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Тактики How Russian propaganda uses euphoria to achieve its goals

Euphoria is a psychological state in which a person experiences elation, happiness and joy that are not justified by objective conditions. It can occur during listening to music, dancing and synchronized activities, including religious rituals, parades, and public celebrations. Russian propaganda uses states of intense emotion, including feelings of intense happiness and well-being, to manipulate public opinion and promote a particular agenda or ideology. The goal of the tactic is to create a positive emotional association with a certain phenomenon or political leader, often to sway public opinion in favor of a particular point of view. Russian propaganda uses this tactic to raise morale and greater unity of certain social groups by holding mass events, spreading fake news about the unprecedented successes of the Russian army at the front, the mass deaths of Ukrainian military personnel or the destruction of equipment.

Every year on May 9, Russia celebrates Victory Day on a grand scale - loud parades are held with the participation of military equipment, concerts with military songs, flash mobs and events like the “Immortal Regiment”, where participants walk in columns holding photographs of their relatives who participated in World War II. At the same time, Russia calls this war the “Great Patriotic War”, blurring reality and leveling the role of Ukraine and other countries in the fight against Nazism. All these measures are aimed at inducing euphoria and a sense of greatness among Russians - they say those are they who defeated Nazism, flew into space, had super-powerful nuclear potential, etc.

Russia also pompously celebrates Defender of the Fatherland Day on February 23, a legacy of the Soviet past. This day is a day off; there are solemn ceremonies near the Kremlin, parades, mass celebrations, laying flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, concerts and spectacular fireworks. All this is intended to cause euphoria in people and fuel patriotism, as well as unite them into a strong social group, which thus heroizes the Russian military and encourages them to defend Russia from imaginary enemies. On February 24, 2022, Russia began a full-scale war in Ukraine. This happened the day after Defender of the Fatherland Day. As propagandists systematically spread fakes and manipulations promoting the narrative of the dangerous “Kyiv regime”, this prompted Russians, on a wave of euphoria, to take up arms with great enthusiasm and fight against the far-fetched Nazism on the territory of a foreign state.

In 2023, in the occupied cities of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, Russians also celebrated Defender of the Fatherland Day. “In the Novoaidar district, after 8 years, schools again held lessons dedicated to Defender of the Fatherland Day”, wrote in the pro-Kremlin media. Let us remind you that Russian troops occupied Novoaidar in early March 2022. In the temporarily occupied territories, Russian propaganda is trying to bring back the holidays that Ukraine canceled in order to give people a feeling of euphoria and create the illusion of joy and a happy life. They say that Russia will return both the holiday and pleasant emotions to the residents of Luhansk and Donbas.

In this context, it is worth mentioning the concerts in the Russian “Luzhnyky” on the occasion of the annexation of Crimea, which the Russians call “annexation” and “return to their native harbor”. Since 2015, March 18 is a day off in Crimea, and flash mobs and public events are held in a number of Russian cities. In particular, a large concert-meeting is being held in Moscow, at which Volodymyr Putin gives a speech and to which Russian show business stars are attracted. In 2022, the concert was called “For a world without Nazism”; its characteristic feature was the justification of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, patriotism, love for Russia and support for the Russian military. Celebrations are held every year to consolidate the positive impressions of the holiday and to ensure that the public does not cool down and systematically feels the euphoria of capturing new territories.

Euphoria paralyzes the ability to think critically, so when this state begins to pass, Russian propaganda tries to feed it with fake news about an inevitable victory over Ukraine and all Western countries or to hold another concert and mass event. Thus, Russian propagandists used the “euphoria” technique, spreading fake news that the United States welcomed Russian troops with the conquest of Bakhmut, the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate Kyryl Budanov and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi allegedly “died” - they say, the “special services” work so skillfully. This tactic is not only designed to instill joy and a sense of expected victory among the Russians and boost morale, but also to demoralize the Ukrainians.

Із перших днів повномасштабного вторгнення експерти «Детектора медіа» щодня протистоять російській дезінформації. Ми спростовуємо фейкові новини, деконструюємо російські наративи та меседжі. І гартуємо медіаграмотність читачів.

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