Propaganda Poster Of The Day: Crimean Edition

The photo below, taken by Reuters photographer Baz Ratner, depicts a woman walking past one of the pro-secession posters that have gone up in Crimea in advance of Sunday’s independence referendum.

Crimea Russian Propaganda

The imagery, of course, could not be any more obvious. On one side, we have a map of Crimea with a swastika imposed over it. On the other, a map of Crimea with the white, blue, and red of the Russian flag. Pro-Russian forces are quite clearly associating the present regime in Ukraine with Nazism and playing on the regions still-lingering memories of Nazi occupation during World War II, when the Red Army was welcomed as a liberator.

Will the propaganda work? My guess is that it will.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Well, since the only choices on the ballot are “secession” and “secession lite,” I’m not sure the propaganda needs to work.

  2. @Chris Lawrence:

    Fair point, but I suppose it always helps to rile up the old passions.

  3. playing on the regions still-lingering memories of Nazi occupation during World War II, when the Red Army was welcomed as a liberator.

    I’m not sure the Red Army was seen by Ukrainians as a liberator so much as “the other occupying army”.

  4. @Stormy Dragon:

    I was referring to Crimeans as opposed to Ukranians. Remember that Crimea was part of Russia until 1954 and had been for at least a couple centuries

  5. Dave D says:

    @Doug Mataconis: To be fair much of Ukraine welcomed the Nazi’s due to their propaganda. The Nazi’s went into Ukraine as “liberators” and were treated to bread and salt by the peasants as a gesture of friendship. However, this was after the Stalin created famines in the 30’s may have killed as many as 30 million Ukrainians so it isn’t hard to see why they would welcome liberation from a force that lied about liberating them. It was only after it became apparent the Nazi’s were not going to liberate them that the partisans became a major force throughout Ukraine, and a ruthless one at that.

  6. Al says:

    Well, I’m sure all the Russian troops Crimean militia REGULAR CITIZENS WHO ARE ALL VERY NICE will make sure the election is open and fair so I don’t see what the big deal is.

  7. PD Shaw says:

    @Dave D: I’m not sure how many Ukrainians welcomed the NAZIs as liberators. Half of Kiev’s population of 600,000 fled the city before the German advance. I’m certain there were some that were hopeful about changes the Germans might initiate, but as you note most were shocked at the looting, violence and rape, that was beyond what they had imagined they could expect from orderly Germans.

    The Germans were engaged in a campaign that contained elements of ethnic cleansing of the Russians, Belorussians, and Ukrainians. I find it rather depressing that I am reading stories that appear to originate from NAZI propaganda towards the Ukrainians that was repurposed by the Soviets (and now the Russians) against them.