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Kremlin prepares playbook for pro-government media. “Special operation” to be compared with the Christianization of Kievan Rus – Meduza

The Kremlin has released a new playbook for state-owned media and mainstream politicians who make public statements about the war in Ukraine. Meduza peruses the newly approved language.

Two sets of guidelines prepared in July by the Presidential Administration strongly recommend drawing parallels between the “special operation”, the Christianization of Kievan Rus (988), and the Battle of Neva (1240) <The Insider's note: a battle between the Russian north and the Swedes fought in the vicinity of today's Saint Petersburg>.

They justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by the actions of the “collective West”, which has been attacking Russia for almost a millennium to divide it, take control of its resources, and exterminate the Russian Orthodox faith.

“The Christianization laid the foundation for the strengthening and unity of the Russian state for hundreds of years ahead. Today, the representatives of all Russia’s ethnicities have once again come together in a fight with the godless to defend traditional values and their children’s right to adhere to them,” one of the guidelines reads.

The Kremlin uses the term “the godless” to refer to the Ukrainian military. Propagandists are supposed to say that the AFU “commit ritualistic murders” and use women and children as a human shield.

The text also asserts that, similarly to the Christianization of Rus, the war in Ukraine lays the “foundations of our nation's statehood” and the “basis for many centuries of Russia's development”.

However, the authors argue that the party responsible for unleashing the war is the “collective West”, which is confident in its “own preeminence” as well as the Russian Orthodox “inferiority” and looks to destroy Russia.

“The conflict in Ukraine was provoked by Western countries that supplied Ukraine with weapons. Ukraine was supposed to become a stronghold for an attack on Russia. For centuries on end, the strategic objective of the collective West in Russia’s respect has allegedly been the same: restraining, weakening, dismembering, and ultimately, complete annihilation.

The Kremlin sees even more parallels between the current conflict and the Battle of the Neva. According to the Kremlin, at different times, the “collective West” was embodied by: the Teutonic Order, Sweden, Rzeczpospolita, Napoleon's Empire, the Third Reich, and NATO.

Each worked to pit “peoples around Russia’s borders” against the great country. However, as the playbook points out, all Western attacks end in the same way: “The nation unites around its leader and, showing courage and heroism on the battlefield, fends off the invaders.” The Kremlin “recommends” that state-owned media and mainstream politicians emphasize this was allegedly the case both after the victory in the Battle of the Neva and after the beginning of the war in Ukraine (despite the lack of any credible data on the matter).

As the Kremlin insists, the West wants to destroy Russia to take over its much-needed resources and mineral deposits. Western consumer society demands immense amounts of resources, which the West ran out of centuries ago.

“The Russian government and Vladimir Putin in person prevented the attack on Russia from happening. A decision was made to begin a special military operation, which enabled us to avoid the repetition of June 22, 1941, when Nazi troops invaded Russia,” the Kremlin playbook says.

Meduza has already identified several articles that follow these guidelines to the dot. Thus, has published a piece titled “Christianization of Rus and the special operation in Ukraine: what do they have in common?” A similar text appeared on the FederalPress website. Meanwhile, Regnum has obediently drawn parallels between the “special operation” and the Battle of the Neva.

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