The Russian internet makes fun of Putin’s bluff?

The defeat at Kharkiv has given rise to new threads in the Kremlin’s propaganda. Of course, the constant and lulling melody of the propaganda message is the same: Russia is winning or it will win. In details, however, victory looks like a defeat.

Television in “Wiadomości” (“Wiestiach”) does not argue with the official version of the Ministry of Defense that the Russian troops near Kharkiv efficiently regrouped “in order to achieve the specific goals of the special military operation to liberate the Donbass”, and during this maneuver carried out “distractions and demonstration with the designation of the real actions of the troops “destroying the forces of the enemy.

Instead, the News shows scenes of escape of pro-Russian civilians, shocking for Russians, and reports from the areas abandoned by the Russian military. Well, the Ukrainians took a tough account of collaborators, and they apply the law ruthlessly to all public officials, including teachers.

“News” shows the announcement of Ukrainians that teachers who agreed to teach Ukrainian children in Russian and hammer Putin’s core curriculum into their heads, will be punished for it under the provisions of the war.

Here is a curiosity – with this terrifying image of Tuesday’s News, the authorities will argue on Wednesday – in a message from the RIA Nowosti agency. Minister of Education Sergei Kravtsov ensure: “Everyone who was in the Kharkiv region, school principals, teachers who expressed a desire to leave the Kharkiv region had such an opportunity, we provided it” (it is not clear how – since the front collapsed suddenly and it took the Russians two days to recognize this fact, but it is less important – more importantly, that the authority explains itself).

Apart from that the authority denies rumors allegedly circulating in Ukraine (!) that the Ukrainians are now picking up teachers sent to the occupied territories from Russia. This is probably a sign that panic moods in Russia are growing, and such rumors are circulating around the country.

Applause? I can’t hear it

Another scene: Duma resumed work after the holidays. Its marshal, a member of Putin’s elite, Vyacheslav Volodin, in his opening speech (pictured above) weaves a ritual sentence “Time has shown the rightness of the decision of Russian President Vladimir Putin to start a special operation in Ukraine.”

The hall responds routinely with applause. However, they are sparse and really very short. This is not how the support for the undisputed leader looks like.

It is also characteristic that there is practically no Putin on Tuesday’s News (and one could report – in line with the previous practice – that he was talking by phone, not only with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, but also with chancellor of Germany).

Perhaps the propaganda does not want Putin to be associated with a disaster at the front?

Propaganda reports the catastrophe using the one described in the previous episode GOWORIT MOSCOW figures of the two-headed dragon of the West: in Ukraine, they are putting pressure on Russia. THE TERRIBLE WEST (it is his modern weapon that decides what is going on at the front – the Ukrainians would not be able to cope with Russia alone).

Russia, on the other hand, is just victorious over the PLEASANT WEST – that is, European Union countries that have refused to use Russian hydrocarbons and are getting ready for a hard winter (the obligatory element of each “News” is now a report on the crisis in the West with examples of recommendations on how to save energy and water) .

A guy in uniform enters a restaurant in Moscow …

There is also a lot going on at a lower level than “News” – in the official telegrams of Russian “news” agencies.

  • RIA Novosti solemnly reports an incident from a Moscow restaurant, where the staff asked a guest in uniform to enter the hall where the family celebration was taking place from the backyard and not frighten the guests. Apparently, the appearance of a uniform from the front puts pressure on everyone.

This is how the propaganda fell into its own trap – for several months he has been telling how Ukrainians catch conscripts in restaurants and clubs. And experienced recipients of propaganda know that it actually tells the fantasies of the authorities. The described family reunion had to be held over the weekend and the guests had to talk about the Kharkov disaster. Maybe they were talking about mobilization – and here comes a guy in uniform …

The incident was assessed by the authorities as serious, because Marshal Volodin himself intervened: “Such premises should be closed” – announced.

  • However, the Kremlin once again found it necessary to promise that there would be no mobilization in Russia. So people are talking about it again

“There is no question of it at the moment” – he assured President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, “answering the journalists’ question whether the option of introducing full mobilization is foreseen.”

“All ministries, departments, county and city state administrations of the LPR continue to operate normally. All current payments of salaries, allowances and pensions are made in the republic without delay, and all settlements in the republic remain under the control of the allied forces of the LPR and the Russian Federation. “

  • Another official cable from the occupied Luhansk oblast reads like this: not everywhere where Ukrainian flags have appeared in the oblast, there is already a Ukrainian army.

So we have a flood of Ukrainian flags – people are no longer afraid.

“In the front and even back areas of the Luhansk People’s Republic, there are groups of people who photograph Ukrainian flags on the administrative buildings of the republic, and then disseminated on the Internet in order to psychologically affect the people of the LPR” – informs RIA Nowosti.

“Most likely these are the so-called paid or young people or those with pro-Ukrainian views. They hang flags on our territory on administrative buildings, take pictures, and then all this is disseminated on the Internet “

Quoted by RIA Novosti, Andrei Marochko, an officer of the People’s Militia of the LPR, tells how “on Saturday, information about the entry of Ukrainian formations into the settlement of Swatowo literally began to spread virally, although it was not true.”

  • The Crimean authorities have reached a new level of hysteria – they are now chasing Ukrainian songs sung in public places. Apparently, people in the allegedly Russian Crimea are reacting with joy to Ukrainian victories, and the authorities are starting to fear.

On Monday, the head of the occupation authorities of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov he announced seriously that “the organizers and participants of public events in Crimea, during which nationalist songs are sung and pro-Ukrainian slogans are chanted, will be held accountable.”

RIA Novosti explained that such “video recordings of public events in Crimea appear in the information space.”

According to Aksyonov, such behavior is a betrayal of the homeland. Within a day, participants of the Saturday (September 10) wedding in Bakhchisaraj, who sang a Ukrainian song classified by the occupation authorities as the “UPA and Azov anthem” (according to the Ukrainian portal suspilne.media was supposed to be “Red Kalina”)

What’s worse, the recording of the wedding singing went online and made a sensation there.

The court was gentle because he recognized feasting chants for “propaganda of the symbols of extremist organizations” and “discrediting the Russian army”, and not for treason, as Aksyonov wanted. So the owner of the restaurant was only arrested for 15 days, a DJ and a dancer – 10 days each, the groom’s mother – 5 days, and the bride’s mother – 40,000 rubles (about PLN 3,000).

“Due to the circumstances, an inspection is carried out. I think that this is not the final list of people who will bear their deserved responsibility under Russian law “- threatened Crimean “Deputy Prime Minister” Mikhail Nazarov.

The highest occupation authorities were involved in the case, and – what is even more surprising – RIA Novosti described the wedding in Bakhchisaray in two dispatches, two hours apart: that the authorities were investigating and that the authorities punished the singers and They publicly promised to support a “special operation in Ukraine” and even offered to make a financial contribution (or was it that they tried to buy out of trouble, but this time it turned out to be impossible?).

  • An even better cable came from Yekaterinburg (like a dump, then a dump): the militia are looking for teenagers who baked potatoes in the “Eternal Fire” in the town of Kamiensk-Uralsk in the Sverdlovsk Oblast, which obligatorily adds splendor to the monuments of Stalin’s war with Hitler in Russia.

And not only did they bake it (using the scooter as a barbecue), but they recorded it and put it on the web. And here again it is worth noting that, according to propaganda, the information about the pursuit of a youthful achievement by the police deserves a presence in All-Russian news service on September 14. (After a few hours another cable informs that the “perpetrators” have been identified. They were eleven, fourteen, fifteen and sixteen, so the authorities will also reach out to their legal guardians.)

So how many such videos and such potatoes are there in Russia?

After all, it doesn’t surprise us announcement Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov: Russians support Russian President Vladimir Putin in carrying out a special military operation. This is confirmed by their moods and actions, their election in voting (local elections were held in Russia over the weekend and, of course, those who needed to win).

Peskov is clearly trying to dispel the doubts that are emerging. It also says that “all critical points of view are considered pluralism as long as they fit within the framework of the legislation, but the line is very thin”.

Is Putin’s Russia really on this border? I cannot say that. But I risk the thesis that the Russian Internet, properly Russified, Putinized and cut off from the West in the last six months, has ceased to be a safe space according to propaganda. Potatoes, songs, flags, rumors of mobilization – it all looks very funny – and therefore very dangerous.

And what is the real situation at the front, you can read here:

Agnieszka Jędrzejczyk

Historian by education. From 1989 to 2011, she was a parliamentary reporter and then an editor in Gazeta Wyborcza, until December 2015 – in the government administration (in teams that prepared a new act on public fundraising and changed – for a short time – the rules of public consultations). Until July 2021 at the Office of the Human Rights Defender.


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