The Japanese Threat and “Piglet” Johnson. Monitoring of Mass Media for July 4th–10th
Russian disinformers continue to devote every third piece of news to the war and its consequences for Russia. And we analyze the news of Russian websites and review what the enemy is telling its own population about the attack against Ukraine. For this purpose, we analyzed almost 22 000 news items from Russian state media and manipulative websites that purposefully spread Russian propaganda.
“Special operation” continues
When reporting on the course of hostilities, the Russian media traditionally focus on Donetsk and Luhansk regions and hardly mention the activity of the Russian military in the rest of Ukraine.
This is necessary to support the narrative as if the main goal of the “special operation” is to help the “fraternal republics” and “liberate Donbass”. In general, it seems that the rhetoric of the Russian mass media is becoming more reserved, there are fewer victory reports, and the volume of hate speech against the Ukrainian military is decreasing.
Enemy military observers admit that the Russian army has many problems: “... we still have huge problems on a number of points. This concerns intelligence, communications, target indication. The problems are being partially solved, but not to the extent necessary ... we need to increase the satellite constellation, equip the army with drones, reconnaissance equipment.” But at the same time, the desire to continue fighting does not leave the Russians. “We will advance slowly, but inevitably,” they say.
By mentioning the Kherson region or the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region, Russian propagandists try to create the illusion of peaceful life in these regions. Last week they wrote a lot about how the economy, governance, etc. are being mended under the occupation: “In the liberated territories of Pryazovia, including in the chernozem-rich Zaporizhzhia region, harvesting is in full swing”, “A fundamentally different authority is being formed - the first government of an independent, non-Ukrainian Kherson region ... Ukraine for the Kherson region remains forever in the past. Russia is here forever”.
It seems that the explosions in Belgorod and other border regions of the Russian Federation are in real earnest scaring the local population. Russian military experts urge not to panic, but emphasize that “the enemy is not asleep, and our air defence system needs to work even more carefully and efficiently.”
Happiness from the resignation of Johnson
Last week, the Russian media savored the news of the resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson: “«The Greased Piglet» - as Boris Johnson was often called for his ability to get out of the most difficult situations - still could not survive the current political crisis.”
The news about this event was presented extremely emotionally and with a hint of the collapse of the anti-Putin coalition and another victory of the Russian Federation: “after the resignation of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, changes begin in the political world”, “with the resignation of Boris Johnson, the Western machine in the European theatre was left without control.”
The top officials of the Russian Federation could not contain their joy at Johnson’s resignation. The Chairman of the State Duma of the Russian Federation, Vyacheslav Volodin, triumphantly declared: “The clown is leaving. Johnson failed to retain the post, «despite all the attempts and efforts»”, and collaborator Illia Kiva immediately made his own geopolitical forecast: “assumed a military coup in Kyiv against the backdrop of the resignation of the British prime minister”, “Biden’s impeachment is next in line and of course we are looking forward to a military coup and the death of the main dissembler Zelenskyy.”
Japan hates the Russians and is ready to attack
Last week, the Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolay Patrushev said “that Japan has stepped up its «revanchist aspirations» with respect to the Kuril Islands.”
We are used to any statement by an official in the Russian Federation being presented as a fact and an irrevocable opinion. Each thesis from the “main faces” turns into a part of the new reality and continues to actively develop in the Russian media.
Patrushev’s statement was no exception, as news began to appear “about the «threats» made by the descendants of the militarists”: “Tokyo claims our territories and even talks about the possibility of their military seizure. It is Japan that participates in anti-Chinese provocations and blocs, and provides its territory to create threats to North Korea. But other interpretations from Japanese revanchists can’t be expected.”
The point is spread that the Japanese “have been fighting for the Kuril Islands for 70 years, which mean nothing and hate Russia.”
And the conclusion of such a policy of Japan in Russian mass media is obvious - Japan “has been occupied by the United States since World War II. It is subject to them. The consciousness of the Japanese has been completely changed.”
Russia has already won the war with the West
Since the beginning of the Russian war in Ukraine, there are increasingly reports that “the West lost the war against Russia with the start of a special operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine”, “This postulate also applies to the economic war that the West has now launched against Russia.”
Disinformers continue to broadcast messages that the Russian Federation is not to blame for the war and that it was forced to fight by the collective West: “The current war with Russia is a fight against an upstart who dared to challenge the world system built on the global parasitism of some chosen on others”, “NATO would prefer to weaken Russia by the hands of Ukrainian citizens who are dying defending the interests of Europe and the alliance.”
Life under sanctions is interpreted as a struggle for economic independence: “Russia has gained economic sovereignty, and we see it, it happens every day. Russia has come to the final conclusion for itself that a globalized economy in its liberal sector is not suitable for us.”
Russian media are increasingly selling soothing points to its population that “restrictions did not break Moscow, but, on the contrary, strengthened it”, “Moscow manages to beat not only Kyiv, but the entire collective West, which constantly boasts of its superiority in all areas.”
Prices are going up, but that’s okay
It is becoming harder for Russian propaganda to ignore the impact of sanctions on the economy. Machinery and cars become unaffordable for consumers, and food prices rise due to inflation and reduced supplies. Russian high-ranking officials assure that everything is going according to plan, and no catastrophes are foreseen. This is how they comment on the increase in beer prices, for example: “as far as price growth is concerned, it will certainly occur, but if we look at recent years, we see that beer has always increased in price at about two times slower than the rate of inflation.” Of course, no one mentions why such a situation arose in the first place.
Great expectations are placed on “parallel import” (legal smuggling - ed.) and reduction in the tax burden. At the same time, Russian economists cautiously note that the reduction of taxes will lead to the reduction in budget revenues, and smuggled goods will most likely be of poor quality. But it’s okay: “Let’s hope that the imported goods themselves will be good, licensed,” they say. Some generally believe that Russians do not need new goods. “Last year, consumers oversold the demand for accessories, so they are in no hurry to buy new ones,” said one of the experts, commenting on the drop in demand for equipment.
They also wrote:
They continued a campaign to discredit Ukrainian refugees: “the problem with the behaviour of Ukrainian refugees is not only in Poland. We have already written about how Bulgarians and Germans face aggressive fugitives from the Independent [Ukraine]. Peaceful Switzerland is already grumbling as well.”
Again, they spread fakes about the sale of Western weapons: “«Bulgarian Military», citing sources in the French military command and Interpol, reports that the Ukrainian military, through intermediaries, sold to Russia two CAESAR self-propelled artillery mounts supplied by Paris for Kyiv.” Note that the “sources” cited by Russian disinformers and their Bulgarian colleagues are either marginal conspiracy websites or little-known Twitter users.
They attacked the American president and his party: “neither Biden nor his Democrats will be able to restore the collapsed reputation, due to the global fuel price collapse that has straddled the country”, “The Democratic Party of the United States plans to make Joe Biden a «scapegoat» after the November midterm elections to the House of Representatives and «get rid» of him.”
Fakes about biological weapons and Pentagon medical experiments on Ukrainians were invented again: “there is reason to believe that the military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were involved in experiments”, “research in Ukraine was carried out not only by the United States, but also by NATO allies. The FRG used the countries of the post-Soviet space as a testing ground for testing biological weapons.”
We searched all materials from the Russian and occupation sites, that have been used to traditional monitoring disinformation.
The algorithm is automatically determining topics was applied to each paragraph. Among these topics (groups of similar materials) were those related to the invasion. Then we received data for each material on the site regarding mentions of a particular topic. Conclusions were built on these data and examples of paragraphs on the topic.
Sites: regnum.ru, life.ru, kommersant.ru, naspravdi.info, lenta.ru, pravda.ru, antifashist.com, c-inform.info, kafanews.com, dni.ru, sevastopol.su, newc.info, vz.ru, ruinformer.com, sobytiya.info, meridian.in.ua, newsland.com, xvesti.ru, odnarodyna.org, nefakt.info, pravdanews.info, ukraina.ru, aif.ru.