Brussels, 30 September 2022
As the apparent announcement of illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions, Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson, into Russia is imminent, we wanted share with you this special bulletin.
In this bulletin, we are bringing together the key points that are in our opinion crucial for cutting through the fog of Kremlin disinformation and understanding better the Kremlin actions so far, and assess the things to come.
Everything associated with the sham ‘Referanda’ is disinformation and the upcoming annexations are illegal
The Russian theatrical mimicry of a democratic process should not at this point convince anyone anymore. Everything associated with this farce is Russian disinformation and meant to deceive, mislead, and confuse both the Russian home audiences and international audiences. We have seen this game played before, for example in Crimea back in 2014.
Worst of all, the tragic play that has taken place in the temporarily occupied areas of Ukraine also serves the purpose of intimidating the oppressed local populations by attempting to express the crushing power of ‘new rulers’ in the worst traditions of the Soviet Union.
The European Union has clearly denounced the ‘illegal “referenda” and their falsified outcome’ as have done all the other major supporters of Ukraine including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The upcoming illegal annexations will without doubt receive similar kind of condemnation in unison.
The only thing that we should fear is the fear itself
We have witnessed the dispersal of ambiguous yet clearly threatening nuclear rhetoric at the same time with announcing the sham ‘referendums’. Some propagandists drew a telling connection between the referendums and the nuclear rhetoric, stating openly that Russian nuclear doctrine will apply to the temporarily occupied territories in Ukraine, thus extending the Russian nuclear ‘shield’ to deter Ukraine and the West from attacking them.
Through the annexations and nuclear rhetoric the Kremlin attempts to achieve a magic trick, portray Ukrainian forces as an invading force instead of the liberators that they are to whip up patriotism among populace. Furthermore, the same trick with irresponsible nuclear hot talk should deter Ukrainians from getting what is rightfully theirs, and stop the West from supporting the Ukrainian self-defence efforts.
The pro-Kremlin propagandists’ public musings about nuclear security should be considered calmly and with a level head. Part of their intent is to whip up a frenzy and create the impression that the Kremlin and its master are unpredictable and if pushed into a corner, they will be forced to deliver the ultimate strike. This is harmful disinformation, as it sets the reader, including Western decisionmakers, in the position of being the reason for Putin being cornered. This simply is not true.
There Is No Corner
This image of a cornered and threatened animal works to the Kremlin’s advantage. Combined with the constant reminders that this animal is a nuclear one, pro-Kremlin disinformation seeks to deter and dissuade the West from responding to Russia’s annexation of occupied territories in Ukraine.
If the Kremlin decides to end the war, withdraw its occupational forces, and leave Ukraine alone, then the war, the killing, and atrocities conducted by the occupying Russian forces will end.
Russia will continue to exist, if the Kremlin does this; it does not magically vaporise. Furthermore, the propaganda machinery that has fanned the flames of war can also explain away Putin’s decisive defeat. Neither Putin nor Russia are in any way cornered despite them wanting us to believe so.
This war is not an existential crisis for Russia, it is a war of choice that they can also decide to end. However, the Kremlin has chosen an escalatory path, both in words and in deeds.
Source – EUvsDiSiNFO – Email