By XHABIR DERALLA
I’m reading (that’s my job) the analysis of CIVIL’s monitoring team on the director of a private higher education institution in Skopje, which analyzes her activity on the social networks. From what is presented, it can be seen that she is a diligent pro-Russian propaganda “infantryman”, but also doesn’t refrain from threatening comments. She threatens that “they will fill dungeons”.
She doesn’t say exactly who are the ones they will fill the dungeons with, but in the long years of pro-Russian propaganda in our country, we have learned who they might be. We know that their threat is directed at all those who will find themselves on the black list with which the Russian chief of diplomacy, Sergey Lavrov, threatened with, and then also the Russian Embassy in Skopje, in the first days of Russia’s brutal aggression against Ukraine. There was only one reply that could be given to that threat of the Russian machinery: it’s an honor to be on the black list of the criminals.
They attack “in archers”
The mentioned analysis is about only one representative – soldier – in the “infantry” with which the Russian propaganda in our country disposes with. In a way, she differs from the usual profile of radical nationalists and anti-Western trolls on the social networks. We notice she also has affirmative comments on the 2018 Referendum for accepting the Prespa Agreement.
The hard-working analysts of the propaganda in CIVIL’s team reveal illustrative examples of propagandists who attack in a quite organized and synchronized manner – “in archers”. The link between the media and the attacks on the social networks is well-known and exposed.
They appear in all key moments for society and the state. There are cases when they accompany or support progressive ideas and movements. This happens due to various reasons. One of the reasons for this “turn” is to gain the trust of the “opposite side”, but the motive can also be personal interest. The reason can also be participation in a civil society project, which is usually a personal, financial or career interest.
A short history of the ugliness
It’s interesting that in this period we recognize the Russian propagandists in a series of previous events and processes as well. Here is a short chronology of the ugliness.
We see a large number of them on the social networks with clear support for the “Stop operation Soros” in 2016. Furthermore, many of them are or support the “hardcore” nationalists right after the elections in December 2016.
They also justify the attack on the MPs and journalists in the Parliament on April 27, 2017, and call the organizers and offenders “defenders of the Constitution”. The same year, 2017, they spread anti-immigrant and anti-Islam hysteria ahead of the local elections, claiming that hundreds of thousands of extremists from the Middle East would settle in the country.
In 2018, they engaged in a wild propaganda against the process of overcoming the Greek-Macedonian name dispute and against the constitutional changes that followed in the beginning of 2019.
They spread disinformation and conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 pandemic. They were anti-vaxxers. They like “flat-Earthers” (the Earth is flat). They spread nationalist and religious hatred, disinformation and propaganda during all election processes.
They finally got a “fateful” opportunity: With all their strength, anyway they can – they are justifying the Russian aggression, genocide and systematic torture and mass killings and rape in Ukraine.
They like Russia, but only on the social networks
They want to live in and enjoy the benefits of the Western democracies. They would never even think of living in Russia, not even in Moscow, let alone somewhere in the vast Russian wilderness.
They like Russia, but only on the social networks.
What’s common for most of them? Their vocabulary is similar. Often, they “borrow” the slogans and calls for freedom, justice and democracy from the time of the Colorful Revolution. Hate speech, vulgarity and manipulations are present in almost all of their posts or comments. They diligently follow each other and like and share ugly content, which is a result of the structure that works according to plan and program. It’s quite easy to recognize which one of them is paid, and which is a “useful idiot”.
The “justice” of the propagandists
They threaten that they will judge, arrest, hang, burn, kill and rape. But they don’t say in the name of which institution and in what capacity they will carry out their “justice”. They don’t mention a party or an organization, they don’t mention a process of changing and adopting laws according to which they will conduct that “justice”. They probably imagine that “justice” the way the genocide in Rwanda was carried out. Or in the film dystopia The Purge. But those who create and lead the propaganda know well what they are doing and what they want to achieve. And in propaganda, it’s important to “sell” the product, and not how much the “consumer” understands what they have “bought”. But that’s more than familiar, right?
According to CIVIL’s understanding, online bullies often engage in private communication with people who share content with progressive messages, insult them and threaten them. Most people don’t want to have anything to do with these online bullies. It’s understandable, quiet and decent people don’t want to expose themselves to the online lynch of propagandists and trolls just because they clicked on a Facebook or Twitter post. Therefore, in order for them to express their support or consent with the content that my colleagues post on the social networks, they write us messages and emails. That’s how we found out that the influence of the propagandists is not even close to what it seems like on the social networks.
It’s good to outline that the propagandists feel protected and have a reason to: they enjoy the impunity and are supported by the bot machinery of the nationalist, anti-Western, pro-Russian structures. Some of them even make money, they are paid to spread anti-Western, anti-democratic and pro-Russian propaganda and hatred. The monitoring has long determined that a good part of the propaganda “infantry” is employed in the administration, some of them also in responsible positions. So, with money of the citizens, they work against the national strategic commitments.
The fight is hard, but the facts will win
What is the goal of the propaganda? For Putin, it’s not important whether someone believes in the “righteousness” of the genocide that his criminal clique is carrying out in Ukraine. For him it’s important to cause polarization in societies, distrust in institutions, tensions among communities and instability in democratic states. That’s part of his conquering strategy. It would be funny if someone thought it was about advocating some values. It’s about a hybrid war against democracy in Europe and in the world. Period.
These days, their main instigators and sponsors from the political parties and nationalist gangs with exotic names have been very quiet. They are letting only the infantry to rage on the social networks, along with their media captains who spread disinformation, myths and hatred. Their greediness seems to be directly proportional to Putin’s failure on the battlefield.
The fight is hard, but the facts will win. And they will remain in the mud of moral decay.
Translation: N. Cvetkovska