In a previous article, OPORA wrote that the State Duma of the Russian Federation is literally obsessed with Ukraine. Since January, 1, 2014, our country has been mentioned more than 7,000  times in the transcripts of the meetings of this authority. Instead, in this blog, we explored specific narratives that have been on within the walls of the State Duma since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion. In addition, we were interested in whether Russian deputies produced their own propaganda concepts regarding aggression against Ukraine.

Looking ahead, we can say that the members of the State Duma did not invent anything crucially new — they mostly repeated what had been already published by the propaganda media. Although, the deputies certainly produced their own surreal world with the Golden Horde, Vlasovites, Bandera and biolaboratories. All the narratives discussed below make it obvious that no Oscars “Oscars for Navalny” will change Russian politics, which has been rotting for years.

However, let us take one step at a time in sharing this tory. First of all, we found that the most commonly used concepts in the State Duma were “Nazism” and “fascism.” In total, these terms were mentioned more than 300 times. Besides, they talked about them almost all the way — during more than 73% of meetings.

For example, the speaker of the Duma Vyacheslav Volodin said that Russia “confronts the Nazis, that it confronts NATO.” And that “the war (not the SMO — Ed.) would have ended long ago in Ukraine, if it were not for the help from Washington and Brussels, and if they were not pumping it with the weapons.”

The deputy Sergey Obukhov was indignant that at meetings with deputies, citizens of Russia "will demand information on problematic questions of the SMO in Ukraine". Among the topics, he mentioned the scandal in connection with the exchange of a Ukrainian volunteer and paramedic, Yulia Paevskaya, with the soldier name "Tyra", who, according to him, had been "long presented in the media as a fierce Nazi murderer from" Azov "."

Also, at the beginning of the full-scale invasion, the head of the Spravedlivaia Rossiya faction, Sergei Mironov, even  recited a poem where he recalled the Nazis that Russia protects the Donbas from, like a big bear protects its cubs:

"And wounded by the Nazis,

Donbass is calling for Russia.

Do not wake the big bear,

You don't know the result!

It is protecting its cubs

for the call of blood!”

All these comparisons are not random or strange because sometimes the meetings of the Russian State Duma are a mix of a show, propaganda, and surrealism. For example, let us take a look at the weird parallels drawn by the head of the State Duma Committee on Control, Oleg Morozov, who says that, although any comparison would never be enough, but "80 years ago today, Kyiv was captured by the fascists, and, more than 100 years ago, the financial and economic Entente came on us from all sides.The Homeland is in danger.”

However, it is not only the times of the First World War that raise the concern of Russians — the entire collective West and NATO are allegedely fighting against them. That is why certain MPs draw much deeper historical parallels. For example, the leader of the LDPR faction, Leonid Slutsky, said that “no one has ever managed to make a dependent country out of Russia — neither the Golden Horde, nor Napoleon, nor the fascists. There's no way this is happenning now, either!” These words are clearly embedded in the Kremlin narrative about the need for consolidation and an effort to win over the West.

In general, the recurrent parallels of Russian deputies can make many laugh (not only professional historians). However, this may be a kind of tribute to Vladimir Putin, who, in his 2021 article “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” also invented his own historical interpretations. Therefore, one should not be surprised at any parallels brought up in the State Duma.

For example, the head  of the Communist Party, Gennady Zyuganov, generally speaks in a manner that makes you feel confused about the century that Russia currently lives in: "We must understand perfectly well: ahead of us are the Banderovites, the NATO-ists, the Nazis; behind us are the traitors of the 1991, the Vlasovites; around us, as before, there is the fifth column who do not allow us to properly teach, educate, or work efficiently."   

But what could we expect from regular deputies, be it faction leaders, if even Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, explains: “Today, the United States has conquered almost the entire collective West, mobilizing it to turn Ukraine into an instrument of war against Russia, the same as Hitler, back in his time, put under the gun the majority of European countries to attack the Soviet Union”? Is it possible to depart from the narratives if Lavrov clearly informs the deputies of propaganda clichés about “long-term deterrence of Russia,” “NATO expansion towards the borders of the RussianFederation” and “transformation of fraternal Ukraine into anti-Russia”?

That is why the State Duma is talking about multipolarity, hybrid warfare, the preservation of Russia or anti-Russian projects. As to the topic of demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, popular in the first months of a full-scale invasion, it has subsided.

As you can see, there is nothing too permanent in Russian propaganda. For example, the topic of bio-laboratories was discussed by the deputies of the State Duma not only in the spring of 2022, but also in February, 2023. The leader of the LDPR faction Leonid Slutsky spoke about the leak of the report, which allegedly refers to“dozens of bio-laboratories that operated in Ukraine and conducted experiments on humans.” He immediately called it the "Nazi contempt for people." As you can see, this is a classic fact with pseudo-information and a brainwashed historical parallel for Nazism.

It is interesting to see that Leonid Slutsky also spread in  the State Duma the narrative about the so-called “dirty bomb”, not forgetting to mention NATO, the EU, and the United States: “Today, the entire EU and NATO machine, coordinated by the United States, does not mind any, even the most terrible, means, from a dirty bomb to the storage of lethal weapons on the territory of nuclear power plants.” Certainly, the above quoted propaganda narratives are not the full representation of the arsenal of deputies of the State Duma, as it is simply impossible to list all those statements. Nor do we need to do it.

At the same time, the State Duma spoke about the Donbass more than 200 times, telling about the “deliberate destruction” of this region by Ukraine, and “about the assistance to the children of Donbass”, which the Communist party of the Russian Federation allegedly provides, and about the “waste of efforts of Russia that had resisted the genocide of the population of Donbass for eight years”.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky was mentioned almost 30 times. Mostly, it was about “bloody terrorist attacks, murders and numerous crimes committed daily  by the Zelensky junta.” They also claimed that “no decisions, neither political nor military, are made either by the bloody clown Zelensky, or by the Verkhovna Rada”, but “they are made either in Washington or in Brussels, by the NATO bloc”.

Let alone the US President Joe Biden who was mentioned almost 40 times. He was called both “an old gramp who is happy because he signed the law on same-sex marriages” and “the US President who is ready to freeze Europe”, and even a potential terrorist, if the information about the explosions of the Nord Stream gas pipelines, which the United States allegedly planned and carried out, turns out to be true.

Therefore, all the above propaganda clichés prove that the State Duma before and after the full-scale invasion, had been and remains to be a platform for disinformation and myth-making. State Duma deputies articulate the same narratives as Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin propaganda media. It means that the deputies of the State Duma should also be justly punished for the crime of aggression against Ukraine.