Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Military Ads: Propaganda of Pride

With the situation in Ukraine escalating and May 9 around the corner, it seems quite timely that the Russian Ministry of Defense released a new ad to get everyone pumped about the greatness of the Russian Armed Forces. Military service in Russia is still conscription-based, but the objective here is not recruitment -- rather grandeur, confidence, and pride (the Russian military has rarely been a tolerable place). Take a look:


The first few lines of the voice-over:
"This... is the first day of your NEW life.
What was yesterday, doesn't matter.
Who you were before, doesn't bother anyone anymore.
The only thing that matters now is who will you be TODAY."
You get the gist of it.

This is not to say that other recruitment ads, elsewhere, are any better. Here's a quick sample:


US Navy



Swedish Armed Forces




Ukrainian Armed Forces

The mid-2000s version:


The most recent take (posted in late March 2014), right before the interim President reintroduced conscription:


(Note: The ad starts in Ukrainian, but at some point they switch to Russian. Smart.)


Militarism and nationalism are rarely a good sign, especially when the tensions and numbers of casualties are rising. Releasing the new ad Russia signals, yet again, that it is willing to take up the challenge and restart full-time propaganda of military grandeur; that it too can put up high production value ads to stir up pride. Whether it will actually work is a different question..

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