NARRATIVE: Inclusive policies towards the LGBTQ + community, anti-Covid health policies, including vaccination, and the digitization process are a form of totalitarianism.
CONTEXT: For years, propaganda associated with the Kremlin, as well as ultra-conservative and far-right groups in Western states, have been attacking certain policies specific to liberal democracies, such as those relating to the LGBTQ + minority, migrants, etc., resorting including to concepts that form the foundation of those democracies. Thus, limiting the rights of the LGBTQ + minority or rejecting migrants are not presented as efforts to limit the freedoms and rights of those target groups, but as ways to defend the freedoms and rights of “normal” people, of the “traditional family”, of the “nation”, to protect Christian, spiritual and moral values. This type of argumentation and misuse of terminology has also been used for the pandemic-related narratives.
Against the background of restrictions imposed by the authorities to stop the wave of infections, demonstrations have taken place in several European countries, in which protesters denounced the restriction of fundamental freedoms and rights and tried to present sanitary measures, taken on the basis of expert recommendations and scientific data, as measures of a political nature. Often, such protests are animated by various leaders of extremist parties, personalities who stand against vaccination or the mandatory use of protective masks, promoters of nationalist messages, etc. Such dissatisfaction with the anti-Covid-19 vaccines has an even greater impact in the context in which the virus has developed new, more violent strains, the number of cases of infection in countries with low immunization rates is increasing, and the authorities in some states are considering compulsory vaccination of certain social categories and imposing restrictions on those who do not hold a Covid certificate. Against this background, the antivaxxer trend has been going up, and more and more voices are talking about discrimination against those who do not want to be vaccinated. These narratives are circulating in parallel with the wave of fake news on a conspiracy note about the nature of the virus, the vaccine and a global cabal that is allegedly using them both.
The Russian historian Andrei Fursov has spoken in several interviews about the Covid pandemic, claiming that “ultra-globalists” want to control the evolution of humanity through “coronavirus hysteria”. Some of Covid's anti-vaccination and anti-vaccination theories have been debunked by the Voxucraine.org portal.
PURPOSE: The narratives aim to associate Western democracies with totalitarian regimes, distort pro-vaccination or pro-LGBTQ+ messages, and create confusion about the difference between health or human rights measures and political concepts.
WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: Totalitarianism is a political regime that applies the dictatorship of a person, a group of people, or a single party. Totalitarian ideology is opposed to the concept of open society, and the majority of the population is deprived of civil rights and freedoms. Fascism, Nazism and Communism were recognized as totalitarian regimes, which were based on violence and the repression of any form of freedom, the prohibition of a multi-party system, territorial expansion and, as the case may be, egalitarianism or racism. The party that holds a monopoly over the political life is based on an ideology, which becomes state norm. Also, in a totalitarian regime, the state has control over the law enforcement bodies, over the economy, the institutions and the media that represent its interests.
Tolerance towards minorities, including the sexual ones, and the protection of their rights seen as part of the fundamental human rights (practically it’s not about granting other rights, but the same rights that the majority has) comes in direct contradiction with the idea of totalitarianism. Vaccination or digitalization, to which the author refers, are not even political concepts and are not characteristics of any kind of political regime. Health-care policies can be used by both totalitarian and democratic states (and in the totalitarian ones, if so decided, there is no possibility of challenging them - in China, for example, no one protested, as in the West, against large-scale vaccination or the draconian lockdown imposed by the authorities in certain situations).
Digitalization is a process of modernization, which facilitates work and development in all areas, has allowed access to information, streamlines various services and optimizes administrative processes, etc. And again, the totalitarian regimes are the ones that use modern communication tools in the interest of the state, to transmit certain messages or to monitor the population.
THE NARRATIVES BENEFIT: The Kremlin and the political forces that aim to gain supporters by promoting such narratives.