Who is behind these evil Russian propaganda films?

Chronic. A heartbreaking ad campaign aimed at encouraging men to go and fight in Ukraine turns out to be a fiasco.

By Yegor Gran

Logo of Russian social media VK (formerly VKontakte).

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Lhe movie begins almost like a Z movie: a man listens at a bedroom door where two teenage girls in pajamas are laughing loudly on a big bed surrounded by stuffed animals. “I’ll be getting a new smartphone soon,” said one, putting the bill in the piggy bank. Information does not hear. By chance, a man who is his father knocks on the door and asks, everyone is embarrassed, can you borrow money because “the payment of salary has been postponed again?” “You’re my only hope,” he whines. A teenager with a heavy heart sees his dream fly away. Good thing his girlfriend is there to comfort him: “My dad is an army veteran like you. He could never adjust to civilian life. So he volunteered to help his comrades there. He often writes to us and sends money. Will be back soon. »

At these words, the father (still listening behind the door) puts down his pig, puts on his coat and leaves, his face serious and determined. Turn off the doorbell “after six months.” “Dear father! the girl shouts and opens the door to a smiling man in uniform with his hat on high. Pathetic loser turned fallen warrior. He’s holding a box: a brand new iPhone! End of story.

War as a giant social elevator

Dozens of films in this genre have been produced in Russia and have been released since mid-November on social networks, especially on the “I have mobilized” platform of the VKontakte website. We see alcohol take control and get involved, which allows him to get back behind the wheel of his new Lada and show off in front of his old drinking buddies or his grandfather, who is forced to sell his car. A small amount of money saved by his grandson, he proudly announces to him: “Grandpa, I just signed the engagement contract, now we are not in danger of going bankrupt. »

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Always the same message: the army is a great moral and social upliftment. We are no longer talking about protecting the country or fulfilling the duty, no, we are getting specific: to commit is to put an end to the economic gallery, disgusting plans, expensive loans, vodka-soaked friends.

Too dead from alcohol

The target is the mass of Russian people living in that province glubinka, literally “the deep”, a place where living standards are disastrous and the future is irreparably blocked. The campaign embraces one of the stable ideas of the authorities: Putin himself said at a meeting with soldiers’ mothers in November that it is better to die on the front than to suffer from alcoholism.

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The sponsor behind this campaign is not officially visible, but everyone understands that the order came from the fog of the state, probably from the Ministry of Defense or directly from the Kremlin, so, despite the scenarios, the implementation is neat. daisies. To prove that the films were actually shot in Russia, the site Important Stories found several actors appearing in the series: none of them, pressed with questions, seemed to fully understand that we were making a recruitment film for the Ukrainian front. Each of them was paid 8 thousand rubles (135 euros).

Who created this “m…”?

In mid-December, a grain of sand arrives to stop the beautiful promotion. Anatoly Chari, a pro-Russian Ukrainian blogger, came across the campaign and was outraged by such an unpatriotic treatment of the call for mobilization. Faced with such a desperate image of Deep Russia, other bloggers talk directly about “treason” or “enemy sabotage” and refuse to believe the official order.

“I would have been paid 100 million rubles so I wouldn’t have done this evil,” says Kristina Potuptchik, a close Kremlin circle of influence of Vladislav Surkov, accused of being a campaign coordinator. While the films discreetly disappear from VKontakte and YouTube platforms, we begin to insult each other a lot among nationalists of different churches. Hot potato remains fatherless for the time being.

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