DARVO

Nadin Brzezinski
9 min readNov 29, 2023

It takes work to write this. But over the last two-plus years, I have become very good at spotting Russian propaganda. Once I started following the Middle East closer, as a Jew, you quite never stop following, it was striking. Hamas uses the same propaganda techniques deployed by the Russian Federation. If anything, they are more prominent. One is called DARVO, an acronym for Deny, Attack, Reverse, Victim, Offender.

The meme below came from the Hamas-Israeli conflict; it is a good summary of this dynamic. We have nothing like this from the Russia-Ukraine War. This came up on social media. I have yet to learn who the original author is, but it is a good summary.

DARVO is a type of psychological abuse, and it is designed to make the target doubt reality. We saw it with the attack on Kramatorsk early in the Ukraine war. Russia first denied that they were behind that attack at the train station. Within hours, they claimed it was Ukraine. This was the first attempt at seeding doubt at who had done it. Then they reversed the whole thing; now, the victims were Russians who were attacked by Ukraine and had their reputation besmirched, and Ukraine became the offender. We have seen this every time Russia hits something it should not, like, oh, civilian housing or hospitals.

Yes, they hit hospitals often. Just one example, a better known one, the maternity hospital at Mariouul. There are far more examples of this.

Qatari Hospital Gaza Strip

I have yet to hear the level of denunciations Israel gets when it shows why it did that about Russia. Yes, the tunnels were there, and I am posting photos of what was found at those hospitals. No, protections for sensitive facilities are not absolute; if you use a hospital or a school to build or store weapons, that is no longer a protected facility. I know this is hard to accept. Nobody complained when Ukraine hit a technical school last winter, not even the Red Cross, because it was converted into barracks. It was not even a blip in the news.

Weapons and explosives found at Al Shifa

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Nadin Brzezinski

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game. You can find me at CounterSocial, Mastodon and rarely FB