Ukraine’s General Staff Bans Facebook to Protect Morale
by Olga Talova
Translated by J Hawk
July 29, 2015
The Ukrainian General Staff remembered Professor Preobrazhenskiy’s injunction: “Do not read Soviet newspapers before eating,” and likewise recommended the soldiers of Europe’s most modern army to spend less time on social media.
How did Bulgakov say it through the professor’s lips? “You know, I conducted 30 observations at my clinic. And what do you think about this? Patients who don’t read newspapers feel terrific. Those whom I forced to read Pravda lost weight. And that’s not all. They suffered from lowered knee-reflex responses, poor appetite, and depression.” Evidently the General Staff conducted a similar observation and reached the conclusion that promoting panic on social media is undermining soldiers’ combat spirit in the ATO zone.
UAF GenStaff press service published the following…on its Facebook page:
“On July 25 the social media literally (!) blew up with reports about critical situation in Schastye. In a matter of hours these negative attitudes jumped from cyberspace into reality, damaging soldiers’ combat spirit even as they were carrying out operations in that area. And on the next day, July 26, Russian militants launched three attacks against our positions in an attempt to eject them from key sites. The situation was so supercharged that even the troops who were defending these positions often doubted the veracity of official information,” says the Ukrainian GenStaff.
How do you like that! It turns out Facebook competes with the General Staff. And commanders, before going into action, study facebook posts by Couch Forces “experts”, volunteer comments, and journalistic brainstorms, and only then decide whether it’s worth showing up to fight. It’s even worse with the punitive battalions whose troops have more Apple gadgets than the impoverished UAF soldiers, which means they are even more saturated with information. After reading Facebook and Odnoklassniki, Ukrainian patriots nearly killed one another: according to the General Staff, due to the superheated information atmosphere, one unit nearly came under “friendly fire” by another.
Naturally it’s all Putin’s fault who began “supercharging” right after the Normandy Four meeting on 23 July. But this time GenStaff is blaming not only Russia’s president but, as strange as it may seem, Ukropatriots as well, who have launched into hysterics when they saw the withdrawal of troops and equipment from Shirokino, and who then went on to pitch tents in downtown Mariupol and parade with “they betrayed us” posters. “Naturally, superheating the atmosphere around our forces’ planned operations was our enemies’ plan. But the panic was spread by our ‘friends’. Unfortunately, this can’t be left to someone’s ‘conscience.’ We are talking about our soldiers’ lives”, emphasizes the General Staff.
GenStaff also noted that premature release of information also impedes the military’s mission. It turns out that a social media panic is military intelligence’s best friend. “By promoting panic, our friends hope not only to lower our soldiers’ motivation, but also to obtain intelligence information which can be gathered from announcements and denials which have to be posted in response to the numerous inquiries from the active segment of the citizenry,” writes the GenStaff. The military called on social media users and media workers to spend less time reading news feeds and getting upset. Alas, the military is still waiting for racially correct newspapers, like the ATO Digest promised by Yuriy Stets, therefore soldiers have to learn about upcoming battles from bloggers and volunteers.