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#GLORYTOUKRAINE: The Mass Media’s Ukraine Psychosis…

Russia Ukraine Invasion: Newspaper frontpages

Is it just me who’s already a little sick of the outpouring of viral ‘grief’, outrage and mania concerning Ukraine?

And it’s not because I don’t have sympathy for people whose lives are turned upside down or who are suddenly subject to a war zone: of course I have sympathy for those people.

It’s because of the extraordinary levels of hypocrisy involved in how this crisis is being responded to, the highly propaganda-laden way the situation has been framed, and some of the false narratives being spun.

And there are also disturbing undertones to some of this psychological operation: and when I say ‘psychological operation’, that’s not to say the conflict and the human cost isn’t real, but that a clear and obvious psychological programme is being conducted across all media.

So, before reading on, please don’t think I’m not sympathetic to the ordeal Ukrainian people are going through.

But, I’m sorry, the accompanying mass media conditioning that has been running non-stop (since even before the Russian military action started) is almost making me queasy.

Am I the only one who finds it stomach-turning every time I see or hear someone proclaiming “Glory to Ukraine” and similar things on social media?

Yes, ‘Glory to Ukraine’ – because there’s nothing disconcerting about echoing the battle cries of people like the Neo-Nazi Azov Battalion or the various Ukrainian ‘warriors’ who openly celebrate the glories of the Nazi SS in state-approved public events and espouse a global struggle for the glory of the white race over the ‘sub-humans’.

No, nothing disconcerting about that at all.

The sad part is that many of those making these kinds of proclamations or hashtags don’t even know about Ukrainian Nazis – or even much about what’s been going on in Ukraine for the past eight years. They’re just being overwhelmed by the all-encompassing media onslaught and brainwashed into seeing these events in a very limited, very specific and very emotive way – all of which is highly manufactured and measured.

People who apparently don’t have the critical faculties to look beyond the dramatic headlines and images and manipulative narratives, and find it easier instead to just jump on the bandwagon, adopt the slogans and ride the hashtags.

Not to get hung up one one little thing here, but the next time you see someone posting ‘Glory to Ukraine’, just keep this in mind: “Slava Ukraini, heroyam slava!” (“Glory to Ukraine, glory to the Heroes!”) is a slogan that goes back to the 1930s and Ukraine’s Nazi collaborators who, among other things, were involved in genocide against Jews and other minorities.

As this Georgetown Security Studies Review article from 2018 explains, ‘Rather than leave it as the people’s unofficial rallying cry, the Ukrainian government pushed to have it become the official greeting of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’: a proposal that was made law in October of 2018.’

That’s right: the official greeting of Ukraine’s Armed Forces is a Nazi-era slogan – which is now being parroted all over the Internet by people who rely on the news cycle to tell them what to care about, what to think and how to feel.

And yet, perversely, Western media commentators are comparing Putin to Hitler: while entirely denying any Nazi element being present in Ukraine’s militias and the situation that has been pervasive in the country ever since its so-called ‘revolution’ in 2014.

Here’s some examples, among many, of the way this slogan is being casually thrown about by people who don’t have a clue.

 

 

Well done, guys: give yourselves a pat on the back.

Why don’t you purchase some Azov merchandise while you’re at it? You can get some here. It’s all the rage these days.

Hey, you can even buy a ‘SNAKE ISLAND UKRAINE Go Fuck Yourself Solidarity Pro Ukrainian Peace Ukraine Shirt’ here! You know, to commemorate a glorious event that never actually happened. Yep, that story was already debunked (they weren’t killed, despite all the claims across social media) – but, hey, buy the t-shirt anyway.

Again, I feel for the civilians in Ukraine – the ones having to flee and the ones who are in danger in their country. They are victims of this Russian act of aggression, sure: and also they are victims of the US and NATO’s manipulations and interference in their society and the victims of their own corrupt (and, in some cases, fascist) politicians, oligarchs and armed forces.


But seriously, the mass hysteria, the oceans of crocodile tears from Western officials and media, and the obvious psychological warfare being played out… it’s gotten way out of hand.


Firstly, Ukraine is not a country populated exclusively by rosy-cheeked, winged cherubs and angels… being raped and pillaged by evil Russian monsters. But that’s the impression you’d get from watching the non-stop, 24/7 news coverage, newspaper headlines and social media activity.

And no, Ukrainians aren’t all Nazi-loving white supremacists. Of course they’re not. It’s a country of 40 million people: most of them I’m sure have no affinity with the extremists, just as most people in Mosul had no affinity with the Islamic State militants.

 

Nazi Militia in Ukraine

 

But the Western media has presented only a whitewashed picture of events: everyone is going to great lengths to pretend Ukraine doesn’t have a Nazi problem. Ukraine does have a Nazi problem. The media knows this: and our political leaders certainly know this. Even something as mainstream as TIME Magazine covered the matter fairly recently.

But we are now actively and deliberately covering this up: in order to limit the scope of people’s general understanding of the dynamics that have led to this state of affairs.


But let’s talk about those cherubic Ukrainians – and their wonderful, generous neighbours in Poland and Hungary welcoming them in in their droves.

Although most news media was initially trying to ignore it (as it doesn’t fit the neat and tidy narrative), it has been widely reported that black and ethnic-minority individuals trying to leave the war zone with other Ukrainian ‘refugees’ were being systematically denied escape.

The reports of this are so numerous by now that is it clearly a systematic thing: and it isn’t only Polish border guards denying non-white people entry, but specifically Ukrainian police and authorities preventing black and ethnic-minority individuals even the right to get on the transports heading for the borders.

Some reports are even of Ukrainian armed men threatening to shoot black individuals (Indians and some Middle-Eastern minorities are also being denied departure).

But, yes, ‘Glory to Ukraine! Glory to Heroes!’

I was actually listening to some call-in radio in the UK: and when multiple callers (including callers from the Ukrainian border) were mentioning these incidents, you could hear the radio presenters being unable to process the information – and then quickly try to move the discussion back on to Putin’s madness and Russian aggression: because they didn’t know how to respond or how to fit it into the agreed narrative.

None of this is surprising anyway: Poland, Hungary and Ukraine are countries with highly prevalent far-right and ultra-nationalist leanings, known for racism. And Populist Nazism has been on the rise for several years now in these and several other European countries.

And anyone with even a passing familiarity with the situation in Ukraine will already know that Ukrainian security forces are riddled with white supremacists and Neo-Nazis, so this attitude towards black and ethnic individuals isn’t surprising.

And look, sure, let’s not generalise about people in Ukraine. Most Ukrainians presumably don’t hold those views. But let’s also please stop pretending that it is a country populated exclusively by angelic beings.

What’s jarring is all the over-done, manufactured sympathy and outrage of the plight of Ukrainians, who… as the mass media repeatedly tells us, are absolutely not Nazis or fascists… but, yeah, no black people on the transports, please. Only white Europeans, thank you.

But, you know, #GloryToUkraine. Oh, look, more merch.

 

Glory to Ukraine t-shirt

 

Also, yes: *all* Ukrainians are now ‘heroes’.

Including the Nazis of the Azov Battalion and C14, the fascists of Svoboda, and all the rest: and the various state-sponsored thugs and militias that have been running the streets since 2014. They’re all heroes – don’t question it.

Facebook has even decided that it is now okay to support the Azov group on its platform: the platform had previously regarded Azov in the same category as the Islamic State group, but somehow – now that Russian tanks are in Ukraine – everything has changed.

So hero-worshipping armed fascist thugs is all fine now. Good to know.

There’s also this mass glorifying and lionising of the Ukrainians who are taking up arms and staging a fight against the invading forces: which is of course why ‘Glory to Ukraine’ is being repeated everywhere.

I mean, yes: I get it. It is brave. It is admirable. Any population fighting off a foreign invasion is easy to lionise and celebrate. But… you know, they’ve spent several years now training for this. Ukrainian ‘volunteer’ brigades and militias have been receiving weapons, training and funding from foreign countries, including most NATO countries – and this includes the white supremacist and Nazi units, like the Azov Battalion.

A lot of money and preparation has gone into this. This isn’t just some spontaneous outburst of patriotic bravery: although some of it obviously is.

 

Miss Ukraine, Anastasiia Lenna: Fake Image

 

Though even some of the viral stories on this front have proven to be fake: such as the story of Miss Ukraine, Anastasiia Lenna  taking up a weapon to join in the fight for Ukraine. Apparently, it’s actually an old picture of her just posing with an airsoft gun.

This concerted campaign to paint this idyllic, romantic vision of ordinary Ukrainians being incredibly brave to take up arms and learn to fight the invading superpower has been, in some instances, highly deceptive: the widely shared news item, for example, showing a Ukrainian ‘grandmother’ being trained to use a rifle by some noble Ukrainian soldiers is designed, obviously, to tug at the heart-strings and paint a very specific type of picture.

 

Valentyna Konstantynovska, Azov Battalion
Only when some people started to notice the Azov ‘wolfsangel’ emblem (a Nazi/SS symbol) did the nature of this story change.

 

What most of the coverage omitted, however, is that the men instructing her are actually from the Azov Battalion – the most notorious Nazis and white supremacists in Ukraine’s armed conflict.

Which immediately changes the tone of the story, of course.

And that’s precisely the problem with how this whole conflict has been portrayed.

It’s like showing a sweet old lady in Iraq being shown how to use weapons by a friendly, noble soldier: only to learn that the soldier is actually an Islamic State militant. It then becomes a completely different picture, doesn’t it?

And the problem right now is that the overwhelming majority of people around the world are not seeing that real picture: only the nice, romanticised version of the story that is being carefully manufactured and propagated by the non-stop news coverage and media attention.


The whole way this Ukrainian crisis has been both portrayed and responded to is highly telling.


I covered the 2015 refugee crisis at length on this site (or the old blog): such as here. Back then social media was full of racist, far-right reaction, of course: but even governments, politicians and states had a remarkable lack of sympathy for the refugees.

This being despite the fact that the majority of those refugees were legitimately fleeing from active war zones: principally, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan or via Libya.

Western countries endlessly debated over what to do with this mass movement of troublesome people: they even debated whether to class them as ‘refugees’ at all. Most countries refused to take in refugees. Others held the refugees in long-term detention, sometimes under nearly inhumane conditions. Barbed wire and aggressive armed guards with vicious attack dogs became a common greeting for arriving refugees.

Countries like Poland and Hungary, for the record, were among the most vicious in their anti-refugee stances and language. Do we remember the crowd gathered in the Slovakian capital Bratislava in 2015 to chant over and over again “Hang the refugees”? Or the violent attacks on Syrian refugees in Bulgaria (where they were also beaten and subject to electric shocks by police)?

And all of this being despite the fact that the conflicts most of these refugees were fleeing from were conflicts either started by Western states (including NATO) or conflicts that Western states were nevertheless actively involved in.

But, no: refugee conventions and human rights precedents were thrown out of the window. Compassion for fellow human beings was in short supply. And hundreds of people at a time drowning in the Mediterranean were often seen solely as foreign ‘invaders’ or, to quote some actual websites I read at the time, ‘sub-human vermin’.

But wait… those poor, poor, brave Ukrainians!

 

Ukraine refugees at Polish border
How to welcome Ukrainian refugees.
Refugees in Europe, 2015
How to welcome Syrian refugees.

 


Don’t get this wrong: of course we should help Ukrainian refugees fleeing war. That’s not in question. But selective compassion – essentially dictated by race – is fascinating to observe.


David Sakvaredkidze, Ukraine’s former deputy general prosecutor, appeared to perceive no irony when he told the BBC last weekend how heartbreaking it is to see “European people with blue eyes and blonde hair being killed”.

Given that Putin had literally just called the Ukrainians a Nazi controlled state (and claimed his military operation was to ‘denazify’ the region), some of this language is both extraordinary and rather telling.

But the problem is that this Himmler-esque Aryan ideology is so prevalent in Ukraine and Poland (and some other countries in the area) that public figures can say things like that and not even necessarily realise how revealing it is about the disconcerting underlying mindset.

But Sakvaredkidze kind of hit the nail on the head. This really is about “blue eyed” and “blonde haired” Europeans. The Ukrainians are automatically – and without question – ‘refugees’: while when hundreds of thousands of Syrians were fleeing years of war, the West couldn’t even agree whether they were ‘refugees’ or ‘migrants’. Same for the thousands and thousands trying to reach Europe from Libya and drowning in the sea, as well as all those fleeing out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hell, less than six months ago we were watching Afghan co-workers of British, European and American personnel being denied asylum in the West – despite having been literally PROMISED it in the event of a Taliban takeover. We watched Afghans literally clinging to departing planes and falling from great heights: left to face the Taliban by a NATO occupation army that had spent twenty years waging war in that country.

 

Afghans falling from US airplane, Kabul Airport

 

And yet… after merely a couple of days of “blue eyed, blonde haired Europeans” in Ukraine facing a relatively restrained military incursion by Russian forces, the emotion-laden outpouring of compassion and outrage all across the West has been like nothing I’ve seen before.

Suddenly, they’re all absolutely ‘refugees’ without question: borders are being flung open and the fleeing Ukrainians welcomed in with open arms.

Which is right and proper, of course: but I can easily picture groups of Syrian, Afghan, African and other refugees/migrants watching on from behind the barbed wire of their internment places (which some of them have been stuck in for years by now) as those floods of “blue eyed, blonde haired Europeans” are being waved through and welcomed into the likes of Poland, Slovakia and Hungary – greeted like heroes.

Sakvaredkidze’s outrage that “blue eyed, blonde haired Europeans” were being subjected to war is, again, really hitting the nail on the head.

This was, of course, why after only two or three days of limited Russian military action in Ukraine, the whole Western world was in floods of tears: and universally filled with utter contempt for the evil villain in the Kremlin. And yet the same media – and the same Western populations being emotionally manipulated by that media – have no interest in the people in Libya, for example: who, ten years after NATO bombed that country back into the stone age – still don’t have a government or a state.

And I say ‘limited’ Russian action in Ukraine because it has so far been very limited military action. Is it nowhere NEAR on the scale of what Libya was subjected to by NATO: or what Yemen has been subjected to by Western-backed Saudi Arabian airstrikes.

What’s gone on in Yemen is potentially a genocide: with not just mass death (especially of children), but also forced starvation and famine, among other crimes. It has been going on since 2015. It hardly ever gets any media coverage.

 

A child in the rubble after an airstrike in Yemen

 

For seven years, the civilian population of Yemen – one of the poorest countries in the world – has been under military bombardment. No sanctions have been placed on  any of the states conducting that operation – and in fact we in the West continue to militarily and financially aid that operation.

In seven years, the people in Yemen have received only about 3% of the media coverage that the people of Ukraine have received in less than seven days.

All I’m saying is that the reason the present plight of Ukrainians is being so massively amplified is because this is in part a propaganda/psychological campaign that serves a prevailing and pre-existing geo-political agenda: whereas the plight of people in Yemen doesn’t.


I guess what I find uncomfortable is some of the language: accompanied by the across-the-board and highly emotional lionisation of this struggle.


Partly because… you know, there are some really unsavory elements in parts of the Ukrainian ‘resistance’, as there has been since 2014, and it makes this a bit difficult.

Even more so when Western officials are now overtly encouraging foreign citizens to flock to Ukraine and join the fighting: foreign fighters going to Ukraine was already happening since 2014, but it was largely covert. Now it is being openly encouraged: by people like UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, for example.

I mean, look at this video by UATV (a Ukrainian state broadcaster), clearly intended for the foreign, English-speaking audience. I can’t embed the video here, because it has now been age-restricted: but it basically is a dramatic recruitment video for would-be volunteer fighters to go over to Ukraine. ‘Join the Ukrainian legend – become a hero‘, the narrator says at the end, before providing specific instructions on how to become involved in the conflict.

Clearly, the idea is to draw in scores of foreign volunteers – which is not dissimilar to what ISIS was doing a few years ago. And this comparison between the Islamic State operation and these Ukrainian militias is not empty: in fact, I wrote a whole article about this very subject years ago, predicting that Ukraine would be turned into the European equivalent of war-torn Syria and that the Neo-Nazi groups would become the white power equivalent of ISIS.

I’m convinced that that’s where this is going: more convinced of it now than I was even when I wrote about it back then.

Let’s also not forget that so much of this situation has been manufactured for so long now that it’s difficult to view this scenario as a sudden burst of nationalist pride in response to a sudden invasion. Let us not forget that the initial ‘revolution’ that all of this conflict and crisis has stemmed from was something that heavily involved Western interference and the US State Department: and that the violence and bloodshed that followed did involve Western intelligence agencies and NATO countries – regardless of how much Putin has also manipulated affairs inside Ukraine.

The claims, for example, that Western governments have been ‘debating’ whether to arm Ukrainian resistance is more bullshit: we’ve been arming and training such groups in Ukraine for years already. That is well documented fact. And we didn’t care whether we were working with Neo-Nazi fascists or just well-meaning Ukrainians.

Yet the mainstream discourse would have us believe that Western leaders are only now ‘debating’ whether to send weapons to Ukrainian fighters – as if it’s in response to the Russian invasion. It isn’t.

But then, the media is pretending this whole crisis only started on February 22nd this year – when Russian tanks rolled in. Apparently not much has happened in the eight years before that to lead to this event.


All of the context has been surgically removed from all coverage of the situation. And it’s all gotten out of hand.


S. Awan

Independent journalist. Pariah. Believer in human rights, human dignity and liberty. Musician. Substandard Jedi. All-round failure. And future ghost.

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