WAR PROPAGANDA: Ukrainians and Russians are one and the same people and Russia is fighting a holy war

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia attend a flower-laying ceremony at the monument to Citizen Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky on the National Unity Day in Red Square, in Moscow, Russia, 04 November 2023.
© EPA-EFE/MIKHAIL METZEL/KREMLIN   |   Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and all Russia attend a flower-laying ceremony at the monument to Citizen Kuzma Minin and Prince Dmitry Pozharsky on the National Unity Day in Red Square, in Moscow, Russia, 04 November 2023.

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Ukrainians and Russians are one and the same people and Russia is waging a holy war in Ukraine, reads a false narrative promoted by the Russian Orthodox Church.

Propaganda: Ukrainians are Russians, and the war Moscow is fighting in Ukraine is a holy one

NEWS: The special military operation is a new phase in the national liberation struggle of the Russian people, waged on the lands of southwestern Russia since 2014, against the criminal regime in Kyiv and the collective West that backs it […]

From a spiritual and moral point of view, the special military operation is a holy war, in which Russia and the Russian people are defending the unique spiritual space of Holy Russia and fulfill the mission of preserving and defending this world against the onslaught of globalism and the victory of the West, fallen into Satanism.

The entire territory of Ukraine should be under Russia’s exclusive influence. The existence of a Russophobic political regime hostile to Russia and its people on this territory, as well as of a political regime controlled by an external force hostile to Russia, must be completely ruled out as a possibility […] Russia should return to the doctrine of the trinity of the Russian people, which has endured for more than three centuries, according to which the Russian people consists of Great Russians, Little Russians and Belarusians, being branches of the same people, while the name Russian covers all Eastern Slavs - the descendants of historical Russia.

NARRATIVES: 1. Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are one and the same people. 2. Russia is the keeper and champion of Orthodoxy. 3. Russia is fighting a holy war against Ukraine and the Satanic West.

BACKGROUND: According to a decision of the World Russian People's Council in Moscow, chaired by the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Kirill, the “special military operation” is a “holy war” directed against Western Satanism. The Council believes that “the existence of a Russophobic political regime hostile to Russia and its people on this territory, as well as of a political regime controlled by an external force hostile to Russia, must be completely ruled out as a possibility”.

Drawing on this article, but also on the statements of the Russian Patriarch, posted on the YouTube channel of the Russian Orthodox Church, about the non-existence of Russian nationalism and Moscow’s right to defend itself against the West, the Russian government media promoted the idea that, starting 2014, the Russian army and the Russian people are fulfilling a historic mission – to return the Ukrainian people to Great Russia. In the Russian imperialist view, Ukrainians are an ethnic Russian subgroup (“Little Russians”) who live closer to the Western world than “Great Russians”. This Russian nationalist concept is now reiterated to justify Moscow's military aggression against Ukraine.

According to RIA Novosti, after 2014, the words “Russian spring” and “Russian World” became very important in Russia, and in 2022 “a war for the interests and future of the Russian people” began.

The Putin regime uses the concept of “Moscow, the third Rome”, which claims that Russia has become the rightful successor and center of moral and religious influence of the Roman Empire, after the fall of the “Second Rome”, Constantinople, the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Russian nationalist geopolitical theorist, Alexander Dugin, comments Russia's territorial claims over its neighbors and Eastern European states from the perspective of Orthodoxy. Dugin presented the “special military operation” in 2023 as a clash between a (Christian-moral) “third Rome” and an (immoral) “global Carthage”.

Fact: Russia is fighting a war of aggression in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian nation is not an ethnic subgroup of the Russian people

WHY THE NARRATIVES ARE FALSE: In fact, Ukrainians are not an ethnic subgroup of the Russian people, nor are the Belarusians. The Ukrainian nation differs in linguistic, cultural, ideological and identity terms from the Russians. The idea of ​​the “trinity” of the Russian people, underlying the decision of the Russian People's Council, is an imperialist one, intended to justify territorial expansion. It was originally developed in the 17th century by the Russian Emperor Alexei Mikhailovich, who styled himself ruler of Great Russia, Little Russia (Little Russia), and White Russia (Belarus). It should be noted that, prior to 1721, the world map listed the Grand Duchy of Moscow, not Russia, and the heirs to the historical traditions of Kievan Rus' were the tsars from the present-day Western Ukraine. In the 13th century, Prince Daniel from the historical Western Ukrainian kingdom of Galicia–Volhynia was crowned as King of Galicia and All Rus’ by Pope Innocent IV.

The founder of Ukrainian historiography, Mykhailo Hrushevsky, wrote in 1903 that Russia and the Russians are unjustly called so, being, in fact, a people made up of Slavs and Mongols. A century ago, the historian argued that Ukrainians are the heirs of historical Russia centered in Kyiv. Two days before the invasion of the Ukrainian state, on February 24, 2022, the US Embassy in Ukraine posted an image on Facebook showing that Kyiv had churches and cathedrals before the city of Moscow was ever documented.

Russian propaganda presents Moscow as a preserver and champion of Orthodoxy, which is false. In the Putin era, the Church became a political instrument of the Russian Federation both internally and externally. It is also noteworthy to note that Patriarch Kirill worked for the Russian intelligence services at various stages of his life. For example, during the Cold War, present day Patriarch Kirill's mission as an agent of the KGB was to influence and spy on certain international organizations in Geneva. Kirill is part of the FSB network on which the Putin regime relies, promoting and defending Moscow's political interests, to the detriment of Orthodoxy or Christian values.

Although the West is accused of “Satanism”, neither Patriarch Kirill’s speech nor the decision of the Russian People's Council in Moscow explains what it represents and how it manifests itself. This is actually one of the Kremlin's typical anti-Western meta-narratives promoted in the past decade. The EU and the USA have been accused of moral decadence and Satanism, of persecuting Christians and abandoning human values.

At the same time, it is inappropriate to call the killing of an Orthodox Christian people by another Orthodox Christian people a holy war. The so-called holy wars are those fought for the preservation of faith, national and linguistic identity. The invasion of a neighboring independent and Orthodox state cannot be called a holy war, but a war of conquest and destruction. In addition, Russian servicemen, predominantly Orthodox, committed a number of war crimes in Ukraine.

In this context, the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of the war in Donbas in 2014 were not tantamount to a “Russian Spring”, and the attack on Ukraine in 2022 is not a holy war. Russia presents itself as a citadel under siege, defending itself against the aggressive West, while in fact Russia is the real aggressor.

  • Publication / Media:
    RIA NOVOSTI
  • Date of publication:
    28/03/2024
  • Target audience:
    The Russian-speaking population in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine
  • Amplification:
    RIA NOVOSTI, GAZETA.RU, URA.RU, REGNUM, LENTA.RU, the Telegram channels of Russian media outlets, YouTube channels
  • Political affiliation:
    The Kremlin
  • Key narrative:
    Russia is fighting a holy war against Ukraine and the Satanic West

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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