Constitutional Court opposing “foreign curators”. Disinformation monitor #61
- Defending the judges of the Constitutional Court who jeopardize the fight against corruption
- Disseminating doubtful rumors about the sale of Motor Sich, this time to Turkey
- Accusing authorities of fraud in the local elections
- Persuading that there is a peaceful "dialogue" with Islam in Russia
- Zealously advertising the Russian "vaccine" against coronavirus
- See how disinformation topics have been changing over the year in our interactive visualization
Perios: November 2–8, 2020
Constitutional crisis: the judges oppose "foreign curators"
The constitutional crisis continues, and with it the spread of dozens of reflections on how "Ukraine hit its face not even in the mud, but in the shit itself." Manipulative sites, this time they called Medvedchuk "one of the fathers of the Constitution" and quoted his acquittal that, it turns out, "absolutely no one opposes the declaration of income and expenditure of officials," and OPFL (who filed the lawsuit against the declaring of income to the Constitutional Court while many deputies of their faction have problems in their declarations) simply want justice.
Meanwhile, Russian sites targeting Ukrainian issues have accused the government of creating a "so-called constitutional crisis" because it uses it "to distract citizens from the results of local elections."
In addition, they tried to evoke sympathy for the judges who are threatened by "right-wing radicals" ("Inspired by the president's provocative speeches, they are preparing attacks on judges") and they continued to fuel their favorite thesis about external governance ("The argument ‘the IMF wants it’ has the same status in contemporary Ukraine as "God wants it" had in medieval Europe"). Therefore, they quoted OPFL who concluded that not only Medvedchuk, but also the Constitutional Court, stood in the way of the implementation of "antihuman plans of foreign curators."
“Ze-authorities are eager to carry out the orders of their foreign curators. Destroy the judicial system that prevents the country from being sold and the social rights of Ukrainians being destroyed. The authorities dream of depriving Ukrainian citizens of their labor rights. Eliminate subsidies, benefits, and pensions. Sell off land and strategic businesses. Transfer all power structures at all levels to external control and launch foreign military bases in Ukraine. The Constitution and an independent court are the main obstacles to these designs. Therefore, the authorities want to dispose of them”.
Disinformers often refer to the narrative of "external governance", which is disseminated also by Russian high-ranking officials. They write that the government in Ukraine is "controlled" by all of the following: the IMF, the American embassy, the World Bank, Soros, or abstract Western financiers. Depending on the current goals of disinformers, the emphasis is put on the correct "controller".
Turkey "encroaches" on Motor Sich, the US ought to see Russia as an "ally"
In addition to the US presidential election, much has been written about Ukrainian-Turkish relations. Manipulative sites have repeatedly mentioned the little-known Times of Middle East website to argue that Ukraine wants to sell its stake in Motor Sich company to Turkey: “Proof of the implementation of the scenario for the sale of Motor Sich to Turkish financiers is the fact of negotiations between Kyiv and Ankara on the development of a joint-stock company company for the production of drones in Ukraine”. At the same time, they argued that such an agreement would be disadvantageous for Ukraine because it would limit its cooperation with China. It will be recalled that the Chinese company Skyrizon wanted to buy a 50% stake in Motor Sich, one of the largest aircraft engine manufacturers based in Zaporizhia. This operation has worried American high-ranking officials, who believe that such "investments" could be harmful to Ukraine and lead to the theft of military technology. Currently, the sale of the company is blocked by the SSU and the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government has denied reports of any talks on the purchase of Motor Sich shares by Turkish companies. Thus, Russia is trying to discredit the idea of military-industrial cooperation between Ukraine and Turkey in the manufacture of drones. It will be recalled that it was Turkish drones that became a key factor in Azerbaijan's victory in the war over Karabakh with Armenia, which was armed with Russian equipment. Russia also does not have in its army any drones similar to the Turkish "Bayraktar" whose joint production is planned in Ukraine.
Russian websites wrote mostly about the results of the US presidential election and the possible consequences for Russia: "In geopolitical terms, Russia looks more like an ally of the United States." They argue that the newly elected President of the United States, Joseph Biden, should seek an alliance with Russia due to the confrontation with China: “Americans are always looking for an image of the enemy to develop their own economy. Today, China has become such an enemy, so Russia will temporarily leave this niche."
Also this week:
Local elections results are delayed which means ubiquitous conspiracy and fraud
The prolonged process of vote count and the traditionally related lawsuits are always a result of local elections. This became a reason for accusations of fraud in favor of the authorities. The most active are accusations by OPFL, which through their pro-Russian media and other “dump sites” disseminated new demands of Rabinovich and Medvedchuk to dismiss everyone (the Rada, the President, and "all current power" in general) and the thesis that "Delaying the vote count is beneficial to those who rig local election results." However, the delay is more due to the shared responsibility for publishing the results (this is not the responsibility of the CEC) and the bureaucratic nature of the transfer of results from polling stations and district centers to higher levels. You can read more here.
Russian vaccine, again and again
Advertising the Russian vaccine never stops. This time, a Facebook blogger was quoted as saying that "the winners of the local elections, led by Viktor Medvedchuk's Opposition Platform for Life, must decide on the purchase of the coronavirus vaccine." Although Ukraine uses the European practice of purchasing WHO-certified vaccines, since WHO laboratories are among the most powerful in the world which analyze the quality and safety of vaccines, which is often impossible to conduct in national laboratories, including Ukrainian ones. The WHO has so far refrained from evaluating the Russian coronavirus vaccine, as it does not yet have all the necessary clinical trial data. However, these arguments did not prevent Russian disinformers from calling “Ukraine's decision to abandon the Russian vaccine crazy," citing “a Pakistani media”.
Theological reflection on the terrorist attacks in France
After the terrorist attacks in France, a text with narratives about the peculiarities of the "European path of ontological degradation" (ie atheism) and how "the peoples of Europe denied God the right to be their God" appeared on a Russian website targeting Ukrainian issues. This “denying God his rights”, according to disinformation, is the reason that "dialogue between a believing Muslim and a non-believing European has become impossible." Moreover, democratic Europe is contrasted with "just" Russia: "Russia is today the only country where Islam and Christian Orthodoxy can coexist peacefully," keeping silent, for example, about radical Islamism in the North Caucasus republics or about undemocratic Russian legislation, state control over religious organizations, and brutal methods of suppressing any resistance (methods, although successful, but unacceptable for a democratic France). Instead, they continue to idealize Russia as a theocratic paradise: “And, God willing, there will be more and more of God in Russia; that religion and science, like those parallel lines of Lobachevsky, converge more and more; and praise God there are already a lot of reasons for this (more and more scientists are coming to God). And God forbid the opposite".
Ukraine heading to “total impoverishment”
Disinformers' forecasts for the economy are stable: "Ukraine will continue to slide into total poverty." To argue such statements, they resorted to an esoteric interpretation of the economy: "Yes, the dollar will continue to stay at 29 hryvnia, but people can only be paid wages from the product! If Ukrainian industry continues to decline at the current rate, by 3-4% per year, then this product will simply not be physically produced." There are at least two errors in this statement, the first is that the product is not identical to industrial products. A major part of the economy in Ukraine (as in Russia, and also the United States and other developed countries) is the services sector. Secondly, the low indicators of the industrial production index are caused by many factors, for example, at the beginning of the year the general indicators were influenced by global processes and warm winters, and in 2020, the covid epidemic.
This week, disinformers continued to acquit judges of the Constitutional Court, whose decision jeopardized the entire anti-corruption system in Ukraine. They ignore conflicts of interest both among the deputies who appealed to the Constitutional Court and among the judges themselves; many of them had problems with declarations. They accuse the Ukrainian authorities of wanting to “deprive Ukrainian citizens of labor rights. Eliminate subsidies, benefits, abolish pensions. Sell land and strategic enterprises." And the courts seem to stand in the way of all this. Therefore, the "government" seeks to "dispose of" them. These accusations are based on exaggerations and myths spread by disinformers themselves instead of well-founded criticism, for which there are plenty of reasons.
We searched for topics in 17693 materials in the Russian language from:
- 72 Russian sites (manipulative materials only) targeting Ukrainian topics: 3652.ru, 3654.ru, 8692.ru, anna-news.info, antifashist.com, antimaydan.info, c-inform.info, comitet.su, crisis.in.ua, delovoydonbass.ru, dnr-lnr.info, dnr-pravda.ru, dnr24.com, dnr24.su, donbasstoday.ru, doneck-news.com, dontimes.news, dontimes.ru, dosie.su, e-gorlovka.com.ua, e-news.su, evening-crimea.com, free-news.su, fresh.org.ua, fromdonetsk.net, front-novorossii.ru, gorlovka.today, jankoy.org.ua, kafanews.com, komtv.org, kv-journal.su, lgt.su, luga1news.ru, lugansk1.info, meridian.in.ua, metayogg.com, miaistok.su, mir-lug.info, mnyug.com, mozaika.dn.ua, nahnews.org, naspravdi.info, nefakt.info, newc.info, news-front.info, newsland.com, nk.org.ua, novorosinform.org, novorossiy.info, novosti.icu, odnarodyna.org, on-line.lg.ua, patriot-donetsk.ru, pohnews.org, politnavigator.net, politobzor.net, pravdanews.info, ruinformer.com, rusdnepr.ru, rusnext.ru, russian-vesna.ru, rusvesna.su, sevastopol.su, sevnews.info, sobytiya.info, svodki24.ru, time-news.net, ukraina.ru, voenkor.info, voskhodinfo.su, vsednr.ru, xvesti.ru
- 105 Ukrainian online publications where over 10% of all news about Ukraine have been spotted as being manipulative (manipulative materials only): 0432.in, 112.ua, agrimpasa.com, aif.ua, akcenty.com.ua, antikor.com.ua, argumentua.com, baza-pravda.in.ua, bbcccnn.com.ua, begemot.media, bessarabiainform.com, censoru.net, dialog.ua, donetskie.com, elise.com.ua, expres.life, figurant.com.ua, finoboz.net, for-ua.life, fraza.ua, from-ua.com, glavcom.life, glavk.info, glavred.info, glavred.life, golos.ua, hpib.life, hyser.com.ua, inforesist.org, inform-ua.info, informator.news, intell.in.ua, ivasi.news, jizn.info, job-sbu.org, k-stenke.com, khersonline.net, kompromat1.info, kompromat1.news, kordon.org.ua, korr.com.ua, kyiv.press, lifedon.com.ua, mignews.com.ua, monitor-ua.com, newnews.in.ua, news247.com.ua, news24ua.com, newser.com.ua, newsmir.info, newsua.one, nezalezhna.com, onpress.info, ord-02.com, ostrovok.lg.ua, p-zona.com, podrobnosti.ua, politdengi.com.ua, politeka.net, politica.com.ua, pravda.rv.ua, prioritet.org, proua.com.ua, provokators.top, prportal.com.ua, replyua.net, rezzonans.in.ua, rnbee.com.ua, rupor.info, rupor.od.ua, rusjev.net, sharij.net, skelet-info.org, spektrnews.in.ua, spichka.news, spzh.news, startko.co.ua, strana.ua, t.ks.ua, tema.in.ua, timer-odessa.net, tp0432.in.ua, tribunanaroda.info, ua-reporter.com, ua-vestnik.com, ua24ua.net, ukr.life, ukraine-zmi.info, ukrainianwall.com, ukranews.com, ukranews.life, ukrpost.biz, ukrrudprom.ua, vesti-ukr.com, vesti.ua, vkulake.com, vlasti.net, voi.com.ua, vremya.com.ua, vybor.ua, vz.ua, xn--j1aidcn.org, zhitomir-online.com, zik.ua, znaj.ua
- 17 major Ukrainian online publications (all materials): 24tv.ua, bykvu.com, censor.net.ua, fakty.com.ua, fakty.ua, gordonua.com, interfax.com.ua, lb.ua, liga.net, nv.ua, pravda.com.ua, rbc.ua, segodnya.ua, tsn.ua, ukrinform.ru, unian.net, zn.ua
- 16 major Russian publications (all materials): aif.ru, dni.ru, kommersant.ru, kp.ru, lenta.ru, lentainform.com, life.ru, newsru.com, pravda.ru, regnum.ru, riafan.ru, russian.rt.com, slovodel.com, svpressa.ru, tass.ru, vz.ru
- 175 Ukrainian local publications (all materials): 0432.ua, 048.ua, 04849.com.ua, 04868.com.ua, 0512.com.ua, 056.ua, 0564.ua, 057.ua, 061.ua, 06153.com.ua, 0619.com.ua, 06239.com.ua, 06274.com.ua, 06277.com.ua, 0629.com.ua, 0642.ua, 1kr.ua, 1news.zp.ua, 44.ua, 5632.com.ua, 5692.com.ua, 62.ua, 6264.com.ua, 7kanal.com.ua, actual.today, allkharkov.ua, atn.kharkov.ua, barometr.info, beg.dp.ua, bessarabiainform.com, city.sumy.ua, cxid.info, dancor.sumy.ua, dani-info.com, dnepr.com, dneprcity.net, dneprnews.com.ua, dneprnews.info, dnews.dn.ua, dnl.com.ua, dnl.dn.ua, dnpr.com.ua, donbass.ua, donetskie.com, dontimes.news, dozor.kharkov.ua, dp.vgorode.ua, dpchas.com.ua, dumskaya.net, dv-gazeta.info, dzerghinsk.org, ecity.cn.ua, gloss.ua, golos.zp.ua, gorod-online.net, gorod.cn.ua, gorod.dp.ua, gx.net.ua, inform.zp.ua, informator.dp.ua, inshe.tv, insidernews.info, irtafax.com.ua, iz.com.ua, izbirkom.org.ua, izmailvechernii.com.ua, izmnews.info, izvestia.kharkov.ua, kg.ua, kh.vgorode.ua, kharkov.dozor.ua, khersonline.net, khustinfo.com/video, kiev.informator.ua, kiev.vgorode.ua, kievpravda.com, kn.ks.ua, kolokol.od.ua, korabelov.info, kramatorsk.info, kramatorskpost.com, krlife.com.ua, krnews.ua, krug.com.ua, kstati.dp.ua, lenta.kharkiv.ua, lugradar.net, mariupol-express.com.ua, mariupol.in, mariupolnews.com.ua, mig.com.ua, misto.zp.ua, mk.mk.ua, most-dnepr.info, mrpl.city, mycity.mk.ua, mykharkov.info, nashemisto.dp.ua, nashkiev.ua, nashreporter.com, nefakt.info, news.mspravka.info, newsroom.kh.ua, nf.dp.ua, niknews.mk.ua, nikolaevnews.com.ua, nikvesti.com, novosti-n.mk.ua, novosti-n.org, novosti.dn.ua, novosti.zhitomir.ua, objectiv.tv, od-news.com, od.vgorode.ua, odessa-life.od.ua, odessa.net.ua, odessa.online, odessapost.com, on.od.ua, ostro.org, otkat.od.ua, podrobnosti.mk.ua, press-center.news, prichernomorie.com.ua, pro.berdyansk.biz, rama.com.ua#tab_3-widget_panorama_posts_feed-2, real-vin.com, reni-odessa.od.ua, reporter-ua.com, ru.korzonews.info, rupor.od.ua, ruporzt.com.ua, russkiev.info, slavdelo.dn.ua, sobytiya.dp.ua, sq.com.ua, subbota.ua, svsever.lg.ua, t.ks.ua, telegraf.in.ua, timenews.in.ua, timer-odessa.net, timeua.info, tnua.info, topnews.cn.ua, topnews.odessa.ua, topnews.zp.ua, topnews.zt.ua, topor.od.ua, treebuna.info, tribun.com.ua, tribune.com.ua, tvplus.dn.ua, ua-reporter.com, uanews.kharkiv.ua, usionline.com, verge.zp.ua, vesti.dp.ua, visti.ks.ua, vmestezp.org, vn.mk.ua, vo.od.ua, volnorez.com.ua, vseprokiev.com.ua, vv.com.ua, x1.com.ua, z-city.com.ua, zachem.com.ua, zaodessu.com.ua, zhitomir-online.com, zhzh.info, zi.dn.ua, zp.vgorode.ua, zptown.zp.ua, zv.zp.ua
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:
- manipulative news from the Russian online publications which write on Ukrainian topics, for the population of the occupied territories
- manipulative news from those Ukrainian sites where a significant amount of manipulative news has been spotted. This second category is targeted at Ukrainian audiences and publishes a lot of manipulative news of different ideological orientation
- all news from mainstream Ukrainian publications
- all materials from local Ukrainian news sites
- all materials from mainstream Russian news sites
In the first and second groups of news, the materials were selected by the AI classifier of manipulative news.