In response to information about Russian crimes against Ukraine and war crimes in Ukraine, the Russian authorities use five methods:
B) Denial, i.e. denying the existence of indisputable facts
C) Lying about the facts, including the perpetrators of the crimes (victim blaming)
D) Relativisation, i.e. suggesting that Russia's methods are not exceptional, but correspond to supposedly analogous previous actions by Ukraine or Western states (so-called whataboutism)
E) Justification through the creation of false alternatives or appeals to historical determinism, which allegedly compels certain behaviour.
This strategy is primarily aimed at maintaining the internal legitimacy of the war against Ukraine and thus convincing the domestic public of the rightness of the war and its objectives. But it is also aimed at the countries of the non-Western world, which usually do not take sides in the war. To a lesser extent, it is intended to influence the 'anti-mainstream' section of public opinion in Western countries. In many cases, it is reminiscent of analogous actions taken by the Russian Empire against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 18th century and by the USSR against Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in the 20th century. In the case of actions against Western nations, however, the main aim is not to convince people of the absolute righteousness of Russia's behaviour, but to shake confidence in the rightness of the position and policies of Ukraine and the EU and NATO supporting Ukraine in its defence efforts.