Preparing for 9 May: a guide to deciphering tropes from the Red Square in Moscow
Putin’s Russia has turned the celebrations of the 1945 victory in World War II into an almost religious day with ever more pompous military parades held on 9 May, the day the Nazi surrender was accepted by Stalin in Moscow. Will military hardware dominate on 9 May? Will Armata tanks, which have never made to it the battlefield? Perhaps the parade will flash Russia’s nuclear potential again?
There is reason to expect something special given Putin’s preference for turning history upside down, dismissing Ukraine’s right to exist, and claiming that all is going according to plan in Ukraine while Russian forces are sustaining significant loses in heavy war fighting.
Orwellian newspeak regarding Ukraine – Be prepared
On 24 February, the day Putin unleashed the invasion, we analysed what Putin said and what it really means.
Here a guide to help decipher newspeak regarding Ukraine that could come on 9 May.
|Putin’s manipulative and deceptive Newspeak:||What it really means:|
|“Self-defence of Russia.”||Continued war. Invasion of sovereign Ukraine which does not pose any threat to Russia.|
|“Special military operation going according to plan.”||Ill-prepared operation which ran into problems with logistics, morale and command.
Now resorting to heavy bombardment.
|“We only attack military targets.”||We target cities and civilian infrastructure. Countless atrocities like Bucha, Mariupol, Kharkiv and many others. Rockets shot at hospitals.|
|“Sadly, we have experienced some heroic loses.”||I will not tell you the true casualty numbers, and you better keep quiet if you have lost a loved one.|
|“We need to call up or mobilise more soldiers.”||My initial war plan failed, but it’s the generals’ fault. I need more Russians to risk their lives in the war.|
|“No occupation in Ukraine.”||The occupation of as much of Ukraine as possible and for as long as necessary. The longer, the better.|
|“Protection of Donetsk / Luhansk republics.”||Expansion of the area under Russian occupation. I hope to conquer or destroy the economic base in Ukraine’s southeast, and remove people protesting against the new “republics”.|
|“Protection of civilians and humanitarian help.”||Often forced deportation to other areas under Russian control or even to remote areas in Russia. Civilians exploited for media stunts while receiving minimal humanitarian assistance, including food.|
|“De-nazification of Ukraine.”||The de-Ukrainification of Ukraine, with all Ukrainians now labelled ‘Nazis’.
In areas under Russian control: the Stalinist repression of elected, legitimate officials of a sovereign country.
|“Election for a new government in [X] area.”||Fake-democracy at gunpoint to place Kremlin-loyal puppets in power in areas occupied by Russia. Insert X as the situation allows.|
|“Crimea is now better secured. People are happy.”||The illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 is not forgotten. Neither is the ongoing repression of local Tatars or other local inhabitants.|
|“NATO/US is using Ukrainians as cannon fodder.”||I’m surprised that Ukrainians are fighting to defend their country.|
|“NATO is expanding, preparing to attack Russia. Ukraine is just a springboard.”||NATO is not allowing me to dominate my neighbours and that fact makes me feel threatened.|
|“All Russians need to stand together in this historic struggle against the West – just like our grandparents in the Great Patriotic War”.||Russian citizens and companies need to sacrifice so that my cronies and I can continue to siphon off wealth and enjoy our lives.|
Other tropes of disinformation and manipulation may emerge. For example, Putin may signal a tougher approach to domestic Russian opposition. His language could include tropes about a fifth column, “spit them out like flies” and similar talk about the “enemies” which we analysed here.
9 May – Europe Day
Regardless of whether you celebrate the end of World War II in your country on 2 May, 4 May, 8 May, during March, in April, or on another date, the 9 May is also Europe Day. We celebrate the Schuman Declaration, presented by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman on 9 May 1950, that led to the creation of what is now the European Union. Happy Europe Day on 9 May!