Language consequences of modern psychological and information warfare in Russian mass-media: problem definition

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The paper deals with the urgent and topical issue of political linguistics - the influence of information and psychological warfare on the Russian language. The aim of the paper is to describe the most frequent novices in the modern Russian language and speech which occur due to the domestic information and psychological warfare. The research was carried out on the basis of the mass-media texts, the traditional linguistic research methods were used (analysis and description, contextual and axiological analysis, etc.). As the result of the analysis the authors singled out both new and traditional words and word combinations which simultaneously serve as the weapon and the result of information and psychological warfare. Two groups of language (speech) means were defined: specialized (which perform the relevant evaluative function - either positive or negative) and non-specialized (which change the function depending on the context, the semantic ambivalent words and word combinations). The specialized means include pejorative words and word combinations: political labels, invectives, terribilitisms (“bogey-words”), delusions (“trap-words”), negatively connotative words, and euphemisms. Ameliorative means are not characteristic of information and psychological warfare, though words and word combinations are widely used which denote national concepts being the subject of information rivalry. Neutral language means in information and psychological warfare in the Russian language include terms and terminoids, naming various types of rivalries and technologies constituting them. The results obtained contribute to the development of the information and psychological warfare linguistics. Research perspectives encompass the refinement of some points and the analysis of information and psychological warfare language consequences in the light of linguistic ecology.

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Studies of modern information-psychological wars (IPW) are actively carried out in domestic and foreign linguistics. European scholars, studying the manipulation of public consciousness as part of the technology of IPW, pay attention to the importance of identifying the participants of IPW, which can be individual political leaders or entire groups (Lopez, 2020). It has been noted that IPW participants can rely on the axiological, ideological, or social attitudes of the target audience, actively influencing the emotions of the information consumer (McDermott, 2020).

The spheres of IPW, its characteristic genres, methods and techniques are distinguished. A number of foreign works are devoted to the analysis of IPW in cyberspace. Thus, M. Robinson, K. Jones and H. Janicke point out that the study and struggle against cyber warfare should become a research area of a whole set of disciplines (Robinson et al., 2015). J. Straub emphasizes that the term “information and psychological warfare” includes a range of disruptive operations in cyberspace (Straub, 2019: 2). J.C. Young considers social media as one of the most powerful digital tools for conducting IPW (Young, 2021). A large role is given to the study of fake messages as a tool of information and psychological warfare (e.g., Guadagno, Guttieri, 2019: 172).

In Russia, much attention is paid to the study of IPW language. A series of monographs published at the Siberian Federal University are devoted to this issue (Skovorodnikov, 2017; 2019; 2020). An analytical review of publications through 2019 is presented in the article by S.L. Kushneruk (Kushneruk, 2019). In 2020, the monograph “Language Aftertaste of the Internet Age in Russia: Boomerang Effect (Current Processes in Russian-Language Digital Media Communication)” was published, and the authors pointed to “increasing radicalization in society, leading to violations of information security primarily in the linguistic aspect and information wars, as well as manifestations of speech aggression and linguistic extremism” (Trofimova, Barabash, 2020: 2), which indicates the increasing relevance of research in the field of IPW linguistics. IPW language issues are also discussed in numerous articles published in journals and collections of articles (Borisova, 2016; Vasiliev, Podsokhin, 2016; Vesnina, Nakhimova 2017, etc.).

At this stage, our attention was drawn to a problem that has not yet been posed in IPW linguistics – the problem of linguistic consequences of IPW.

The phrase “linguistic consequences” is used in the title of M.A. Marusenko’s monograph “Evolution of the World Language System in the Postmodern era. Linguistic Consequences of Globalization”, which deals with the changes in the world system of languages: the disappearance of some languages, the loss of language functionality, the revival of certain languages and other processes (Marusenko, 2015). The term is also found in L.R. Komalova’s publication dedicated to the review of English-language works, one of which analyzes the impact of the UK exit from the EU on the language: it considers “ways of word-formation using the ‘Brexit’ construct as a model, resource or analogue for creating neologisms” (Komalova, 2019: 107).

In our study, the linguistic consequences of IPW are defined as new words, new word-combinations and new word meanings, as well as actualized vocabulary, which are the result of communicative interactions between people with the signs of a pronounced aggressive information-psychological impact.

The aim of the article – to identify a set of lexical-phraseological innovations in modern Russian language and speech under the influence of IPW, and to substantiate the relevance of their detailed study as a special problem situation for strengthening the information security of Russia.

Methods and materials

The following methods were used: analytic-descriptive method (including observation, interpretation and generalization); method of revealing cause-effect relations and intentions; method of determining the usuality of innovations according to a set of objective criteria (their frequency and usage in public texts); method of evaluating the revealed facts in terms of their novelty (new language unit, new word meaning or new combinations of traditional language units), linguoaxiological analysis. To ensure the fullest possible scope of the problem research, i.e. coverage of linguistic/speech innovations, motivated by IPW, we referred both to the studies of relevant topics, reflected in the references, and directly to the mass-media texts (printed and electronic), demonstrating the information and psychological confrontation. In 2020–2021, 1.2 thousand of units corresponding to the following proposed list of types of IPW linguistic innovations were collected.


As a result of the study:

– a new aspect of scientific research in the field of IPW linguistics has been identified;
– new notions filling terminological gaps have been introduced (linguistic consequences of IPW, negativators, terribillatism, simulatism, axiological ambivalents);
– it is shown that in modern Russian language under the influence of IPW
a fairly large number of lexical and phraseological innovations emerged that fit into the concepts of pejorative and functional and stylistic neutrality, and there is also an actualization of words and phrases naming the nation-forming concepts;
– the typology of linguistic consequences of IPW in the Russian language on the basis of the functions of linguistic/speech units is presented;
– the prospects of further research, significant for the development of Russian language studies and political linguistics are shown.


New or actualized words and phrases in the IPW discourse are both its weapon and consequences. On the functional basis they can be divided into three groups: 1) specialized means, designed to perform the appropriate evaluative function – negative (pejorative) or positive (ameliorative); 2) non-specialized means, which depending on the context can change their evaluative and semantic functions; 3) stylistically neutral means. Moreover, in the specialized part, the pejorative component, according to our observations, includes more innovations than the ameliorative one. This corresponds to the specificity of at least some European languages, in which there are more units with negative semantics than with positive ones. Let us consider the most common means, without claiming to be exhaustive.

1. Specialized means of IPV

1.1. Pejorative means, or negatives, are discrediting and/or derogatory linguistic/speech units, as well as linguistic/speech units that serve to embellish a fact, event, etc. or to conceal, disguise it, that is, to manipulate in a figurative sense of the word.

These include negative connotations (lexical and phraseological units with negative connotations); invectives (including those of necrophilous type, expressing an extreme degree of negative emotionality, hatred towards the object of evaluation, a desire for its physical and/or moral destruction); political labels (stereotypical mythologized ideologemes with a negative connotation that dominates over denotation, intended to discredit the opponent); linguistic “bogeyman” as a means to frighten the recipients (let us call them terribillitisms: from Latin terribilitas – intimidation); simulatisms (bait-words that mislead the reader), as well as euphemisms that conceal information, i.e. obscure reality.

Political labels represent a fairly large group of pejorative units, which reflect different sides of the information-psychological confrontation. We have identified over 130 political labels, both those from the Soviet times and modern ones, including: the enemy of democracy, genetic (human) trash, trash of civilization (humanity), victoriousness, bio-trash, grants-eaters, political pygmy, Aziope, Creaclus and many others. Here are only some examples: Nurmagomedov called McGregor the waste of humanity;[1] The Chairman of the parliamentary fraction of the Estonian Conservative People’s Party (EKRE) Mart Kallas called the Russian-speaking residents of the country a human waste;[2] If you are weak and soft, then you are a waste of the nation. <...> Schizophrenics, disabled, seriously ill and other unfortunate people were condemned to death by the mad “cannibal” Hitler. And now, for some reason, this very word “biowaste” is quite popular among the younger generation.[3]

The political label pariah (a variant is the pariah of world politics) is used to name both politicians and states, including Russia. In the second case, its variant is also a rogue state. This label is used to accuse a political figure/state of aggressiveness, terrorism and other traits without proof, allowing to create an image of enemy. For example: Usually the ambitions of “rogue states” are limited to the region where they are located. For example, North Korea challenges South Korea and Japan. Iran and Iraq also show little interest in what happens outside their immediate geographic environment.[4] In addition to being a pariah, Russia is “labeled” with a number of other political labels: Evil Empire, Mordor, Putinyarnya, Rashka, the country of slaves, the prison of nations, which can also be used in an intimidating function.

Terribillitisms (bogeyman) are widely used to intimidate the addressee, for example, by associating the Orthodox Church with terrorism, fascism, sectarianism, etc. For example: The Orthodox Taliban is nothing more than a Soviet Taliban purified from Communist junk. It’s like a distilled moonshine from Soviet home brew;[5] We, the participants of the round table “Clericalization of Russia – the path to a new barbarism” <...> are watching with anxiety the active process of clericalization of state and public institutions of Russia;[6] The Russian Orthodox Church is now really a hotbed of homophobia, it is like providing an ideological roof for those who are ready to beat open LGBT; this of course is in no way consistent with the ideas of Christ...[7]

Terribillitisms include the phrase “little green men” (“polite men”), which refers to unmarked military personnel, for example: This operation in Crimea was so successful that for Ukraine and other anti-Russian countries the “little green men”, or “polite men” have become the image of the enemy, a bugbear that frightens ordinary guys in NATO countries. However, their tactics are studied and taken into account.[8] Other “scare words”, such as Russian aggression and the hand of the Kremlin, are also used to cause fear and dislike of Russia: Biden declared the unity of the U.S. and Germany in their defence against “Russian aggression”;[9] Some Western media used information about the shooting down of the Russian bomber Su-24 by the Turkish Air Force in Syria as another reason to remind readers about the “Russian threat”;[10] European Union and NATO look for the “Kremlin hand” in all the troubles of the Old World to absolve themselves of responsibility for the pressing problems of the continent, writes Matthew Dal Santo of the Frank Lowy Institute for International Policy Studies of Australia...[11] A hostile image of Russia is created not only in foreign countries but also within Russia itself, which indicates an ideological stratification of society and internal information-psychological confrontation, which poses a threat to the state national security. The examples above illustrate the polyfunctionality of language units. In the proposed illustrations the terribillistic synonyms little green men and polite people are euphemisms at the same time, Russian aggression is a political label, and the Kremlin hand is a trope (metonymy).

IPW texts use euphemisms persons with family responsibilities (instead of parents), military presence (instead of invasion), price regulation (instead of price increases), underemployment (instead of unemployment), crisis (instead of war), stable relations (instead of subordination), peacemakers (instead of military men), employees (instead of spies) and many others. Here are some examples: Thieves and murderers, powdering their ugly faces, declare themselves peacemakers, demand understanding of the thieves’ interests, respect, draw red lines to the world. The civilized world, which has existed for 76 years without a global war, has lost its guard down, wallowed in mercantilism and connivance[12] – user’s comment; Now the United States are trying to accommodate several thousand of its Afghan “employees” in Uzbekistan, as if temporarily, until they get an American visa, – and are generously paying for their stay. Would you say “this is different”? No, it’s all the same thing, just under a different pretext;[13] The Syrian conflict is far from over, but even now we can say who the most likely winners and losers will be;[14] However, the hidden unemployment (in other words, underemployment) is several times higher;[15] On May 17, the radio station Ekho Moskvy reported that Medinsky proposed ticket prices regulating to support domestic producers in Russia.[16]

Simulatisms (from Latin simulatio – deception) in the IPW discourse serve to deceive the audience and attract it to the author’s side. These are such phrases as world civilization, universal values, freedom of speech, human rights, new thinking, civil society, world-class education, social equality, integrated knowledge, democratic values and some others. For example: We need world-class education, honest mass media (glasnost’ and freedom of speech, as well as the need for real protection of human rights, are always referred to by Mirziyoyev himself). And the Uzbek authorities are confident that they can cope with interference in their internal affairs – and sabotage.[17]

Some similes undergo semantic transformation under the changes in the extra-linguistic situation. For example, such a transformation can be observed in the functioning of one of the components of the word combination Western partners, where the word partners expresses a false positive attitude towards the object of evaluation. One of the lexicographic meanings of the word partner is ‘companion, comrade in something’ (Efremova, 2000: 598). However, in modern discursive conditions and circumstances the original meaning of the word is modified, acquiring the meaning ‘opponent, party or state with opposing views and position’. For example, according to Mr. Lavrov, “Western partners have gone beyond all bounds of reason” and are forcing Russia to confess to poisoning Navalny.[18] In this example, the mentioned discursive meaning of the word partners is actualized, and the statement itself describes the tense relations between Russia and the West, expressing the existing disagreements between the parties in the issues of world politics.

IPW creates the destructive content, new words and phrases with aggressive, hostile, insulting semantics. Here we see invectivisation of public speech. This idea is summarized in the word combination atmosphere of hatred. It has been actively used in Russian political discourse since 2015 and became one of the five leaders in the corresponding nomination in the “Word of the Year” contest. The expression entered the forefront of political communication back in 2010, when Boris Nemtsov used it in reference to the beating of Oleg Kashin. The recurrence of political events, which is characteristic of social development in general and the language of political communication in particular, made the phrase atmosphere of hatred relevant again in 2015 in connection with the murder of Boris Nemtsov: The Western media gave a mixed assessment of the murder of the opposition politician Boris Nemtsov on Friday, February 27, near the Kremlin. Some call it political, while others blame it on the atmosphere of hatred that Russian propaganda has created in society. The analyzed word combination confirms the formation of a discourse of new sensitivity in contemporary society where the main thing is the expression of human emotions and feelings, often located at the negative pole of the vector “good – evil”. At the same time, the atmosphere of hatred proves the existence of the conceptual opposition “us – them” in political discourse, which has repeatedly become the subject of scientific research in various research areas: philosophy (Korchak, 2006), history (Shipilov, 2008), cultural studies (Yakimovich, 2003), psychology (Kagan, 2011), linguistics (Chernyavskaya, Molodychenko, 2014). For example, the Ukrainian analyst and political technologist Alexander Kochetkov “skillfully” uses the expression atmosphere of hatred to create destructive pragmatic potential and accuse opponents of creating this very atmosphere: Atmosphere of hatred. Why pseudo-patriots are as dangerous to Ukraine as Russian propagandists. The ‘patriotic’ haters like Vyatrovich, Sokolova, Drozdov and others are not essentially different from Russian propagandists: the same position of enmity and discord, twisting the facts, favouring ‘their own’ and denigrating ‘others’.”[19] In mass media discourse, the second component of the phrase “atmosphere of hatred” may vary, but the aggressive connotation remains: The tragedy (the knife attack against Tatiana Felgenhauer...) which took place the day before at the Ekho Moskvy newspaper, reminded us all (authorities and society) loudly of the atmosphere (intolerance and hatred...) which has surrounded us for years now...[20]

Perhaps the most resonant event that has affected our lives and reflected in language has been the coronavirus pandemic. Thus, scholars, consider the linguocognitive aspect of productive ways and means of word-formation in electronic media (Radbil et al., 2021); describe the carnivalization of the Russian language in the era of the coronavirus pandemic (Kupina, 2021); analyze the coronavirus discourse in Russian popular science content (Panyukova, 2021). In the context of IPW, new collocations of commonly used words are emerging. For example, the expression covid-terrorism has recently appeared: Covid-terrorism? Definitely, yes, and at the state level and with the state support.[21]

Among the negative connotations we note a group of words in -ism: orthodoxism, Putinism, Christianism, ourism, etc. The negative pragmatic potential of words with the suffix -ism is pointed out by the author of the book “Specifics of Modern Media Word Creation” (Ratsiburskaya, 2015). Such is also the word Trumpism, which refers to the words fascism and racism formed with the same model: The tone and style of US foreign policy under Joe Biden will change, but the political legacy of “Trumpism” will continue influencing Washington’s foreign policy, says Qian Feng, Higher Senior Officer at the Taipeh Analytical Center.[22]

Negative connotations include such words as invasion (instead of liberation), destabilization, invasion, kotrearch (instead of patriarch), defeatist, temple-fighter, temple-phobic, and many others. Here are the examples: The main version of law enforcers is destabilization of the situation in Ukraine;[23] The United States launched an invasion of the region of Iraq in 2003 in order to overthrow the regime of President Saddam Hussein, because he, in their opinion, posed a danger to the international community.[24]

Speaking of the negative connotations of new words, we should note that they can be formed from the key words of the historical era. Thus, the neutral word Crimea, which belongs to those lexical units that, according to L.M. Tsoneva, “name the most relevant concepts for society and are distinguished by a high frequency of use in different spheres of communication” (Tsoneva, 2015: 256). The word Krym served as the basis for the occasional name Krymnash (‘Crimea is ours’), which, in turn, also passed through several stages of development in the language: from changes at the graphic level (cf., krymnash vs Krymnash) to entering the word-formation paradigm of the Russian language (see, for example, Vepreva, 2015). As a rule, all occasional words, created by active word-formation models of the Russian language from the name Krymnash, express axiological preferences of the actors of political communication and have a pronounced evaluative character, including negative ones, as in the case of Krymnashism: Until recently, it seemed that “Krymnashism” in its original form was such a coy acknowledgement of the presence of the Russian military there, but at the same time an attempt to justify the annexation at the expense of the so-called artificial referendum.[25]

The tendency to criminalize the Russian language in the context of the IPW is demonstrated in words with the prefix gop-: gop-politics, gop-diplomacy, gop-journalism, gop-religion. The destructive origins of such nominations go back to the culture of gopniks – urban punk kids, feeling hatred towards cultured and well-meaning citizens, who they tried to scare, humiliate and rob. Such hooligan culture is in demand in the language field of the IPW: The new trolling gesture from the Russian Foreign Ministry has caused many Runet users to reject it. They condemned Lavrov’s action as childish and another display of “gop-diplomacy”, disgracing Russia in the eyes of the Chinese, and the rest of the world as well.[26] We are talking about the mask worn by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his visit to China, with an inscription in English “To hell with quarantine!”. Gop-religion is used to describe religious organizations that act aggressively and invasively: In recent years, however, pop-religion has moved on to more militant actions, turning into a gop-religion...[27]

1.2. Meliorative means, or glorificators, are lexical and phraseological units with positive connotations. The meliorative segment, if distinguished, can include simulatisms (also semantic ambivalents), calling them pseudomelioratisms, since the lexicon included in them has a positive meaning in the language system (fixed lexicographically), while their function is negative. But it is pseudomeliorativity that allows us to consider simulatisms and euphemisms not in the ameliorative segment, but in the peiorative one, if we take functionality as the basis for the classification of new words and expressions.

It should be noted that ameliorative linguistic means are not characteristic of IPW, rather, we can talk about the actualization of some vocabulary and phraseology, around which a serious struggle of opinions and judgments unfolds. Thus, in the centre of this struggle are words and phrases expressing nation-forming concepts, without them it is impossible to imagine the formation and existence of a full-fledged national consciousness of either an individual or the nation as a whole. These are such concepts as Fatherland, Russian land, Native land, Russian world, Russian, Russian people, Russian question, state, Victory, family, people, national idea, Orthodoxy, Russian Orthodox Church, Russian language, patriotism and some others.

The positive connotations subjected to Russo-phobic defamation include the names of such outstanding figures of Russian history as Alexander Nevsky, Ivan the Terrible, Patriarch Hermogen, Minin and Pozharsky, Suvorov, Kutuzov, Skobelev, Marshal Zhukov; the names of heroes of the Great Patriotic War: Zoe Kosmodemyanskaya, Alexander Matrosov, the Panfilovs (heroes from the 316 rifle division under I.V. Panfilov), etc. For example: The main merit of St. Alexander before the Church, according to this rabid blasphemer, is that he poked out the eyes of the Russians. My true evaluation of St. Alexander was formed many years ago and is expressed in this article. It has nothing in common with the rot of the dreamer of mobile torture chambers Bukarsky, for whom the highest feat of the Russian ruler is to poke out the eyes of Russian people, allegedly. Of course, the Church did not glorify Alexander for his fictitious “Eurasian choice” or for his cruelty in asserting his power. To say this is as ridiculous as to say that St. Andrei Bogolyubsky was glorified for the capture and destruction of Kiev, and St. Dmitry Donskoy for the execution of the Muscovite tysiatskii. On the contrary, St. Alexander is glorified as a stander for the Russian Land – by the sword where it was possible to lift the sword, and by word and diplomacy where it was senseless to lift the sword.[28]

2. Non-specialized means of IPW

A special group consists of words and word combinations that have a double, and moreover, opposite axiological connotation, depending on the ideological position (liberal or anti-liberal) that the speaker (writer) takes. They can be called axiological ambivalents. For example, democracy, tolerance, political correctness, optimization, reform, modernization, elite, world civilization, globalization, etc. These are a kind of “amoeba words”, or “mythogenes” (Vasiliev, 2012: 37), which are characterized by “a lack of connection with concrete reality and minimal, up to zero, semantic valence, that is, simulacra (in the terminology of L.N. Sinelnikova)” (Ibid.: 36). Compare, for example: The current administration of the factory is on the same side of the barricades as the Russian government: no, this is not the disposition of the factory, but only “optimization”. And there were no massive dismissals at all, but the voluntary retirement of two thousand employees[29] and Earlier, the Ministry of Finance announced a large-scale reduction of civil servants. Optimization of the staff would result in annual savings of up to 100 billion roubles.[30]

IPW texts use new combinations of words in different functions, for example: The Board of Trustees of the Institute is chaired by 83-year-old Henry Markovich Reznik, PhD in Law, Honored Lawyer of the Russian Federation, Senior Partner of the Reznik, Gagarin & Partners Law Firm, Vice President of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers of Russia, First Vice President of the Moscow City Bar, Member of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights, Member of the Moscow Helsinki Group. A landmark figure for the progressive cloaca;[31] A patriotic blizzard affected Russian education: now schoolchildren will be taught to love Russia on a mandatory basis;[32] Digital volunteers are needed, because this is the first digital census, which has a great opportunity to register oneself without leaving home;[33] Humanity virus: how students in 2020 taught teachers to master Zoom and the Internet.[34]

There is a new semantics of not-new words (we mean semantics, which is not recorded in the explanatory dictionaries), which refer them to evaluative connotations, usually negative. For example: In a conversation with the liberal portal, which immediately rushed to defend the pigeonholing: “We refused to print, because these Korean singers are kissing on stage, which allows to conclude that they have a nonstandard sexual orientation”;[35] Jurgens (about the Russian economy): – It’s chaos, bazaar, not market;[36] At some point, when the intellectual decline begins, he will simply get fired, and he will vampire in his family.[37]

Unspecialized means include tropes which may constitute the subject of a separate scientific article.

It should be borne in mind that in a living, functioning language there are many transition zones and functional coincidences. Thus, axiological ambivalences can perform the functions of similes.

3. Means neutral in their emotional and evaluative functions

IPW has spawned a large number of terms, e.g.: linguistics of information-psychological warfare, information confrontation, destructive meanings, verbal labels, manipulative technologies, the subject of IPW, the object of IPW, IPW initiator, IPW actor, IPW target, IPW executor, the image of enemy, IPW paradox, damage from IPW, information pressure, fake, fake news, media fakes, IPW strategies, IPW tactics, defamation strategy, defamation method, demonization, demonization effect, information attack, post-truth, disinformation, information weapons, post-truth linguistics, factoid, signs of IPW, IPW genres, etc. Here we should immediately note that since war, including information warfare, is a negative phenomenon, the whole set of IPW terms should be considered in the section of pejorative means; however, we believe that it is because of the terminological nature of these word combinations that they are stylistically neutral, as the terms record these or those phenomena without evaluating them. First of all, these are terms created in the field of sciences studying IPW.

In the sphere of family issues, the following terms discussed from different perspectives have appeared: social sex, same-sex marriage, homosexual lobby, gender equality, new standards of human rights, depathologization of sexual deviations (fetishism, cisvestitism, transsexualism, homosexuality, sadomasochism, etc.), assigned sex at birth, associated sex, third sex, gender legislation, gender quotas, gender balance, gender expertise, gender education, gender discrimination, victim of gender discrimination, persons with family responsibilities (instead of parents), gender commissioners, harassment technology, etc.). Examples: ...don’t try to homeschool your children. They may turn out to be cisgender (i.e., sexually normal), and you do not want to create in this way another oppressor, with whom transgender people will not feel safe, do you?[38]

Terms like Minsk agreements, coronial certificates, and many others are also neutral.

Our observations confirm the rapid expansion of the combinability of the adjective informational and the formation of a number of set terminological combinations noted earlier by G.N. Sklyarevskaya. Here are the examples she cites: information blockade, information explosion, information war, information field, information space (actualization of the meaning “information, facts about someone, something; information about facts, events”); information dependence, information network, information system, information society, information technology (“a set of information as an object of storage, processing and transmission”) (Sklyarevskaya, 2001). Let us add to these examples the following more or less stable word-combinations, including metaphorical ones: information revolution, information strike, information virus, information pressure, information cast, information cocktail, information merry-go-round. Here are the contexts of the use of some of them: After journalists are spun on such an information merry-go-round, it seems to them that they have covered all sides of the issue – this is how fakes are produced, which are presented as news from Syria;[39] A.S. Pushkin Central City Library held an information cocktail “Read always! Read everywhere!”, dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the first issue of the newspaper “Krymskie izvestiya”.[40]

Some of the set terminological combinations with the adjective “informational” denote negatively assessed phenomena: information occupation, information terrorism, information trash, information killer, information pressure, information cast, information cacophony. Here are the contexts of their use: In this sense, we can say that directly from the beginning of the information war, the entire territory of Russia (as in this case, and any other country) automatically leads to the informational, although facilitated in form, invasion of the entire territory and population of the country, including children;[41] My first steps in journalism I did in the period of the so-called traditional media. Since then, the world has changed dramatically, an informational cacophony has swept the world.[42]

A number of terminological expressions have emerged as names for various types of confrontations: the war of words, Schrodinger’s war, the Arab war, the war of sanctions. For example: At the moment the world is moving to a new stage of confrontation – this is a semantic war, I call it “Schrodinger’s War”.[43] Based on the expansion of the meaning of the word revolution, terms such as colour revolutions, “velvet revolution,” “red carnations revolution,” “scarlet roses revolution” etc. emerged.

New set word combinations represent the emergence of events (phenomena) that are topical for a given time. For example, the list of prepositive adjectives attributing the word terrorism has expanded significantly: political, religious, nationalistic, technological, nuclear, criminal, cyber, informational, green, doping. In this case, we observe the expansion of the lexical meaning of the word terrorism in its real discursive use. In the process of information and psychological warfare, terrorism is not only the physical destruction of the enemy, but also a broader spectrum of violent actions depending on a particular sphere of human activity: religion, politics, sports, ecology, IT technology, etc. (see, e.g., Shvedova, 2011: 980). Here are a few examples of the use of the word terrorism in new combinations: The fight against religious terrorism requires the use of the ideological resource of the state – the support of inter-confessional interaction, discrediting the idea of the chosenness of religion, etc. There is such a notion as doping terrorism[44]. It is possible that Yulia (Yulia Yefimova. – the authors comment.) was doped. We know the facts of doping terrorism.[45]


The study shows that a number of new lexical and phraseological units have emerged in the modern Russian language under the influence of the IPW. Quite a large number of specialized units are negativators (units with negative function: political labels, invectives, terribillitisms, simulatisms, evaluative connotators and negativators-euphemisms) and stylistically neutral terms and terminoids.

The production of ameliorative means is not characteristic of IPW, but at the same time, we can say that in Russian-language mass-media texts we observe the actualization of words and phrases naming the nation-forming concepts.

Some linguistic/speech means generated by IPW are characterized by a contradiction between the systemic (lexicographically fixed) meaning of their constituent words and their manipulative function in IPW texts. These are primarily semantic ambivalences and euphemisms.

We can say that a new perspective aspect of scientific research in the field of IPW linguistics has been revealed.

The research we have undertaken does not go beyond the statement of the question and needs to be continued, as well as to clarify some of the statements made.


1 Nurmagomedov called McGregor a trash of humanity. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 15, 2021, from

2 Russian-speaking residents of Estonia were called a human trash. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 15, 2021, from

3 The dangerous word in the youthspeak. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 15, 2021, from

4 “Rogue states” and international security. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 15, 2021, from

5 The Orthodox Taliban – or the new world with the bogey instead of Russia. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 16, 2021, from

6 Clericalization of Russia – the path to a new barbarism. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 16, 2021, from

7 The Russian Orthodox Church and homophobia. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 16, 2021, from

8 “Little green men” at the hybrid war. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 16, 2021, from

9 Biden declared the unity of the U.S. and Germany in their defence against “Russian aggression”. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 16, 2021, from

10 The incident with the Russian Su-24: Turkish provocative act and its consequences. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 16, 2021, from

11 There are “Kremlin intrigues” everywhere: Nation about the EU information war against Russia. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 16, 2021, from

12 “If Russia continues being aggressive, we will respond”. The interview with US Secretary of State. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 17, 2021, from

13 The USA are looking for the key to Central Asia. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 17, 2021, from

14 Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Egypt: The military decision in Syria proved to be ineffective. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 17, 2021, from

15 Today, for the first time in “Komsomolskaya Pravda” we are presented the special news bulletin “Moscow region”. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 17, 2021, from

16 The Ministry of Culture commented upon Medinsky’s words about protection against Hollywood. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 17, 2021, from

17 The USA are looking for the key to Central Asia. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 17, 2021, from

18 Lavrov: Western partners have gone beyond all bounds of reason in the situation with Navalny. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 18, 2021, from

19 Atmosphere of hatred. Why pseudo-patriots are as dangerous to Ukraine as Russian propagandists. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 20, 2021, from

20 “Atmosphere of hatred”. Who creates it? (In Russ.) Retrieved July 20, 2021, from

21 Covid tourism or terrorism? Moscow, Kremlin, Gorny… soon. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 20, 2021, from

22 Expert opinion: “trumpism” will influence the US foreign policy under Biden as well. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 20, 2021, from

23 The person who published the record on the murder of Sheremet was questioned in Ukraine. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 21, 2021, from

24 The USA decided to reposition thousands of soldiers to Middle East. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 21, 2021, from

25 The logic of the decadent tsarizm. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 21, 2021, from

26 Sergey Lavrov shocked people with his mask with antiquarantine text. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 21, 2021, from

27 Gop-politics, gop-journalistics, gop-religion. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 21, 2021, from

28 The godless slander on St. Alexander Nevsky. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 21, 2021, from

29 Civil servants with wings. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 22, 2021, from

30 The Ministry of Finance proposed to make a retrenchment of 100 thousand of positions in the Russian army. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 22, 2021, from

31 The project of Henry Reznik is recognized as a foreign agent. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 22, 2021, from

32 The lesson was given an order. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 22, 2021, from

33 Census volunteers. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 22, 2021, from

34 Humanity virus: How students in 2020 taught teachers to master Zoom and the Internet. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 22, 2021, from

35 It is the blind alley for humanity. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

36 Central market. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

37 Psychological vampirism. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

38 Stupid consumers are needed: Why people are afraid of sending their children to school. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

39 Columnist Boston Globe: US media are ingeniously telling lies about Russian actions in Syria. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

40 Information cocktail “Read always! Read everywhere!”. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

41 Information war is also war. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

42 Truth and credit are new money equivalents in the world. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

43 Information war as the everyday life. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

44 Modern religious terrorism as it is. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from

45 Volkov: Probably, someone put something in Efimova’s drink or food. (In Russ.) Retrieved July 23, 2021, from


About the authors

Galina A. Kopnina

Siberian Federal University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9883-3892

Doctor of Philology, Associate Professor, Professor of the Department of the Russian Language and Speech Communication

79 Svobodnyi Prospekt, Krasnoyarsk, 660041, Russian Federation

Natalya N. Koshkarova

South Ural State University (National Research University)

ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8861-0353

Doctor of Philology, Associate Professor, Professor of the Department of International Relations, Political Science and Regional Studies

76 Prospekt Lenina, Chelyabinsk, 454080, Russian Federation

Alexander P. Skovorodnikov

Siberian Federal University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0171-596X

Doctor of Philology, Professor, Professor-Consultant of the Department of the Russian Language and Speech Communication

79 Svobodnyi Prospekt, Krasnoyarsk, 660041, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2021 Kopnina G.A., Koshkarova N.N., Skovorodnikov A.P.

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