The article and video below were published in both Newsweek and the New York Post, so I think you can take the video, put out by RT News, as genuine. And it’s pretty horrible, as it’s a Russian-made video telling Ukrainians (and Europeans in general) what a lousy holiday season they’re going to have after the Russians keep bombing them. It’s really a piece of propagandistic blackmail.
First, what is “RT News”? Wikipedia describes it as
RT (formerly Russia Today or Rossiya Segodnya (Russian: Россия Сегодня) is a Russian state-controlled international news television network funded by the Russian government. It operates pay television and free-to-air channels directed to audiences outside of Russia, as well as providing Internet content in Russian, English, Spanish, French, German and Arabic.
. . . RT has regularly been described as a major propaganda outlet for the Russian government and its foreign policy. Academics, fact-checkers, and news reporters (including some current and former RT reporters) have identified RT as a purveyor of disinformation and conspiracy theories. UK media regulator Ofcom has repeatedly found RT to have breached its rules on impartiality, including multiple instances in which RT broadcast “materially misleading” content.
That, then, is the source. Click below to see the Newsweek report and then the dreadful video.
Russian state TV released a Christmas message to Europe recently amid Moscow’s faltering invasion of Ukraine.
The video, released by Russia Today (RT), comes as the Russia-Ukraine war enters its 10th month on Christmas Eve. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military has struggled to achieve substantial goals in Ukraine throughout the war, with Ukraine’s spirited defense—bolstered by aid from the West—blunting military gains. Throughout the fall, Ukraine retook thousands of square miles of formerly occupied land.
Most of Europe rallied around the Eastern European country, providing humanitarian and military aid to Kyiv, much to Putin’s dismay. Many European countries have also issued sanctions against Russian businesses, including oil. Russian oil has long been used across Europe, and these sanctions have been attributed to rising energy costs in several European countries.
RT highlighted the rising cost of oil in a new propaganda video, which aimed to illustrate the effects of rising energy prices on Europeans.
The video—first reported by BBC’s Francis Scarr on Twitter on Friday—starts off by showing a scene from Christmas 2021, in which a young girl received a pet hamster wearing a bow for Christmas, while the holiday classic “Silent Night” plays in the background.
One year later, the girl’s father is seen creating a contraption for the hamster to generate electricity for the family, presumably because the cost of powering and heating their home has become too expensive due to sanctions against Russia. The hamster, running on a wheel, creates energy to light the Christmas tree as the family sits on a couch, dressed in coats and earmuffs.
The video then cuts to Christmas 2023, when the family, now appearing to live in poverty, is eating their Christmas dinner when the father finds the hamster’s bow in his soup, implying they were forced to cook the pet for a holiday meal.
“Merry ‘anti-Russian’ Christmas! If your media doesn’t tell you where this is all going, RT is available available by VPN,” text displayed at the end of the video reads, revealing it as an advertisement for the Kremlin-tied news outlet.
The video was met with mockery on social media, where Twitter users largely ridiculed its hyperbole and fear-mongering.
Journalist Dave Keating tweeted on Friday: “Russia not even trying to disguise its energy blackmail any more.”
This is pretty Nineteen Eighty-Four-ish: a mean-spirited holiday message that says, “Give up now or you’ll soon be eating hamsters in the dark.” I imagine it would only further energize the Ukrainians!