Ukraine, what does “russification” mean? We will explain it to you

The advance is not only military, but also propaganda and welfare. In the conquered territories, Moscow distributes aid, introduces Russian language and passport and a welfare with subsidies and pensions more generous than those of Kiev

  russification_1920 Ukraine, between the bombs and the potential nuclear disaster Photo Video

'We defeated the Nazis in 1943, we will defeat them today too.' This is the sentence that can be read on thousands of posters that cover the center of Donetzk, the largest city in Donbass controlled since 2014 by separatist militias loyal to Russia. On these billboards, immediately below the writing, two soldiers are depicted: the first is a contemporary Russian soldier fighting in Ukraine, the second a member of the Red Army who fought in the Second World War - Photo | video

TODAY AS YESTERDAY - The parallelism between today's war and the Soviet Union's fight against the Nazis is no coincidence. Ever since Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, references to the Soviet past have once again become a central element of the Kremlin's propaganda. The target? Remind Ukrainians that they have a shared (Soviet) past on which to build a common future. The Russians, in fact, entered Ukraine to stay there and for this reason they are now laying the foundations for their perpetual presence. The advance is not only military, but also of a propaganda and welfare type. In every territory they conquer, Moscow's soldiers immediately distribute humanitarian aid to the population ravaged by hunger, thirst and bombing. Then they remove the symbolism of the Ukrainian state to replace it with Russian and Soviet ones, introducing Russian as an official language. Finally, they put local administrators loyal to them in power, hand over Russian passports to the population and introduce an alternative welfare system to that of Kiev, made up of more generous benefits and pensions. It is an attempt to conquer the minds and hearts of the populations that are gradually incorporated, with the ultimate aim of officially annexing these territories to the Russian Federation.

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CI IF PREPARE AI REFERENCE - For this, referendums are planned, which will be held in the various regions gradually conquered. The preparation of a popular consultation is already underway in the Lugansk region, the only Ukrainian district completely controlled by the Russians, partly as early as 2014. Here the referendum is in the hands of a committee composed of local separatist movements, pro-Russian militias and trade unions . 'We try to make citizens understand how advantageous it is to become part of the Russian Federation,' says Igor Ryabuskin, a member of the committee and a member of United Russia, the party of Vladimir Putin that has taken root here. “We address both those who have been living in the territories annexed since 2014 for years, but also the inhabitants of the areas we have just conquered and who have been exposed to pro-Western propaganda for eight years. Let us remind them that we are the same people, we speak the same language and have lived together for centuries, for example during the Soviet period ». The date on which the referendums will be held is still uncertain because it is linked to developments on the battlefields.

In Ukraine they are practicing against a possible nuclear disaster - video

SLOW ADVANCED - In addition to Lugansk, the Russians now control parts of the eastern districts of Donetsk and Kharkiv and part of the southern districts of Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. All territories inhabited mainly by populations of Russian language and culture. On some fronts the Kremlin soldiers are advancing, but with great slowness and effort and with a high number of victims. What was supposed to be a rapid 'special military operation' has turned into a slow and bloody advance that does not allow planning the timing of the annexation votes. Another element of uncertainty is linked to the actions of resistance to the Russians in southern Ukraine, where demonstrations took place against the presence of Kremlin soldiers, acts of sabotage and guerrilla actions. The most recent was the murder of a pro-Russian mayor in Zaporizhzhia. These actions show that Russophony does not automatically correspond to the acceptance of the advance of the Moscow troops. However, it should be emphasized that in southern Ukraine there are some segments of the population who are accepting the presence of the Russians and becoming familiar with them, especially through the culture and language they have in common. The ongoing war is not only being fought with weapons, but also with aid and propaganda. And through the repechage of historical symbols that many believed to be now relegated to the past.