Semiotics of Strategic Narratives of "Antichrist" in Russia’s War in Ukraine


  • Michael Hotchkiss Independent Researcher



Antichrist, Ideomyth, Information Geopolitics, Semiotics, Strategic Narratives


The Russian war in Ukraine which began on February 24, 2022 coincides with the ongoing schism of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, to which the Orthodox Church of Ukraine affiliates. In this setting, spiritual and secular leaders in Russia and Ukraine have mutually utilised narratives of the Antichrist and Satan to explain Russian attacks on Ukraine, imbuing a “spiritual” dimension to the strategic communications in the conflict. This paper applies a semiotic approach to analysing the antichrist and satanic myths at play in the context of ideological “strategic narratives”, and the conflict of meanings which emerges from these competing narratives. In Russia, these ideomyths have long been utilised as ideological tools which place the nation metaphysically in perennial militant opposition to the West. However, Ukraine which is striving to leave the Russian orbit and join the West has reciprocally framed Russia and its leader in similar concepts. In conclusion, this paper argues that there is opportunity for the creation of political messaging which can frame the conflict in spiritual and moral terms that can resonate with both Western and Russian thinkers.