Staunton, June 1 – As he does each week, Dmitry Bukovsky of Kyiv’s Delovaya Stolitsa surveys Russian propaganda concerning Ukraine and picks out what he identifies as “the top five propagandistic myths, fakes, and stupidities of the Kremlin” for the last seven days.
The past week’s list, which highlights some of the rich variety of tactics Russian propaganda makes use of, includes:
1. When Moscow Needs ‘Evidence’ of Ukrainian ‘Fascism,’ the DNR Comes Through. The Russian foreign ministry said that Moscow hopes the OSCE will react to what it said was the presence of Nazi symbols on Ukrainian military equipment. Shortly thereafter, Bukovsky reports, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the head of the DNR, came through with what Moscow said it needed. He showed a Ukrainian flag with a swastika drawn on it but provided no evidence that he had not put the swastika on it himself.
2. Stalin is Now a Regular on Russian Icons – and Putin Makes an Appearance There Too. Given what Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin did to destroy religion, one might think that Orthodox Russians would not want to honor him by putting his visage on icons. But that is not so, and some Russian nationalists are celebrating his increasingly frequent appearance on them. Although Bukovsky does not mention it, Vladimir Putin is now appearing on icons as well, the result, one Russian religious commentator says, of the Moscow Patriarchate’s too rapid expansion in the number of bishoprics and the deteriorating level of the knowledge of those who occupy those positions.
3. Who is Selling a Ukrainian Passport? Russian media last week were filled with reports that “Ukrainians have begun to sell their passports on the Internet.” Efforts to track down those who supposedly are doing so, however, has not found the mass phenomenon Moscow suggests has emerged. Instead, it appears some of the passports being sold were stolen and that their sale simply reflects the following reality, Bukovsky says: “Some make their way in live by the minds; others by the sale of passports.”
4. DNR Says Ukraine Plans ‘New Chemical Attack’ but Provides No Evidence. DNR field commanders this week said that that Ukrainian forces were preparing “a new chemical weapons attack.” But the reports collapsed of their own weight because those who made these declarations demonstrated by what they said that they had no idea what was contained in containers that they insisted had chemical weapons.
5. ‘No One Doubts’ Life is Becoming More Joyous in the DNR – Except Those Living There. When conditions were at their worst in Soviet times, Moscow propagandists resorted to the formulation that “no one has any doubts” that things are getting better. Now, the DNR powers that be have adopted the same formula: Those who look around themselves can see that there are problems, but the pro-Moscow forces insist that “no one has any doubts” that everything is getting better all the time.