The West is urged to “sacrifice” Ukraine, Zelensky is called a “drug addict”. Disinformation monitor #110
- Made up justifications to invade Ukraine
- Gogilashvili the “drug courier” for Zelensky
- Ukraine the “aggressor”
- The economic crisis “rages” in Ukraine
- Learn how topics of disinformation have changed over the year with our interactive visualization.
Period: December 13 — 19, 2021
This week we checked what is written in the materials featuring pseudo-experts from our database. We will conduct such reviews on a monthly basis in the next monitoring issues.
This month, pseudo-experts commented on the main political events in the country. They reflected on Zelensky's and the Servant of the People party’s plans to postpone the parliamentary elections until after the presidential elections. Another topic that was often mentioned was Zelensky's press marathon where he "declared war on Rinat Akhmetov." They also did not forget about the president's other initiatives, such as multiple citizenship, which was dubbed the "Legalization of colonial governance." The publications of pseudo-experts did not do without the usual praise for Viktor Medvedchuk.
What’s new in disinformation?
This time disinformers continued the trends of the past weeks. They sought to legitimize their allegations of "special rights" of Russia on Ukrainian territory in publications in the international press. The main idea they promoted was that Ukraine should be forced to implement the Minsk Protocols.
As to internal politics, another wave of negativity against President Zelensky has risen. He was accused of drug abuse, and the scandalous former deputy interior minister, Gogilashvili, was presented as the president's "personal drug courier."
Justifying invasion. "The West will sacrifice Ukraine"
In the previous monitoring issue, we described in detail the main propaganda theses that accompany the texts on Ukrainian-Russian-American relations. There, Ukraine is presented as a puppet used by the West to intimidate and blackmail Russia (which, in turn, wants peace and is not afraid of sanctions).
Last week, disinformers continued to develop the same theses, focusing on legitimizing them through "correct" wordings and quotes in the foreign mass media. Here are just a few headlines:
“US journalists recalled Biden's inaction during the reunification of Crimea with Russia”
“Finnish political scientist calls NATO a terrorist organization”
Here is another "correct" position, now from a British online media: “ ‘Most of the Western media lately like to portray Russia as an evil demiurge who is trying to reshape the world in accordance with his own evil designs. That is why throughout the year we were constantly told that Russia was preparing an invasion of Ukraine’, reports the British online magazine Spiked.”
“Disconnecting Russia from the SWIFT system is hardly a realistic option, German political analyst Janis Kluge said in an interview with N-TV”.
And as for the media which cannot be influenced, anonymous commentators came in hordes to generate content for Russian sites, as in the case of the article titled “WP readers: The West will have to abandon Ukraine”
“The United States is sending weapons to Ukraine, pushing the Ukrainian army to oppose Russia ... By sending weapons to Ukraine and pushing Kyiv not to comply with the conditions of Minsk-2, urging it to return by force the separatist Russian-speaking regions in the east of the country and assuring that the United States will definitely support this, Washington creates a very dangerous situation”
To the delight of the authors of this monitoring, most Ukrainian clickbait publications apparently took some pro-Ukrainian order, sided with Ukrainian national interests, and began to ridicule "the miasmas of Putin's sick consciousness." But not all of them did. Some of the trashy sites (mostly those that promote Medvedchuk) reiterated and developed Russian theses: “Ze-authorities are not worried that ‘Ukraine is being discussed without Ukraine’, and continue to engage in political terror against the opposition”. And just like Russian propagandists, they cited "correct" comments from anonymous social media contributors as evidence: “ ‘About us without us, because we are not agents of international politics. Our state does not have enough authority’, a citizen from Odesa thinks”.
Zelensky the drug addict
Russian manipulative sites that write about Ukraine have continued to fabricate fakes about the drug addiction of Zelensky and his entourage. A new impetus for such publications was the dubious biography of former Deputy Interior Minister Oleksandr Gogilashvili.
It will be recalled that a few weeks ago, Gogilashvili got into a high-profile scandal due to his inappropriate behavior at a checkpoint in the Joint Force Operation zone. In the past, his name has been mentioned in cases of criminal drug trafficking. Because of this, disinformation officials decided to appoint him something like a personal drug courier to the president and his entourage.
“The ‘Servant of the people’ was left without his ‘sweets’ ”, disinformers wrote, and their mysterious "insiders" shared details of the extravagant lifestyle of the Ukrainian elite: “While the previous convocations of parliament "broke down" on the topic of alcohol, these new ones are drug addicts, and some of them are seriously addicted. Many people of this faction have tried drugs at least once. We don't even mention those who smoke weed, they are something like saints, compared”.
Continuing the topic of Zelensky's personal health, Russian manipulators discussed the president's psycho-emotional state. They came with various diagnoses and advised him to seek medical help as soon as possible.
“Zelenskiy has a whole bunch of psychological disorders”, “If President Zelenskiy does not take measures to improve his emotional state, everything will end badly. Including hospitalization"," ... the president's neurotic state is only growing, and with that, also his irritability, anger, spontaneous mood swings, forgetfulness, as well as attempts to cling to words multiply", they wrote.
The causes of the "severe psycho-emotional state" were again linked to the alleged drug abuse: “Zelensky often touches his nose or "sniffs", which also became the reason for another portion of speculation in this direction. Since frequent touching of the nose, constant touching, "sniffing" are external signs of the behavior of sniffing drug addicts”.
Ukraine does not want peace in the Donbas
Russian websites continue to accuse Ukraine of unwillingness to achieve peace in the Donbas, refusal to comply with the Minsk protocols and persistent violations of the ceasefire. Russian experts invent legal ways to "help Donbass with weapons" through Abkhazia (pretending that there are no Russian weapons in the Donbas so far) and accuse the West of provoking Ukraine into hostilities, because "supplies of helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and aircraft push Ukrainian authorities to dangerous moves». It will be recalled that the West has not sold anything more serious than Javelin systems at the time of the publication of this monitoring issue.
“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy dreams of implementing the Minsk agreements, but Washington wants the conflict in the Donbas to continue”.
Crimea continues to discuss the possibility of uniting Crimea and Sevastopol into one administrative unit and uses the news feed mainly for Aksonov's personal promotion, bureaucratic news and stories about how good Crimean residents live, and how "Crimean products conquer the international market" (meaning participation in an exhibition in Dubai).
Also this week:
The pool of Medvedchuk-praising sites continues to earn its fees. They are happy that Medvedchuk was included in the ratings of the most influential politicians of one of the Ukrainian trashy sites, they reproduce the Russian thesis about "Soroslings" and massively quote the statement of OPFL that "vile and criminal actions of the authorities only confirm the innocence of Viktor Medvedchuk."
Disinformers disseminated reports about the liquidation of the network of "Ukrainian neo-Nazis" in more than thirty regions of Russia. According to the Russian FSB, the network was created under the leadership of Ukrainian special services, and the number of its members reached more than a hundred people. Their main goal was to prepare massacres and terrorist attacks in Russia. Read a detailed analysis of this bull**it here.
Disinformers spread reports of the outflow of population from Ukraine and rejoiced at this news in anonymous Telegram channels: “In 10 months, 600,000 people left and did not return‼ A requests for be the last ones. Please turn off the lights and block the water pipe”. In addition, disinformers continued to disseminate the usual theses about "rising prices", about migrants who are supposed to populate Ukraine "instead of Ukrainians", and to praise Moscow, pitting it against Kyiv in various international ratings.
This week, disinformers diligently retold their usual theses and adapted them to several major scandals, such as the dismissal of Gogilashvili. The issue of Ukraine's security and international status remained a major one. Disinformers tried to find or make up support for their theses in the international media. The narratives themselves have hardly changed since the beginning of autumn. The West should not support Ukraine, instead it should pressure it to surrender to Russia. Also theses on the "special rights" of Russia in Eastern Europe were disseminated. In addition, we have noticed many absurd accusations of Zelensky about his alleged drug addiction and various forecasts of rising prices and economic decline in 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
- posts in Telegram channels popular in Ukraine
In the first and second groups of news, the materials were selected by the AI classifier of manipulative news.
We searched for topics in 13995 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 media 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 media (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 media (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 media (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
- 100 Ukrainian Telegram channels (all materials): @ASupersharij, @AleksandrSemchenko, @BerezaJuice, @BiletskyAndriy, @BondarenkoElenaUA, @botsmanua, @donetch, @KAPVEY, @KlymenkoTime, @KrokooDil, @LastBP, @MaxBuzhanskiy, @OP_UA, @OlgaSharij, @PortnovUA, @Pravda_segodny, @PresidentPoroshenko, @SBUkr, @ShrikePolitics, @SlugaNarodu_Official, @Ten_NaPleten, @UkrainaCHP, @UkraineNewsUa, @V_Zelenskiy_official, @Yad_OK, @ZeFackTy, @ZeRada1, @advocatprava, @borodatayaba, @borys_filatovv, @dadzibao, @dark_k, @dobkinmm, @donbasscase, @ednist_ta_progress, @ednistinfo, @gistapa, @gordonuacom, @govorit_ukraina_novosti, @gpolitnews, @gribvictoria, @gryaznayaigra, @insiderUKR, @joker_ukr, @kachuratut, @kryuchoktv, @kyivvlast, @legitimniy, @legitimniy_live, @lugansk_inside, @maksnazar, @monovaolena, @multlychnosty, @mustafanayyem, @mvs_ukraine, @nabolelo_odessa, @nach_shtabu, @nedotorkani, @nextaUkr, @notesdetective, @ochkobakanova, @office_ua, @olejnikovschina, @oleksiihoncharenko, @online_novosti_ua, @pavlovskynews, @politikaukraine, @portnikov, @razvedinfo, @rezident_ua, @rus_demiurge, @sharij_official, @shaurma_inside, @sheptoon, @skosoi, @smolii_ukraine, @sonyakoshkina, @sorosata, @spletnicca, @stolovka_ukr, @tayni_deputata, @thanksrinat, @tsibulya_ua, @tzhitomir, @ua_hot_news, @ukr_novyna, @ukrainskinovosti, @valeriazaruzhko, @varta1, @vestiukr, @wagnergate, @yurasumy, @ze_landia, @ze_team2019, @zedigital, @zv_kyiv
Manipulation in the 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.