For an article by the German public broadcaster ARD, ISD Senior Analyst Julia Smirnova commented on Vladimir Putin’s annual address to the nation, that coincided just days before the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“It looked like Putin was setting the Russians up for a long war,” said Julia. “And for that, he also repeated numerous false claims that both Russian propaganda and he himself have used before to justify the war of aggression.”
During the speech, Putin repeated the propaganda narrative of the alleged neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine. He also drew parallels to World War II, comparing the war against Ukraine to the fight against fascism. “This is a strategy that has been used by Russian propaganda for years,” Julia said.
The Russian president made a connection between the women and men fighting in Ukraine right now and the women and men who fought against Nazi Germany in World War II.
“Putin presented the war of aggression as a defensive war,” Julia explained, pointing out that he once again relied on the false accusation that that Ukraine was about to attack Donbass with the help of the West.
For years, Russian state media outlets have been setting up an image of the West as the enemy. Putin’s narratives fall on fertile ground among the population, Julia added. “It has always been claimed that the West is interested in harming Russia, humiliating it and weakening the country economically.”