In Russian Navy’s wild propaganda show in Murmansk, a OSCE flag is displayed as war trophy from Ukraine

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is presented as enemy of Russia in bizarre propaganda exhibition onboard naval vessel Ivan Gren.

By Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer - September 28, 2023
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A small flag from the OSCE lies next to military badges from Poland and Ukraine as part of Northern Fleet’s propaganda show onboard the Ivan Gren. Photo: yunarmy51 on VK

The 135 meter long landing vessel that can take onboard 13 battle tanks and 300 troops has the past weeks toured north Russian cities for display of “war trophies” captured in Ukraine. The propaganda campaign is named Strength through Truth (Sila V Pravde) and aims at promoting a picture of a strong and victorious Russia fighting NATO-backed forces in Ukraine.

Thousands of people, many of them school kids, visited the vessel when it docked in Arkhangelsk in mid-September. The number was no less when it proceeded to Murmansk. According to the Russian Armed Forces, more than 18 thousand people from the Kola Peninsula paid a visit to the exhibition during its stay in town.

Representatives of the Youth Army in Murmansk hold flags with photos of 2WW heroes in front of Ukrainian military hardware captured in Ukraine and a banner that reads “The collapse of NATO is inevitable.” Photo: yunarmy51

“The visitors could learn about the history of the Russian Navy and get to know about the heroic deeds of Russian servicemen participating in the special military operation, and also have a look at military trophies,” the press service of the Northern Fleet informs.

Not surprisingly, NATO was presented as the main evil behind the war in Ukraine and the biggest enemy of Russia. “The collapse of NATO is inevitable” one of large banner read. Another banner read “We do not need this kind of West.”

But not only NATO and the West were presented as enemy. Among the many artefacts on display were also two small flags from the OSCE.

The OSCE flags were displayed as part of a collection of artefacts apparently captured on the battlefields in Ukraine. Interestingly, they were shown together with a big number of military badges belonging to Ukrainian soldiers’ uniforms. In the collection were also Polish badges, indicating that the Russians had captured or killed Polish soldiers.

Photo: yunarmy51

It is not clear what the exhibition organisers had in mind when including the OSCE in the show. The international organisation, where Russia is still a member, is actively promoting peace and stability in Europe, including with crisis management and arms control.

However, Moscow has over many years repeatedly accused the organisation of being a tool for Western states. The relationship significantly worsened as Russia launched its war against Ukraine in 2014, and further aggravated with the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.

The OSCE mandate in Ukraine expired on 31st of March 2022, due to objections by Russia, and Moscow subsequently seized €2.7 million worth of armoured vehicles that were previously part of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.

Three Ukrainian OSCE officials continue to be in Russian detention in Donetsk and Luhansk more than 500 days after the start of the onslaught.

Among the visitors of the propaganda show onboard the Ivan Gren was Almaz Biktimerov, leader of the Youth Army (Yunarmiya) in Murmansk. With a comprehensive online photo album, the man shows how his youth soldiers attend the exhibition.

 

“We do not need this kind of West” a banner reads. It is placed next to a captured Ukrainian BTR-3 armoured personnel carrier. Photo: yunarmy51

On many of the photos, young boys and girls in uniform are seen walking around the landing ship and watching the Russian captured war trophies. That includes Ukrainian books that are described as “Nazi literature” and military hardware such as a U.S International M1224 MaxxPro MRAP armored fighting vehicle and a Ukrainian BTR-3 armoured personnel carrier.

Propaganda poster on display onboard the Ivan Gren. Photo: yunarmy51

On display were also propaganda posters and arts made by contemporary Russian artists.

“Here and now! We are one family! We don’t let down our kinsmen!” Almaz Biktimerov underlines in a comment on the local Yunarmiya social media page.


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