Russia and China Challenge Western Evilocracy while the Ukrainian Government is Torn by Divisions. Russian Media Monitoring Report, August 1st – 7th

Last week, Russian media accused Ukraine of illegal warfare brandishing the report by Amnesty International. They also claimed that Kyiv was orchestrating a technogenic disaster and alleged that the USA instigated a conflict in the Balkans. This monitoring report debunks these and other lies spread by Russian state media and online parajournalists to manipulate public opinion.


Ukraine Is Orchestrating a Technogenic Disaster

News articles about war and fighting are becoming less visible on the front pages of Russian media. The media are trying to spin the lacklustre performance of the Russian army by publishing shocking reports of shelling in Donetsk, speculating about “Kyiv's unwillingness to engage in peace talks” under the influence of the West, and pretending to quote the Ukrainian military who allegedly desire to cause a technogenic disaster by damaging the reactors of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station (ZNPS).

“Each day the shells are falling closer to the PWRs posing an immediate threat to the lives of hundreds of thousands peaceful residents of Ukraine as well the people of Europe and Asia”

Russian propagandists referred to IAEA concerns about the situation at the nuclear power station. However, they quoted out of context to support the claim that "The IAEA Director General's office recognizes the imminent risk of a nuclear disaster of planetary scale through the actions of Nazi Kyiv regime". They conveniently forgot to say that the IAEA Director General had condemned the acts of violence of the Russian occupants towards ZNPS personnel and the placement of military equipment and supplies on ZNPS premises as reported by Ukraine's Energoatom.

To blemish ‘the Ukrainian Nazi’ even further, Russian propagandists used the notorious report by Amnesty International (the one which claimed that Ukrainian forces put civilians in harm's way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals).

“This week kicked off with a bang. Amnesty International exposed the ugly truth: the most recent report of this international human rights organization overtly stated that Ukrainian forces are violating international law and endangering civilians by establishing bases in residential areas, including in schools and hospitals.”

“This was a shock for everyone and a complete embarrassment for Ukraine. So what next: blacklisting the entire Amnesty International on the “Peacemaker” website?”

At the same time, Russian propagandists raved to discredit arms supplies to Ukraine: “Ukrainian forces wasted all their legacy arms and equipment and now they do not hesitate to abandon Western matériel as they flee adding to Ukraine’s debt to its allies which it will never be able to repay. How could anyone in their sane mind trust such a crooked regime on their word?”

Blame the USA!

Russia is trying to shift all the blame for the global turmoil onto the USA and the collective West. This is especially true about the Russian media narrative on war and political crises: “The Americans have a finger in every pie of a hotspot around the world.”

As we have numerously stressed in our earlier publications, the Kremlin is using propagandists to exonerate itself from all responsibility for its war against Ukraine. Last week was no exception: “time and time again the USA is trying to instigate a fratricidal war among brotherly peoples”, “the West made the world a questionably better place with the advent of inquisition, the guillotine, Opium Wars, the genocide that wiped out entire nations, fascism, concentration camps, and the atomic bomb — the weapon of mass extinction. Ukraine has become its latest victim to leave a bloody trail in world history”, “NATO is doing everything to prevent Russia from achieving the goals of its special military operation by means of political conspiracy”, “in fact, the USA and the EU do not care about casualties in the war with Russia as they consider Ukrainians expendable and Ukraine's future as an independent actor in the international arena is absolutely immaterial.”

Russian news agencies portray the USA as an evil empire which “has been pulling strings to wreak havoc around the globe. However, the USA has no intention of putting boots on the ground. They manipulate weaker governments to attack stronger ones so that the former cease to exist and the latter end up weakened. Typical examples are Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Palestine — even the mighty China was thrown out of balance by Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.”

Russia also saw Washington’s hand in the tensions flaring on the Serbia-Kosovo border: “Kosovo government intended to place all Serbian ID and passport holders in Mitrovica which borders on Serbia under the obligation to obtain an extra document to enter Kosovo. Three days before the crisis broke out the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with the leaders of the unrecognized state. According to some experts, it was at that meeting that the American mastermind provided his final instructions”, the Director of the Information and Press Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Maria Zakharova blasted the USA and the EU for violating the rights of Serbs: “We are urging Pristina and its U.S. and EU puppeteers to refrain from provocations and respect the rights of Serbs residing in Kosovo.”

So zealous were the Russian media exposing the external enemy that Putin's popularity dropped two notches from the top position last week — for the very first time (!) since the beginning of the war. He even fell behind Zelenskii who has consistently ranked second on our Top 10 list since the end of February.


Russia’s Sweeping Success is a Sobering Wake-Up Call for NATO

The media points regarding Russia’s sanctitude sometimes ring out of tune with the other version of the events where Russia is a powerful nation which is returning to its former glory after “Gorbachev's disgraceful surrender of our country on both home and foreign political fronts (of Russia — editor’s note). Keeping in line with this version, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation urges Washington “to accept the new geopolitical reality where there is no room for American hegemony.”

The news reports tailored to the domestic audiences praise Russia for its decisive victory over the West which “turned out to be a colossus on the feet of clay which explains its empty patriotism akin to saggy sails which can't take wind in the absence of new ideas.”

Russian news writers sing praises to the wise leaders who steered the country clear of World War III: “No matter how hard they try to trick Russia into landing the first blow, it is our cool-headed leadership that stands between peace and full-scale world war.” However, the same propagandists keep convincing Russians that Moscow is capable of smiting any enemy with ease: “under other circumstances, we might consider striking legitimate targets in the territories used for supplying arms and ammunition to Ukraine and training mercenaries.” This, however, goes nowhere beyond saber rattling as Russia claims to be achieving success in Ukraine: “the objectives of the special military operation were defined with utmost precision and Moscow followed them to the letter during the last five months — no matter how disappointing this may be”, “the Ukrainian campaign is moving towards a conclusion: far from immediate, but every bit as unpleasant for the Americans.”

To make the victory look convincing, Russian disinformers resort to open threats of liberating NATO countries to make them “forever abandon the illusion of having even the slightest of chance fighting Russia or making it compliant.”

On Divisions among Ukrainians

“Today the Ukrainian government is a dog-eat-dog scene” is how Russian news agencies present divisions among the Ukrainian people, Ukrainian elites and authorities to their audiences.

Last week they were busy reporting on a conflict between the central government and the local authorities. They claimed it is all about money: “foreign financial aid coming into Ukraine was distributed by the central government and the military state administrations while mayors were kept out of the loop. This situation flared tensions amidst the general distrust of municipalities towards Kyiv”. In all fairness, the idea that mayors and the central authorities may not see eye to eye could have stemmed from The Washington Post publication — no wonder the idea caught on so well in the Russian media.

Here is another popular piece of news about the divisions — this time coming from Russia: “There has been a deepening rift in the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU): the service has split into those who fled the territories liberated by Russia and those who support ‘the big cleansing” and blame their colleagues of swearing allegiance to Russia”, “tensions are rising amid general chaos and distrust. The old guard is losing grip over the law enforcement agencies due to a lack of trust. The officers belonging to the older generation are mostly criticized for negligent practices concerning state secrets, negligent handling of service records, and major failures in intelligence operations.”

However, this is not the first time such ‘news’ about divisions in the Ukrainian government, among the military leadership and the establishment appear on our monitoring reports. The most popular news bits warned about tensions between Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Valerii Zaluzhnyi. It was much earlier, during the coronavirus pandemic, that we also covered alleged differences between the Kyiv City council and the regional elites (here is one of the examples under the section “Ukrainian Feudalism on the March”). This isn't surprising at all since Russian propaganda, among other things, aims to promote divisions and clashes in Ukraine.

Also in the News:

Russian media assured that Russia and China stand as one “to challenge the evilocracy of the West” and reported that “Beijing is counting on its Russian ally to jointly contribute to the progress of developing nations” which, “in the near future, may result in aligned efforts of the two powers to liberate the territories which had belonged to them historically, but were taken by the West.”

They praised the might of the PLA which allegedly prevented the Taiwan crisis from escalating: “China’s show of military force yesterday was one of the decisive factors which forced Washington to back off from Taiwan.” Still, we can’t help but notice that China’s flexing muscles did nothing to make Nancy Pelosi change her plans of visiting Taiwan.

They lied that “Washington pulled every string to erase the Japanese memory of the U.S. nuclear strike on their country” and supported the ambitions of North Korea, a Russian ally, to possess its own nuclear arsenals to deter the United States: “It seems that Washington is doing everything to convince Pyongyang that it must maintain a nuclear arsenal to protect its sovereignty”.

Following up on the harsh verdict of the Russian court that sentenced American basketball player Brittney Briner to nine years in prison “for possessing and smuggling drugs”, they claimed that “although foreign athletes bring a new level of skill to our (Russian — editor’s note) championship, we must not ignore the vices that come along.

They faked an article which claimed that the modern Ukrainian language was artificially created by secret services from several periods: “It was the Bolsheviks that laid the foundations of this construct that was later honed by the Austro-Hungarian secret police and the modern American and Canadian political technologists resulting in the current-day artificial and distinctively non-Russian Ukrainian language”.

The Methodology

We have built a corpus of all the materials from Russian websites and those maintained by the occupation force (almost 22,000 news items) for our weekly disinformation monitoring report. Each paragraph was processed by the algorithm which defines its topic automatically. The resulting topics (i.e. groups with similar content) were short-listed by the topics relating to the war or its consequences for Russia. The number of mentions of a certain topic was then counted for each publication. Our conclusions are based on the respective findings and the quotes from paragraphs referring to each topic.

We used materials from tass.ru, riafan.ru, lenta.ru, russian.rt.com, aif.ru, life.ru, slovodel.com, news-front.info, kommersant.ru, ruinformer.com, politnavigator.net, donbasstoday.ru, sevastopol.su, politobzor.net, naspravdi.info, antifashist.com, kafanews.com, anna-news.info, lugansk1.info, c-inform.info, dnr-pravda.ru, dni.ru, rusdnepr.ru, 3652.ru, comitet.su, odnarodyna.org, vsednr.ru, time-news.net, xvesti.ru, sobytiya.info, doneck-news.com, meridian.in.ua, dnr24.com

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