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Wars of ‘the West’, Kumbaya of the Kremlin

Wars, especially those attributed to others, are a prominent feature of the Kremlin’s attempts to paint the world in its colours. The past week has seen some noteworthy developments with allegations that ‘the West’ is about to launch new wars against Russia.

What and where is ‘the West’?

The notion of ‘the West’ has now stabilised in the identity and world view of the Kremlin. As war has become a defining feature of Putin’s Russia anno 2024 and serves for regime consolidation, so has ‘the West’ become a reference point in shaping the Kremlin’s identity.

If you are against the special military operation (read: the war of aggression against Ukraine), then you are siding with ‘the West’. You are a ‘foreign agent’, an ‘unwanted entity’, or simply an outcast to be punished in different ways depending on your influence in society. The more sway you have, the harsher the sentence you receive. You may even lose your rights during an election. Every Friday, Russian authorities update the list of foreign agents and the numbers have been growning fast.

In the Kremlin’s projection ‘the West’ has become synonymous for everyone opposing the policies of Moscow. It helps to define what constitutes modern Russia: everything not Western.

What does ‘the West’ do? – War!

In today’s Russia, an old Soviet practice has risen from the grave: glorifying Stalin and promoting the stronger role of the state. In addition, ‘the West’ is no longer the partner it was during the 1990s and 2000s. Many readers will perhaps remember the endless anti-American posters depicting the USSR confronting US warmongering. As in the USSR, the West is now portrayed as a constant warmonger.

TV and social media channels have replaced printed posters to flood the information space, but stylistic features re-appear: playing on the grotesque, emotional twisting, scapegoating, an them-against-us mentality, or the assertion that ‘they try to surround us but we proudly defend the world’.

Armenia and Moldova as targets

Armenia: The pro-Kremlin ecosystem now promotes the claim that ‘the West’ is ‘exerting serious pressure on the countries of the South Caucasus’ by contemplating starting a war in Armenia against Russia. The claim is ridiculous: who really wants more war in the Caucasus? But it hides Moscow’s frustration that Yerevan is not toeing Russia’s line; does not trust or promote Moscow’s regional security outfit, the CSTO; and has dared to hold political conversations with the EU and others.

To make matters worse for Moscow, Armenia’s ambassador to Kyiv visited the town of Bucha on 2 June and commented on the situation. Moscow is allergic to criticism of its horrific and well-documented atrocities committed in places like Bucha and elsewhere, as our database illustrates.

State outlets also present Moldova as a coming battleground where ‘the West’ is gearing up to attack Russia. This is another attempt to kick up dust during the second congress of the ‘Pobeda [Victory] opposition block’ which was held last week in – you guessed it – Moscow. The congress seeks to create negative attention around the political situation ahead of the Moldovan presidential elections and a referendum on Moldova’s EU membership, both scheduled for 20 October. Igor Dodon, a former president of Moldova and a Moscow puppet, claimed in a TASS interview that President Maia Sandu is preparing Moldova for war.

According to Moscow pundits, one can add Belarus to these likely battlefields. The ruler in Minsk, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, frequently cries wolf, pretending that Belarus should be ready to confront a Western attack or a full-scale invasion soon.

These commentators ring the bells of war so loudly they almost distract from the thunder of the real guns pounding every day in Ukraine, bringing real death and destruction.

Summit on peace in Switzerland

All of the above serves to distract attention away from the important, upcoming international summit on peace that Switzerland will host on 15-16 June. The Kremlin is teaming up with China in doing their utmost to spoil the meeting and sabotage a roadmap for peace. Russia is trying hard to claim that it represents the ‘global south’ and a ‘global majority’ rejecting the ‘warmongering West’ as was demonstrated by the BRICS+ meeting, concluded in Russia on 11 June.

On the road to peace – next stop North Korea

Meanwhile, Putin is preparing for another trip. This time the destination is North Korea. Ostensibly in the service of peace. But we guess the agenda will not include how the unanimously agreed UN Security Council Resolutions to restrict North Korea’s nuclear ambitions are implemented. The fact is that Russia has violated its own decisions by engaging in a heavy traffic of supplies, energy and other items in exchange for North Korean artillery ammunition and other weapons requested by Russia.

Meanwhile, back in Europe after elections

This week has also seen intense verbal attacks on key European politicians, in particular French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. Following the European Parliament elections, a parade of Russian high officials blamed both for… doing their jobs as heads of state. For its part, Moscow wants to fuel tension and instability across Europe.


Article and pictures first time published on the EUvsDisinfo web page. Prepared for publication by volunteers from the Res Publica - The Center for Civil Resistance.


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