Posted 23 января, 07:35

Published 23 января, 07:35

Modified 23 января, 08:37

Updated 23 января, 08:37

"Wagner" instead of Sber. Muscovites began to be intimidated by phone calls again

"Wagner" instead of Sber. Muscovites began to be intimidated by phone calls again

23 января 2023, 07:35
Residents of the Russian capital receive calls with warnings about the dangers allegedly threatening their children.

Ivan Zubov

Muscovites are increasingly reporting on social networks about the strange calls they receive.

Moreover, their frequency resembles the frequency of similar calls, the wave of which took place in the spring and summer of last year. Then the callers presented themselves as employees of the Sberbank security service and simply extorted money, mainly from pensioners.

Now the callers present themselves as police officers, and the calls do not come to direct cellular phones, but to the Viber messenger. And the callers do not extort money, they do not tell fairy tales about intruders, but only warn that if you have children, you should not leave them unattended, especially in the evening. The reason is the appearance in Moscow of the participants of the Wagner PMCs, among whom there are former criminals…

Sociologist Alexandra Arkhipova, commenting on this situation in her blog, believes that the appearance of such calls indicates a growing concern in society due to the deterioration of criminal statistics (the number of crimes involving firearms has increased in some regions):

"Do you remember the movie "Cold Summer 1953"? He is now actively remembered on this occasion in social networks. These are the expectations.

Such anxiety can be expressed in the fact that people seek to warn others about the danger. And to create credibility, they refer to a warning from the police. At the same time, they may not be confused by the fact that they invented the fact of the warning from the police, because they did a good deed. My colleague Anna Kirzyuk and I - we call it the "Grishchenko effect".

In 2016, there was a panic warning in Russian (and not only) schools that villains were distributing gum and candy with heroin at schools. Outside, for example, Winnie the Pooh, and inside heroin for 500 rubles. (!). This message reached Viktor Grishchenko, who worked in the Education Committee in the Ministry of Defense. He put the whole story from the chat on the official letterhead, and added at the top: "A letter came from the Ministry of Internal Affairs ..." and sent it through educational channels, after which the panic really started. Both the Ministry of Internal Affairs and journalists quickly figured out Grishchenko and came to him with claims, they say, what was it? To which Grishchenko made excuses that he wanted the best, he wanted to protect the children and for this he inserted a line about "a letter from the Ministry of Internal Affairs" so that parents would understand that the threat is strong.

Citizens also "embody fear" for other purposes. In the USA, after the shooting, there are false calls about the shooting in schools. Some of the callers, when they are found by the police, explain as follows (I read a whole dissertation on false calls): last time the police were slow, arrived at the scene of the shooting late, and here you are, run! That is, such revenge on law enforcement agencies.

In the case of Viber calls, a similar process occurs, but the stage following the "Grishenkr effect".

A person embodies fear in the first person, literally playing an urban legend (for bores, I would like to inform you that I would call this a performative urban legend).

There can be two goals: as well as a sincere warning about the danger that the caller may believe in, and then he pretends to be a policeman "for the good", or maybe this is such trolling of citizens (here you did not believe in the danger of Wagnerians, here you are, feel the threat to your children)..."

However, despite the persuasiveness of this version, few readers agree with it. And they give their arguments. They pay attention that calls come to Viber, and this is the most common messenger in Ukraine. Moreover, the previous wave of telephone psychological terrorism, when the callers presented themselves as employees of the Security Service, also came from Ukraine.

So, one of the readers writes:

- Why Viber? During the mobilization period, Viber, as far as I remember, often appeared in the news about calls from military enlistment offices, I had not previously met systematic use of Viber (and not other messengers) for some specific purpose. Is there some reason for the outbreak of the use of Viber, and not telegram and not others? Or has Viber been used specifically for disinforming calls for a long time, but this has not been the subject of discussion?

Others are sure that these calls are a new round of information warfare, the purpose of which is to intimidate Russians, sow panic, and it is easiest to do this by appealing to the safety of their children:

- And how do you like the theory that this is an element of information warfare or even information resistance? Quite competently designed for those who do not believe journalistic investigations and other things, but will always believe "word of mouth"?