Where have you been for eight years?

Russian propagandist slogan
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"Where have you been for eight years?", "Where have you been for the last eight years?",[a] or "Why have you been silent during the past eight years?"[b] is a phrase used during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine in support of Russia, pointing out that the Russo-Ukrainian War has been ongoing since the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.[1][2][3]

It has been described as Russian pro-war propaganda.[1][4]

Putin's "On conducting a special military operation" speech

Russian president Vladimir Putin's televised address on 24 February 2022 referenced the eight years that had passed since 2014 multiple times.[5]

For eight years, for eight endless years we have been doing everything possible to settle the situation by peaceful political means. Everything was in vain.[c] ... The purpose of this operation is to protect people who, for eight years now, have been facing humiliation and genocide perpetrated by the Kyiv regime.[d]

Russian nationalists started using this phrase as their response to the "#НетВойне" ("No to war") hashtag, accusing anti-war protesters of having no concern for Russian people in the Donbass region of Ukraine. Later on, it was promoted by media celebrities within Russia, such as Nikolay Baskov, Tina Kandelaki, Masha Malinovskaya, and Dana Alexandrovna Borisova.

According to social anthropologist Alexandra Arkhipova, this argument is so common in Russian culture because it is much easier to point out the actions of an enemy instead of one's own actions, denying any form of guilt. It is also part of "whataboutism", which was a common tactic in Soviet propaganda, similar to "And you are lynching Negroes".[7]


Ukrainian journalist and TV presenter Kateryna Osadcha said that "Russia has been tearing Ukraine apart for eight years".[8]

On 3 March 2022, Pavlo Kanygin, a Russian journalist, wrote his responses[clarification needed] for the "where have you been for eight years" questions, which also explained more about the separatists at Donbass.[1]

War in Donbas

More than 3,000 civilians were killed as a result of the war in Donbas (2014–2022), but there is no evidence to support the claim that Ukraine committed the genocide of Russian-speaking people or ethnic Russians in Ukraine.[9] Before Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the intensity of the hostilities in the Donbas had been steadily declining since the signing of the Minsk agreements in February 2015.[10] For example, according to Ukrainian authorities, 50 Ukrainian soldiers were killed in clashes with Donbas separatists in 2020.[11]

See also


  1. ^ Russian: Где вы были последние восемь лет? Ukrainian: Де ви були останні вісім років?
  2. ^ Russian: Почему вы восемь лет молчали?
  3. ^ Russian: Бесконечно долгих восемь лет мы делали всё возможное, чтобы ситуация была разрешена мирно, политическими средствами. Всё напрасно.[6]
  4. ^ Russian: Ее цель — защита людей, которые на протяжении восьми лет подвергаются издевательствам, геноциду со стороны киевского режима.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Один из главных аргументов пропаганды — в Донбассе восемь лет убивали людей и никто этого не замечал. Используется даже слово "геноцид" Разбираем его с журналистом Павлом Каныгиным (in Russian). Meduza. 2022-03-02. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  2. ^ Deryugina, Tatyana. "Russian propaganda for children". Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  3. ^ Справочник для антивоенных споров в семье и на работе (in Russian). DOXA. 2022-02-27. Archived from the original on 2022-02-28. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  4. ^ "Украину Россия разрывает на части уже восемь лет". Осадчая ответила россиянам на вопрос "Где вы были восемь лет?". Бульвар Шоубиз (in Russian). ГОРДОН. 2022-03-03.
  5. ^ "Transcript: Vladimir Putin's Televised Address on Ukraine". Bloomberg Business. 2022-02-24. Retrieved 2022-03-17.
  6. ^ a b Бумага (2022-02-24). "Расшифровка речи Путина о начале военной операции". «Бумага» (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2022-03-04. Retrieved 2022-03-07.
  7. ^ Focht, Elizaveta. ""Где вы были восемь лет" и "не все так однозначно". Антрополог Архипова о том, как и почему россияне оправдывают войну в Украине". BBC News Русская Служба. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  8. ^ "Украину Россия разрывает на части уже восемь лет". Осадчая ответила россиянам на вопрос "Где вы были восемь лет?". Бульвар Шоубиз (in Russian). ГОРДОН. 2022-03-03.
  9. ^ Hinton, Alexander (2022-02-25). "Putin's claims that Ukraine is committing genocide are baseless, but not unprecedented". The Conversation. Archived from the original on 2022-02-26. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  10. ^ "From 'frozen' conflict to full-scale invasion". Meduza. 2022-03-06.
  11. ^ "Ukraine conflict: Moscow could 'defend' Russia-backed rebels". BBC News. 2021-04-09.
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