“The task of the enemy was to tear away Ukraine and Ukrainians from us not only politically but also emotionally. The enemy decided to solve this task completely, ”the psychotherapist Leonid Tretyak told the newspaper VIEW, analyzing the phenomenon of the information war between Russia and Ukraine from the point of view of mass psychology.
On Thursday, insignificant but symbolic came from Kiev news: Moscow Avenue renamed in honor of Stepan Bandera. In addition, according to Verkhovna Rada deputy Yuriy Syrotyuk, in the near future General Vatutin Avenue (Commander of the 1 of the Ukrainian Front, who died in 1944) will be named after Roman Shukhevych (Commander-in-Chief of the UPA *, who served in the special division of Nachtigall and 201- m battalion security police).
The newspaper VZGLYAD repeatedly wrote that historical the concept of the Ukrainian state (including the reassessment of the role of Ukraine in the Great Patriotic War), which is fostered by the current authorities, has as its goal to alienate Ukraine from Russia in the political and cultural sense. However, it is impossible to achieve this by simply presenting an alternative concept - it is necessary to emphasize precisely those painful points that in themselves increase the antagonism between Russians and Ukrainians, in other words, to completely disagree between the two peoples. And we have to admit that the officers and soldiers of the "information war" that has been going on between Moscow and Kiev for the third year already have succeeded a lot in this.
About how the information war affects a simple man in the street, as well as about what mistakes in the framework of the historical and political dispute with neighbors made by Russia and its citizens, a psychotherapist, candidate of medical sciences Leonid Tretyak told the newspaper VIEW.
VIEW: Information warfare is a spontaneous phenomenon or a controlled process?
Leonid Tretiak: The process is certainly manageable. It could not be otherwise, because there are interested parties. But it is important to understand that the information war in the modern world is only part of a global confrontation.
VIEW: Is it about the confrontation between Russia and the West?
L. TA: The confrontation is much wider, the conflict between Russia and the West is a special case against the background of the overall picture. The transatlantic partnership is developing a global integration project whose goal is to unite all the resources of the planet for more rational use. More rational from the point of view of the authors of the project, of course. The multinational financial and industrial circles, large capital are interested in this. At the same time, an “image of the enemy” is being formed, which is represented by countries with a national-traditional structure and a national government. These countries and governments are becoming the symbol of "reactionary" policies that hinder the progress of all mankind. Accordingly, the task of the “forces of good” in the face of the Western powers is to fight these reactionaries. Information warfare is becoming one of the methods of such a struggle.
VIEW: From the point of view of psychology, how does it work?
L. TA: The primary task of an information attack is to create frustration in society. In this sense, Russia is a very convenient field for experiment. Power structures are too centralized in our country, and the tax system is depersonalized (that is, unlike, for example, American practice, the employer pays taxes for the majority of citizens - LOOK). Because of this, citizens do not feel involved in the process of governing the state. Such detachment creates a feeling of helplessness and apathy. On such a bed you can grow frustration, which, when it reaches a critical level, is easily converted into revolutionary moods.
VIEW: Can this process be stimulated?
L. T: Certainly. This is exactly what the information warfare moderators do. Social energy is involved through the involvement of emotionally-unstable individuals who easily respond to any polarization of ideas in society. These people did not receive a holistic view of themselves, often their upbringing was controversial, parents encouraged or punished them not for specific deeds, but depending on their mood. They tend to have a chronic feeling of insecurity and tension, difficult and problematic relationships with others, high conflict. Also characterized by a blurred view of themselves and emotional extremes. They are literally woven from contradictions. Under stress, such people turn on the mechanism of the so-called frontier splitting, the world is divided into opposite parts, and all those who do not share their point of view are recorded as enemies. The organizers of information wars consciously model the process of border splitting by imposing false dichotomies.
VIEW: How are these false dichotomies arranged?
L. TA: Moderators of the process throw simple oppositions into the public discussion, with exaggerated and cheap popular images of false dichotomies, saying that you will choose: crooked hedges from the Russian hut or modern technologies, civilized Europe or the Taiga Union? The culture of outwardly oriented envy, what was called in the Soviet terminology "servility before the West", is encouraged. Along with the idealization of the Western way of life, the depreciation and leveling of domestic achievements is hidden. A so-called colonial morality is being formed, the basic principle of which is “there is good where we are not”. Patriotism, which, by the way, is inherent in almost all successful countries in the economy (USA, Germany, Finland), is associated with limitations. After the devaluation of stable values, the society is polarized by a number of dichotomous elections (“are you red or white?”, “Vote or lose,” “who does not jump, that Moskal” and so on). As the degree of discussion is heightened, the reaction of society becomes more and more marginal, the emotions of primitive rage and envy are easily stimulated. The ideological adversary is dehumanizing, his clichéd and caricatured images are served, the idea of him becomes black and white. The answers are becoming more emotional, impulsive and reflex. If we add to this the pressure of the masses (familiar to all of the examples of the activation of football fans), then the situation becomes explosive.
VIEW: Suppose a society is brought to the boiling point. What to do next, how to use it?
L. TA: Pairs of gasoline filled the building, it remains only to bring a match. The organizers of social experiments are guided by the rules of Sun Tzu, a strategist: “... if you surround the enemy army, leave one side open; if he is in a stalemate, do not push him, otherwise he will gather all the strength to answer, and so he will come out in the right direction for you. ” Heated social energy spills toward the simplest solution. It is used as a ram for breaking walls and a Trojan horse at the same time. Organizers of external influence are looking for points of vulnerability and contradictions in the system, skillfully playing on social contradictions. At the same time, they increase the emotional intensity of the discussions, creating caricatures of opponents and offering the simplest solutions.
VIEW: All this is very similar to the situation in Ukraine.
L. T.: Of course, such a scenario was developed there. First, vulnerability points were identified: corrupt and limited power, disorientation of the elite, lack of social self-regulation, and poverty. A lot of preparatory work was done to contrast the two basic models of development and discredit of traditional values. Critical thinking, scientific schools and traditions were gradually destroyed, and the general level of education of the population decreased. Ukraine was chosen as a Trojan horse aimed at organizing a conflict between Russia and the EU, thus depriving them of their competitive advantages by combining available raw materials and high technology. Ukraine was an ideal space for inducing social splitting: a contradictory history, an artificially cobbled-up state that carries an internal contradiction from the very beginning (the Lithuanian-Catholic heritage versus the Moscow-Orthodox), the deplorable practice of the last two decades with a depressed economy and a corrupt government, and a split in society , The “victim complex” among Ukrainians, the “imperial complex” among the Great Russians, unwillingness to hear each other. Accents are gradually shifting from “Ukraine is not Russia” to “Death to Rusny!”
VIEW: Do you believe that the ethnic component plays an important role here?
L. TA: The conflict in Ukraine is not originally an ethnic, but a socio-political one. However, from the point of view of psychology, the national question is a powerful trump card that should not be neglected. The task of the puppeteers in this case is the involvement of archaic, deep mechanisms of the psyche, directly connected with the national-clan identity. After all, an ethnically-tribal conflict between kindred peoples forms a rift and a non-growing wound in the generations, making the splitting process poorly reversible.
VIEW: With Ukraine is more or less clear. And how can you evaluate the reaction of Russian citizens?
L. TA: In a sense, we fell into a trap. The authorities of the country were forced to act reactively, on the go, without the ability for detailed analysis. Many actions were imposed from outside. Fortunately, it was possible to prevent the planned incitement of interethnic, interfaith conflict in Crimea with the involvement of the Muslim world in confronting the "bloody regime". But in such a scenario of imposed dichotomies, any action triggers a new trap.
VIEW: Is it a trap for the authorities or for the society?
L. TA: For Russia as a whole. Both the government and society acted strictly according to the scenario that was developed by the moderators of the information war. How did the Russian man in the street react to this whole situation? Just as they expected from him: a powerful splash of anti-Ukrainian sentiment.
VIEW: Do you think that this was unjustified?
L. TA: This is explicable. But, nevertheless, is harmful. The fact is that the cultural identity of Ukrainians has developed, and many of them love and value their original history. The essence of the Ukrainian idea was the rejection of the great-power claims (which was reflected in the name "Little Russians"). Ukraine was formed as a Cossack republic, a union of free people of the Russian land. And many Ukrainians initially did not sympathize with the organizers of the coup. But the unleashing of anti-Ukrainian propaganda pushed them away from Russia, which anti-Russian propaganda very skillfully contributed to.
In turn, the leavened patriots from the “couch armies”, who had no idea about the complexity of the situation in Ukraine, acted as a caricature of the Russian idea. Their contribution should be considered very malicious. Repeatedly repeated mantras about “Ukrainians who stole our gas”, “maydanniy ukropitek” and others achieved the opposite effect, throwing those who doubted into the camp of the ideological opponent. Most Ukrainians did not support and do not support the tricks of power directed by transatlantic curators, but they also do not want and will not support the trend of the consciousness of the Russian philistine, full of disdain for them.
VIEW: Suppose there is a person who is not indifferent to what is happening. He sympathizes with the Russians in Ukraine, and at the same time he experiences a fair indignation at the actions of the Ukrainian authorities. But at the same time, he does not want to become a zombie-hater, whose righteous anger is working in favor of the enemy. How should he act in the conditions of the information war?
L. TA: It is important to maintain critical thinking, the ability to see half tones and distinguish nuances. Information should be subjected to critical analysis, avoiding to respond to the emotional flow of information materials. Not to get involved in discussions with emotionally overheated participants - it is difficult for them to prove anything, since they have a desire to speak, but no desire to hear (their speech at first looks like an invitation to dialogue, and then becomes a monologue). You need to constantly recheck your position and justify, first of all, for yourself. In discussions, it is important to encourage the opponent to think in alternatives, to allow their formulation and discussion. Avoid extreme emotions and increase the level of discussion, preventing insults and gross depreciation. Instead of "holivar" - negotiations. You can learn from the police, who talk to suicides and terrorists. Calmness and a sense of confidence translate your point of view much better than impulsive aggression.
VIEW: So you can win the information war?
L. TS: First we need to state that we have already lost. In any case, at this tactical stage. The task of the enemy was to repel Ukraine and Ukrainians from us, not only politically but also emotionally. The enemy has solved this task completely.
VIEW: Is it possible to somehow fix the situation?
L. TA: You must admit your mistakes from the very beginning. For example, we didn’t recognize the obvious fact that the social protest on Maidan was fair. Then he was saddled by well-known interested parties with Russophobic slogans, and initially the impulse of the Ukrainians was quite reasonable. People are tired of corruption, of eternal uncertainty, of the authorities, who did not dare to make a civilization choice. We, instead of hearing these people, for some reason solidarized with the Ukrainian government that had rotted through and through. This allowed customers of the information war to make a worldwide scarecrow of corruption out of the Eurasian idea. We should have distanced ourselves from this, and we willingly harnessed for “our own.” Although the regime of Yanukovych is not at all “our own,” moreover, he set us up pretty much.
VIEW: This is a mistake of our authorities. And what should ordinary citizens of Russia, who have become the main target of the information war, do?
L. TA: First of all, give up the anti-Ukrainian rhetoric and try to establish a dialogue with the Ukrainians — not as with an enemy, but as with lost brothers. And it is important to clearly show the sources and mechanisms of external influence. Metaphorically speaking, the Ukrainian people are bitten by a seductive vampire, but few know about it. It is important to activate critical thinking. And it always leads to sobriety. It is said that “judge them according to their fruits,” especially since they are already ripe. The language of logic and numbers is slower, but more convincing. Undeniable facts get into the heart more easily than emotional evaluations. Find and show them.
LOOK: You can argue: this is defeatism, we are always lagging behind, this only makes it worse.
L. TA: Again, defeating "them", we are winning ourselves. After all, as the president of Russia said, "we are, in fact, one people." It is important to separate those who are intoxicated, and those who have a clear task, set out from outside and paid accordingly. After all, the main war is for the minds and hearts of people. And if we are not involved in the imposed contradictions, and strive to find what unites us, then this brings our common victory closer.