NBC NEWS: Russia's media propaganda turns to 'spine-chilling rhetoric' to intimidate the West

Press/Media: Expert comment

Period14 May 2022

Media contributions


Media contributions

  • TitleRussia's media propaganda turns to 'spine-chilling rhetoric' to intimidate the West
    Media name/outletNBC News
    Media typeWeb
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    DescriptionMoscow’s war has been beset by uneven offensives and heavy personnel losses as Kyiv’s allies ramp up military aid. That has seen the rhetoric on Russian state TV ramp up further to a point where talking about missile strikes on European capitals and the possibility of nuclear war are simply par for the course, said Stephen Hutchings, professor of Russian studies at the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom.

    “There is an unprecedented and seemingly almost concerted effort to bandy around and play fast and loose with this rhetoric of World War III and nuclear strikes,” he said. It’s a reflection of a war that’s not going according to plan, and in which people are becoming frustrated and angry, he added.

    One of the most egregious examples, he said, came from pro-Kremlin journalist Dmitry Kiselyov, who used an episode of a weekly current affairs show in early May to illustrate how Moscow could swiftly turn Britain into a “nuclear wasteland” if it was moved to do so.

    The U.K. could be attacked with Russia’s unstoppable Poseidon underwater drone, he said, generating a giant tsunami that would annihilate the nation.

    “A lot of this rhetoric is essentially to ram home this notion that this is not actually just a war in Ukraine, but rather a proxy war with the West,” Galeotti said. “They’re trying to amp up the sense of the scale of this confrontation just in case the decision is made about converting it from a special military operation into a full-scale war. If you want to avoid making that sound like a defeat, then you have to say it’s because this is no longer just about Ukraine, but rather about Russia against the whole West.”
    PersonsStephen Hutchings


  • Russia-Ukraine war
  • nuclear war
  • propaganda