Putin adopts ‘WW2 and Cold War’ tactics as he ramps up nuclear threats

Vladimir Putin and the Russian propaganda machine have adopted a mix of “World War 2 and Cold War rhetoric” during the conflict with Ukraine, an expert said. Dr Colin Alexander, senior lecturer in political communications at Nottingham Trent University, noted the Kremlin’s language includes credible nuclear threats, akin to those seen during the decades of its face-off with the US.

But it also often mentions a new fight against Nazism, a clear reminder of the second world conflict.

Dr Alexander told Express.co.uk: “The propaganda strategy for each conflict has to be taken in light of the circumstances within which the conflict occurs.

“So it would be silly to, for example, rule out the Cold War strategy because we live in a different age, a different media environment, and the structure of enemy forces is different.

“In terms of the narrative, though, in terms of what Russia invokes as cultural memory here, we actually see an amalgamation of the World War 2 and Cold War rhetoric.”

The “obvious element” from the former, Dr Alexander said, is Russia’s claims of Neo-Nazi forces in Ukraine.

In May last year, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov went as far as comparing Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, who is Jewish, to Adolf Hitler – a comment swiftly condemned by, among others, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

Dr Alexander continued: “So there is an obvious element from a World War 2 point of view being about Nazis, Neo-Nazism, and Germany financing and arming Ukraine being an indication of Germany’s eastward advance.

“However, there also is an East/West Cold War element to it. And the nuclear element also has this connotation, where what Russia is trying to do is to create the sense of it being a credible nuclear threat.”

This comes after the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta and Russia’s Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Dmitry Muratov, expressed his concern after Putin ramped up his nuclear weapons rhetoric.

Mr Muratov said to have picked up worrying signs coming from within Russia when it comes to the propaganda his fellow countrymen are being subjected to.

He told the BBC: “We see how state propaganda is preparing people to think that nuclear war isn’t a bad thing.

“On TV channels here, nuclear war and nuclear weapons are promoted as if they’re advertising pet food.”

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“They announce: ‘We’ve got this missile, that missile, another kind of missile.’ They talk about targeting Britain and France; about sparking a nuclear tsunami that washes away America. Why do they say this? So that people here are ready.”

Since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, Moscow has often been warning Western nations that arming Ukraine or providing too much support to the country could push the Kremlin to take counter action.

In March, Putin announced plans to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, which borders Ukraine and three NATO countries.

A few days later, as the Kremlin carried out new hypersonic missile tests, Putin’s top security aide Nikolai Patrushev claimed the Russian President will not hesitate to attack the West if it attempts to defeat and dismember Russia.

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