An article celebrating Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was prematurely published and then withdrawn by a Russian news outlet.
It congratulates Russian President Vladimir Putin on resolving the “issue” of Ukraine, declaring that “Ukraine has returned to Russia” as a result of military action. It appears that the author expected a quick victory and the piece was released too soon.
The piece, which was published on Saturday (February 26) by the state-owned RIA-Novosti news agency and dubbed by fact-checkers Bellingcat’s Christo Grozev as “very alarming, even by Kremlin standards,” was promptly removed from its website.
Others referred to spectacle as Russia’s “victory celebration.”
It is still viewable on the Internet Archive website, and it is also viewable on a regional version of Russia’s government-owned Sputnik news site at the time of writing.
A syndicated English version named “The New World Order” can also be seen on Pakistan’s Frontier Post website.
What is the content of the article?
Many Twitter users assumed the editorial piece would be published following Russia’s quick triumph in Ukraine.
Contributor Petr Akopov says that Russia is returning to lead a new world order, while at the same time making amends for the “awful calamity” of the Soviet Union’s demise in 1991.
Although the headline reads “Russia’s arrival in a new world,” the Russian word for “arrival” (nastuplenie) can equally imply “assault.”
Mr Akopov defends the “virtual civil war” by claiming that it is “Russia recovering its historical wholeness, uniting the Russian globe, uniting the Russian people.”
He claims that Moscow is bringing together “Russians, Belarusians, and Little Russians (Ukrainians),” implying a Russian strategy to expand its area of influence.
“Vladimir Putin has taken on a historic responsibility by resolving not to leave the solution to the Ukrainian matter to future generations,” according to the essay.
It concludes by saying that the military operation “returns Russia to its historical space and place in the globe,” putting the Anglo-Saxons of Europe and the United States in their place.
It asserts that “Western global dominance can be deemed entirely and finally finished.”
According to certain accusations on social media, the time of the article’s publishing – precisely 08:00 on Saturday – indicates that it was arranged in advance by people who believed the war would end quickly.
Mr Putin, of course, is the architect of this act of reconciliation, and he is commended for acting now rather than waiting for the crisis to be settled later.
Change of Russian tone
This article reflects a shift in Russian tone on the invasion in the country’s state-controlled media, with mention of the invasion’s objective of returning Ukraine to “its natural condition as part of the Russian world.”
However, with the invasion moving at a far slower pace than predicted, this new storyline appears to have been quietly shelved.
Instead, Russia’s state-run media continues to portray the invasion as a “special military operation” aimed at supporting Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine and “de-Nazifying” the country.
There’s almost no discussion of losses or military setbacks, but talk shows defending military operations take up a big portion of state-run television schedules.
Only a few publications with small readership are telling the truth about events, while Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, has restricted Russian users’ access to Facebook and Twitter in a protest against the social media sites’ “censorship.”