How Russian Games Propagated the War by@strateh76

How Russian Games Propagated the War

According to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 74% of Russians support the war in Ukraine. Game developers created their product in the tone of what was going on in the country to satisfy the consumer's demand. The game development industry supported the processes that led Russia to attack Ukraine, writes Alex Vatkov. Vatv: The Russians' belief in their innate heroism leads them to seek evidence of this heroism, which leads to their desire to create evidence of the heroism of Gostostost.
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Shariy Ivan | Content marketer & Copywriter HackerNoon profile picture

Shariy Ivan | Content marketer & Copywriter

I`m a content marketer from Ukraine, specializing in blogs. I work in IT, crypto, and marketing niches. You can DM me.

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Do the Russians want war? Obviously, they do. According to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, 74% of Russians support the war in Ukraine.


For 76 years, Russians have carefully preserved the memory of the horrors of World War II, and suddenly, in a united rush, they are ready to kill and die again. There are many reasons why this is so, and the Internet has already picked them apart.


But especially impressive is the correlation between the degree of support for the war and television viewing time. The fact of influence of the blue screen on the human mind is clear.


By the way, I recommend you read my other article, “10 Films About the War in Ukraine


I don't consider game developers part of some plan to turn Russia into a fascist state. But they created their product in the tone of what was going on in the country to satisfy the consumer's demand. The game development industry supported the processes that led Russia to attack Ukraine with the consent of the Russians.

How Russian games started war propaganda?

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Until about 2003, the Russian game market was no different from any other. There were various games, genres, and dreams of success in Europe and the USA in this market. But in 2003, two critical things happened.


In March 2003, America started a war in Iraq, which led to a sharp deterioration in U.S.-Russian relations. And in May of the same year, the famous game Blitzkrieg, based on World War II, was released.

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At that moment, two things became evident to the developers:


  • The income level in Russia grew, and the profitability of projects focusing specifically on the Russian market increased.
  • A game about World War II was the most in-demand thing that could be made for the Russian market.


Blitzkrieg was a game with a story about the cumulative heroic feat of the Russian people who saved the whole world.

The division of the Russian game development industry

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In the following years, U.S.-Russian relations continued to deteriorate. Anti-American and anti-European sentiment grew, while Russia's connection to the modern world weakened. At this point, two conventional directions emerged in the Russian game development industry, which influenced the future triumph of fascism.


One direction actively exploited the audience's homesickness for the past. Russians wanted games in which they could see epic battles and take part in them personally.


Numerous real-time strategies, military-themed games, tactics, and military equipment simulators emerged. All this helped cultivate what Archpriest Georgy Mitrofanov called "victoriousness" in 2005. That is hypertrophied pride in the victory of the USSR over Nazi Germany.


The Russians began to be dominated by a sense of themselves as the heir to a victorious nation. A nation that is responsible for the world and deserves the gratitude of the world.


In the same year, 2005, xenophobic marches with the slogans "Russia for Russians" began in Russia. During this period, the Russians added to the "victorious" history of their people those war episodes that have a reputation for being tragic or even shameful.


Thus, in 2005 the game "Alpha: AntiTerror" and its supplement "Men's Work" came out. These are tactical strategies where the player takes control of a detachment of Russian special forces and destroys the enemy in the Afghan and Chechen wars.

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Two games at once, "The 9th Company" and "The Truth about 9th Company," were devoted to a battle in which a small group of Soviet paratroopers defeated several hundred Afghan mujahideen.

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I wonder how Russians can appeal to the Afghan war, which they, according to polls, consider tragic and unnecessary.


The Russians' belief in their innate heroism leads them to seek or create evidence of this heroism constantly. Hence the love for stories in the style of "300 Spartans," "9th Company," and "Panfilov's 28 Men".


Not surprisingly, not even a few days into the war with Ukraine, the Russians started spreading the legend of the "200 Spartans of Gostomel," who allegedly defended the airfield heroically from 1,000 "Ukronazis".

Russian game development industry propagandized that Russia is alone against the whole world

In those years, when Ukraine had the Orange Revolution and the Baltic states at the very borders of Russia "asked" to join NATO, there was a growing feeling in Russia that enemies surrounded the country. The second direction of the Russian game development industry was responding to these feelings.


There are several examples of such games: "Hammer & Sickle" in 2005, "Marauder" in 2009, "Confrontation: Peace Enforcement" in 2009, and "Peacemaker" in 2009.


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In all these games, invincible Russians or Soviet spies fight American spies, soldiers, and, of course, the NATO.


"Confrontation: Peace Enforcement" is a clear example of conscious propaganda. The game's plot tells the story of how events would unfold if Georgia tried to take back South Ossetia. The developers have even put a cartoon of Mikheil Saakashvili on the game disc, showing how this “coward” starts chewing his tie at the mere mention of Russian tanks.


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In all these games, the player is always the victim, defending himself against the enemy and never attacking himself. Better yet, the player defends some third party too weak to defend himself.

Thanks to Russian propaganda, "never again" has become "we can do it again"

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By about 2012, the Russian government was actively pumping propaganda into its citizens and promoting two important ideas:


  • Russia justified its right to influence the world because it had saved the world from the nazis. The significance of the allied contribution to the victory was devalued. In addition, Russia again put on the dress of the victim and accused the U.S. of being the one who denied the USSR's role in the victory.

  • Victory Day (9 May) in Russia was completely changed to Day of Remembrance and Sorrow, and the slogan "never again" was finally turned into "we can do it again".


Since then, 9 May has been fully dedicated to demonstrating the titanic power of Russia equal to that of the USSR. The number of Russian marches increased, and then Russia directly "shone" on the world stage: Crimea, Donbas, and Syria.

What was going on with Russian games during this period

In 2010, the game "Confrontation. 3D. Reloading" was released. In the story, because of the U.S. actions in Afghanistan, there was a rampant growth of drug trafficking, and Russian soldiers are forced to stop the lawlessness.

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Shortly after the occupation of Crimea, 1C began developing the game "Caliber". At first, the game was called "Polite People". From my point of view, this was a powerful message to the target audience in Russia. "Remember how cool our soldiers took Crimea from the Ukrainians? Want to be just as cool? Play our game!"

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In 2017 the game Escape from Tarkov came out. Of course, it is primarily a good game, not propaganda. Nevertheless, the developers kept their nose to the grindstone: the story is full of enemies, the British are to blame, and the Russians oppose them all.


In 2009, Russia began to develop the latest Armata tank. The tank, as always, had no analogs and was much better than the Americans. It was a formidable confirmation that Russia could indeed repeat.


And in 2014, a year before the Armata was introduced to the general public, the Russian corporation Uralvagonzavod (a Russian company for the production of military equipment) dropped off money to the developer of the Armored Warfare tank simulator.


Then, the companies announced cooperation, and the game began to publicize the formidable power of the Russian armed forces.

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Games played a huge role in exaggerating the power of the Russian army.

Can Russia propagandize war ideas with the help of the metaverse?

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While Meta is fine-tuning its world's fastest supercomputer to create its meta world, China and Russia are looking for ways to use metaverse for their interests. For example, the Chinese government is going to take full state control of the Chinese version of the meta world. Russian authorities also want to be in the trend.


The risks of using the metaverse for propaganda by Russia are significant. For example, implementing trade operations within a metaverse using virtual money can be used for financing terrorism or armed conflicts. In addition, Russia can use illegal political activity in the form of agitations, protests, and propaganda in such a space. Another danger is the theft of users' identities hiding behind virtual avatars.


I am sure Russia will invest in propagating its crazy ideas in the metaverse. Likewise, any other country, religion, or organization can propagate its ideas. The only question is how to keep people in the metaverse away from propaganda.

Conclusion

Sometime in 2008, the Russian government became aware of the existence of the game development industry and began to use it for its purposes. And game development industry began to realize what kind of country it was in.


A part of the game development industry became horrified and stopped making games that had anything to do with reality and Russia. Another part liked what they saw, and the developers fell into outright propaganda. In the end, the monster of Russian fascism grew up in two main senses:


  • A sense of its power, greatness, and exceptionalism
  • A sense of continuous threat from outside and the belief that the whole world is against the Russians


Even without purpose other than to do what they love and make money, Russian game developers have fueled this Russian propaganda on par with other art and culture.


Most of all, I am concerned about the future of Russian propaganda in the metaverse and the ways to stop it.


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