Mamerto Adan is a feature writer who is back in college once again. Science is one of his favorite topics.
Propaganda could take on many shapes, though they served one purpose. To make any flawed leaders look good, even god-like. It works, most of the time that is. Careful propaganda propelled the North Korean leaders into deities, and slick marketing helped ISIS fool a lot of people, but propaganda could fail if not done properly. One time, the propaganda machine of People’s Republic of China blew it in their attempt to demonize Japan. Back then, Japan had a life-sized Gundam statue, and the people running the Chinese propaganda thought it was a real weapon. Eventually, they earn the ridicule of the Gundam fans when they presented it in live news as a working giant robot.
Fast forward to the Russo-Ukraine War of 2022, and Russia too has its own propaganda machine. It ranges from social media trolls, to state owned news outlet. The idea here is to help justify the Russian aggression on Ukraine, and to gain sympathy in various social media. This is done by sugarcoating the Russian invasion into a justified war of freeing Ukraine of hidden Nazi terrorist. Anyone taking the Ukrainian side will be demonized. The propaganda also aims to present the Russian army as an invincible juggernaut in the battlefield, and Ukraine should just give it up.
The problem here is that even the slickest propaganda cannot hide the fact that Russia is not doing well in its attempt to conquer Ukraine. It failed to explain to the world why Russian soldiers are dying, their armors getting disseminated, why there was a retreat from Kyiv and why the war is taking longer than expected.
In short, propaganda failed to explain why Russia is performing badly.
And in its attempt to cover the failures, the Russian propaganda machine was caught making outrageous excuses. Russian lawmakers even accused Ukraine of using super soldiers.
After hearing the news, I have to do a bit of fact checking to see if it was true. Simply it was too outrageous, too ridiculous and too funny to be real. And I first heard it in social media, the hotbed of fake news and various propaganda. To my surprise, it happened to be real and was brought by legitimate news agency, like Yahoo News. The world had gone crazy indeed.
The news is about this crazy claim by Russia, that the reason they are losing is because Ukraine was fielding mutant troops created in biolabs. That their elites are facing enemies straight out from Marvel comic pages.
Two Russian lawmakers were the brains behind the story, Konstantin Kosachev, the deputy speaker of Russia’s Federation Council, and Irina Yarovaya, deputy chair of the State Duma. They claimed that their findings came from their so called “investigation.”
It goes like this.
When the bloods of Ukrainian POWs were tested, it revealed a range of disease which the lawmakers claimed, were traces of experiments for “military purpose.”
In fact, as Yarovaya told to the reporters, these soldiers are enhanced with the United States working behind the scenes:
“And we see: the cruelty and barbarity with which the military personnel of Ukraine behave, the crimes that they commit against the civilian population, those monstrous crimes that they commit against prisoners of war, confirm that this system for the control and creation of a cruel murder machine was implemented under the management of the United States.”
More outrageous stories followed from, Yarovaya, like how drugs were used to make them more barbaric:
“And those performance enhancing drugs that they are still given in order to completely neutralize the last traces of human consciousness and turn them into the most cruel and deadly monsters also confirm this.”
And according to her, the presence of Hepatitis A antibodies in the blood of Ukrainian prisoners is also the sign of American biolabs conspiracy.
Obviously, the outrageous story is meant to support the allegations that there are laboratories for biological weapons in Ukraine, not to mention why Russia isn’t doing well in Ukraine.
But who would believe that?
Of Course, it Wasn’t real
If you are in a controlled nation like Russia, you have no choice but to believe. But no matter how you look at it, no sane person will ever believe such story. Good luck giving the world the evidence of bioweapons labs, let alone an army of super soldiers. Because in the end, it’s just a tall tale to cover the epic failure of Russia to take Ukraine quickly.
Since the start of the war, Russia threw its best at Ukraine, including its special forces only for the plan to fall apart. Russia never wanted to admit its shortcomings, from the troops making bizarre and deliberate mistakes, to equipment being tugged by farmer’s tractors. Russia also refused to own the errors of sticking to outdated tactics that caused the lives of its troops and the destruction of their assets. And blaming it all to enhanced soldiers sounds like a convenient excuse, no matter how stupid it sounds.
Not The First Time
Actually, this is not the first time that Russian concocted tall tales to cover its failures to take Ukraine. As Newsweek reported in May 4, 2022, Russian Media blamed Ukraine’s “Black Magic” on its failure to stage an effective invasion. This time it was Ekaterina Dyce, a cult researcher who made the claim, that the Ukrainian soldiers in the Donbas region practices black magic.
According to “reports” there were signs of black magic left at the Ukrainian artillery headquarters in Trekhizbenka. These so-called signs were satanic symbols drawn on walls of the said headquarters. They even had pictures to show, which resembles graffiti than legitimate sigils.
The trolls hired by the Russians to spread misinformation in social media are busy concocting stories themselves, with some calling Zelensky as drug addict or a Neo-Nazi.
But then again, it will only take common sense to disprove such stories.
In The End
As critics pointed out, Russia is better off improving its army than wasting their time making up tall tales and hiring trolls. The ravages of war inflicted on both sides are too obvious to hide, even by slick propaganda campaign. Social media enabled people to bend the truth, but it also exposed the truth. It’s up to people what to believe in the end. But one thing is for sure here.
Russia is not the unstoppable force it once boasted to the world.
And in the Ukrainian side, their drive for freedom and determination to repel the Russian aggression seems to be making their soldiers into super soldiers.
1. Quin, Allison (19 July, 2022). "Russia Says It’s Losing Because Ukraine Has Experimental Mutant Troops Created in Secret Biolabs." Daily Beast.
2. Bullock, J.J. (19 July, 2022). "‘No truth’ to Russian claim of Ukrainian ‘mutant’ soldiers." News Nation.
3. Van Brugen, Isabel (04 May, 2022). "Russian Media Accuse Ukraine of Using 'Black Magic' as Invasion Falters." Newsweek.