Spilnota Detector Media

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with a newspeak: “On Ukraine”

Historically, in the Slavic languages, it has developed so that they write “on Ukraine” instead of “in Ukraine”, when talking about the location. For example, such a version is considered grammatically correct in Polish and Slovak. And if the Council of the Polish language, after the start of a full-scale war, considers the option “w Ukrainie” to be correct, in Slovak, “na Ukrajinіe” remains the correct variant, since such a phrase is used in relation to one's own country (na Slovensku). However, in Russia they distorted the primary function of the pretext and began to use it for humiliating purposes. This was especially intensified during the full-scale invasion: Russian media now mainly writes “on Ukraine”.

At the same time, a number of Russian dictionaries still present the version “in Ukraine” as the only grammatically correct one. This only emphasizes that the frequent use of the construction “on Ukraine” is exclusively a choice of propaganda.

Thus, Russia mocks Ukraine and its people, pointing out their “inferiority”. With the help of this phrase, propagandists play along with the imperial ambitions of the Russians, since the preposition “on” in relation to the territory is used only if it is part of the state, or an island. In fact, in this way, they want to show that Ukraine is part of Russia and does not have the right to independent existence.

This is the tenth text for the new section “Newspeak”, which Detector Media launched as part of the “Disinformation Chronicles” project. In it,  we will tell and explain new lexemes used by Russian propaganda to distort reality.

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

In the context of a full-scale war, the Russian leadership stated that they were claiming Ukrainian lands, because they had always belonged to Russia. That is why, according to them, they (Russia) came to Ukraine to take back what is theirs, that is, to “liberate” and return to itself, to reunite with the Russian lands. Allegedly, Crimea, Donetsk region, Luhansk region or even Kharkiv and Kherson regions have always been Russians, and Russians live there.

Thanks to the term “reunion”, Russia becomes a righteous state, which allegedly only returns historical justice. Nevertheless, the Russians substitute the concept, thus calling the “reunion” the annexation of the territories of another, sovereign state. In fact, Russia is holding illegitimate referendums, seizing land, destroying cities.

By manipulating the emotions of the Russians, propaganda claims that finally “the territories are returning to their native harbor”, and “brothers and sisters” of the Russians will be saved from the Ukrainian yoke. Thus, they want to distort reality and hide their real predatory, barbaric and bloody actions. Since the term is associated only with the return of one's own territories or even something joyful, finally everyone will live together “in peace and harmony”.

This is the ninth text for the new section “Newspeak”, which Detector Media launched as part of the “Disinformation Chronicles” project. In it, we will tell and explain new lexemes that Russian propaganda uses to distort reality.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with the help of a newspeak: “The Kyiv regime”

Since the beginning of the large-scale war, Russia has clearly been trying to overthrow the Ukrainian authorities and establish its own. In particular, Russia illegally appoints its own people to senior positions in the temporarily occupied territories. Ukraine is gradually driving the occupiers out of its lands, but Russia considers its appointed government to be legitimate, and it calls the Ukrainian, legally elected in fact, “Kyiv regime”, which supposedly “illegally” leads Ukraine.

That is, Russian propaganda replaces the word “government” with “regime” in order to confirm the so-called illegitimacy of the Ukrainian authorities, which, according to Russia, does not act on behalf of the people. Also, calling the Ukrainian authorities led by Volodymyr Zelenskyi the “Kyiv regime”, propaganda blurs the concept of the Ukrainian state, which allegedly no longer exists. At the same time, it focuses its attention on certain boundaries of the so-called government, where it operates. The Kyiv regime means that it operates only within Kyiv and does not extend to other territories. Allegedly, Ukrainians are hostages of this regime and cannot overthrow it on their own without the help of Russia.

With the help of this word, as well as the same special military operation, pops and others, Russia seeks to blur the borders and change the reality in which it saves Ukrainians from an illegal regime that captivates Ukraine, and not vice versa - it itself seeks to enslave Ukrainians, destroy Ukrainian cities and villages.

This is the seventh text for the new section Newspeak, which Detector Media launched as part of the “Disinformation Chronicles” project. In it, we will tell and explain new lexemes that propaganda uses to distort reality.

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

First of all, “foreign agents” are media and persons who are in a special register of “foreign agents”, which is formed by the Russian government. According to Russian law, it should be added only for the receipt and use of funds from abroad. However, the occupiers often add to this list people or media who do not have confirmed foreign income, but directly or covertly criticize Russia's actions. In particular, the list included media that refused the wording “special military operation” in their materials.

Experience shows that propagandists can use this definition without reference to this list or Russian citizens. The term is repeatedly used as an informal or satirical name for foreign sources or Western media people who openly oppose Russian aggression.

In this way, Russia mocks democratic values and accuses all those who criticize it of bias. They say that the sources of information are confirmed, but “foreign agents” lie and are simply jealous. Propagandists often transfer responsibility for their actions to Ukraine or the West, calling the information of “foreign agents” fake. This definition is another example of how the Russian media space is limited and controlled.

This is the sixth text for the new section “Newspeak”, which Detector Media launched as part of the “Disinformation Chronicles” project. In it, we will tell and explain new lexemes that Russian propaganda uses to distort reality.

Newspeak War is the seizure of territories

War is the seizure of territories. However, according to Russian propagandists, it is the Russian military who, having crossed the border of a foreign country, having annexed part of the territory, do not seize it, but, on the contrary, liberate it. In particular, this is one of the main tasks of the so-called “special military operation”. In order to explain Russia's invasion into Ukraine, Russian propaganda distorts reality and uses the phrase “liberation of territories”.

“Liberation” - the term by which Russia appears as a liberator that does not destroy and brings death, but on the contrary, liberates its territories from the Ukrainian yoke.

Russian propaganda uses the term “liberation” to hint that the Russian army is only restoring justice: returning to Russia what already belonged to it, and somehow ended up outside its borders in some random way. Like, the same Crimea, Donetsk region, Luhansk region or even Kharkiv and Kherson regions have always been Russian, and Russians live there. However, the resistance that the Ukrainians are and have been providing in the territories temporarily occupied by Russia, just demonstrates the opposite. It is beneficial for Russians to substitute the concept, white to be called black, and occupation to be called  liberation. Thus, Russia's actions allegedly lose their negative connotation and acquire a different, already positive content. At the same time, the occupation of territories and their subsequent annexation is illegal, so propagandists do not use such words so as not to show the true face of the Russian leadership and their military subordinates.

This is the fifth text for the new section “Newspeak”, which Detector Media launched as part of the “Disinformation Chronicles” project. In it, we will tell and explain new lexemes that Russian propaganda uses to distort reality.

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

All explosions on its territory, Russia calls “pops”. This began before the full-scale aggression against Ukraine was launched, and is now firmly rooted in the lexicon of Russian propaganda. Russian media use this word to define absolutely all explosions, regardless of their nature and source.

According to a study conducted by the Russian publication “Meduza”, at the end of 2017, in the media, news with the word “pop” could be counted in the tens, and already in 2019, in the thousands.

Russia began to change words in order to avoid panic among the people. They say that the news about the “pops” will not frighten the society as much as the information about the “explosions”. At present, Russia's goal has not changed. This concept should still reassure society and inspire the opinion that nothing serious is happening. A “pop”, according to propaganda, on a subconscious level causes less anxiety and negative associations.

With the help of a newspeak, people in every possible way complicate the process of understanding the course of events and their meaning. In addition, the absence of war also implies the absence of explosions, therefore, after the start of the “special operation” on the territory of Russia, from time to time there are precisely “pops”, which have long been familiar to the inhabitants of Russia, and in Ukraine are better known as “cotton”, that is translation of the same Russian word but with different stress. 

This is the third text for the new section “Newspeak”, which Detector Media is launching as part of the “Disinformation Chronicles” project. In it, we will tell and explain new lexemes used by Russian propaganda to distort reality.

We recall that the newspeak is an artificial language from George Orwell's dystopian novel “1984”. In the novel, Newspeak names words that lose their original meaning and have a completely opposite connotation. For example: war - peace. According to the plot of the novel, such a technique was used by the totalitarian party. It was it that gained popularity among representatives of real totalitarian regimes. In particular, Nazi and Russian.

Newspeak How Russia blurs reality with fictitious words: “Denazification”

One of the tasks of the “special military operation”, that is, Russia's large-scale war on the territory of Ukraine, was the so-called “denazification of the Ukrainian people”. That is what President Putin said when he addressed the nation hours before the full-scale invasion. In order to justify Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Russian propaganda uses the term “denazification”.

“Denazification” is a term used by Russian propaganda to refer to the goals of a large-scale invasion. In other words, the eradication of supposedly Nazis from the territory of Ukraine in order to achieve global peace.

Russian propaganda actively compares Ukrainians precisely with the Nazis in order to evoke corresponding associations among Russians with the Second World War (the so-called Great Patriotic War), in which the people of the USSR liberated the world from the Nazis. However, the propagandists appropriated all the achievements to the Russian people, but omitted the fact that other Ukrainians also participated in the Second World War.

Consequently, a halo of particularity, significance and importance of Russians in historical discourse is being built. Allegedly, the Russian people had a special task to save humanity from the Nazi invasion. And now, it seems, they should do the same: to save the world from the invasion of other Nazis - Ukrainian ones. Speaking of the so-called denazification, the propagandists are playing with the emotions of the Russians, who once again get a chance to save humanity. At the same time, Ukrainians appear as evil Nazis who need to be destroyed.

Thus, Russia is trying to justify its invasion and, masquerading as “denazification”, commits genocide of Ukrainians, rapes and kills civilians. The real goal of Russia is the extermination of the Ukrainian people.

This is the third text for the new section “Newspeak”, which Detector Media launched as part of the “Disinformation Chronicles” project, in which it will tell and explain new lexemes used by Russian propaganda to distort reality.

We recall that the newspeak is an artificial language from George Orwell's dystopian novel “1984”. In the novel, Newspeak names words that lose their original meaning and have a completely opposite connotation. For example: war - peace. According to the plot of the novel, such a technique was used by the totalitarian party. It was it that gained popularity among representatives of real totalitarian regimes. In particular, Nazi and Russian.