Propaganda in SDDLR (ORDLO): “We can repeat”, or militarization of consciousness08.07.2020
- The International Center for Countering Russian Propaganda continues to analyze the messages that Russia is implementing in the temporarily occupied territories of eastern Ukraine. Today we will consider the period from 22 to 28 June, 2020.
- During this period we can identify three main areas of work of Russian propagandists. Firstly, it is the further militarization of the consciousness of the SDDLR (ORDLO – (separate districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions) population, in particular children and teenagers, culminating in a military parade on June 24.
Secondly, it is a continuation of accusation of Ukraine in alleged “neo-fascism.” And thirdly, it is the archaization of the agenda, the resuscitation and modernization of old meanings instead of producing new ones.
“Pobedobesie” (“Victory – craziness”) and Back in the USSR
The cornerstone of modern Russian propaganda, the supporting structure of the concept of the “Russian world”, the alpha and omega of the majority of propaganda narratives – is the exaggerated role of Russia, which is portrayed as the only victorious country over German National Socialism in World War II.
The events of 1941-1945 (according to the Russian chronology of the war) are used for the increasing militarization of the population, both within the Russian Federation and in the territories occupied by it, including children and teenagers. The culmination of this “victory-craziness” was the annual Victory Parade on May 9. Due to the COVID19 epidemic, the date of the parade in Moscow was postponed to June 24. On the same day it took place in the Russia-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk.
The parades in SDDLR were preceded by a number of propaganda measures, which can be regarded as elements not only of information, but also of cognitive, that is, semantic war (war of meanings) of the Russian Federation against Ukraine.
In particular, the head of the SDDR “administration” Oleksiy Kulemzin signed an order to erect a monument to Soviet military leader Ivan Panfilov in Donetsk.
In addition, the Post of Donbass issued a postcard “Parade of Winners on June 24, 1945” with a stamp depicting Marshal of the USSR Georgy Zhukov.
Commander Georgy Zhukov is notorious for his contempt for the lives of soldiers and officers under his command, which reflects the common proverb “women will still give birth” in Russia. According to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Zhukov himself told him about the Soviet infantry offensive through the minefields.
“German minefields, covered by enemy defensive fire, were a tactical obstacle, causing us heavy losses and significant delays in advancing. It has always been difficult for us to break through them, despite the fact that our engineers have invented various devices for the safe disposal of mines. However, Marshal Zhukov replied to me on a daily basis: “There are two types of mines: anti-personnel and anti-tank.
When we hit a minefield, our infantry continues to attack as if there are no mines. We consider the losses from anti-personnel mines as equal to those we would have suffered if the Germans had defended the area with a close concentration of forces instead of minefields. But the advancing infantry does not detonate anti-tank mines, so after the infantry is fixed on a bridgehead, previously controlled by the enemy, the sappers follow the infantry and harrow the passages for tanks and trucks. “
I had a clear picture of what would have happened to any American or British commander who tried to use such tactics, and an even clearer picture of what people from any of our divisions would have said if we tried to make such tactics as a part of our military doctrine. The Americans measure the price of war by human lives, and the Russians by the total cost of the nation,” Eisenhower wrote.
Nevertheless, Georgy Zhukov, as an ally of Stalin, occupies a certain place in Russia’s historical and military pantheon.
Another propaganda campaign from the arsenal of “attention designers” (G. Pocheptsov’s term) was also held in Donetsk. Here, on March 24, the postal block “Year of the Great Victory. 1945-2020 “(circulation of 2 thousand copies), which included 13 stamps:” Glory to the hero city of Leningrad “,” Glory to the hero city of Stalingrad “,” Glory to the hero city of Sevastopol “,” Glory to the hero city of Odessa “, “Glory to the hero city of Kyiv”, “Glory to the hero city of Moscow”, “Glory to the Brest fortress-hero”, “Glory to the hero city of Kerch”, “Glory to the hero city of Novorossiysk”, “Glory to the hero city of Minsk”, “Glory city-hero Tula “,” Glory to the city-hero Murmansk “and” Glory to the city-hero Smolensk “.
Two main points are noteworthy. Firstly, mentioning in this block of the cities that have long been located on the territory of independent states: Kyiv, Odesa, Kerch, Sevastopol (Ukraine, the last two – in the annexed by the Russian Federation Crimea), Minsk and Brest (Belarus). Secondly, the use of the names of Russian cities of the Soviet times: Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and Stalingrad (Volgograd) draw attention. The block also features an image of Joseph Stalin in the column of the Soviet newspaper Pravda.
A similar set of commemorative signs dedicated to the cities-heroes was issued by the so-called “Central Republican Bank” SDDR, which again mentions the capitals of independent states: Kyiv (Ukraine) and Minsk (Belarus).
Thus, in the occupied territories they are trying to revive the paradigm of “USSR 2.0”, the need to create it is constantly talked about by Russian propagandists, meaning the “return” of Ukraine and Belarus to the “brotherly family of nations.”
Accusations of “fascism” and rehabilitation of the NKVD
At the same time, SDDLR regularly broadcasts propaganda messages that “fascists seized power in Ukraine” and that “Ukraine has become the center of the revival of modern neo-fascism.”
This narrative is broadcast in the occupied territories to increase antagonism, to maintain the population’s sense of “occupied fortress.” Its subtext: the inhabitants of SDDLR are the descendants of the victorious Soviet military, the Ukrainians living in the territories controlled by the Government are the descendants of the defeated “Banderites”, so the “people’s war, the holy war” continues.
Last week, this message was repeatedly heard in the “state” media in the occupied territories, as well as during numerous propaganda campaigns. In particular, during the meeting of the “People’s Club of the People’s Council” of the so-called “DPR” on the topic: “The beginning of the Great Patriotic War – the prologue to the Great Victory: memory and counteraction to the falsification of history”, which took place on June 22, the so-called “chairman of the people’s council of the DPR” Volodymyr Bidyovka stated that the falsification of history is especially relevant for Ukraine, where:
“Nationalist formations practically took the ideology of fascism as a basis… Indulging in the whims of nationalists, the Ukrainian government is trying to erase the heroic pages of its history. However, it has a peculiarity of being revived, especially in relation to those who forget this history, and fascism, which has been revived in Ukraine today, is sure to be overthrown again. “
The actual tracing of Bidevka’s words was the speech of Yakov Osadchy, a “representative of the people’s militia of the Luhansk People’s Republic”:
“Ukraine’s military and political leadership is uncomfortable with society’s awareness of the importance of the Great Victory, and it is trying to push historical values out of people’s minds, replacing them with the ideology of Bandera criminals who collaborated with the Nazi occupation regime,” Osadchy said.
Artificial and baseless accusations of Ukraine of “fascism” were also voiced in the speeches of the leaders of the LDPR terrorist groups during military parades. In particular, the representative of the SDDR occupation administration Denis Pushylin stated:
“Neo-Nazism is raising its head. The criminal Kyiv authorities ignored the harsh lessons of that war, adopted nationalism and radicalism, and resolved the armed conflict against the working Donbass. “
The same message about “attempts to falsify history” and “Ukrainian fascism” was broadcast by another collaborator, SDLR leader Leoniv Pasichnyk.
“Despite attempts to distort the course of events, we will not allow to rewrite the history of our country, to tarnish the memory of the feat of the Soviet people during the Great Patriotic War. From the victorious May 1945 began the era of the generation of victors, the heirs of which are we all today. Since 2014, our army has been proving this in the fight against Ukrainian fascism. The fight against ukro-fascism has shown that there is no force that can defeat the people of Donbass,”said the head of the unrecognized LPR.”
The so-called deputy of “People’s council of the LPR” Oleksandra Kovalenko also mentioned this propaganda message in her speech during the parade in Luhansk:
“History has a tendency to repeat itself. Today our republic, like the Soviet state at that time, opposes fascism, with the only difference that at that time there was German fascism, and now it is Ukrainian, ”Kovalenko said.
The use of not only the same message, but even the same vocabulary and similar semantic constructions suggests the use of “temniks”, blanks-templates that Russian propaganda supplies to collaborators-representatives of the SDDLR occupation administration.
As for the parade itself, it should be noted that the First and Second Army Corps of the Russian occupation forces demonstrated samples of military equipment that they could not have “dug up in the mines.” In particular, armored personnel carriers APC-80, IFV-1 and IFV-2, T-72 tanks, self-propelled artillery units 2C1 “Gvozdyka” and 2C9 “Nona”, anti-aircraft missile systems “Strela-10” passed along the main street in Donetsk.
In Luhansk, T-72 tanks, IFVs and APCs, 152-mm “ Msta-B” howitzers, 122-mm D-30 howitzers, Strela-10 anti-aircraft missile systems and Grad MLRS took part in the parade.
This is another violation of Clause 2 of the “Package of Measures to Implement the Minsk Agreements”, according to which heavy weapons must be deployed to permanent locations, which must be verified by a representative of the OSCE SMM. According to the agreements, the security zone should be for artillery systems with a caliber of more than 100 mm – 50 km (25 for each part) or 70 km for MLRS (35 km), while Artema Street in Donetsk, where the parade took place, is only 10 km from the front line.
During last year’s military parades, the leaders of the SDDLR artificial formations justified themselves by saying that the military equipment involved was “antique” and “rare,” so that it was unusable and did not pose a threat. But the same cannot be said about the samples of equipment that were defiantly demonstrated in Donetsk and Luhansk on June 24, 2020.
The archaic narrative of Russian propagandists “back in the USSR” also took place during the parades. In particular, Soviet-era military equipment took part in them, and some participants in the parade in Donetsk and Luhansk were dressed in World War II-era military uniforms.
The fact that a “box” of soldiers dressed in the uniform of the NKVD (PCIA – People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs) internal troops took place at the parade in SDDLR deserves special attention.
During the parade, SDDR leader Denis Pushylin was also in the uniform of an NKVD(PCIA) officer.
Earlier in this uniform also the head of SR “Donetsk republic” Alexey Muratov who was appointed to this position by the order of Denis Pushylin also flaunted.
Reference: NKVD(PCIA) People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs – a punitive organization, which was formed in 1934 by the resolution of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU on the proposal of Joseph Stalin. This department played a sad role in the terror and repression that Joseph Stalin staged in the USSR against his own people. In particular, despite the Soviet Constitution, NKVD workers could consider cases of “enemies of the people” out of court, as well as in absentia, deciding on exile with confiscation of property, deportation, imprisonment in a concentration camp without the right of correspondence, execution (fussilade).The hearings were held without a lawyer, and the accused did not have the opportunity to file an appeal or petition for pardon. The structure of the NKVD(PCIA) (since 1935) also included the “Department of Labor Settlements”, which sent “socially alien elements”, “kulaks”, and representatives of deported peoples to exile, and the infamous Main Department of Correctional Labor Camps (Russian – Gulag). The NKVD(PCIA) also consisted of so-called “blocking detachments” that stood behind Soviet troops with weapons during World War II and shot those who tried to leave the battlefield. They also identified “deserters, cowards and alarmists” and carried out a field trial, including the right to shoot on the spot.
One of the ORDO’s(SDDR) regular propagandists, Alexei Akutin, tried to justify the fact that the NKVD had been rehabilitated with theses that were morally and historically questionable but “correct” in terms of Russian propaganda. In particular, on his telegram channel he wrote:
“For many years, the NKVD(PCIA) was shrouded in a kind of negative halo associated with political repression and the arbitrariness of the penal authorities. But at the same time it was somehow forgotten that it was the NKVD soldiers…. fought with Bandera soldiers, “forest brothers” and other undefeated evil, which is relevant today.
Given the numerous cases of use of the NKVD (PCIA) uniform, which would have been impossible without the approval of the top of the occupation administrations of the so-called DNR is not an isolated case, but an upward trend that accumulates several messages: “USSR 2.0”, the need for a “tough hand” and “restoring order at any cost”, and indirectly – the introduction of the cult of Stalin -Putin.
Militarization of children and teenagers in SDDLR: military camps and patriotic fakes
Another point to pay attention to is that children and teenagers were forced to take part in military parades in the Russian-occupied territories of Donbass. These are cadets of the Luhansk cossack cadet Corps named after Yefimov (SDLR), cadets of the Donetsk Higher General Military Command School and lyceum students of the Donetsk Lyceum-Boarding School with enhanced physical training (SDDR).
Serhiy Neschadym, an officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, posted documents on the forced gathering of young people for a propaganda event in preparation for the parade. In particular, the Ministry of Education of the DPR demands that they submit an application for the participation of young people in the event and obliges the Donetsk administration to provide organized transportation to the city center during rehearsals and parades.
Participants in the military parade in SDDLR were also attended by members of the military-patriotic movement “Young Guard-Unarmy”, which is a copy of the Russian youth organization “Unarmy”, which activities are funded by the Russian Government through the Russian Ministry of Defense.
One of the main tasks of the organization: “formation of the young generation’s readiness and practical capacity to fulfill its civic duty and constitutional responsibilities to defend the Fatherland.”
It may be recalled that the need to educate the “Putin Youth” is enshrined in the new military doctrine of the Russian Federation (December, 2014). In particular, one of the leading threats to the “Russian world” is “activities related to the information impact on… primarily young citizens of the country, which aims to undermine the historical, spiritual and patriotic traditions of defending the Fatherland.”
Children and teenagers in the Russian-occupied territories become part of this paradigm through involvement in both regular paramilitary organizations (such as the Unarmy) and participation in “patriotic” rallies or visits to “military-patriotic camps.” Work on the militarization of children and teenagers in the Russian-occupied territories of Donbass is intensifying during the long summer holidays.
Last week, through the website of the Luhansk Information Center and the VK social network page of the Patriotic Association of Donbass, parents campaigned to send their children to the St. George military-patriotic gathering.
Preference is given to children from disadvantaged families, including those who are registered with the “police”. The children’s propagandist project on the basis of the Forest Spaces camp, which is almost free of charge, has been operating at SDLR since 2016.
The occupiers plan that this year more than 100 children will take part in it in three shifts (before the quarantine, 250 children passed through the camp each shift).
Children as young as 8 are taught martial arts, handling weapons and explosives, intelligence, tactical medicine and even information warfare.
Instructors are employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (including Berkut special forces), the Ministry of Emergencies, the State Security Service, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Information, Press and Mass Communications (who run the journalism section).
The head of the “Ministry of Information” of SDLR Vyacheslav Stolyarenko during the opening of the camp in 2016 said:
“For our ” young journalists” and “young cyber soldiers ” detachments we will specially equip a computer class, we will conduct classes in photography and journalism.”
Thus, the young residents of the so-called LPR are taught not only the methods of conducting a “hot war”, but also a hybrid, information and meaningful (semantic) war. Next year, this system of “patriotic education” is planned to be extended to other children’s camps in SDLR.
The policy of militarization of children and teenagers in the Russian-occupied territories is gaining momentum, and time is not working for Ukraine. The generation growing up in SDDLR is instilled by Russian propaganda messages from an early age, which later become part of their own sustainable worldview.
Attempts by the occupation administration to involve children and teenagers in hostilities are particularly dangerous. For the sake of educating young people in the “spirit of patriotism” and readiness to die for unrecognized “republics”, propagandists do not neglect even fakes to create appropriate examples of behavior.
Pro-Russian propagandist Oleksiy Akutin, in a post-greeting to the Youth Day last week, spoke about the alleged “fifteen-year-old Valeria Lyakhova, who had died in a battle near Lysychansk in July 2014, when she and the” militia ” had been repulsing the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
This is an old fake, which was distributed in November 2014 on Russian social networks: VK, OK and Twitter. According to the fake, a teenager Valerya Lyakhova with the pseudonym “Beauty”, whose father had died on the front line, threw herself with three F1 grenades under a tank to save other militants. The fake turned out to be very viral and became widespread. It was soon refuted by the “deceased” herself. A girl named Polina Turchyna wrote that the girl depicted in the photo under the name of Valerya Lyakhova is her, and her photo had been stolen by the author of the post.
An unsuccessful attempt to resuscitate the old fake, however, testifies to the occupiers’ plans for the youth in SDDLR: its only virtue, according to Russian propagandists, should be the willingness to kill and die.
Rewards to the fighters of the information front and increase the costs of propaganda
Among other news that do not relate to propaganda messages in the occupied territories, but have relation to them, two key events can be noted.
First, it is the award of two collaborating propagandists. Denis Pushylin, the leader of the SDDR occupation administration, awarded the Order of Merit to the Republic to Andriy Rudenko and Serhiy Makarenko.
Andriy Rudenko is a military correspondent, head of VDTRK reporter groups in Donbas, and an anti-Ukrainian propagandist.
Serhiy Makarenko is a Life News employee convicted by the OSCE of brutally interrogating (under the guise of an “interview”) one of the cyborgs. In June 2019, Makarenko received Russian citizenship.
Both propagandists are on the list of the “Myrotvorets”( Peacemaker). Their honoring with “state awards” of fake formations is another evidence of the role that, in the opinion of the occupiers, the information component plays in the modern Russian-Ukrainian war. It will be recalled that in May 2014, Vladimir Putin awarded 300 media workers with orders and medals “for high professionalism and objectivity in covering events in the Republic of Crimea.”
The second event to pay attention to is the plans of the occupation administration to build a retransmission tower in the Novoazovsk district. This was announced on June 22 by Acting “Minister of Communications of the DPR” Igor Khalepa. According to him, for the current year in the “budget” of SDDR for this 65 million rubles (25 million hryvnias, or almost a million dollars) were allocated. Halepa claims that this will not only improve the quality of television and radio coverage in the SDDR, but also expand the radius of broadcasting Russian propaganda to the territory controlled by Ukraine.
Summary: The military parade on June 24, 2020 was the culmination, but not the end, of the “victory-craziness” in the occupied territories. The consciousness of the population continues to be forcibly militarized, and these actions in relation to children and teenagers are of particular concern.
The occupiers highly appreciate the role of SDDLR media workers, whom it’s better to call propagandists, in the Russian hybrid war against Ukraine. They are also preparing a young shift for “information front fighters” from among children and teenagers living in the occupied territories.
In general, the population of unrecognized entities is increasingly immersed in the information archaism, in particular, artificially suggesting a “carefree life in the USSR” and the need for a “strong hand” in the form of Stalin-Putin and his “falcons” –NKVDists (PCIA) -FSB members who can resist imaginary “Ukrainian fascism”.
Valentyna Bykova, media expert and analyst at the ICCRP