Indian news portal Firstpost has published an analysis of Russia’s attempt to rebrand its invasion of Ukraine as an effort to “de-Satanize” Ukraine. The following is a summary of the Firstpost report:
February 7, 2023 Russian officials have changed their language since the invasion of Ukraine started almost a year ago, referring to the conflict as a “sacred conflict” and an effort to “completely de-Satanize” Ukraine. Since late October or early November 2022, Russian officials have been attempting to reframe the invasion of Ukraine as a holy war against Satanism. During a historic speech commemorating the formal annexation of four Ukrainian regions, Putin set the tone by labeling his opponents “Satanic.” The Russian government has been promoting its beliefs in Ukraine while advancing the idea that the West is “Satanic.” It is becoming “more and more urgent to carry out the de-Satanization of Ukraine,” according to Aleksey Pavlov, a Russian assistant secretary on the Security Council. Dmitry Medvedev stated that the invasion of Ukraine was intended to “stop the supreme ruler of Hell, whatever name he uses: Satan, Lucifer, or Iblis” in a speech honoring Russia’s National Unity Day. This viewpoint has also received support from Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church, who asserts that participation in the “special military operation” atones for all sins.It is unclear why Russia chose this line of reasoning, but one report claims that the move away from Satanism was made to encourage religious extremists within the Russian military and to win over foreign audiences, particularly those who distrust the US government. In both the United States and Europe, the far-right Italian population has taken an interest in the fight against Satanism. The war is still going on, but it’s unclear how effective this rhetoric will be in the long run.
Read the full report here.
The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) has been reporting on Russian claims of Satanism in Ukraine, including a report from January that a “Kremlin propagandist” had given a talk to Russian troops in which he told them Russia is fighting “Satanism” in Ukraine in the form of homosexuality.
Also in January, the GIOR reported that Russian claims of “Satanism” in Ukraine are likely believed by Putin and other Russian leaders.