These are the stages so far:
- There are no conscripts in Ukraine and saying there are and some of them were KIA and some captured is just western propaganda.
- OK, there were some conscripts in Ukraine, but they were pulled back and none died. Some were sadly captured. Saying otherwise is just western propaganda.
And just for not very funny fun, here is what I expect the next stages to be:
- OK, some conscripts may have died, but not many and not in engagements with Ukrainian Army, only in ambushes by neonazi paramilitary terrorists. Because this is not a war, this is a special military action. Saying otherwise is just western propaganda.
- OK, many conscripts have died. Russian mothers, here are your letters and tin medals for your brave sons who died in a war defending mother Russia.
There are other narratives in the brewing, mind you:
- There are no plans to call in reserves to fight in Ukraine. Saying otherwise is just western propaganda.
- Ok, we are calling in reserves and more conscripts…
- …to be continued…
- We are not bombing any residential areas. Saying otherwise is just western propaganda.
- OK, we are bombing residential areas, but not many and not deliberately. Saying otherwise is just western propaganda.
- OK, we are bombing residential areas, but we did not hit any hospitals. Saying otherwise is just western propaganda.
- OK, we have hit a maternity ward in a residential area, but it was empty and used as a base by the neonazi Azov Batallion. Thus we hit it on purpose. And that injured woman? Crisis actor. Saying otherwise is just western propaganda.
- …to be continued…
I really do wonder where these will evolve, but I think I can make a guess – more troops, including conscripts and reservists, will be sent to the “not war”. And if Putin wins, some of the fallen and the survivors will be posthumously rewarded with “war hero” medals for their participation in this “not war”.
Why can I make such predictions? Because there is a narrative that has evolved to its final form in the past to be seen, and that is the annexation of Crimea:
- We do not plan to annex Crimea, we respect the treaties we signed.
- There are no unmarked Russian troops in Crimea taking over strategic points. Saying otherwise is just western propaganda.
- Some soldiers received medals for the military takeover that did not exist.
The Russian top brass might be right about some of their counterpoints to the western narrative o the events, but they have lied so often and so blatantly that at this point even reading only their “side of the story” should anyone make deeply suspicious of trusting them. Alas, many people who are heavily emotionally invested in believing lies will continue to believe said lies even after the liar themselves admits they were lying (viz. Trumpists and similar).