Why is Russia throwing fakes at us about the Ukrainian government and army

, 17:26, 24.03.2024
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Russia is using fake news to hurt Ukraine's leaders and military. They make up stories about corruption and fleeing leaders to make Ukrainians distrust their government.

Why is Russia throwing fakes at us about the Ukrainian government and army

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, Russia has been regularly producing and disseminating a large number of disinformation messages and fake narratives related to the discrediting of the Ukrainian government, army and international partners.

Disinformation attacks: why Russia targets Ukraine's Leaders

Now Russia is trying to undermine the resilience of Ukrainians, our trust in the army and the government.

In this way, the Kremlin dreams of stopping the Ukrainian resistance, reducing the level of support for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, undermining the moral and psychological state, inclining Ukrainians to destructive decisions and destroying their faith in a possible victory.

“If earlier Russian propaganda very often resorted to various fabrications, such as the so-called Nazism in Ukraine, US biolaboratories and many other absurdities, now it is trying to shake up Ukrainian society. We are talking about causing anger, indignation, distrust and directing this anger and indignation not against the real enemy, against Russia, but directing it in search of the so-called internal enemy. And for this, they quite often use, in particular, the image of the Ukrainian authorities”
says Svitlana Slipchenko.

In particular, in order to denigrate the Ukrainian government, Russians often produce fake messages about corruption. For example, recently, Kremlin telegram channels, citing the English-language media The Islander, wrote that Volodymyr Zelensky, through proxies, bought two yachts - “Lucky Me” and “My Legacy” - for $75 million. As “proof” they added photos and allegedly documents about the purchase of these yachts.

In fact, this is a fake. The documents on the purchase of yachts were forged, as indicated by several errors, and the companies that own the yachts confirmed that no one bought them and they are still for sale.

Don't trust fakes. How Russia spreads lies about Ukraine

“There are several subtypes of messages that Russian propaganda can use to discredit the Ukrainian authorities and exaggerate the problem of corruption in Ukraine. One of such subtypes is that the Ukrainian authorities, whether the president, or government officials or deputies, or at the local level, representatives of the authorities allegedly profit from the war and allegedly almost buy themselves some expensive things, build estates, etc. Other types of messages are related to the fact that the Western aid that we receive, military aid, military equipment, ammunition, etc., Ukraine, in particular the Ukrainian authorities, allegedly massively resells on the black markets, abroad and to places of other hostilities, other conflicts,” - said the head of VoxCheck.

At the same time, in order to undermine trust in the government, Russian propaganda has been speculating since the beginning of the full-scale invasion that Ukrainian politicians are allegedly fleeing abroad.

In particular, at the beginning of 2024, information was spread on the network that Volodymyr Zelensky was preparing to flee to the United States on the orders of Washington, because his presidential term expires on March 31, 2024. As the Kremlin propaganda tries to convince, a house in Florida has already been prepared for him and his family.

However, this is a fake. It turned out that the evidence provided did not correspond to reality.

“It is interesting that Russia does not give up this thesis throughout the full-scale invasion. From the first days of the full-scale invasion, we heard fakes that Zelensky had allegedly fled Kyiv, he was already in the USA, or he was already in Poland, or anywhere else. Even now it is not true. We know that the president was in Ukraine all the time. The only thing is that Russia is now using more sophisticated technologies to prove it - they falsify documents to show that he is almost receiving citizenship of other countries, etc.”
Slipchenko believes.

The Kremlin propaganda does not miss the opportunity to create manipulations on the topic of the announcement of a “state of war” in Ukraine.

Media literacy. How to spot fake news about Ukraine

So, on the network, they spread information that in Ukraine they specifically do not introduce a “state of war” instead of a “martial law”, since then deputies and civil servants are dismissed, and then mobilized. At the same time, the authorities allegedly pass to the president and 5 main generals.

Svitlana Slipchenko explains: “This is an extremely popular fake right now. We have seen many examples that circulated, in particular in TikTok, in reels on Instagram, and in YouTube shorts, that is, all formats of vertical videos. Such videos are aimed at provoking anger and resentment in people. Such theses are also accompanied by the fact that allegedly in the conditions of the so-called “state of war” not only deputies should be mobilized, etc., but also that the authorities should pass to the generals, that they should forgive Ukrainians all their debts. In general, the goal here is to shake up Ukrainian society again.”

Why is Russia throwing fakes at us about the Ukraine

In fact, the “state of war” is an exclusively foreign policy process of the state, which should formalize the state between countries, while the “martial law” is a domestic policy measure. Currently, there's no need for official documents to be in a state of war. Additionally, Ukrainian legislation concerning military actions and defense doesn't mention dissolving the parliament, transferring power to generals, or cancelling all citizen debts. As you can see, Russia's attempts to divide Ukrainians on this issue fall apart under scrutiny.

Russia constantly refines its propaganda tactics, crafting ever more elaborate disinformation. Therefore, it's crucial to stay alert and follow media literacy practices.

"All Russian propaganda on these topics will be aimed at provoking emotions in you, mostly negative ones. To evoke anger, indignation, disbelief, and incite you towards various actions. If you're facing news that isn't objective or balanced, but rather an emotional message that provokes the described negative emotions, lacks sources, and overall just throws a bunch of epithets, calls to action, and again, emotions at you – that's exactly the moment to stop and think about what's in front of you, who, why, and for what purpose is trying to rile you up and manipulate your emotions", noted Svetlana Slipchenko, head of VoxCheck.

If a news story has already evoked emotions, and you want to share it or comment on it, take a pause. Analyze the message and only then make a final decision. Additionally, don't trust anonymous sources. Look for information and confirmation from official resources and media outlets with a good reputation that prioritize quality journalism.

Remember, Russia is actively attacking Ukraine not only on the battlefield but also on the information front, trying to divide the population and weaken support from partners. Be vigilant in your media consumption and don't let hostile disinformation sway you.

This material was prepared as part of the "Comprehensive Information and Education Campaign to Counteract Disinformation", implemented by 1+1 media and Smart Angel in cooperation with expert organizations with the financial support of the European Union. It was published based on articles from the 1+1 agency.

#Russian Agression#FakeNews#Ukraine

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