Russia Destroyed Mariupol. Now It’s Using It for Propaganda | The Wall Street Journal

Ukrainian city saw some of the war’s worst fighting; ‘we should be glad they are supplying us with water?’

by UKCHP_Admin

At the Philharmonic Hall in Mariupol, Ukraine, the stage is almost set for a performance this fall casting Russia as liberator of the city it battered into submission three months ago.

Where the grand piano used to sit, metal cages have been installed to hold Ukrainian prisoners of war who defended the industrial port city, and now stand accused of its destruction by Mariupol’s new rulers.

“The hearings will take place in the main auditorium, and the war criminals will be led to it through an iron corridor,” a reporter from the propaganda arm of Russia’s military said in a recent broadcast.

The tribunal, expected to start this month, is a centerpiece of Russian efforts to mold the city of Mariupol in a new image that reflects its narrative of the invasion: that Moscow is liberating Ukraine from violent nationalists.

Moscow has said it won’t rebuild other smaller cities in Ukraine’s east that stood in the way of its advance and were laid to waste in the fighting. But Mariupol is of particular value to both sides, strategically and symbolically.

For Ukraine, it is the site of a heroic last stand by outnumbered troops defending a flourishing Ukrainian city.

In Russia’s telling, it is restoring the natural order here, adorning the ruins of buildings with its tricolor.



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