grotesque Russian propaganda to mobilize a new army
This is the message conveyed by one of the Russian propaganda videos circulating on social networks. They aim to convince Russians to volunteer in Ukraine.
A questioning propaganda technique. For nearly a week, Russian propaganda videos have been circulating on social networks. It was posted on December 18 on Twitter by Francis Scarr, a journalist for BBC Monitoring – the branch responsible for writing reports on media around the world. If it arouses such curiosity, it is because it depicts a Russian who is enlisting in the army to buy the latest smartphone for his daughter.
“Never mind the “existential threat” posed by Western “devils,” this propaganda video tells Russian men the real reason they should enlist to fight in Ukraine: so they can buy new smartphones for their teenage girls.wrote the British journalist, whose tweets were viewed by more than 780,000 people.
The video opens with Alyona, a teenager tucking banknotes into her piggy bank, a smile on her face. “I will soon have enough savings to buy myself a brand new smartphone“, he told a friend. His father, a former decorated Russian veteran, knocked on the door. Embarrassed, he tells her he needs money. He has had financial difficulties since leaving the front. Resigned, Alyona handed over the piggy bank before telling her friend about the situation. The latter replied that his father, also a veteran, had returned to war. With his ear pressed against the door, Alyona’s father decided to get involved. Six months later, he returned safe and sound, smartphone in hand.
This video is entitleddad this year», is part of a series of clips where the storyline is more or less always the same. Since December 18, these propaganda clips have featured Russian citizens, often veterans, who are unable to make ends meet financially. Some are forced to combine jobs to survive.
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This is especially evident in the last video that journalist Francis Scarr shared on Twitter, this Thursday, December 22. It has been viewed by more than 340,000 people. “This is one of the mysterious Russian army recruitment videos. This one tells us incidentally that it is almost impossible to get a decent salary in the provincessaid the reporter.
Indeed, four men sat and complained about their precariousness. “Early in the morning, I went to the factory. Apart from that, I work odd jobs as a taxi driver or porter. I come home at midnight. I don’t see my children or my wife at all. And I still have no money!“Is one of them angry. Another then responded by advising the other three to enlist in the army: “We’re fit people, vets sitting here complaining about life instead of helping properly“. It is a magic solution that is presented in all scenarios.
Get involved, the solution to all problems
The ending of each video is always the same: one of the protagonists enlists or recruits the others in the army. Its aim is to display patriotic pride and the will to defend one’s country: “It’s like the army is our lifeshouted one of the three men. Alyona, in the first video, talks with amazement about her father’s military exploits at the front:He is the best shooter […] He risked his life“.
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This advertisement seeks to convince the target audience to enlist in the military. It all ends with the message:Register as a volunteer“, against the backdrop of images of the war in Ukraine and the Russian flag. According to Fontanka, an independent local media based in Saint Petersburg, these clips will affect certain regions of Russia where living conditions are deplorable.
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Where do these videos come from?
Also according to the Russian media, the style of this advertisement will be similar to a comic television program for children Yeralash, dating from the 1990s Fontanka also stated that he did not know the identity of the creator of the video. While some Russians point to Kremlin social media manager Christina Potupchik, the latter has denied the allegations. On his Telegram channel, he will blast “enemy“, life “overseas“.
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Facing this debate,Internet users will start diggingsaid Fontanka. Details – such as Russian food brands – hidden in the clips allegedly prove they were indeed filmed in Russia, including one in a northwestern suburb of Moscow.
Therefore the creator of this video is very difficult to trace. According to research from Figarothis ad first appeared on the Telegram channel “dwashon December 15th. The message viewed by over 360,000 people contains these ten clips, accompanied by the comment: “So that’s where the cast of the low budget series goes“.
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These actors were the subject of an investigation conducted by the Russian investigative media, Important Stories. The latter revealed that one of them was a TikTokeur named Denis Daham. Asked why they starred in the commercial, the comedians replied, “To earn money“. 8000 rubles to be more precise, or just over 108 euros.
While some said they had nothing against the war, others admitted they did not read the script prior to filming. One of them even admits that he regrets appearing in this propaganda: “This will be a lesson for meNevertheless, he did not think thatthese videos can be harmful, unlike the aggressive military propaganda on television“.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the Russian state has invested heavily in television propaganda. It has been institutionalized on Kremlin-dependent federal channels such as Perviy Kanal, Rossiya 1 and NTV, which deal daily with “special operation” Ongoing.
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