ANATOMY OF PROPAGANDA: TOP 3 EVENTS OF THE WEEK
The "repelling" of the Ukrainian Armed Forces' counteroffensive was a central theme of state propaganda during the reporting period. Media and social networks were flooded with video reports (including blatantly staged ones) of burned Ukrainian armoured vehicles. Another challenge for propagandists was the interpretation of the sabotage of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station. Meanwhile, a public conflict between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Wagner Private Military Company gained its peak throughout the week.
Russian media and war correspondents enthusiastically tell about the "successful" defensive battles of the Russian Armed Forces in Zaporizhzhia direction. The "facts" presented in these stories are becoming increasingly fantastic. In particular, Shoigu claims that Russian military losses are 50 times smaller than the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Some Russian experts even publicly ridiculed such statements. Attempts to pass off footage of anti-tank guided missiles shooting at combine harvesters as the destruction of Leopard tanks were particularly embarrassing.
The sabotage of the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Station dam and its technogenic and ecological consequences have caused great resonance worldwide. Ukraine promptly initiated an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, Russian speakers were slow to determine their position – some were openly rejoicing at the sabotage. Only after some time did the interpretation become unified – Russia accused Ukraine of blowing up the power station and appealed to the UN International Court. The propaganda technique in this situation is similar to how the Kremlin tried to justify itself after Russians shot down a Malaysian Boeing in 2014.
The public feud between the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Wagner Private Military Company has long crossed the boundaries of ethics. Prigozhin made public a video of his employees humiliating the commander of the 72nd Brigade of the Russian Armed Forces, Lieutenant Colonel Roman Venyavitin. In response, the Ministry of Defense has created a personal Telegram channel for Venyavitin, where he told his version of what happened and accused the Wagner Private Military Company of a series of resonant crimes: humiliation, abduction, abuse, and rape of service members of the Russian regular army.