Photo: part of the post with disinformation
One cannot claim – as the post does – that the anti-religious civilization, or the West, is fighting against Russia. Russia wants to impose itself as the main global defender of the traditional and religious, which could be seen from Putin’s speech, two days before the anniversary of Russian aggression. Once again, he stressed that this “war was protecting our children from degradation and degeneration”. It is a myth that the West wants to destroy “traditional values” or that “Russia is fighting a holy war against the godless satanists in Ukraine to protect Christianity and traditional values”
We are fact-checking a post on Facebook (screenshot here) that is justifying Russian aggression in Ukraine, presenting Russia as somewhat of a hero and a great defender of traditional values and religion as opposed to the “anti-religious civilization” – the West.
Russia is at war with an anti-religious civilization that is fighting against God and destroying the very basis of spiritual and moral values: God, Church, family, gender and mankind, specifies the post accompanied by a photograph presenting Russia as an umbrella safeguarding the people of the USA, EU, NATO, LGBT community and Nazism.
Such claims made in the post favor the main Russian disinformation narratives used often by the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin. Well-known is the Russian propaganda claiming that the war in Ukraine is a war ”defending traditional family values” and that the ”West is trying to destroy them” – in other words, a war of civilizations, as many Putin supporters like to call it.
Russia wants to impose and present itself as the main global defender of the traditional and the religious, which could have been seen from Putin’s speech, two days before the anniversary of Russian aggression. Once again, he stressed that this ”war is for protecting our children from degradation and degeneration”. Truthmeter has already covered some of the main disinformation narratives in his address to the Russian and world public.
The values-based disinformation narratives are usually focused on challenged concepts such as “tradition”, “decency” and “common sense” – terms with a positive connotation, but rarely clearly defined.
Unlike the Western concept of values, which favors individual rights of personal integrity, security, and freedom of expression, the Russian value system embeds a summary of collective norms, expecting every individual to abide by them.
It is a myth that the West wants to destroy “traditional values” or that “Russia is fighting a holy war against godless satanists in Ukraine to protect Christianity and traditional values”, specifies Euvsdisinfo in its analysis of the Russian war in Ukraine.
Often, pro-Kremlin disinformation pundits, particularly Vladimir Solovyov, deploy this disinformation narrative in conjunction with unfounded accusations against Ukraine for allegedly attempting to destroy the Orthodox Church. This manipulative tactic picked up steam in 2019 when the Orthodox Church of Ukraine was granted the status of an independent church and again in November 2022 when the Ukrainian government announced it would draw up a law banning churches affiliated with Russia, reported Euvsdisinfo.
Demonizing Ukraine and its Western supporters as godless heathens goes hand in hand with pro-Kremlin disinformation that the West wants to destroy “traditional values”.
Together, they portray Russia as the protector of these values. This disinformation narrative of protecting the threatened values is steeped in homophobia that often verges on outright hate speech, concludes Euvsdisinfo.
The US Department of State, in its analysis of the ”Top Five Persistent Disinformation Narratives in Russia”, specifies that Russia pushes the false claim that ”Western civilization is collapsing and has strayed from “traditional values” because it works to ensure the safety and equality of LGBTI+ people and promotes concepts such as female equality and multiculturalism”.
The demise of Western civilization is one of Russia’s oldest disinformation tropes, with claims of the “decaying West” documented since the 19th century. This “values”-based disinformation narrative evokes ill-defined concepts including “tradition”, “family values” and “spirituality”. Russia argues it is the bastion of so-called “traditional values” and gender roles and serves as a moral counter-weight to the “decadence” of the United States and Western countries. For example, President Putin claimed that the West has practically cancelled the concepts of “mother” and “father”, and instead has replaced them with “parent 1 and 2”, while Foreign Minister Lavrov wrote that Western students “learn at school that Jesus Christ was bisexual”, states the US Department of State.
The narrative about the “threatened values” is usually deployed to dispute Western positions on the rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and LGBTI+ groups. Frequently, pro-Kremlin pundits mock the alleged Western “moral decay” or “lewd attitude”, while Russia and Orthodox Christianity, on the other hand, are separated as the real defenders of traditional values.
The idea about the decaying West placed against Russia which is the “guardian” of decency and morals, stemmed from the very top of the Kremlin. According to the analysis of the European Council on Foreign Relations from 2015, Putin adopted this position in 2013, condemning “Euro-Atlantic” countries for their moral decadence and immorality.
One clever propaganda trick was to enhance the image of the evil West by merging together the social conservative and anti-Western posture. In this way, the West and the Westernisers, gay people, liberals, contemporary artists and their fans, those who did not treat the Russian Orthodox Church with due respect and those who dared to doubt Russia’s unblemished historical record were all presented as one “indivisible evil”, a threat to Russia, its culture, its values and its very national identity, states the analysis of the European Council of Foreign Relations.
It is a fact that no one is fighting against Russia and that Western countries have no intention to destroy the so-called traditional values of which Russia has self-proclaimed to be the sole protector.
Western countries, united in NATO and the EU, are not at war with Russia, but Russia performed a military invasion in Ukraine thereby killing a large number of civilians and soldiers on Ukrainian territory.
On 24th ofFebruary 2022, Russia initiated missile attacks on locations throughout Ukraine, including the capital city of Kyiv. Russian Ground Forces entered Ukrainian territory, after which the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded by introducing martial law, terminating diplomatic relations with Russia, and proclaimed general mobilization. This invasion is the biggest military attack in Europe after the Second World War and is the subject of widespread international condemnation, including the introduction of sanctions against Russia.
Hence, one cannot claim – as it is done in the post – that the anti-religious civilization, or the West, is fighting against Russia. Russia wants to impose and present itself as the main global defender of the traditional and the religious. It is a myth that the West wants to destroy “traditional values” or that “Russia is fighting a holy war against godless satanists in Ukraine in order to protect Christianity and traditional values”. Therefore, the fact-checked post is assessed as not true.