrainian in daily use. Propagandists often speculate on this issue: they assure that the Russian language is discriminated against in Ukraine, hindering its development, not protecting the “Russian-speaking population”, etc. And they assure that “Russian-speaking Ukrainians” need Moscow's protection.

Russia has promoted the notion of a “Russian-speaking population” since the beginning of Ukraine's independence. So Russian propaganda sought to prove that Russian dominates everywhere, while Ukrainian is not so common and, in general, its consumption is inherent in residents of villages or small towns. That is, he imposed an inferiority complex on Ukrainians and tried to popularize Russian, portraying it as more prestigious.

Propagandists call for “protection of the Russian-speaking population” to justify unprovoked aggression and a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. According to them, the so-called harassment of the “Russian-speaking population” is taking place, so this category of people needs to be protected. The “protection” of the Russians is manifested in the daily rocket attacks on Ukraine and the murder of its citizens.

“Aren't Ukrainians insolent? These are our [territories of Ukraine temporarily occupied by Russia. - Ed.] lands, with a native Russian-speaking population. We will defend these territories to the end”, the authors explained in the social networks of the Russian segment the importance of Russian-speaking people for the Kremlin.

So, Russia perceives the Russian language as a means of influencing people, instrumentalizes it in every possible way. In the understanding of propagandists, knowledge of the Russian language means a loyal attitude towards Russia. In the end, the language policy in Ukraine was quite a compromise, but the Kremlin itself politicized the language issue in Ukraine. For example, in the context of a full-scale invasion, 57% of Ukrainians switched to the Ukrainian language of communication with Russian. And they did it deliberately. Expecting one effect (strengthening public opinion about the “harassment” of Russian-speaking people), we got a different result - a segment of Russian-speaking people independently switched to Ukrainian.

“Russian-speaking population” is just a political term used by Russia to achieve its own goals. In particular, to destroy Ukraine as a state, and Ukrainians as a nation. The massive use of the Russian language in Ukraine is a consequence of the imperial policy of Russia, which sought to Russify Ukrainians and deprive them of their identity. But for the first time since independent Ukraine, there was a linguistic surge. According to a survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, 80% of Ukrainians are in favor of the predominance of the Ukrainian language in all areas. This testifies to the positive dynamics of the attitude of Ukrainians to the language. In the field of education, media, services, and even public speeches by top officials, Ukrainian is becoming more and more in demand.

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

Russian propagandists are constantly trying to present Ukrainians as terrorists, and the Ukrainian government as a “junta” that “seized power” in the state. Propagandists use the wording UDIL (Ukrainian State of Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv). This wording is most often found as an abbreviation. It is synonymous with the phrase “Kyiv regime”. We talked about the use of the phrase “Kyiv regime” earlier.

With wordings about UDIL and the “Kyiv regime” the Russians are trying to present Ukraine as a terrorist group. The wording UDIL shows the ignorance of propagandists in the intricacies of geopolitical processes in the Middle East. They tried to parody the acronym of the terrorist group IDIL (ISIL), which stands for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”. This wording is not well suited for transfer to the Ukrainian context. ISIL did not have a government as such, but was led by militants without a centralized political and administrative structure. The militants significantly restricted the rights of people and introduced a religious cult and engaged in terrorist attacks, kidnappings, murders and executions.

Using such phrases, propagandists want to devalue Ukrainian statehood and shift the responsibility for the actions of the Russians to the victim of their aggression. Detector Media has previously written about the tactics of whataboutism, where such formulations are used. In response to accusations of terrorism, propagandists claim that Ukrainians live in the UDIL and call the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyi the head of a terrorist group. In fact, in this way, they deviate from the essence of the issue and want to avoid responsibility.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “fraternal people”

The idea of a “fraternal people” originated in the Soviet era. This is another attempt to link the history of Belarus and Ukraine to Russia and deny the existence of Belarusians and Ukrainians as separate nations. Like, we are all one people, we have one history, each of us is a brother and sister. Communist propaganda formed the image of Ukraine as a Russian colony. After the independence of Ukraine, the Kremlin further promoted this myth and argued that Belarusians, Ukrainians and Russians are historically inseparable.

In general, it is beneficial for Russian propaganda to use the rhetoric about the existence of “fraternal peoples” even in the context of the Russian-Ukrainian war. After all, unprovoked aggression against Ukrainians, their genocide, Moscow presents as a “conflict” and a simple “quarrel” between the Slavic peoples. Allegedly, the Ukrainians and Russians just quarreled and they need to make peace as soon as possible. Thus, propagandists distort reality and hide one of the goals of their aggression - to destroy Ukrainians as a nation.

At the same time, this can also influence Western media, opinion leaders, who sort out the rhetoric about the “conflict” of peoples. For example, back in April 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron, in an interview with France 2 TV channel, refused to call Russia's actions in Ukraine “genocide”. Macron tried to explain his opinion as follows: “I will be careful with such terms today, because these two peoples (Russians and Ukrainians - ed.) are brothers”. Already in 2023, he stated that he was striving for the victory of Ukraine and hoped that Russia would be defeated.

The same is happening with Western media. By keywords “Ukrainian crisis” the search engine publishes a number of materials about the “conflict” and the so-called “crisis” in Ukraine. Actually, this rhetoric allows agitprop to belittle their crimes in Ukraine, because it's just a small “quarrel”. There is a war going on in Ukraine, and the Russians are killing Ukrainians, destroying civilian infrastructure, and preventing a peaceful life.

There is no fraternal people, because Ukrainians are a separate nation among others. Ukrainians have their own history, traditions and customs. Ukraine and Russia historically developed under different conditions and were influenced by different neighbors.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: “planned flooding”

Russian propagandists explained the blowing up of the dam of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant in different ways. However, the most popular version of the justification for the explosion is that Ukraine allegedly carried out a “planned flooding” of the station. Like, in this way, the Armed Forces of Ukraine wanted to block the “failures” on the battlefield.

In fact, it is Russia that is responsible for undermining the dam. This is evidenced by a number of pieces of evidence, including data from foreign media and investigators who analyzed seismic activity data around the hydroelectric power plant, satellite images and open data.

Using phrases such as planned flooding, the propagandists want to shift the responsibility for the actions and their consequences from the aggressor to the victim of the aggression. In addition, such reports are intended to discredit the Ukrainian government and its efforts to eliminate the consequences of the explosion. Like, Ukraine blew up the Kakhovka hydroelectric power plant and made people suffer. However, it was Russia that committed another crime.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: oppression

Russian propagandists claim that Russians everywhere suffer from hatred and oppression outside of Russia. They say that the Russian language is discriminated against, Russians are forbidden to move freely around Europe, and some countries do not even allow the use of weapons on their territory. In response, the authors use the term “oppression”, hinting at the “desire” of the world community to supposedly get rid of the Russians.

If propagandists talk about “oppression” in Ukraine, they talk about “discrimination” of the Russian language and all Russian, the rejection of Russian mass products. This is how propagandists justify a large-scale war, because russophobia needs to be fought with. Other countries are also accused of oppression. Propagandists wrote that Estonia was a follower of “Nazi Germany” because it banned “separate ethnic groups” from carrying weapons, including Russians. In fact, gun permits have become invalid for non-EU and non-NATO citizens. The changes affected not only ethnic Russians. However, Estonian Interior Affairs Minister Lauri Läänemets assured that the restriction is indeed a direct consequence of unprovoked Russian aggression in Ukraine.

That is, these are not “oppressions” of Russians, but the response of the world community to Russian aggression. The Russians bear collective responsibility for the aggression against Ukraine, which they supported either by their respective statements or silence. World condemnation, the rejection of Russian mass products and the restriction against the aggressor are the consequences of Russia's criminal actions, and not vice versa, as Moscow is trying to convince everyone. Using the rhetoric of so-called “oppression”, Russia seeks to oppose the “peace-loving” itself and other “hostile” countries. Moscow shows that the whole world seems to be opposed to the Russians, and they are hated everywhere. Thus propagandists, on the contrary, cultivate hostility towards different nations.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “central power”

Russian propagandists are constantly trying to show their state as the best alternative to the “collective West”. The argument in support of this assertion, in particular, is that decentralization in the countries of Europe is just a front, and in these countries dictatorship reigns. In Russia, everything seems to be open - the center of power of the “multicultural” country is in Moscow.

In fact, in the case of Russia, this is a manifestation of the authoritarianism of its regime. Historically, Moscow controls all processes, especially in the occupied territories of Ukraine. In this context, the so-called “governments” of the “LDNR” are not separate governments, but only “branches” of the Kremlin. However, this also applies to Russia itself - the republics within the Russian Federation do not have their own autonomy, and all those who try to go against the whims of Moscow are severely punished. For example, the amount of subsidies from the Kremlin for the regions is determined not by objective criteria or needs, but by the level of commitment or geopolitical importance for Moscow. As a consequence, the Russian Federation is a myth and a cover-up for Russia's imperial ambitions.

By using such words heavily, the propagandists are also deepening the power of Russia's political elites and suppressing the voices of dissidents. With tacit approval, such tools become more widespread and important.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “external control”

After the Revolution of Dignity in Ukraine, Russian propaganda claims that the revolution was orchestrated by Western leaders to separate Ukraine from Russia. They say that Ukraine does not have its own will, so it turns to third parties for help. Allegedly, outside forces are in charge of Ukraine. Actually, the designation of this phenomenon is used by the term “external control”, which began, according to Russian propaganda, in 2014.

Through this term, propagandists want to show how all political decisions in Ukraine are made by Western officials while Ukrainian politicians are subject to these decisions, without the right to appeal them. Any events taking place in Ukraine, but not in favor of Russia, are allegedly caused by outside control. So the authors seek to form the image of a puppet country that cannot exist on its own. Let us say it constantly needs “protection”.

The authors argue that most often civilians suffer from “external control” as they pay taxes "heaven knows where", brainwashed by “Western values” and literally lose the right to be heard. That is, they show that such an “impact” is not good and leads to stagnation in all spheres of people's lives. “Already 9 years after the revolution in Ukraine, the authorities passed into the hands of Western curators, to Washington, and since then a puppet regime has reigned”, one of the propaganda telegram channels explained the alleged lack of freedom of speech in Ukraine.

The publication also stressed that the West is turning Ukrainians into its slaves. In fact, we are talking about partnership and cooperation between Ukraine and other states. However, Moscow marks every manifestation of cooperation as an undesirable influence of Western countries. Allegedly, Ukraine is obliged to listen to Russian “politicians”. At the same time, Russia sees a potential threat to its existence and presents as one of the reasons for a full-scale invasion - the fight against the “collective West”.

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

In the context of Russian propaganda, the Western community is hostile and exclusively destructive. Like, the values are not the same, they lack patriotism and love for their state. They assure that they will never go to fight for their Motherland, because they are not as “strong”, “courageous”, “brave” as the Russians. To do this, propagandists resort to the term “Westerns”, contrasting the European community and the Russians. The term itself is formed from the word “West”. Usually the authors address not only Europeans, but also Americans or other Westerners. Moreover, such messages can describe either politicians or a generalized group of people. If propagandists recall Western politicians, they hint how their political decisions are completely wrong, stupid, and in general people are incompetent in their work. And allegedly Russian “politicians” are able to establish world order. When it comes to Westerners, the authors try not to indicate nationality, origin, country and avoid specifics. That is, there is a people of Russians, but there are some “westerns”.

Such rhetoric is used by propagandists to appease the Russians. For example, one of the propaganda channels convinced the Russians that the level of support for Ukraine “among these Westerners” is falling, so Russia should not worry. With the help of such a dismissive tone, the authors emphasize the alleged inferiority of the Western community, and, on the contrary, exalt the Russians. As a rule, in messages containing the word “westerns”, there were also the words “Russians”, “Russian people”. The authors clearly distinguished between the Russian community and others. In general, propagandists distort reality in this way, feeding the narrative about the existence of a “collective event” - a whole “monogroup”, forgetting for each country, nationality, people, community, person. It is also a manifestation of xenophobia when the authors write about the great Russian people and about “some others, not like them”. It is beneficial for Russian propaganda to oppose a “monogroup” of people and Russians, thus showing the supremacy of one people over others.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: country 404

With the help of various definitions or linguistic features, Russian propaganda tries to portray Ukraine in the eyes of Russians in the most profitable way. For example, they say “on the Ukraine”, hinting at the colonial past and dependence on Russia, or  “outskirts”, allegedly located on the edge of “one great state”.

Propagandists seek to deny the existence of Ukraine in any way and use the term “country 404” or even simply “404”. First of all, they draw a parallel with the well-known, understandable symbol “Error 404” - an error loading a web page. This error is thrown when the page doesn't actually exist. That is, the authors transferred the attribute of one object to another. With the help of an understandable majority of images, propaganda shows that Ukraine is a country that allegedly does not exist, it literally does not exist. This meaning is given a negative connotation when propagandists maliciously describe Ukraine's successes or want to accuse it of certain actions. Like, how can this “country 404” achieve anything? Thus, one of the propaganda channels described the events of the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station by the Russians, shifting the responsibility to Ukraine: “It is obvious that the destruction of the hydroelectric power station was beneficial - earlier they announced such plans there”. That is, they emphasize the criminality of Ukraine, they assure that such a country “should not exist". All this cherishes hatred and rage towards Ukraine among Russians.

In general, such rhetoric is part of the conspiracy theory that Ukraine is a fictitious state. Thus, the authors seek to deny the existence of the country and blur the eyes of Russians and others who will not perceive Ukraine as another, sovereign state. Such messages will encourage stereotypes that Ukraine is part of Russia or that there never was a Ukrainian state.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: a “multinational state”

Russia is constantly trying to show itself as a strong multicultural state that cares about its diversity. In particular, this can be seen in the promotional materials of the country or in statements at the multilateral level. However, in fact, Russian policy is directly aimed at the destruction of multinationality. As a rule, a multinational state is formed in the course of colonial conquest (and not only), which Russia has been and is doing. The rhetoric of Russia at the moment is colonialist and Nazi. Due to it, Russia is trying to achieve superiority over all enslaved peoples, hiding behind the fact that it supposedly cares about national communities.

At the same time, outwardly, it cherishes the narrative about the great Russian people, not remembering the others, or attributes the status of “Russians” to all peoples. For example, the languages of different nationalities within Russia are gradually disappearing due to legislative initiatives that exclude their use in the social and cultural field. For example, in 2021, an arrested activist for the rights of the Komi people spoke during a court hearing in the language of these people, but the judge condemned the use of the Komi language even despite its declared status as a republican language. Or, after numerous wars with the true identity of the Chechens, the Russian authorities allowed to keep only that part of it that coincides with Moscow's priorities and goals in exchange for large subsidies from the state budget. Moreover, the Russian politicians deliberately create a situation of privileged Russians over other ethnic groups within the country in the context of aggression against Ukraine. In particular, most of the Russian soldiers who died in the war are ethnically Buriats. Even the Pope of Rome at one time called the Buriats and Chechens the most cruel among the Russian soldiers fighting against Ukraine.

Using the concept of a “multinational state”, Russian propagandists and high-ranking officials turn a blind eye to the real state of affairs for many ethnic groups within the country, which is the result of a deliberate policy of destroying multiculturalism within Russia. All this is done to strengthen control and keep the center of power in one place. In addition, it works at the external level within the framework of public diplomacy. In particular, such messages are disseminated through Russian Houses (cultural centers of the Russian Foreign Ministry in other countries). Detector Media has already written about the fakes of this institution.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: “union state”

According to Russian propaganda, two “union states” - Russia and Belarus - united to achieve a common good. They say that a single political, economic or military space contributes to the “development” of states. The so-called Union State is based on a preliminary agreement between Russia and Belarus, which was concluded back in 1997. Since that time, the process of building a “state” began. And dictator Putin has repeatedly stated that he views Belarus as his “closest ally” and promised to fulfill all obligations to create a state “regardless of the one in power”. For example, he called for changes in the Constitution of Belarus, which would be created for Russian interests, and the laws of the country would “harmonize” with Russian ones. Or he argued that Belarusians and Russians are one people. This is not a “union” or “association” of two sovereign states, but the absorption of Belarus by the Russian dictator Putin. This was proved by European journalists in their study. As they explained, the Russian leadership has a specific strategy for the capture of Belarus, which originates, in fact, from the “Union State”.

According to this strategy, by 2023 Moscow seeks to achieve the supremacy of the Russian language over Belarusian in all areas and introduce a simplified procedure for issuing Russian passports to Belarusians. And in the face of a full-scale invasion, Russia is already using Belarus as a springboard to launch missiles at Ukraine. The Russian occupiers were and still are on the territory of the “ally country”. And in Ukraine, air raid sirens are heard due to the take-off of aircraft with missiles not only in Russia or the Black Sea, but also on Belarusian territory. Even self-proclaimed President Lukashenko admitted that he is participating in the Russian-Ukrainian war on the side of Russia.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the newspeak: negative growth

The Russian economy has been significantly affected by the sanctions regime in response to Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Many of its indicators have fallen, but propaganda cannot speak openly about this, because then the Russians may suspect that Russian aggression is harming them too. Therefore, Russian officials and propagandists coined the term “negative growth”. Negative growth is growth in the opposite direction. Propagandists say yes, maybe everything is bad on the numbers and the indicators are falling, but in reality everything is getting better. To explain this phenomenon, they are looking for different excuses: either the scale is not the same, then the ratings are traitors, or the numbers are mixed up. The Russians use these excuses to reduce exports, trade, depreciate the currency, and so on. This statement is a euphemism to cover up the real situation. Playing with vocabulary, propagandists want to disguise the negative consequences of the aggression against Ukraine and support it in the future. Like, the Russians were scared by the collapse of the economy, but we are holding on, so we need to fight on. This only shows once again how Russian political elites are neglecting civilian life as the war against Ukraine has deepened the poverty level of Russians.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: “everything is stable”

Moscow is trying in every possible way to show that it has not experienced any economic or social consequences of its aggression. Like, the country is flourishing, no sanctions are working, the economy is growing, the unemployment rate is falling - “everything is stable”.

“Stability” is often referred to by both Russian “politicians” and propagandists. The latter argue that everything in Russia is much better than expected: food prices are lower and utilities are not exorbitantly priced. But in Ukraine it’s completely different: people are not respected, guaranteed payments are taken from them, and in general, Ukrainians live on meager salaries. Such messages have several objectives: to demoralize the Ukrainians as  they say that Ukraine will not survive the war against Russia, so it is better to surrender immediately; to paint a positive picture for Russians so that they do not criticize the impact of a full-scale war on their own lives; to prove to the Ukrainians that it is economically beneficial to be with Russia.

When politicians talk about “stability” in Russia, they most often turn to the Russians themselves, convincing them that the country continues to prosper. So Russian propaganda seeks to ensure the loyalty of citizens to the government. For example, during the plenary meeting of the Eurasian Economic Forum on May 24, dictator Putin argued that the EU's GDP is declining to critically low levels, while Russia's is only increasing. Of course, this is not true.

Propaganda tries to pass off wishful thinking. Indeed, according to the conclusions of the Council of the European Union, 2022 has become bad for the Russian economy. According to experts, in 2022, Russia's gross domestic product fell by at least 2.2% in the best scenario and to 3.9% in the worst case. And many studies prove that sanctions really destroy the Russian economy. One can also mention the level of wages, social well-being. However, the real figures are hidden by the Russian leadership, masquerading as “stability”, which is indeed the stagnation of many areas of Russian life.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the newspeak: parallel import

A number of large companies stopped their work in Russia as a response to its aggression against Ukraine. Among them are manufacturers of clothing, electronics, and popular fast foods. This move, coupled with sanctions, has left Russians queuing in the final days of the closure of H&M, Zara, Ikea, and other stores. However, “import substitution”, which the Kremlin politicians love to boast of, cannot cover the needs and create worthy alternatives for foreign brands. Therefore, the Russians resort to “parallel import”.

“Parallel import” is the purchase and sale of foreign branded goods without their consent. Usually, such goods are bought through Chinese AliExpress, and then sold through the Russian analogue of Wildberries. In fact, this is theft, since it raises at least the issue of copyright for a particular product. In addition, it puts brands in an uncomfortable position, their products are sold in the country under sanctions without their knowledge. This technique also helps the Russians bypass illegal sanctions. Propagandists can't call it “stealing” on the air, so they use a reasonable and official-sounding phrase.

This is how propagandists want to veil the illegal actions of Russia. In addition, trying to explain the reason for this, they may resort to the victimization of Russians. Like, they are the real victims of this war, from whom they took away all the most valuable. However, the exit of foreign brands from the Russian market is an adequate response to Russian aggression against Ukraine, since instead of working to improve its economy and industry, Russia spends money on waging war against a neighboring country with the tacit consent of its society.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: evacuation camps

In the context of a full-scale war, many Ukrainians had to save their lives by leaving temporarily occupied or dangerous territories for Ukrainian cities where there are no hostilities or to other countries. Russia also offered people to “escape” through “evacuation camps” from Ukrainian cities to Russia. Like, Kherson region, Donetsk region, Luhansk region, Kharkiv region are unsuitable for life, and people from there need to “leave for a safer place”. However, such “evacuation” was more often not voluntary, but forced, and people had no choice but to go to the territory of Russia.

In fact, by the term “evacuation camps” propagandists do not mean taking people out of the war zone and providing a safe place to live, but, on the contrary, filtering and forced deportation. Since the beginning of the war, Russia has received at least 2,800,000 who lived in Ukraine before the war and were forced to leave or were deported to Russian territory. That is, people did not choose how to escape, they had no choice, and the Russian authorities offered them their “evacuation”.

When people left for Russia, inhuman checks awaited them. Their phones were checked for anti-Russian messages, there were locker rooms at checkpoints where people were stripped naked and looked for “signs” that a person might support Ukraine (for example, tattoos with national symbols). They were interrogated. People had to speak badly (or not at all) about Ukraine in order, first of all, to survive. Subsequently, people were sent to different Russian cities and in most cases it is not known how their life turned out there.

These are not “evacuation camps”, but forced deportation and subsequent filtering of people. The Russian army threatens to kill Ukrainian civilians if they speak badly about Russia during the filtration or if the occupiers find nationalist signs on the phone, on the body or in personal belongings.