In times of war it is crucial for the society to unite around a common goal and stick together in the face of a common tragedy rather than turn backs to each other. Even though putting trust in the neighbour is easier said than done in our paranoid world, trust is a must. This article emphasises that a hand stretched out for a handshake produces a much more tangible result than a million of curses and three tonnes of malicious glee. This article brings out the easiness with which the enemy is driving a wedge into the pro-Ukrainian socium that used to be a whole. And a traditional batch of curing pills comes with the article.
Let me, by way of preface remark, assure you that the Doctor shall try hardest to keep his mind open while working on this article, no matter how challenging and tricky this intention is. The issues in question are controversial and many-sided, you see.
Let’s focus on the stratum of responsible people with an active civil position, who are de facto split into two conflicting camps.
The first camp, conditionally defined as radical and nationalistic, calls for an immediate removal of Poroshenko from office and demand declaration of martial war. They claim that we are being drained off, the whole war is nothing but a clandestine arrangement with the agressor (Russian Federation), the main traitor of Ukraine is its president (Petro Poroshenko). Their arguments include Poroshenko’s Lipetsk chocolate plant, his business, and “countrywide fifth column”.
The second camp, conditionally defined as moderate and liberal, prefers not to add fuel to the flames which are burning away the troubled Ukrainian politicum and can set the whole country on fire. This camp does not express any particular delight in either Petro Poroshenko’s performance or that of his officials, however they stick to idea that it is no good to change horses in the midstream. These people’s reasoning is simple: external problems are the first to be sorted out, than the focus shifts onto the internal mess.
At a cursory glance, it all seems quite simple, logical and obvious. What is happening in fact? In the environment of pandemic hysteria and paranoid universal mistrust of all in all, the two camps are leading hard-nosed fights in the global web spaces. Radicals see all evolution advocates as “bots and press tribe being paid up by that bloody and corrupt Poroshenko”. Evolution advocates see a Russian bot provoking international animosity in each and every radical. Given that there are press tribe-for-hire and Russian bots, both parties have a point.
No need to additionally stress that all this intellectual ferment results in excessive peevishness and nervosity which, being stirred up by regular tantrums, stove piping and changing sides, gradually brings about universal paranoia. Some activists get infuriated by seeing that renewal of the Ukrainian political elite is interrupted by warfare; others – by the desire to take drastic actions in sorting out matters. Some have a dread of “Poroshenko’s one-man rule” (who, in their view, is undoubtedly “paid-up by the Kremlin”); others beware that any indecision will put an end to all previous arrangements and aspirations and will drag Ukraine, weakened by nearly a year lasting war, back to the drawing board.
Besides, a completely internal desire of a part of the Ukrainian politicum to stay in power, come hell or high water, fans the flames of today’s tension in the country. This wouldn’t come as a surprise that should the Ukrainian people have a chance to, under any pretence, elect a new government, many of the “new breed” politicians, who have already managed to “distinguish” themselves, would be filtered out due to what they have said or done.
Yet another factor that is contributing to the overall strain is activity of a so called Mister Wistle (Gudok in Ukrainian) that is Rinat Akhmetov. This personage keeps on throwing rumours and pieces of “news” over the fan of Ukrainian social networks, at the same time siphoning his still remaining assets off the country on the sly, in the fear of upcoming nationalisation.
The last but not least is the Russian Federation’s participation in the information war that produces an effect of a wedge driven between the two camps – all these publications such as claims against the president, mobilization, demands to “involve aviation forces” (which is impossible in many cases for reasons of military expediency) that are said to be on behalf of the Right Sector (Pravyi Sector in Ukrainian). Radicals from the Kremlin are making blood in the Ukrainian society boil thus spurring people to press on certain military decisions.
Here is an outline of the background against which all recent, both heroic and tragic, events are being perceived by the public.
What consequences may the above described state of affairs bring about?
Let us be logic and consistent. Since childhood we all remember an Aesop’s fable about a bundle of sticks, and a biblical phrase “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand”, and finally a saying “team play wins the day”. It is useless to revolve around negative consequences of this flimflam that is splitting people. What is more important for us is to understand what we should and can do in the current situation.
To get a more or less clear picture of the happenings, it is a good idea to start with looking into goals and phobias of all existing parties which, in this or that way, have an impact on us.
The Kremlin’s position:
I am more than convinced that the RF has no universal solution to matters that may arise. (By the way, this should be put on notice by all those who enjoy talking of “multi-move scenarios” and “chess games”) Politics, let alone a war, is such a thing that having less than a dozen packs of cards in store you’d rather not take to the felt. This is why all assumptions about any elaborated “action plan” remain quite dubious.
In contrast to the mentioned above, the Kremlin’s priorities in the information war are plain to see:
- To justify (for own audience) Russia’s military presence (by stories about “horrors of punitive expeditioners”);
- To disrupt Ukraine’s effort in preparing itself for more complicated warfare (disruption of mobilisation and materiel acquisition, etc.);
- To arouse in people total distrust of any government service, political party or figure (which may entail rebooting of the political elite, giving the RF a launchpad for political manoeuvres).
In addition to the above, the members of our Healing Group have today opened the Doctor’s eyes to one detail which went unnoticed by him before: all those parades of prisoners of war, intensive stove piping of violence scenes committed by militiamen against Ukrainian militaries are nothing more than an intention to demoralise the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Thus, the RF is covering a number of areas:
Completely internal area
Warfare area (the Armed Forces of Ukraine are being demoralised not only by disgusting media files, but by communicating to the Ukrainian people a message stating that “the state does not need servicemen”)
External political area (total social and political chaos and universally adopted distrust of all)
Basing on these simple input data we will prescribe the treatment measures. Let us get started.
START WITH THE SIMPLEST: STOP ASSISTING THE ENEMY
All that has to do with information is a fishy thing. You can see a man killed by a bullet. You cannot see a man killed by information. Whereas the first man won’t take a bullet out and stick it into somebody else, information is a virus. Some people are lucky to have a strong immune system, others cannot boast of it. Even if you have not caught the information virus yourself, you still may infect others. It grows into a chain. However, the information plague can be avoided:
- Do not share fake news under any pretence (even by way of mockery with a put-down remark like “hey, just look at the bullsh*t they wrote”). Can you not resist a temptation to once again repost Russian media ravings? Post a screen capture, not a link. If you like, you can save the link for yourself, or share it in a private correspondence so as to not put “fake news machines” up in citation ratings. Besides, by posting such pieces of news you overload your friend stream with an information noise. Not the most enjoyable thing to read.
- Stop posting horrors of “militiamen’s idiocies”. Trust the Doctor, all our frenzy around prisoners of war marches plays into our enemy’s hands. This is how the enemy undermines the morale of our armed forces. Whatever goal you may pursue, remember, each time you repost above mentioned stuff you aid the aggressor.
- Do not let yourself get drawn in any arguments or communication with bots. Detected one? Block it. (Complain on the user/ report a fake page/ report to Facebook).
Does a news item report on an as-yet non-existent event? Provide a link either refuting that information or telling the true story.
Be particular about news media you read! (How I wish there was a way of getting into other people’s heads). I am just running out of arguments, perhaps this one would do… If you are convinced that all mass media are, in this or that way, prostitutes for hire, don’t you care which prostitute to choose?
Remember to use any material refuting the lie stove piped by the Russian mass media if your post can be seen or read in the RF. And it is not only about reposting of groups and public pages. Recently one newly developed reality has come into view: users in the Russian Federation can often see just a warning “This material has been blocked by an order of the RF Procurator General” instead of the content of many pro-Ukrainian groups.
This fact suggests that the RF people are unable to see each and every link or file that you have published. To sort this out, make effort to save a photo, video, visual aids on your PC to be heard there, too.
Before plunging into a discussion of a news item, take time to ask yourself a few questions:
Whose hands does this information play into?
Who benefits from your knowing this information?
Are you being warned in it? Or provoked?
Do not jump into conclusions about a person who has shared some information you know for sure to be a blatant fake. Even Homer sometimes nods. At the end of the day, it takes less effort to once point out some mistaken data and provide a proof-link than to write “you’re a stupid idiot” for one hundred times. I believe we are now more or less clear about the information hygiene. Let us move on to more complicated issues.
COURSE OF TREATMENT: LEND YOUR HAND
Having an adamant position and having a firm position are two different kettles of fish. Pulling no punches is not the same as being consistent. It has been written a hundred of times, and said a whole thousand times “Stop generalising!” Not all who stand up for the president are his hires. Not all who are furious about his actions are Russian trolls. Just remember that each and every opponent of yours (may he be the author of a post, an article, a video, a film or an opinion) is genuinely driven by one thing: OWN FEAR to lose his land, his home, his dearest people, and his country. By being too hard on such people, you mock at their fear and automatically cause your interlocutors to screen themselves off and stop them from breaking out of their silos of self rightness. Even if it is purported. Generalisations are absolutely needless.
Meeting each other halfway is in fact not that hard nut to crack once you are looking for common goals. All people of Ukraine are known to have at least two common goals: to win and to put an end to the war as soon as possible. Each of us has at least common goal and common woe, which means it does make sense for us all to make it up.
Witch hunt turns out to be convenient and, which is more important, exciting. But… in your incessant search for enemies, beware of missing a friend. Do remember that any emotional generalising and categorical statement of yours may turn a potential friend off. If you paint ALL people of the Russian Federation with the same brush, you will never see in your friend stream the following words:
I cannot stop loving Ukraine. And I love my country, too. When a girl, I used to visit my grandma and listen to her reading me poems in Ukrainian. I remember I couldn’t understand what they were about. Now I guess I could get their general idea, but I do not remember the author and there is nobody I could ask. I am so sorry that we are so silly and unable to see beyond the end of our noses; that we shift responsibility onto politicians; that we are mad at our brothers…
These words belong to a Russian girl. Do you think she is an enemy to us, or a friend?
After shelling of Mariupol, the Plague Doctor’s native town, many people mooted the point that “vatniks were not disillusioned”. I want to focus on opposite stories. There are at least three such persons around my way. What really matters is that instead of hand wringing and breast beating these people managed to trample on their pride and asked me what they could help with. Is it not an indicator for you? For me, it definitely is.
To crown it all, here is the most important (in my view) advice: live with our victory in mind. And not only victory, but post war peace order as well. This is something the Plague Doctor keeps stressing in each and every article that comes from under his pen. Do remember that after the war ends it will be impossible to solve matters by drastic measures. You have to come to terms with the fact that the post war Ukraine will bring along as many things to do as the war does. Not only will it be destroyed cities that we will have to restore, but broken lives, disturbed minds, split society. Mend your sails while the weather is fine! Learn to lend your hand to the “Germans of 1947”. And remember, changes do not come in a jiffy. Each of us is yet another drop in the sea of common sense, which suggests our challenging task: day in and day out – plop, plop, plop…
There can be no doubts in our victory.
People of Ukraine! Our enemy will be defeated! The victory is with us!
P.S. The Plague Doctor expresses his gratitude to all who helps to disseminate these materials and assures any paranoiac – the Plague Doctor resource has an EXCEPTIONALLY pro-Ukrainian position, and kindly reminds about the social network groups that are available by clicking banner buttons.
Translated by Katerina Kulebyakina