Your terror is our pleasure: Russia savors the details of strikes on civilians in Ukraine. Russian media monitoring report, 10-16 October

As Russian missile terror attacks are gaining momentum in the attempt to decimate Ukraine's energy infrastructure, there has been a change in Russian media's tactic. The leading Russian media started covering every single air raid alert in Ukraine in painstaking detail something that wasn't done until recently. This monitoring report covers these and other topics of the disinformation spread by Russian state media and online parajournalists to manipulate public opinion.

Ukraine Terrorizes Russia

While the entire world is awed by terror attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure, Russian propagandists have redoubled their efforts to promote the narrative of ‘terrorist Ukraine”.

The “terror attack” on the Crimean Bridge was an epitome of Russian invectives. What in fact is an illegal structure used to resupply the occupation army in the South and East of Ukraine is called “a critical civilian infrastructure facility” by the Russians. Russian propagandist media got overly emotional over the bridge strike: “The Crimean Bridge is in pain, it is crying out to every single one of us: “Wake up, Russia! Wake up and start being Russia! If we don't respond to this call, the Crimean Bridge might not be the last to fall down”. This theatrical boohoo was obviously intended to justify the missile strikes on the energy facilities of peaceful Ukrainian cities and civilian homes.

In additional to the bridge attack accusations, Russian media also pointed fingers at Ukraine which was allegedly planning acts of sabotage against TurkStream gas pipeline, Russia's Kursk Nuclear Power Plant and other targets. The accusations and threats against Ukraine were personally thrown by Vladimir Putin at a dedicated meeting of the Security Council of the Russia: “Kyiv has joined the club of the most notorious terrorist groups. The horrendous crimes of the Kyiv regime may not go unpunished”.

As usual, the Russians tried to create an illusion of the entire world sharing their point of view. For that purpose, Russian media shared materials with and used original publications from freaky bloggers and fringe media: “The Kyiv regime funded by the West is turning Ukraine into a rogue state … First, Zelensky made the world believe that it was Russia that was allegedly committing acts of aggression. And now he has been sending trucks rigged with explosives to wreak chaos — just like other terrorists do”.

Interestingly, last week's news feeds on Russian media contained numerous reports on air raid alerts, blackouts and interruptions in the operation of mass transit systems in Ukraine. The somber tone of the materials and the distressful details were used to paint a picture of complete chaos in panic-stricken cities of Ukraine: “Kyiv city council recently ordered to stop the trains of the red line of the capital's underground. The stations were re-purposed into shelters for the local residents”, “explosions rocked Shepetovsky district of the oblast. There is no power or water supply, the public transport has come to a standstill”. For more information, read our article: “Your Terror is Our Pleasure”. Although the terror attacks have continued for 8 months, Russian propagandists seemed to ignore their outcomes until recently.

The Entire World vs the USA

Russian media kept convincing their readers that Ukraine is nothing but a battlefield for Russia’s war against the USA and the West. Last week, Russian wannabe experts once again attempted to blame Washington for its desire to maintain the status-quo: “They somehow believe that global politics must be guided by American interests and based on American principles — and nothing else matters” whereas China and Russia were portrayed as peace-loving nations: “[the people of] China do not seem to be very happy about possible consequences because, just like Russia, China is open to doing business with countries of the West and the East without any labeling. Therefore, any careless remarks such as “we ought to normalize the relationship between our two countries” blurted by fringe personalities cannot but cause a commotion

The propagandists claim that the USA is messing with Russia's efforts to protect its national interests: “According to Mr. Ryabkov, “the USA is pathologically unable to recognize other nations’ right to protect their interests of vital importance””. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin has already stated that “Western nations have resorted to nuclear blackmail while Washington is pushing Kyiv into taking the battle to the territory of Russia”.

Certain members of the Russian administration alleged that American agencies are issuing orders to Ukrainian artillery: “Considering the fact that every HIMARS strike requires a go-ahead from Washington, it is the American generals who are to blame for the precise though utterly pointless destruction of cowsheds and pigsties”.

The propagandists cherished the days when the former Soviet Union used to be regarded as a worthy adversary of the United States and claimed that Russia had picked up the banner: “The USA has a die-hard ambition for hegemony and projecting domination”. With that in mind, the Russians dream about three global areas of influence: American, Russian, and Chinese, and take pride in saying that China considers Russia its equal in the fray: “global competition among great nations is back: the USA is opposed by two “revisionist powers” — Russia and China”, “Washington is committed to deterring Russia and securing a strategic victory in the competition with China”.

Not surprisingly, Moscow believes Ukraine to be firmly within its sphere of its influence and cannot take its partnership with the USA seriously: “Just like the USA did 60 years ago, Russia may not allow its political adversary to “park” an “unsinkable air carrier”, which presents an unacceptable security risk, in its backyard”.

To add extra weight to those claims, Russian propagandists tried to convince Russian people of the world's unwavering support of Russia: “We are touched to hear kind words of support for Russia in its stand-off with the West from people all over the world”.

This claim was backed with comments from street interviews in other countries:

“I stand with Russia as they are fighting against American domination, said Rashid Nurhammed, a vendor from Dhaka. “Can you find me at least one person in their sane mind who likes America? Just look at Bangladesh: American business has been exploiting our country: we make clothes for their huge market for a few dollars and cents”.

“Europe and the US keep saying that Russia must respect its neighbors”, fumes Fernando Vijaya, a travel agent from Sri Lanka. “That being said, they have no respect whatsoever for Asian countries. They treat us as slaves who can eat whatever second-rate food they send us as it is too bad for them. They destroy our ecosystems and starve our people into submission”.

“Today, it is only the Russians and the Chinese who are brave enough to defy the West”. “America has always supported our enemies”, says Vijay Haribnaya, a snack bar owner from Delhi, gloomily. “When India was at war with Portugal, America sided with the Portuguese oppressors. And during our conflicts with Pakistan, the USA made sure it had the best weapons”.

Also in the News:

Russian media convinced the readers that severing economic ties with Europe would have no adverse consequences for Russia and instead hinted at a window of opportunity: “Asian countries are flocking to fill the void that created by the exit of Western companies from the Russian market: in particular, the Indian government has already agreed to offer Moscow a helping hand”, “besides China and India, many Latin American and Middle-Eastern countries are highly excited about extending cooperation with Russia”.

They cursed all Russian citizens who are against the war and mobilization: “the recent mobilization efforts have exposed Russian people's festering sore that must be decisively treated” and reassured that all those who protested by fleeing the country will come to reason after Russia's victory: “Most everyone will come back home. They will reunite with their families. They will do that as soon as they realize that the great victory has always been and will be ours. They will soon realize that there is no place like Russia. And they will be sorry for leaving their country when it needed them most”.

Time and time again the propagandists spun stories about the EU’s dependence on the US: “Europe has long become a political appendage of the United States”. They regretted that “Europe no longer has any leaders as great as General de Gaulle”.

They claimed that orthodox clergy in the occupied Kherson oblast wanted to leave the fold of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchate): “the Russian clergy of Kherson which firmly supports the transition to the Russian Orthodox Church according to the Crimean and Rovenky scenario will not budge to any threats”.

However, the collaborators among the clergy are facing fierce resistance from pro-Ukrainian agents in black robes: “some high-ranking clergymen of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Kherson are trying to sabotage the transition of local parishes into the fold of Russian Orthodox Church”.

And, finally they threatened Latvia for its attempts to curb the Russian influence on the orthodox church in the country: “Russia will not tolerate Riga's interference in the matters of the Latvian Orthodox Church and calls the attention of human rights organizations to the facts of religious discrimination on behalf of Latvian authorities”, “the government has no business in such sensitive matters as inter-church relationship — therefore, the pressure and dictatorship exerted by the state are absolutely unacceptable". The Methodology

We have built a corpus of all the materials from Russian websites and those maintained by the occupation force (almost 22,000 news items) for our weekly disinformation monitoring report. Each paragraph was processed by the algorithm which defines its topic automatically. The resulting topics (i.e. groups with similar content) were short-listed by the topics relating to the war or its consequences for Russia. The number of mentions of a certain topic was then counted for each publication. Our conclusions are based on the respective findings and the quotes from paragraphs referring to each topic.

We used materials from tass.ru, riafan.ru, lenta.ru, russian.rt.com, aif.ru, life.ru, slovodel.com, news-front.info, kommersant.ru, ruinformer.com, politnavigator.net, donbasstoday.ru, sevastopol.su, politobzor.net, naspravdi.info, antifashist.com, kafanews.com, anna-news.info, lugansk1.info, c-inform.info, dnr-pravda.ru, dni.ru, rusdnepr.ru, 3652.ru, comitet.su, odnarodyna.org, vsednr.ru, time-news.net, xvesti.ru, sobytiya.info, doneck-news.com, meridian.in.ua, dnr24.com

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