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Hot topics of Russian disinfo: Prosecutor Rabinovich will imprison everyone who voted for the land market. Issue #31

Coronavirus is in the limelight again, but this week saw an increase in the news from the Verkhovna Rada because of the "anti-Kolomoisky" law and the land market. Disinformers are using the epidemic to frighten with Ukraine's "collapse", the state's "insolvency", and to wreak panic among the population. Since the second stage of the medical reform did start on April 1st, Uliana Suprun was damned many times. Disinformers consistently prophesize "collapse and disaster" to the medical reform.

During the monitoring period, rows took place in the Verkhovna Rada around the land market and the "anti-Kolomoisky" law. "Oppositionists" promise to imprison everyone who voted for the land market law. They prophesize an "alienation of a part of the territory" and a "degradation of the soil." Many "compliments" went to Petro Poroshenko, whose faction supported the land market law. Ihor Kolomoisky, on the contrary, received friendly support from the manipulators; they argue that the law which makes it impossible to return nationalized banks is allegedly needed to take land away from people.

Period: March 30 — April 5, 2020

Topics of disinformation, 30 March — 5 April, 2020
Topics of disinformation, 30 March — 5 April, 2020

Coronavirus in Ukraine: "a filming location for horror movies"

Ukrainian manipulative sites paid much attention to Zelensky. He was pitied: "Who could have predicted that the movie in which Zelensky was to play the leading role would be titled "Infection" rather than "Servant of the People"?; he was blamed: “Zelensky does everything so that 100% Ukrainians get sick. Slowly, and with the picture he needs”; they even suggested that he profits from the epidemic: "The longer the epidemic lasts, the more money Kolomoisky, Zelensky, Stepanov, and other Ermaks will earn." Once again, conspiracy theories were promoted, for example, that the virus was created in the Russian Federation in order not to increase the retirement age.

Russian sites targeting Ukrainian issues, in addition to the news about very few detected cases of coronavirus in the occupied territories, created dozens of texts about the "fullest impotence of the Kyiv regime" and Ukraine which "became one big movie set for horror films and catastrophic films under the rule of a great showman, but a lame manager". They tried to reinforce their theses with quotes about Ukraine from the (frankly pro-Russian) American magazine The National Interest: "this pandemic is quite capable to destroy the plans of the government of the country and undermine its economy."

Both Ukrainian and Russian sites ridiculed pawn shops open during quarantine. They called them "an alternative to the financial support that citizens of other countries suffering from coronavirus have" and offered in an ironic way: "Now, slot machines must be opened. Quarantine is quarantine!".

At the same time, the problems of people who encountered COVID-19 remain only their problems, while the state find it more important to fight against monuments, street names, the “Russian invasion” and to steal money coming from different organizations for different purposes

They even created a “poem” which goes something like this:

So, the new state authorities will again

Get enough money for everything,

And, leaving their people with no bread,

They will fly away to the Maldives”.

Medical reform during epidemic: "corpses will lie in the streets"

A large proportion of “coronavirus publications” were in one way or another related to Ukrainian healthcare system. More precisely, discrediting it. They discussed not only the problems of an insufficient number of coronavirus tests, inflated prices for masks and disinfectants, but also disseminated apocalyptic predictions from lawyer and internet personality Tetiana Montian: "Western Ukraine will be screwed, I think, even corpses will lie on the streets."

The beginning of the second stage of medical reform became a separate “sick corn”. That is why Ukrainian manipulative media have attacked Uliana Suprun with fresh force: "she wanted to bankrupt public hospitals, bring them to nothing, bring private corporations, and give hospitals into private hands." In fact, no privatization is envisaged in Suprun's reforms. Russian websites targeting Ukrainian issues have attacked the anti-Soviet component of the reform: "The essence of the reform is to further reduce the funds allocated for medicine and rid it of the "damned Soviet past". Attempts were made to discredit Suprun, who responded to Elon Musk's tweet with a proposal to provide medical ventilators to different countries. They even disseminated a completely fake Musk’s response: “I will not give money to her. Several criminal cases have been opened against her in the US. She's a bandit and a swinder”.

Remember, everything that ShmYgal, Ministry of Inteirot and that guy, deputy health minister posing as epidemiologist, are doing now, at’s all a purely psychological attack on the weak of heart”.

No matter what you say, we have very brainy and economical quarantine admins. They invented such quests that drug addicts simply expand with envy on laxatives. Only cowards and shy office hamsters adhere to the rules”.

Rada: land sold at cheap price, Rabinovich dreams of the Office of General Prosecutor

During the second reading of the bill on the land market, clickbait websites were disseminating theses of OPFL spokesmen: “If Zelensky sells national interests at a cheap price, the fate of this power with its “new faces” will be very unenviable”. Separately, they spread Rabinovich's dreams of “becoming” Prosecutor General and what he would do in office: "within two weeks, everyone who voted for the sale of land in Ukraine, all those who exported billions, will return the stolen and be punished".

Russian websites targeting Ukrainian issues wrote a great deal about the land market in Ukraine. They accused the authorities of wanting to "legalize the raiding." And they published their predictions as if they were expert predictions: "The IMF, said an expert, does not give money without conditions, so in the future there will probably be an agreement on alienation of part of the territory of Ukraine to the control of the West."

They called the people who supported the bill "wormholes" and attributed to them: "Greed which, reeling in front of the "enlightened West”, won’t lift a finger to become enlightened." Concerning the Ukrainian land itself, their "forecasts" are dismal: "On degrading Ukrainian soil, they will continue to grow low-income crops, paying peasants a penny for their work." Accordingly, the peasants: "the peasants will just be happy to sell their land allotments."

Leading Russian publications have continued the line of thought of disinformers about the land. They wrote: "Let's now buy everything for beads from the old people". And Zelensky's motives for promoting the land market were seen in a mysterious "promise": "it was a personal promise of the president to foreign businessmen, which is why it was in such an atmosphere: "wearing gloves, late at night, people in masks adopted the bill”.

Zelensky: virtually "Poroshenko's bot"

The fact that the Petro Poroshenko’s party voted for the land market gave an additional reason to escalate the situation. Clickbait sites wrote: "The president must, instead of telling them to screw off, bend under the IMF, and to negotiate with Petro Poroshenko to better lie under the IMF...". They did not pick words for Zelensky, and often broke down into obscenities: "Yesterday, Volodymyr Zelensky was our hero, and today he became the "inferior sexual partner" of Petro Poroshenko."

Russian websites targeting Ukrainian issues attacked Poroshenko even more viviously: “Now he is beyond reach. This is a big geopolitical game in which Poroshenko played a big role. Remember my words, he will be nominated for Prime Minister sometime a year after the snap elections". According to disinformers, it seems that Zelensky practically became enslaved to the former president, but the voting for the land law showed that it could have been adopted even without the European Solidarity party. The manipulators are convinced that Poroshenko's vote paid for his "immunity" from criminal prosecution. But less than a week later, the new General Prosecutor’s office starts a criminal case against him.

In our view, the attacks on Poroshenko and the Holos party pursue a strategic goal to bring the political force of President Zelensky, "Servant of the People", to a situational majority with pro-Russian MPs from the OPFL. And to ward off a likely situational coalition with pro-Ukrainian factions such as Poroshenko's European Solidarity and the Holos party.

In addition to past presidents, disinformers wrote about the future ones. One of the "candidates" is Razumkov, who allegedly declared a "demarche" to Zelensky in the land vote. But the list does not end there: “A candidate for president of Ukraine is being prepared by Soros as well: film director Sentsov will speak on his behalf. Yulia Tymoshenko will try her luck... Ilia Kiva will become a presidential candidate.”

Leading Russian media wrote that Zelensky "lost the support" of Razumkov because of the land law. And also about Poroshenko who received a "golden share" in the parliament. They prophesied that in the end Poroshenko would "gladly stab him [Zelensky] in the back."

Kolomoisky and Privatbank: "they've reached an agreement with him already"

Clickbait sites shouted about "open subservience to the IMF" and wrote that the law on the non-return of nationalized banks was "an idiotic law that gives officials of the National Bank the right to invade any bank in Ukraine with impunity." They were also mourning the fate of a "hundred of banks" that the NBU put out of market.

Russian sites targeting Ukrainian issues have found a way to link the issues of banks and the land market: "A lot of land has already passed to other owners through the granting of loans that no one was going to return." In reality, until now, land in Ukraine could not be used as security for bank loans. The new law allows banks to accept land as guarantee after the land market is introduced. But disinformers disseminate the idea that banks will take land away from owners. And the banks will be pressured by the government through the NBU. In reality, independence and performance of the National Bank of Ukraine are confirmed by Ukrainian and international experts. Ironically, disinformers write that the NBU "created a state within a state."

Disinformers also speculated about the influence of different oligarchs on Zelensky: “So far, Zelensky's compromise with Pinchuk/Soros (represented by the Vakarchuk's Holos party in the Rada), with Poroshenko, and with Akhmetov has sharply weakened his internal political positions due to seeping away of parliamentary control over the parliamentary majority from presidential office's hands into the hands of the oligarchy."

Leading Russian media have decided to explain why the IMF requires the law on bank non-return. In their view, this is a "revenge" for Kolomoisky’s business in the United States: "[Kolomoisky], with his pig-like snoot of foreign capital, has dipped into the domain of American business." The version that the IMF does not want Ukraine to pay the money to an odious businessman is called "exotic".

Limitations of the study:

In this study, we only regarded the topics which are in line with Russian disinformation campaigns. Most of them are based on real events, as disinformation works more effectively this way. Topic names reflect manipulations used in the topic. Accordingly, news stories on Ukrainian mainstream sites on the same topic may have completely different content from that of manipulative materials.

We take the topics of Russian propaganda in Ukraine from the following groups of materials:

In the first and second groups of news, the materials were selected by the AI classifier of manipulative news.

Examples of headlines

Coronavirus in Ukraine: "a filming location for horror movies"

Donetsk fascist: Coronavirus: Made in Russia | antikor.com.ua

Dnipro mayor explains the graves for city residents with logistics. He buries many “Anti-terrorist” dead men | antifashist.com

Zhuravko: Zelensky the looter lets coronavirus slide | ukraina.ru

Ukrainian disaster movie movie filming location | naspravdi.info

Impoverished Ukrainians are given permission to bring all their valuables to pawnshops | lifedon.com.ua

Medical reform during epidemic: "corpses will lie in the streets"

Reform will destroy healthcare in Ukraine - experts | inform-ua.info

Striking the healthcare system during epidemic: second stage of Suprun’s reform starts in Ukraine | ukraina.ru

Coronavirus in Ukraine: Ukrainian Orthodox Church takes care of doctors and the poor | korr.com.ua

Ukraine and coronavirus: “Animal corner” for the more equal| naspravdi.info

“Could not believe my own eyes”. Azarov shocked with petition to bring Suprun back into medical ministry | front-novorossii.ru

Rada: land sold at cheap price, Rabinovich dreams of the Office of General Prosecutor

There’s no unity inside the mono-majority, and new MPs will renege - opinion | finoboz.net

Rabinovich: as the General Prosecutor, I’ll punish everyone who voted for the land sale | vesti.ua

“Landmark but not milestone”. Gavrilenko tells why Ukrainian law on land “sellout” in useless | ukraina.ru

Political scientist: There’s no political force in Ukraine which would review the land law and go against the West | front-novorossii.ru

Lviv Nazis squabble among themselves during a live broadcast because of the land | e-news.su

Zelensky: virtually "Poroshenko's bot"

Poroshenko and the “servants of the people” conspiracy on land sale now proved - Portnov | spichka.news

Lesev: Zelensky turns out a disappointment with a weak character. We would forgive everything if the President were consistent, not rotten | finoboz.net

Portnov on the land law: A new period starts, collapse and disintegration of the state | ukraina.ru

Political scientist calls Zelensky “virtually Poroshenko’s bot” and the Rada which adopted the land law “a crowd of thieves and swindlers” | front-novorossii.ru

US/Ukraine: will Zelensky successfully perform the “sitting in two chairs” stunt? | regnum.ru

Kolomoisky and Privatbank: "they've reached an agreement with him already"

War only starting: Kolomoisky punishes Zelensky | censoru.net

Medvedchuk: Adopting the bank law is a crime against hundreds of banks closed because of Poroshenko’s criminal politics | zik.ua

Having adopted the “anti-Kolomoisky” law, Rada turned Ukraine into a banana republic | politnavigator.net

“They sorted it out with him”. Expert on why the “anti-Kolomoisky” law is really needed | pravdanews.info

IMF - Ukraine: why “beat the downed”?

Methodology

We searched for topics in 13,081 materials in the Russian language from:

Manipulation in news was singled out by our improved AI classifier developed in the project We’ve got bad news. In the monitoring, we only regarded materials about social and political life which are about Ukraine.

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