Sacred week in Russia: Putin's inauguration and Victory Day. Russian Media Monitoring Report, May 6-12, 2024

Last week, the Russian media focused on two events that could be said to be mystical and existential in Russian life: Vladimir Putin's inauguration on 7 May and the celebration of Victory Day. The events were presented as significant and fateful.

The speeches of the five-time president were dismantled into quotes and actively promoted by the propaganda. At the parade during the celebration, Putin spoke about the USSR's independent struggle against Hitler, for whom the entire European power was working. He mentioned that the Union had been retreating for some time, and then there was a victory. These theses prompted the Russian media to draw analogies and conclude that "we defeated Nazi Germany, we will defeat the Nazis in Kyiv".

Propaganda also wrote about the Eurovision Song Contest. There are no changes here. It is a satanic, Russophobic coven. The Russian media also tried to prove that ordinary Europeans understand Russia and are against confrontation, but national governments are spoiling everything.

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Read about this and more in the new issue of our monitoring of Russian state media and manipulative websites that target Russian disinformation.


A week of holidays

Last week, Russia celebrated two events: Vladimir Putin's inauguration for a new presidential term and Victory Day on 9 May. Propaganda attaches sacred significance to both events.

According to propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov, Putin's re-election is the most important event in the last ten years "because it's Putin. And because he is the head of Russia."

The propaganda dismantled Putin's speech at the inauguration ceremony into quotes that were circulated like the new Ten Commandments from the holy tablets. Even the West was floored by the speeches of the old and new president.

The main message of the week's propaganda was to support the national leader in all his decisions: "Our task is to provide our leader with maximum support so that in the next six years, Russia will move forward and become even better every day."

Another event, the Victory Day celebrations, was covered from all sides. There were news about veterans of the Great Patriotic War, comparisons of veterans of that war with participants in the current war, and stories about "children's military parades". They depict an imminent victory over Ukraine, and "Kyiv will fall like Berlin did in '45".

Propagandists also actively spread news about the ban in Germany on the use of symbols associated with Victory Day and the so-called SMO( Special military operation) at demonstrations these days: "Moscow condemns the decision of the Berlin authorities to ban symbols related to the Great Patriotic War, Russia and the USSR on 8 and 9 May".

Russia called it "blasphemy" and an "inhumane step": "We condemn this blasphemous decision of the Berlin authorities and call for its cancellation as illegal, inhumane, unscientific, anti-historical and criminal." According to the propaganda, the ban is proof that the Germans have not come to their senses and Russia "needs to repeat" (meaning the occupation of Germany).

And how could it not be without Putin on this day? Before the start of the parade, Putin traditionally gave a speech, which was then sung by the entire propaganda machine. As in the previous two years, he spoke not only about the victory in the Great Patriotic War, but also about Russia's war against Ukraine and its confrontation with the West.

Putin accused the West of "excessive ambitions", "seeking to justify the current followers of Nazism" and attempts to distort the "truth about the war".

He tried to prove the similarity between that victory and the future one in the war with Ukraine.

"Almost all of Europe worked for the 'military power of the Wehrmacht'," the Russian president said. This is an analogy with the West's support for Ukraine today. However, Putin has "forgotten" the role of the lend-lease for the USSR during World War II. Back then, the Allies supplied Moscow not only with weapons but also with equipment to produce its own munitions, which helped the Union to hold on.

Putin also said that the Soviet Union fought Nazism on its own in the early years of the war, which is a lie. Just think of the confrontation between the UK, which fought bravely after declaring war on Hitler on 1 September 1939.

"Today, civilisation is again at a decisive, turning point, a real war has been waged against our Motherland," as if Russia was attacked, as the Soviet Union was in 1941. Although here Putin mentioned that the Soviet Union was also involved in the outbreak of World War II. But he did not mention the attack on Poland in 1939 and its division with Hitler or the annexation of the Baltic states.

Instead, he spoke about China's role in defeating its enemies. This is a pirouette in front of a new ally and patron. Russia will have to share the victory over Nazism and Japanese militarism with Beijing. This is a significant ideological discount for Beijing because, for a long time, Russia held a monopoly on victory in World War II.

Ordinary citizens for Putin

Ordinary Americans and Europeans are not even aware that Russian disinformers often mention them in their materials. The opinions of anonymised social media users, abstract "Internet readers" of Western media, often become amplifiers of propaganda narratives and fakes. This is one of their standard techniques. And if the Kremlin propaganda cannot find a pro-Russian foreigner, it simply invents an alleged Internet user who supports the position of the Russian authorities. Or trolls write comments, and then Russian media present it as the opinion of the people in Europe.

For example, for months now, Russian propaganda has been insulting French President Emmanuel Macron after he said that French troops could arrive in Ukraine.

Last week, disinformers wrote that the French Foreign Legion, which is allegedly preparing to deploy, will not be able to change the course of the war: "The Foreign Legion will not have any influence on the course of the war. The French Foreign Legion will be replenishing their losses, which cannot be said about their morale." And some disinformers have said that the French are already at war and have suffered losses.

Pyotr Tolstoy, once a well-known propagandist and now a State Duma deputy and a descendant of Leo Tolstoy, also likes to talk about France: "The politician has clearly hinted that participation in this conflict will be the last for the French."

This is where the supposedly "fair" voices of supposedly ordinary French people are needed. Here's an example: "These loud statements (by Tolstoy - Ed.) made a strong impression on Le Figaro readers, who immediately began to urge Macron to listen to the voice of reason."

"Ordinary Britons" were also involved in propaganda in other news stories related to the statements of British Foreign Secretary David Cameron: "British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in an interview with the media that Ukraine has the right to strike deep into Russian territory with British weapons".

Initially, disinformers accompanied the posts with "undiplomatic" threats from Russian diplomats: "We have repeatedly warned London that any unfriendly actions will be met with an inevitable proportionate response. Our response will be tough and precise."

Then the "ordinary British" came into play: "The British reacted to such words and called on their foreign minister to come to his senses and stop 'talking nonsense'", "The conflict should not be dragged out, just as it should not make Putin angry. The British believe that pulling the Russian 'bear's moustache' is a deadly attraction".

Confiscation of assets

And with the opinions of allegedly ordinary Germans, Poles, Bulgarians, Hungarians and others, propaganda reinforces the thesis that the ideas of confiscating Russian assets or using Moscow's frozen assets for the benefit of Ukraine are ignorant, unjust and illegal.

Last week, the Russian media wrote extensively about statements by European politicians about such intentions: "According to Scholz, the EU has agreed to use about 90% of these funds for Ukraine's defence needs without any obligation to buy weapons from Europe."

And, as is often the case, the news is accompanied by theses about Moscow's harsh response: "Russia has sent a message to the West that if they confiscate its property, retribution will not be long in coming."



The final of the Eurovision Song Contest 2024 took place on 11 May. Russia was not among the participating countries—after the start of the full-scale invasion, it was denied participation.

In recent years, Russian propaganda has been pretending that it is not interested in this event, but it cannot stop mentioning it.

Even the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova shared her reaction to the song contest: "Eurovision 2024 has surpassed any orgy, coven or ritual sacrilege. The funeral of Western Europe is going on as usual. No surprises."

Every May, Russia debates whether to ban the show on television because, without Russian participation, it's not interesting: "It's pointless, given their inadequate behaviour and attitude towards us. This is their show, but without Russia, such events are not interesting."

This is one of a series of questions about banning such "Western" holidays as Halloween or Valentine's Day. Traditionalists shout about the ban because it is a "Satan's ball", while liberals allegedly defend the right to their existence because "bans cause a backlash among Russians": "Such measures only strengthen people's desire to do the opposite."

At the same time, the propaganda blasphemes the competition and emphasises that it is a Russophobic phenomenon and even unfair: "A singing contest that is broadcast to more than 200 million people worldwide claims to be 'non-political', but it is no stranger to being used for political purposes. "Pacts between groups of like-minded or geographically close countries often ensure progress in their actions, while rivals are awarded 'zero points'."

Disinformers point out that broadcasts of the competition in other countries are even interrupted to cover more pressing news: "The Serbian state broadcaster even interrupted the broadcast of the Eurovision Song Contest, a viral event watched by millions of viewers in Europe, to give airtime to the ceremony of welcoming Mr Xi at the Belgrade airport."

Some propagandists especially disliked the participants from Ukraine. Ukraine, represented by the duo Jerry Heil and alyona alyona, took third place. Backstage, the girls wore T-shirts with the words "Release the Azovstal defenders".

Sergei Markov, the full-time "talking head" of Russian propaganda (he is credited as a political scientist and is actively quoted), took this as proof of the fascination of Eurovision and Europe, as well as proof of the alliance between LGBT communities and fascists: "The Ukrainian delegation at the Eurovision Song Contest wore T-shirts calling for support for the neo-Nazis of Azov. This means that neo-Nazism has now taken root at the Eurovision Song Contest. This means that the denazification of Ukraine as a goal of World War II is absolutely necessary. And it means that the confrontation between homosexuals and fascists no longer exists: the modern LGBT movement is integrated with modern fascism. In fact, Ernst Rehm's SA stormtroopers were also gay. Now the alliance between gays and fascists is relevant again."

The Methodology

To monitor the information published on disinformation websites, we analyzed approximately 500,000 news reports collected from ~ 1,000 Russian websites. The data for the analysis was collected and provided by SemanticForce.

Each paragraph was processed using an 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.

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This article was originally written in Ukrainian. It has been translated into English using AI tools such as DeepL, ChatGPT, and Grammarly. If you encounter an error that requires immediate attention, please inform us via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Your understanding and support are appreciated.

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