The world in Orwell's 1984. Source: Wikipedia. George Orwell's novel 1984 describes how a totalitarian regime can constantly re-write history. It was one of the pillars of the Big Brother's power. At one moment, it was believed that Oceania was at war with Eurasia and allied with Eastasia. The next moment, it was announced that … Continue reading Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia: How Putin re-writes history
Category: Text lab
Can you spot a difference? Russian propaganda wars against Georgia and Ukraine
The military and propaganda tactics Russia used in the war against Georgia in 2008 are eerily similar to the ones it uses in the war against Ukraine. There are a few important lessons we can learn from those events.
“Progressive” language as a weapon in a special informational operation
While pursuing deeply authoritarian and conservative politics in Russia, Putin uses "progressive" words like diversity, equality, neo-colonialism and so on on the international stage. How is it possible? What does he want to achieve?
A radically new New Year: what we can expect from 2023
Putin's New Year's address is radically different from his previous speeches. With a military background and lexicon, he is preparing Russians for a long and bloody war.
Top 10 weirdest messages from Putin in 2022
No doubt, it has been a crazy year. In February, Russia invaded Ukraine. Thousands of people have died, including children. Millions had to flee. Those who stay are fighting with cold and darkness. There is something carnivalesque about this parade of obscene, idiotic cruelty displayed by Russians. The mask of civilisation has fallen, and all … Continue reading Top 10 weirdest messages from Putin in 2022
Cognitive biases, communicative efficiency and propaganda
At least some of our cognitive biases can be explained by the tendency to save effort. But communicative efficiency also helps all kinds of manipulators to deceive us. An example is Putin's use of the word "genocide" when speaking about the conflict in Donbass. We should get used to spending more processing effort, before it is too late for our democracy!
A “special grammatical operation”: what Putin’s use of cases reveals
Putin can avoid certain words, but it is more difficult to avoid grammar. In a pioneering study, Laura Janda et al. show how Putin's use of case forms of Russia, Ukraine and NATO is different from 'normal' language. My additional analyses reveal that Putin's use of cases with Russia and Ukraine has been stable over the years. A missed opportunity to discover what he was really thinking all this time?
Putin’s insanity talk
In recent months, Putin has been talking about his opponents' words and actions as "nonsense" and "rubbish". Two female politicians, according to him, are out of their mind. I think that Putin's insulting behaviour is another example of projection as a self-defense mechanism. He is trying to distract attention from his own fatal errors and present himself as a paragon of rationality.
The “dirty bomb” and a typology of lies in Russian propaganda
Russian propaganda uses lies of different complexity. I discuss the most recent message by Shoigu and others about Ukraine's plans to use a "dirty bomb". This message is very worrying. It is also an interesting example of recursion, suggesting that the Russian propaganda is getting more and more sophisticated, perhaps to compensate for the lack of military successes.
“This is not a bluff”: What Putin says about nuclear weapons
We have never been so close to a nuclear war since the Caribbean crisis. I examined the mentions of nuclear weapons in Putin's speeches and found that nuclear threats are a recent thing. Their purpose is to force Ukraine and the West to negotiate with Russia. And this gives us some hope...