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Zelensky personally kills off his competitors, Ukrainians are biological material for the Pentagon. Disinformation monitor #100

  • Zelensky who lost the US support due to offshores is in for Saakashvili’s fate.
  • Ukrainians are biological material for the Pentagon.
  • “Servants” kill off competitors (Poliakov and Razumkov).
  • Ukraine glorifies the Nazis and wants to steal Russian gas.
  • Learn how different topics raised by Russian disinformation have evolved over time with our interactive visualization.

Period: October 4 — 10, 2021.

Disinfo topics

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

What’s new in disinformation?

As the epidemiological situation worsened, Russian disinformers revived their favorite fake stories about biolabs and biological experiments on Ukrainians. Last week on Russian websites one could read about the study of antibodies in the Ukrainian military to hantavirus (a genus of viruses transmitted by rodents, but in rare cases it can cause serious diseases in humans - ed.), and that thanks to Ukrainian blood samples coronavirus "modernized" so as to destroy the Russians. To this, the propagandists added a reflection on domestic political events, interpreting Poliakov's death, Razumkov's resignation, and Medvedchuk's "repression" as confirmation of Zelensky's dictatorship.

Ukrainian soldiers are "lab guinea pigs"

This week, Russian sites targeting Ukraine wrote that EU countries are thinking about a military training mission in Ukraine: “As a rule, the countries that traditionally carry out the mission of Russophobic screamers like Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Romania, and now Slovakia, all perform the bellicose cry. They are supported by Sweden and Finland”.

And they immediately spread their best conspiracy theories that the Ukrainian military will be used "as lab guinea pigs", calling them "biological material". And they immediately explained what "terrible" experiments they meant: “The United States and Britain are conducting experiments on 4,000 Ukrainian servicemen. The main purpose of "UP-8" is to determine the seroprevalence of antibodies to hantaviruses and CCHF virus (Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever - ed.) among healthy Ukrainian citizens”. That is, in fact, people’s blood is tested to see if they have been in contact with these pathogens in the past. But we did not find any evidence that such a program exists at all.

Another topic that was often raised was Belarus: "Currently, 'anti-Belarusian hysteria has eclipsed the ‘Russian' one." They are spreading quotes from a post on social media by one of the "Servant of the People" deputies that Belarus could become a means for Russian aggression in Ukraine.

Measures to commemorate the Babyn Yar tragedy took place last week. And disinformers used them as an excuse to promote historical narratives about Ukraine: “And it is only in contemporary Ukraine that a demonstrative refusal to investigate the facts of desecration of monuments to the heroes of the Great Patriotic War and the victims of the Holocaust is possible.”

“Servants” cruelly kill off their political competitors, be afraid!

The sudden and, frankly, strange death of MP Polyakov, who actively criticized the "servants", gave rise to many conspiracy theories. As always, disinformers inflamed panic and tried to create an informational reality in which Ukraine was about to be engulfed in chaos.

Poliakov, of course, was killed. By his own people or by others. I modestly remind you of my forecast that the struggle for power in Ukraine has passed into the stage of political assassinations. But these are only flowers so far. There will be berries as the presidential elections approach”, they wrote.

In addition, the Russian disinformation machine linked the person of Volodymyr Zelensky to the death of the people's deputy. The president was called "green Borgia", alluding to his role in the possible poisoning of Poliakov, and he was portrayed as a "political cannibal" who did not shy away even from political assassinations.

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Zelensky is in for Saakashvili's fate

Russian sites targeting Ukrainian issues have called Mikheil Saakashvili who was arrested in Georgia a "sacred victim." And Ukrainian clickbaits followed Russian narratives and compared Saakashvili to Zelensky: “Saakashvili is hit on the forehead with the same rake that Zelensky is in for”.

Those that actively promote Medvedchuk made a whole list of "sins" of Zelensky: “For the shutdown of the channel "Kievan Rus"; and for the illegal ban on "112 Ukraine", ZIK and NewsOne; and for repression against the opposition led by Viktor Medvedchuk; and for the house arrest for Medvedchuk, in respect of whose guilt no evidence was ever presented; and for sanctions against "Strana.ua"; and for the fact that, without trial and investigation, they declared people "smugglers" and took away their businesses”.

Disinformers are also taking to assessing the future of the former Georgian president: “the US leadership does not intend to interfere in the course of events and take Saakashvili under its protection, which he obviously counted on”.

Offshore investigation: "Washington drowns Zelensky"

Ukrainian manipulative media have gladly taken up the investigation into Zelensky's offshore schemes, adding to the details of the study their reflections on how the "political composition" in Ukraine will change (or not), what Zelensky's own prospects are, and whether corruption in Ukraine has increased during his presidency.

And Russian sites added to this their undisguised pleasure from the conclusions made by themselves that "Washington starts drowning Zelensky", and "Western owners of Ukraine showed the comedian president his real position".

Any statements by Zelenskiy about fighting the oligarchs, after this film, will elicit the same reaction as his famous piano act.”

Coronavirus and biolabs

With the deteriorating epidemiological situation in both Ukraine and Russia, texts are returning to Russian sites in which pseudo experts reflect on Ukrainian biolaboratories supposedly developing bioweapons for the Pentagon. Propagandists intimidate their readers: "Experts say that the creation of new viruses that will selectively affect individual ethnic groups is quite real," and therefore, there is every chance that the coronavirus is "modernized" so as to destroy the Russians.

More and more experts are talking about the artificial nature of the “modernization” of the “wiser” coronavirus. It is more and more difficult to believe in its spontaneity. And if the work is going on to give it a "national orientation", then Ukraine is undoubtedly the main testing ground where biological weapons are "tested" against our country”.

Lviv is a “Nazi cesspool”

The decision of the Lviv regional council to declare the year 2022 as the year of UPA expectedly found a response among Russian propagandists. "The glorification of Nazi accomplices in Ukraine continues," "Lviv will dedicate a year to Hitler's henchmen". The wording of this kind was spread by Russian manipulative sites that write about Ukraine, as well as some Russian state media.

Ukraine "took away" Hungary's gas

Disinformers tried to inflame misunderstandings between Ukraine and Hungary over the transit of Russian gas: "The agreement between Russia and Hungary on gas supplies will deprive Kншv of the opportunity to dispose of somebody else’s resources." And they also repeated the Russian myth that "Kyiv could take away Russian gas supplied to Hungary" during the transit.

Also this week:

The details of Razumkov's resignation were of much more interest to mainstream sites than to disinformation. But in a relatively small number of publications on Russian sites, they discussed how Zelensky was once again cracking down on competitors, or they offered to "put a monkey with a grenade in the Rada speaker's chair."

Meanwhile Ukrainian manipulative media, as always, paid a lot of attention to Medvedchuk, quotes about him in foreign media, and PR of his party colleagues: "Western media have lost their blind spots and seen that the President is corrupt and uses offshores, and Medvedchuk is an opposition politician who fights dictatorship."

They scoffed at the Lithuanian politician's words about Russia's disintegration and criticized UEFA for supporting Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Summary

Russian disinformation has interpreted the vast majority of Ukraine's domestic political events this week as evidence of the strengthening of Zelensky's dictatorship. They hinted at his personal involvement in Poliakov's assassination, inflamed the president's conflict with Razumkov, hinted at the loss of support from Western partners following the Pandora Papers offshore investigation, and predicted Saakashvili's fate for Zelensky. And the spread of the Delta strain to Ukraine was used as a basis for sowing panic and reviving the fakes about biolabs and the deliberate destruction of the Slavic (or Russian, as yet undecided) ethnic group by vicious Americans with biological weapons.

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.

Methodology

We searched for topics in 14488 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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