The Kremlin’s Upside-down World in 2024

A map of the Kremlin’s world in 2024 is an upside-down version spun by disinfo and the manipulation of obvious facts. The year 2024 will be busy. Continuing from our disinfo review of last week, we present a short New Year’s overview of the main features of the Kremlin disinformation landscape as Russian society is increasingly locked into the atrocious war that Putin started against Ukraine. The sovietisation of the economy and the authoritarian handling of society form the backdrop. State outlets and propaganda channels try hard to sugar-coat bloody realities with a set of classic manipulative tropes served on all dominant channels.

By EUvsDisinfo | January 18, 2024 —

Here is an update of the main strands of pro-Kremlin disinformation. Spoiler alert – we have heard them all (so many times!) before, but there are novel features.

–The West is warmongering

According to this narrative, the West is pushing Ukraine, which is neo-Nazi with Bandera-inspired leaders, to continue the war at the expense of the Ukrainian population. The West is also creating a failed state that embraces national socialism. Russia must defend itself but stands for peace, at least according to Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov who’s always ready with alternative facts. If this has a smell of the Orwellian worldview of 1984, it is because Russia in the year 2024 comes fairly close to it, complete with surveillancecensorship, and mind control.

–Ukraine is doomed as Poland, Hungary, Romania, and Turkiye prepare to partition it

This is a pro-Kremlin classic, spinning the trope that denies Ukraine statehoodhistory, and identity. But now it has an additional manipulative twist suggesting that Turkiye wants to snatch the Black Sea port of Odesa. Again: don’t be deceived. Neither Poland, Hungary, Romania, nor Turkiye has any territorial claims to Ukraine. There is only one country, Russia, which is trying to deflect attention from its attempts to grab Ukrainian land. To get things straight: President Zelenskyy’s address at the World Economic Forum on 16 January offers sanity with his announced plans for a global summit in Switzerland to push for peace. Hopefully it will be held.

–Russia is under attack

Ostensibly, the ‘attack’ is on many fronts, including on public morale. So, self-defence looks like this: despite a hail of Russian missiles and bombardments of Ukraine, rapidly growing in magnitude during recent weeks and killing civilians according to a fresh UN report of 16 January, the Russian public and global audiences receiving Moscow’s narrative are repeatedly told: Russia only bombs military targets. This lie becomes yet more infamous with every day of bombardment.

Secondly, supposedly Russia must defend public morale because Moscow claims the US is attempting to disrupt the upcoming presidential election in Russia in March. The main candidate is (surprise)… Putin. Self-defence looks like this: removing uncomfortable candidates, arresting the few brave political activists, sending people away on long prison terms, and censoring and flooding the public information space. It does galvanise, or rather, petrify society.

–Towards a third world war

According to TASS, a leading Russian state wire service, the West is pushing the world toward a third world war. Hmm, who started the recent war in Europe? TASS twists the meaning of recent statements made by the German defence minister of the need for Germany (and others) to up its defence. Earlier, the Estonian prime minister spoke about NATO’s eastern flank in light of Russia’s aggressive behaviour. TASS continues a pattern of Russian sabre rattling, including nuclear threats designed to intimidate European publics into submission under Moscow.

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The Kremlin’s upside-down world in 2024 — EUvsDiSiNFO

–Ukrainian cities are in fact Russian, but under neo-Nazi-rule

According to Kremlin outlets, most major cities in Ukraine are Russian. They are just temporarily under occupation, and they include Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro, and Mykolaiv. This is perhaps the clearest illustration of an upside-down world-view where no comments seem necessary.

–Russian GDP grows, but can you eat a (destroyed) tank?

In recent weeks, Moscow has tried to create much hype claiming that the Russian economy is growing and outperforming others despite sanctions. Independent experts question the official statistics and the quality of the economic growth. Even if taken at face value, the officially reported 3 per cent growth in 2023 is mainly due to state financial stimulus to sectors related to the war and higher export earnings due to rouble devaluations. Inflation is rising.

In a war economy where a significant part of public spending is kept confidential, some 40 or perhaps even 50 per cent of state expenditures are directed to the military and ballooning arms production. This begs the question: is growth leading to a sustainable, beneficial economic situation for the population? Considering the substantial combat losses: can you eat a tank?

–Serbia and Central Asia: the West is trying to provoke colour revolutions

As we have documented, both Serbia and countries in Central Asia are on Moscow’s radar and every political development is seen through a paranoid prism where local political dynamics are attributed to US / EU / Western clandestine subversive activity. There is a near-complete denial of home-grown popular aspirations. True to fashion, popular demonstrations around the December elections in Serbia are called a ‘colour revolution/Maidan’ attack by the US/EU and compared with Georgia in 2003, Ukraine in 2004, and Belarus in 2010.

International recognition of disinformation as a top risk

By the way, this week, the yearly World Economic Forum takes place in Davos, Switzerland. The WEF annual Global Risks Report 2024 ranks misinformation and disinformation as the biggest short-term risks, while extreme weather and critical change to Earth systems are the greatest long-term concern. To know the risk is the first step in confronting it. We will keep monitoring the disinformation space for you so that you can keep increasing your resilience.

To know the risk is the first step in confronting it…

Also on our disinfo radar this week

  • The Russian state’s Sputnik outlets claimed: ‘Results of Taiwan election a victory for the Western empire. Well, first and foremost, the results reflect the free democratic will of the Taiwanese people. This concept could perhaps inspire Russian elections.
  • A new spin on energy: bloodsucking Europe drains its former colonies of energy resources. The topic of energy has an umbrella of manipulative narratives attached. For years, Moscow tried to scare Europeans that without Russian gas they would freeze almost to death, and the economic collapse that would follow the absence of cheap Russian gas would allegedly leave most Europeans unemployed. This Kremlin fantasy did not materialise. Now, RT (formerly Russia Today, broadcasting globally in all main languages) claims that the EU drains former European colonies of energy resources, depriving these countries of development. Russia promotes an image of itself as the patron and eternal friend of many countries, especially those across Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, while promoting anti-colonialism and anti-Americanism.
  • Shock the audience: the main TV station Russia24 claimed that human meat is served in posh Western restaurants. Keeping up the tradition of manipulating Russian audiences with sordid tales of the supposedly depraved European lifestyle and sick morale, the station presented this silliness as credible news but ‘forgot’ to mention it was satire. If this report had been in 2023, it would have made it on our December Christmas calendar on Instagram where we brought you some of the year’s wildest claims in the pro-Kremlin ecosystem.

Read Also : Le monde inversé du Kremlin en 2024

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