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Waiting for a deeper corona crisis. Disinfo monitor #45

  • Disinformers spread panic over a possible military invasion
  • They explained that the Minsk agreements were needed for the "federalization" of Ukraine
  • Disinformers accused Poroshenko of planning terrorist attacks in Crimea
  • They compared the economic consequences of the coronavirus with the Holodomor

Period: July 6–12, 2020

Disinfo topics

% of news related to the topic among all mews from the group of sites

Feast of the week

Fisherman's Day. Oleh Liashko and the leader of terrorists in the Luhansk region joined the congratulations. The latter's greeting was published under the headline "The head of the Luhansk People's Republic showed a human weakness perhaps for the first time (PHOTO)". We, meanwhile, cast our rods and caught a lot of disinfo.

Lie of the week

Russia is a peace-loving country, and Russians are not preparing for war or the seizure of any territories

Probable military conflict between Ukraine and Russia

Manipulators continued to incite panic over the possible Russian army's invasion into southern Ukraine. Many quoted Russian civil servants who justified Russia, which, it turns out, is a "peaceful country and the Russians are not preparing for war, the seizure of any territories" and ridiculed the Ukrainian army: "Ukraine has a sort of an army, it holds parades." However, the Crimean military divisions of the Russian Federation do not outnumber the Ukrainian forces in the region today, and with the quick reaction of the local Ukrainian military, a negative scenario can be prevented.

And Russian websites targeting Ukrainian issues also ridiculed the fact that Ukrainians believe in the possibility of an invasion: "a psychiatric examination in Ukraine would be nice to be made mandatory, and not only for the highest military command." They are turning Russia into a victim because "the Ukrainian authorities are promoting militant rhetoric against the fraternal state." At the same time, they emphasized the military capability: "Russia is not afraid of the Ukrainian mosquito fleet." They even accused the Ukrainian army of potential military aggression: "Kyiv is actively preparing a military scenario to solve the so-called Donbas problem."

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Reintegration of occupied Donbas: occupationists cannot decide on the direction

This week, Russian websites targeting Ukrainian issues discussed the idea of formally annexing the occupied territories to Russia. "Accession while the Minsk agreements are formally valid would label Russia as the aggressor and the gravedigger of these agreements." Behind the "noble" calls to preserve the Minsk agreements lies the political formula that Russia imposes on Ukraine: "to reformat the Ukrainian state (with the help of the same Minsk agreements) into a federation or even a confederation with a neutral status."

It will be recalled that part of the territory in eastern Ukraine is occupied by Russian troops and mercenaries. Russia uses them to put pressure on Ukraine, by aggravating the frontline situation. Behind "federalization" and "neutral status" lies the idea of making Ukraine politically and economically dependent on Russia.

The topic of occupation intensified due to wildfires in the Luhansk region. Leading Ukrainian media mostly wrote about the fires. The websites of the occupationists also did not miss the topic. They used it as an excuse to accuse the Ukrainian authorities not only of inefficiency but also of obstructing the fight against the elements.

Poroshenko: “wicked and insecure”, he planned “terrorist attacks” in Crimea

Disinformers discussed excerpts from Poroshenko's alleged conversations with former US Vice President Joe Biden about military intelligence. This led to the accusation of the former President of Ukraine that he "used certain representatives of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to participate in sabotage and terrorist acts against Ukrainian citizens living in the Crimea."

The audio recording was published by the deputy Andriy Derkach. In the past, he was a member of the Party of Regions faction and the People's Will group. He is also an active supporter of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine. In his biography on his personal website, he mentions that he studied at the FSB Academy in Moscow.

As for another audio, where, according to Derkach, Poroshenko talks with Putin, disinformers wrote strange insults to Poroshenko: "boys bullied him as a child." And they convinced that the former president planned to "earn money" on the reintegration of the occupied territories, but was afraid of "nationalists" and became "a war president."

Also this week:

Coronavirus will cause a new (worse) Holodomor

Russian disinformers reflected on the consequences of the coronavirus economic crisis and speculated about a hypothetical famine in Ukraine. They compared it to 1933, noting that “while they managed to cope with the famine in a few months at the time, now modern Ukrainian politicians will not solve the issue in five years. After all, they can't do anything but sell bonds and take loans!

It will be recalled that the Holodomor of 1932-33 (not “a few months”) happened due to Stalin's collectivization: the "Five Ears Law", which provided for execution or 10 years with confiscation for the theft of collective farm property. The genocide, which is how the Holodomor is characterized by Ukrainian law, was supplemented by "natural fines", the right of the authorities to take all food from home, and the ban on moving, in fact, serfdom. At the same time, grain stocks were there in the country. The Holodomor was intended to suppress the resistance of the peasants and drive people to the collective farms. Collectivization provoked protests, of course, because people had to give away their land, machinery and livestock to the collective farm, and work not for themselves but for the same collective farm for meager compensation. Learn more from the webpage or visit the Holodomor Museum, read the novel The Yellow Prince, ask old people who may still remember it.

Economy after Smoliy’s resignation

In the previous issue, we described in detail the manipulations and disinformation surrounding the resignation of the NBU head. The main trends have not changed: the "debt pit" of the IMF, the conspiracy of Smoliy with Hontareva and the former government, a nearing default, a dollar at UAH 30, etc. This week, a fake on the subject of Hontareva's statement added fuel to the fire: allegedly, it was better for the IMF not to provide a new tranche of the loan due to Ukraine's violation of the terms of cooperation with the fund.

In fact, the former head of the National Bank said in an interview that the IMF should suspend cooperation until the president appoints an independent head of the NBU, and that there is a risk of appointing a biased chairman, and the IMF should put pressure to keep the reforms. After Hontareva's interview, the Security Service of Ukraine stated that it "considers as inadmissible any statements that could harm the national security of the state, in particular, in the financial and economic sphere and negatively affect the situation in the country."

«The IMF must suspend payments to Ukraine if the country’s government does not appoint an independent central bank governor, Gontareva tells Central Banking.»

«She [Hontareva - TEXTY.org.ua] says that without decisive IMF action, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky will probably appoint a central bank governor who would give in to Kolomoisky’s campaign.»

«“To defend the reforms we made, the IMF should announce that it is not making any further payments to Ukraine unless Zelensky appoints a governor who will safeguard reforms.”»

Shariy defending Medvedchuk

Ukrainian manipulative media have shown that not only Medvedchuk promotes Shariy, but also Shariy stands up for Medvedchuk. On the website sharij.net, in response to Zelensky's statement about the Russian financing of the leader of the OPFL, Putin's spokesman was quoted as saying that "the Russian Federation does not finance Medvedchuk." As if this could be considered a thorough refutation or argument.

Minsk talks

Russian websites targeting Ukrainian issues have written a lot about the future of the Minsk agreements. They accused Ukraine of trying to "blur the time frame for resolving the conflict." At the same time, they stated that it was not Ukraine but the United States that was a party to the decision-making. As for Ukraine, according to the manipulators, it is satisfied with the conflict: "A permanent war with Russia, in which you can avoid fighting yourself, is the best thing that can happen." The occupied territories themselves were predicted the fate of Transnistria, a frozen conflict.

Summary

This week, disinformers disseminated Russian threats and muscle-flexing, as well as ridiculed the Ukrainian army. They tried to convince that Ukrainian society and government were paranoid and that it was in fact Ukraine planning a military campaign in the south. Disinformers also accused the former president of Ukraine and the military leadership of intending to carry out terrorist attacks in the occupied Crimea.

Disinformers also discussed the prospects of the Minsk agreements. Everything is as usual here. They accused Ukraine of delaying the talks. And without hiding, they explained that the main purpose of the agreements was not to restore the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but to transform it into a federation. A prerequisite for such a transformation is "neutrality" and Ukraine's refusal to cooperate directly with the West.

Methodology

We searched for topics in 7510 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.

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.

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