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Who is Calling to Genocide of Ukrainians: CHRG Monitoring Part II

The second phase of monitoring selected Russian media TV shows and Telegram Channels for 2022-2023 was performed by the CHRG monitors. 

The text and video content were analyzed for the presence of calls for the genocide of Ukrainians as well as aggressive war waging propaganda including, inter alia, calls for committing crimes against humanity and war crimes in the territory of Ukraine, in the speakers’ statements.  

In addition, the content of Russian media and messengers was analyzed for the presence of statements provoking genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

The analysis sample included statements where words “to destroy/eliminate”, “Banderites”, “Antichrist” as well as word combination “we will destroy/eliminate them” were simultaneously used.  

The results of this monitoring phase showed that the Russian propagandists were active in using metaphors for communicating the calls for genocide. The negative associations caused by these metaphors help the Russian propagandists intensify their influence on the emotional and sensual sphere of the viewer and give rise to supporting and condoning war and murder. To achieve their goal, the propagandists make use of such techniques as:  

  • An aggressive war being waged by Russia in Ukraine is compared to medical treatment; 

For example, in their statements, the Russian propagandists compare the Ukrainian state to a “cancerous tumor to be removed”. Massacres of Ukrainians are called “treatment for Banderaism”, or Ukrainians are described as “a pus abscess that needs urgent surgery.” 

  • Ukrainians are compared to hazardous biological weapon; 

For example, Ukrainians are called “a bioreactor to be neutralized at any cost. 

  • Religious viewpoints are manipulated; 

For example, they call their aggressive war a holy war with the Antichrist, thereby giving the Russian military moral permission to eliminate Ukrainians. One of the Russian combatant commanders calls his unit “the army of Jesus, which must defeat the Antichrist.” Some propagandists call Volodymyr Zelenskyi, President of Ukraine, the Antichrist, and Ukrainians – the Antichrist’s servants. 

  • WWII architypes are exploited; 

For example, they call to “squeeze out the Nazism’ throat”, “get rid of Nazi Evil”, “finally put the Nazism away”. These appeals are supplemented by numerous statements saying that all Ukrainians are Nazi and that the Nazi and their supporters must be mopped up throughout Ukraine”. 

Apart from the governmental propagandists, Vladimir Putin, Russian “president”, also feels free to regularly use these narratives. In his last interview to Tucker Carlson Putin was speaking for a length of time particularly about Ukraine overcrowded with the Nazi, and thus a need to “denazify” it.  

In the context of numerous war crimes, crimes against humanity as well as the full-scale war being waged by the Russian troops against Ukraine for two years, the term “denazification” in the Russian propagandists’ narratives may be considered as call for a total elimination of the Ukrainians.  

The influence and manipulation of World War II metaphors and archetypes are scaled up by the technique of mixing calls for eliminating the combatants in the target audience minds with the calls for eliminating the civilians. 

The Russian propaganda often call Ukrainian military the Nazi in its publications, but in some of them it can’t be clearly understood whether this name refers only to the military. These are general calls regarding a certain group of people in such texts, for instance, calls to “get rid of Nazi Evil”, “finally put the Nazism away”, “squeeze out the Nazi scum’s throat”, “eliminate Nazi rubbish”. The authors of such calls do not explain which specific group of people they mean. 

The Nazi as a phenomenon do not exist in Ukraine. This is a WWII time term. Nowadays it is sometimes used to refer to neo-Nazis, i.e., present-day followers of the Nazi, who are very few in number in Ukraine, they are marginalized and do not take any part in social and political life. In the Russian propaganda narratives, the term “Nazis” very often refers to all Ukrainians who fight for the independence of their country and defend its territorial integrity. Such publications, while mentioning the Ukrainian military, often call them Nazis and their collaborators. All Ukrainians who have a pro-Ukrainian position are declared the “Nazi collaborators”.  

The term “Nazi collaborators” is mostly often used in relation to pro-Ukrainian residents of the Russia occupied territories of Ukraine. For many years, once Crimea was occupied, these people have been regularly subjected to brutal repressions, their pro-Ukrainian position being the only reason for them.  

Calls to eliminate, torture, incarcerate, and deport such people cause additional threats for them and provide Russian enforcement agencies men in the occupied territories with a moral permission to continue war crimes and crimes against humanity in terms of these civilian residents of Ukraine. 

The monitoring outcomes are documented statements of 10 speakers who called for genocide, commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and propagandized waging the aggressive war in the Russian TV air: 

Viktor N. Baranets a writer, honored journalist of the Russian Federation; 

Vladimir R. Solovyov a TV presenter; 

Badma N. Bashankayev deputy Chairman of RF Parliamentary Committee for Health Care; 

Dmitriy A. Konanykhin a writer, blogger, radio presenter; 

Aleksandr G. Dugin a philosopher, policy analyst, public figure; 

Apty A. Alaudinov Russian Army Major General, commander of AKHMAT military unit; 

Oleg N. Barabanov Professor, a historian, policy analyst,  

Mikhail B. Onufriyenko a blogger, public figure; 

Igor O. Markov a political figure; 

Mikhail Yu. Miagkov Doctor of Historical Sc., Professor.  

To remind: names of 11 more speakers who communicated such calls, were identified in the course of previous monitoring phase.  

The content was selected by the Crimean Human Rights Group with WORLD OF WAR analytical service developed by CHANGING TOGETHER PA. TV shows of such Russian media as NTV, PERVYI KANAL, ROSSIA 1, ZVIEZDA, TVTs, ROSSIA 24, LDNR were reviewed during the monitoring. The monitoring list also included selected video channels of some Russian and Crimean media and speakers with many subscribers in YouTube and Rutube social networks and Telegram messenger.  

The methodology for selecting and assessing the content was developed by Yulia Krylova-Hrek, PhD (Psychology), IRES researcher (Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University (Sweden), Ass. Prof. (Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University), given the results of the previous Crimean Human Rights Group study: “Hate Speech in Online Media Publicizing Events in Crimea”.  

For examples of statements that according to the Crimean Human Rights Group analysts, feature calls for genocide, commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and propaganda of waging the aggressive war in the territory of Ukraine, see Annex 1 

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