Michele Chiaruzzi Sofia Ventura

Ukraine and Russia. War propaganda, distortion of reality

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Two distinct forms of propaganda emerged following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of February, 2022. This article scrutinises the presidential narratives of the warring parties, demonstrating how Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin personify two approaches to structuring war propaganda campaigns. In the case of Zelensky, propaganda is perceived as pragmatic and straightforward, playing a functional role in the defence and liberation of the country as well as in expediting the process of Euro-Atlantic integration. Conversely, President Putin’s propaganda is a component of the modern incarnation of «hybrid warfare», solidly rooted in a post-truth context. Furthermore, Putin’s war propaganda amplifies a communicative offensive that began with the military aggression against Georgia in 2008. This offensive is designed to both conceal and simultaneously legitimise Russia’s antagonism towards the Euro-Atlantic trajectory of former Soviet nations. After briefly surveying the two decades preceding Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, the article examines the speeches of the presidents from the onset of the war until December 2022. Specifically, it pinpoints their conceptual frameworks and parallel narrative strategies via a qualitative and quantitative investigation of the two corpora, supported by the AntConc 4.1.4 application. Finally, this analysis accentuates two conflicting war narratives, their specificities, and the underlying factors


  • Volodymyr Zelensky
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Ukraine
  • post-truth
  • hybrid war


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