WAR PROPAGANDA: Russia, superior to the West in technological and military terms

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C-L) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend the Kalashnikov plant in Izhevsk, capital of the Udmurt Republic, Russia, 20 September 2016.
© EPA/MIKHAEL KLIMENTYEV / KREMLIN / POOL   |   Russian President Vladimir Putin (C-L) and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (C) attend the Kalashnikov plant in Izhevsk, capital of the Udmurt Republic, Russia, 20 September 2016.

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The West cannot defeat Russia because it is inferior in technological and military terms, pro-Kremlin propaganda writes, trying to minimize Western support for Ukraine.

Propaganda: All the West’s efforts to destroy Russia are fruitless, because Moscow’s military industry is superior to that of NATO

NEWS: “The Russian state system allows Moscow to develop its military industry, which means the USA will be defeated in this arms race. Former US intelligence officer Scott Ritter admitted that Washington cannot surpass Russia in the arms race […].

Russia will emerge victorious as its military industry is superior to that of NATO, Ritter added. The former US intelligence officer says the regime of sanctions the West introduced with a view to weakening the Russian economy is inefficient.

“Do you know who will go bankrupt? The USA and NATO, because Russia kept moving forward, and we don’t stand a chance at ever besting it”, the intelligence officer said.

Previously, Ritter said the political system in Russia is based on citizens’ confidence, evidence of which is Vladimir Putin’s re-election as president.

NARRATIVE: Russia cannot be defeated by the West because it holds the technological and military supremacy

Fact: Russia actually has underdeveloped technology and economy compared to the West and is reliant on import technologies

WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: Comparing the Russian military industry to the Western one is meant to manipulated public opinion by overlooking major details. According to the Institute for the Study of War, Russia’s economy was adapted to sustain a long-term war. Russian leaders admitted on a number of occasions that a large part of the Russian economy is targeted at supporting the war effort. Russia produces a great more deal of weaponry compared to various states in the West, and this weaponry is used primarily on the territory of Ukraine.

In the fall of 2023, the Russian president said that, at the cost of huge economic efforts, Russia’s production of armored vehicles has doubled. In his annual message to the Federal Assembly, Putin said that Russia’s military industry is one of the country’s biggest employers, referring to the huge investment the government has earmarked to this sector. In that respect, there is no arms race between Russia and NATO or the USA, although there is a war on the territory of Ukraine, where Moscow is channeling tremendous economic resources, while the West delivers weapons and munitions to Kyiv, although has so far resorted to existing stocks or production capacities.

In fact, Russia’s war economy and the partial mobilization have created several problems at home, which the Russian media article disregards. According to a report of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the mobilization and the sizable investments in the defense industry produce negative effects on the business environment and the national economy. “A staffing crisis has emerged in a number of enterprises”, the Central Bank says, noting an increase in inflation. Fearing military mobilization, hundreds of thousands of people have abandoned their jobs and fled Russia, which created problems for a number of key industries – including, for example, IT. At the same time, these problems do not exist in the West, because NATO states have not switched to a war economy. 

The Russian publication cites the former US intelligence officer Scott Ritter as a prominent US analyst, an opinion leader with access to various information less known to the media. Ritter is in fact a fringe and shunned character due to criminal convictions for sex crimes with underage children. It should be noted that William Scott Ritter is a longtime contributor to the Russian government media and a staunch critic of American foreign policy. He was paid by Russia Today for pro-Russian and anti-American articles or statements published in various media outlets of the Moscow trust. There is also a page containing Ritter's anti-Western articles and statements in Russian. Ritter's page can be financially supported through two bank accounts where Russian rubles are wired. In December 2023, he stated that Ukraine would be defeated by Russia on the battlefield and would accept demilitarization and denazification, his view being presented in the Russian government media as the dominant one among American experts. In February 2024, Ritter, was cited by Moscow media as saying that the US will sustain a strategic defeat in Ukraine.

Russia by no means holds technological supremacy. The Russian military is vastly outnumbered in terms of stocks and weaponry involving advanced homing technologies, 5th generation fighter jets, naval forces (for instance, Russia does not even have a nuclear aircraft carrier, and its only Diesel aircraft carrier is most of the times undergoing repairs; when it was sent on mission it broke down and had to be towed), armored vehicles of various categories, artillery systems, etc.

Sanctions aimed at further restricting Russia's access to military technologies are among the most painful for Moscow. Reliant on technological components it cannot produce, Russia is desperately looking for new ways of bypassing sanctions or trying to secure the support of states like Iran, China or North Korea. According to an investigation of Kyiv media, in 2022, Germany reduced the export of technologies to Russia several times, but increased exports to Armenia - from 0.5 million dollars to 4-6 million. Western technologies that reached the territory of Armenia were then exported to the Russian Federation. A 100-fold increase in the export of technologies from Armenia to Russia was reported in 2022, according to official data.

Russia imported $1.7 billion worth of foreign-made microchips in 2023, despite international sanctions aimed at preventing Moscow from obtaining advanced technology used in its war in Ukraine. In this regard, the US and the EU are developing a mechanism to monitor and block Russia's methods of circumventing sanctions. To get the situation under control, the European Commission has mobilized its trade and customs services to identify the redirection of trade flows originating from certain third countries and which can serve as access routes to Russia. All of Russia's efforts to circumvent Western sanctions are proof of Moscow's technological inferiority to the West.

According to an IMF forecast, in the long term, things look bad for Russia in the context of planned economic consolidation. The boat of the Russian economy can sink at any time, since the macroeconomic indicators do not look satisfactory. In December 2023, the Central Bank of Moscow raised the key interest rate to 16% to keep inflation under control, which resumed its growth at the end of 2023.

Russia imported 1.7 billion-USD worth of foreign-made microchips in 2023, despite international sanctions aimed at preventing Moscow from obtaining advanced technology used in its war in Ukraine. In this regard, the US and the EU are developing a mechanism to monitor and block Russia's methods of bypassing sanctions. To keep the situation in check, the European Commission has tasked its trade and customs services with identifying the redirection of trade flows originating from certain third countries, which can serve as access routes to Russia. All of Russia's efforts to circumvent Western sanctions are evidence of Moscow's technological inferiority to the West.

According to an IMF forecast, long-term prospects are bad for Russia in the context of planned economic consolidation. The Russian economy can sink at any moment, since macroeconomic indicators are less than satisfactory. In December 2023, the Central Bank of Moscow raised the reference interest rate to 16% to keep inflation under control, which resumed its growth at the end of 2023.

The information carried by Russian media regarding Russia’s military and technological superiority compared to the West is not based on real data, but is intended to justify Russia's war against Ukraine and encourage the mobilization campaign.

Veridica has debunked a number of false narratives regarding the nature of the war in Ukraine. According to pro-Kremlin,  the West needs the war in Ukraine, and the EU wants to denazify the Ukrainian state. The Russian media proved that “the special military operation” saved Russia from NATO’s invasion and Ukrainian Nazism. Russian propaganda often promoted the false narrative about Ukrainians awaiting rescue from Russia.

  • Publication / Media:
    LENTA.RU
  • Date of publication:
    21/03/2024
  • Target audience:
    The Russian-speaking population in Russia and in Russian-held territories of Ukraine
  • Amplification:
    DZEN.RU, MK.RU, ABSATZ.MEDIA, IZVESTIA, the Telegram channels of Russian media outlets
  • Political affiliation:
    KREMLIN
  • Key narrative:
    Russia cannot be defeated by the West because it holds the technological and military supremacy

EBOOK> Razboi si propaganda: O cronologie a conflictului ruso-ucrainean

EBOOK>Razboiul lui Putin cu lumea libera: Propaganda, dezinformare, fake news

Marin Gherman

Marin Gherman




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