Weekly Russian Media Monitoring: “US War-mongering, NATO Nazi Nepotism & More Tucker Carlson”

Written by Matt Wickham, analyst, Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group/UCMC

Alleged Neo-Nazi Influence/Nepotism in NATO: a Decades-Long Plan

Maria Zakharova, Head of Russia’s Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in her weekly interview with Sputnik, utilized the platform to propagate disinformation regarding recent events surrounding Ukraine. In this episode, she sought to vilify the West by asserting the systemic breeding of Neo-Nazism among Western societies and NATO leaders, suggesting that without Russia’s intervention, such ideologies could prevail.

Zakharova attributed global instability to what she termed “Nazi hype,” insinuating a deliberate cultivation of fascist sentiments by NATO and Western powers over the years. She tells how “These people were brought to power only thanks to nepotism in an aim to continue a fascist rule. This is no accident, but systemic. They are put in power and have been reincarnated to a new level [of evil] that not even Hitler reached.”

Taking this narrative to new heights, she warned of a deeper level of discrimination, suggesting that access to healthcare for Western citizens could be determined by one’s alleged Nazi ancestry—if you are not a Nazi… Well, good luck, she claims. “People will be granted or denied access to medicine not based on social status or skin colour, but on a deeper level — their blood. A new test that will reveal connections to Nazis.” 

Claims of American War-Mongering: How the US Looks Desirable 

In her attempt to discredit the West and the United States’ global leadership, Zakharova continues to distort America’s prosperity as something built upon the suffering of others. She claims the US purposefully sows conflict and creates war abroad as a means to force immigrants to seek refuge within its borders. 

Zakharova cited ‘evidence’ from an ‘independent’ Russian journalist’s interviews (unknown who, exactly, even to Zakharova, it seemed) with Russian-speaking individuals in California, supposedly expressing disdain for America’s foreign policies. Apparently, the great peace they enjoy in the US is at the expense of someone else. 

She tells how it is the “American deep state ruling the country”, deliberately antagonising post-Soviet countries, which lead to hostile relations with Russia – they [Russians] are simply poor victims of America’s ‘influence and greed’. This, therefore, is yet more proof Russia’s chief state propagandist, Zakharova, shares disinformation built on wild conspiracy theories opposed to genuine evidence.

Tucker Carlson Continues his Moscow Fabrications

With the hype for the Carlson interview being dragged into the second week, Russian propaganda couldn’t resist showing their joy at Carlson’s post-interview comments regarding Moscow’s beauty. 

He tells “Here is far more safe and beautiful than America” referring to Moscow’s ‘immaculate’ metro, specifically Kyivska metro (named after Kyiv), in front of which he records his message. Another sly move, aligning his rhetoric more and more with Putin’s delusional ramblings. 

Almost all state propagandists eagerly embraced and widely shared this video. Whilst propagandists revelled in Carlson’s degrading comments about the US, Olena Loseyva, Russian TV host and propagandist, wrote, “Marvel at it, Americans, with your sleeping homeless, rodents, and graffiti. Meanwhile, here in our metro. Next station: ‘Kyivska’ in Moscow.”

With an inflated sense of self worth, compliments sits well with the Russian people. However, to say Carlson’s opinion is ‘objective’ is an understatement at best. The truth is, Carlson visited Moscow, dining in the finest hotels, and the Kremlin practically rolled out the red carpet for him. There was no way the Kremlin was going to allow him to see how real Russians live in poverty (nor did he have any intentions to).

Power Outages in the Broken USSR 1980s? What Problems?

Sergey Mikheyev, a Russian political scientist and propagandist, took a moment to comment on Carlson’s, what he calls false, mentions of previous long power cuts in Moscow during the 1980s – a time he remembers from when his father worked there. “I’m not quite sure what he is referring to when talking about his father and what he told Carlson of Moscow ‘s electricity problems. Maybe the US Embassy turned off their electricity, who knows” Mikheyev countered, adding only more disinformation to his repertoire.

It is well-documented that during the 1980s, Moscow, much like numerous other cities in the Soviet Union, grappled with electricity shortages and power outages. The Soviet economy faced various challenges, including inefficiencies in resource distribution and antiquated infrastructure, which were pivotal factors contributing to intermittent electricity disruptions.

Not missing a beat to divert attention, (also known as “Glittering Generalities” as a method of propaganda), Mikheyev reminisces about the 1980 Olympics in Moscow, claiming it was “One of the most well-organised Olympics in all the history of Olympic Games.” Interesting… The games were boycotted by 60 countries, including the US, significantly reducing the effort needed to organise the event. Needless to say, the credibility of his claims remains dubious, as it is unclear what evidence he is referring to.

Discrediting and Dehumanising Ukraine’s New Military Leadership

This week has witnessed continued attacks on the newly appointed commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Sryski. The Kremlin wants to use this time of turbulence in Ukraine (change of military leadership) to break unity and the Ukrainian leadership. 

The Kremlin paints Ukrainians as disloyal, betraying their families (some of whom still reside in Russia)—an act deemed reprehensible for the Russian people. This emotional manipulation deeply resonates with Russian audiences, who have long been ordered to prioritise traditional family values by the Russian state. This narrative gains traction amidst reports that Syrski’s parents and other family members who reside in Russia are ‘pro-russian’, and continue to do so even after the full-scale invasion. 

This narrative is further fueled by Maria Akhmedova, a member of Russia’s Human Rights Council and a propagandist, questioning whether Ukrainian nationality is even real after Mykahilo Podolak, advisor to the office of Ukraine’s President, confirms that his brother lives in Moscow and works for the FSB.

“How is it that Podolyak’s brother is Russian, while Podolyak himself is Ukrainian, huh? Did their mother name one Russian and the other Ukrainian at birth? Podolyak is a prime example of how ‘Ukrainianness’ is perceived as nothing more than a political stance of Russians,” she questioned.

Such statements oversimplify history. They fail to acknowledge the historical context of forced Russian migration that has spanned centuries, contributing to a deliberate effort to erode the Ukrainian identity. Population transfers were a cornerstone of Soviet policy, precisely to create confusion and undermine the legitimacy of Ukrainian nationality, creating sacks of ‘Russianness’ in Ukraine. It’s an insidious attempt to portray Ukrainians as not truly distinct but merely an offshoot of Russian.