This is not a joke. And in fact it comes with some historic context.
In WWI a German propaganda film showed a threadbare grandmother in her tiny one-room home who pulls a small bag of money from under an old mattress. She sits at a table to prepare a package, sending everything she has to the government (before the scene abruptly switches to a soldier smiling next to a shiny new tank). The old German film presented a squeeze-grandma narrative — forget hopes and dreams, give up all your money and grandkids.
If I can dig this WWI propaganda film up again I’ll post it here because it seems eerily relevant to news emanating today out of an endemically corrupt Russia.
In the meantime here’s the Imperial War Museum explaining the potency of such tactics or, as they put it… “how did the government get away with that?!”
That German propaganda film is the first thing that comes to mind when I see news from Russia hinting at grandmothers in the fall of 2022 they must cancel Christmas and New Year.
…every grandma in Russia knows what a quadcopter is, having had to contribute funds to supply the Army. Now the citizens are being prepared to skip New Year’s celebrations, to do without Christmas trees or fancy lights adorning city centers—with that money to be sent to the front…
When the Russian dictator tried to call up 300,000 reserves, nearly that many young and able men if not more left the country instead. Many who didn’t escape apparently have died mysteriously in chaotic drinking camps.
Gudo said her son brought 7,000 rubles (about $112) with him to Novosibirsk, but when he called on October 2, he no longer had any money. He said that at the staging grounds, unidentified people were selling “bad” vodka, that the conscripts were drinking heavily. [Then suddenly he was dead and] Gudo said they were told by officials that her son’s body would be returned from Novosibirsk to Bratsk on October 10, and they were presented with a 180,000-ruble (US$2,900) bill for the cost of transporting it.
Thus Russian grandmothers are being squeezed even harder, their hopes and dreams cancelled. The propaganda I see floating in Russia has had three themes.
- Protect the motherland from Nazis
- Protect Russia from the West (America and Europe)
- Protect the Slavic people from a global cabal
Of course the first is just a retread from WWII that begs whether anyone can point to a Nazi. No.
I mean seriously, when Putin says Ukraine is full of Nazis and then Ukraine is not even a country because it’s inhabited by the same people as Russia… it’s the worst propaganda ever. Putin might as well be saying “look around Russia, we’re all a bunch of self-loathing Nazis who should shoot each other”. Awful.
The second is a retread from the Cold War that begs whether the average Russian really thinks they’d rather be in Moscow than Miami in the winter of 2022. Brrrr. No.
And the third is just crazy anti-Semitic nonsense that takes us right back to the major problem with the first theme. Russia is actually full of Nazi sympathizers who still believe in the anti-Semitic conspiracies of Henry Ford. No.
Russia is done. Their propaganda indicates they don’t have a clue in this fight. It’s like the bully of Russia rolling up to Ukraine and saying “oh yeah, your mother is my mother so there!” Laughably incompetent while still being dangerous because endemically corrupt.
Don’t forget wealthy Russian oligarchs are well known for tutting about the world in ostentatious schemes of mega-yachts and mansions. To make an even finer point, Russia’s best ship is a coal-burning broken-down bathtub masquerading as an aircraft carrier, while Russia’s best playboys jump between cutting-edge ocean cruisers in non-stop parties.
And they say Russian military uniforms are “missing”, not even enough socks to assign troops. Hah, everyone knows some relative of a Russian politician took all that earmarked money and ran to Florida. There were never any uniforms let alone socks made.
Even if every Russian grandma had knitted socks as fast as she could to send to the front lines it all probably would have been diverted to sell on Putin’s uncle’s eBay account.
Giant piles of Russian money are sponged away by elites instead of earmarked to help the poor fight in a war. It all disappears into bitcoin or old “foreign dignitary” money laundering schemes such as Mar-a-Lago Florida.
The entry in Nixon’s daily diary for that date, July 7, 1974, said the president “looked over the [Mar-a-Lago] property to determine its potential for possible use by U.S. presidents for visiting foreign dignitaries.”
In other words, even if grandmothers send money it will be stolen. And even if it’s not stolen, and actual goods are purchased, those would disappear too.
That’s why if someone doesn’t want Christmas in Russia to be cancelled they really should be giving a hard look right now at the corruption puppets who own Mar-a-Lago. Pull that yarn and the whole legacy Soviet asset misappropriation sweater might unravel.
References from war ghosts of Christmas past are especially important as they bring insights such as this one.
Putin served as a KGB foreign intelligence officer from 1985 to 1990 in Dresden, in what was then East Germany. He speaks fluent German and perhaps honed his language skills studying Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, learning the art of achieving ‘lebensraum’ (living space) from that Nazi tome.
Indeed, do you know who really wanted to cancel Christmas? Nazis.
It was the Nazis who had a major problem with Christmas, and it’s easy to see why they wouldn’t be down with the entire country spending a month celebrating the birthday of a Jewish man. But Christmas was such a part of the nation’s cultural landscape that banning it altogether just wasn’t going to work.
The Nazis hated Christmas and pivoted themselves into a permanent improvisation (lying). They actively set about destroying the thing they claimed they were there to protect and save. Sound familiar?
One symbol posed a particular problem for the Nazis, namely the star, which traditionally decorates Christmas trees. “Either it was a six-pointed star, which was a symbol of the Jews, or it was a five-pointed star, which represented the Soviets,” Breuer says. Either way, the star had to go.
Russia’s dictator is following Hitler’s failed strategy closely, yet he apparently believes he can arrive at a different conclusion.
Putin seems to think he can succeed where Hitler did not and actually cancel Christmas; telling grandmothers there will be no celebrations allowed only debts to pay as their grandchildren are sent to an early death while Russian oligarchs hide away in Mar-a-Lago.