T.S. Allen Profile picture
Jun 5, 2018 13 tweets 8 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
In a recent article about Russian toy soldiers of the “polite people”/зелёные человечки/#LittleGreenMen who invaded Crimea in 2014, @joannaplucinska says the set includes a cat “for reasons that aren’t clear.” So time for a thread on Russia’s use of cats in #NewTypeWarfare! 1/
Feline operators are a key part of the myth and iconography of Russian “polite people." During the 2014 invasion of Crimea, heartwarming photos of Russian soldiers handing cats to friendly Crimean civilians went viral (likely promoted by Russian bots). 2/
Russian soldiers love their cats, which are usually called Mashka (Машка) by long-standing custom of obscure origins. In 2014, Russian forces used displays of affection to cats to convince Crimeans that they were really “here to help,” a major Russian propaganda theme. 3/
Since Russia's illegal 2014 invasion and annexation of Crimea, cats have been featured in monuments across Russia. The least ugly one is in Simferopol, the Crimean capital. (Photo cred: euobserver.com/foreign/138129) 4/
The first such monument to Russia man-feline teaming was put up in 2015 in Belogorsk, in Russia’s Far East. (Photo cred: rferl.org/a/russia-monum…) 5/
Some of the statues of Russia’s proxy cats are pretty cringeworthy. This one was put up by a pro-Russian businessman in Bakhchisaray, Crimea. (Photo cred: ru.krymr.com/a/27619436.html) 6/
Amazingly, it looked even worse before it was bronzed. (Photo cred: from-ua.com/news/370742-no…) 7/
The Ukrainians have cats too. Here’s a photo of one at the front in Donbass. Given that Russia illegally invaded Crimea despite guaranteeing Ukrainian sovereignty in 1994 and annexed Ukrainian territory, it’s unsurprising that even cats are rallying to the Ukrainian colors. 8/
And yes, the best term for Russia’s “new” way of war which employs cats is #NewTypeWarfare. But it’s also been called #HybridWarfare, #TheGerasimovDoctrine, #GrayZoneCompetition, #NewGenerationWarfare. Best short read on this: armyupress.army.mil/Journals/Milit… 9/
The fact that @EliotHiggins RT'd this made my day. Your OSINT work is incredible!
Also FYI @joannaplucinska 's original, excellent article on the Russian toys that sparked this debate/ thread is at politico.eu/article/lithua…
And you can buy the toys at amazon.com/ZVE3665-Zvezda… I'm considering it...
Oh and most importantly, these are definitely called #Spetscatz, a coin termed by the indomitable @sjanglim.
New: 60% of Russians and 52% of Ukrainians are cat owners. And Russians are the world's most cat-loving people. So it seems, like many Russian "hybrid warfare" measures, that #Spetzcatz would be less effective outside the Former Soviet Union. daliaresearch.com/russians-are-t…

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