The Ghost of Kiev: Pitch Meeting
A few hours before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, CIA director of Public Perception Management (PPM) Bill Shiller, calls the CEO of Newscorp, Bernie Warburg.....
Shiller: Bernie you seen the news?
Warburg: Seen the news? I write the damn news. How can I help you Bill?
Shiller: We've got a serious situation development in Ukraine. Putin's gonna invade.
Warburg: Yeah I got the memo I have a whole team cataloguing World War II terminology and Hitler references.
Shiller: That's great but half those assholes out there in TV dinner-land don't even know where Ukraine is on a map or that Kiev changed to Kyiv so they're even more confused.
Warburg: Waddya want from me Bill?
Shiller: We need a narrative, a story, something easy to understand which nudges people into the right frame of mind. Something inspirational and uplifting, something that'll piss off the Russians and keep Hank Sixpack interested.
Warburg: You know what I think of when I think of that part of the world, Bill?
Shiller: Bad architecture?
Warburg: Snipers! Enemy at the gates, Stalingrad, I think of a young Ukrainian farmhand who dusts off his granddad's old sniper rifle and becomes a folk hero on prime time and for all those leftist assholes on YouTube.
Shiller: Well, those leftist assholes we use won't be so enthusiastic about a white kid with a rifle. How about a girl?
Warburg: Ah yes, of course. How about a lesbian? A lesbian who's been fighting for social justice and equality, maybe a Soros employee. Picks up the very same rifle Grandad used on the Nazis!
Shiller: Wait, didn't Ukrainians side with the Nazis?
Warburg: Who cares... I can see it now. She's called "Sonia".
Shiller: Hmm I like it, One-Shot Sonia!
Warburg: One-Shot Sonia, hero of the Donbas. It'll run great with the video game incels too.
Shiller: The problem is, Bernie, we haven't reached the urban warfare stage yet. What we need, and we need it soon, is a narrative frame for the aircraft and runways which are about to be obliterated by Russian bombs. We need a counter-narrative.
Warburg: Like the Red Baron or some shit?
Shiller: Exactly, but it has to play well on Twitter and generate cool images while also being quasi mystical and inspiring.
Warburg: Like a phantom? The unknown pilot, a mysterious saviour.
Shiller: Or a ghost.
Warburg: The Ghost of Kiev!
Shiller: The Ghost of Kyiv!
Shiller: So lets break this into three phases of narrative control going forward. The early stages of Russian airstrikes will be met with our counter-strike, the Ghost of Kyiv. We can begin getting our social media guys dripping this out there right away. Assuming the conflict enters a secondary stage of urban warfare we'll release One-Shot Sonia onto the Ruskie bastards. The LGBT crowd will lap it up.
Warburg: What about the long haul, Bill? When casualties mount and people start losing interest in the conflict?
Shiller: Yup, this is an issue. Long-term narrative investment needs a message of peace and comfort, especially if the West is being hit by energy shortages and sanctions backfiring.
Warburg: Bill... meet "Mbeke", our African medical student who was refused entry into the UK because of their latent xenophobia.
Shiller: Oh nice... very nice.
Warburg: I have visions of kind and humane black faces tirelessly saving the lives of all those white folk who just can't stop killing each other.
Shiller: BLM support and anti-racist activist?
Warburg: Of course! Discreetly visible on his white medical coat.
Shiller: Bernie I think we have ourselves a conflict narrative control strategy. I'll get my people to contact the leftist social media stooges for the ghost story right away. You work on the optics for One-Shot Sonia and the African doctor stories.
Warburg: My pleasure, Bill.