The Godless Israel. Russian Media Monitoring Report, 9-15 October 2023

Last week's publications on Russian media were focused on the Middle East: Russian media claimed that Israel had no regard for conventions of war. The propagandists praised pro-Russian Romanian politician Diana Șoșoacă who had managed to have Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s address to the members of the Parliament of Romania canceled.

Russian media also provided their own explanation of Germany is reluctantance to provide cruise missiles to Ukraine: according to the propagandists, the Germans are extremely concerned about the missiles falling into Russian hands.

This monitoring report covers these and other topics of the disinformation spread by Russian state media and online parajournalists to manipulate public opinion.


The Military Action

Russian media kept persuading the readers that the Ukrainian offensive was coming to an end. According to the propagandists, “the counteroffensive launched by the Kyiv regime in the early June on which its Western sponsors had placed so much hopes has turned into a damp squib” while the Armed Forced of Ukraine “are turning on the defensive along most of the front line”. Turning a blind eye to problems and hyperbolization of the achievements of the Russian army epitomize the trademark style of Russian propaganda.

The propagandists are absolutely positive that tides are turning: “The analysis of earlier mistakes and thorough planning by the Ministry of Defense” helped to seize the initiative in the battlefield. The Russian army is now on a winning streak since the Russians “have read the enemy”: “We now have to follow-up on the initiative.Yes, we all have been preparing for this for a long time, we have been carrying out reconnaissance operations, probing the enemy and maintaining silence while studying the enemy carefully”.

However, the Russian offensive so far has been a flash in the pan with staggering losses near Avdiivka. According to DeepState team analysts, the enemy lost at least 63 units of military equipment on the northern face of Avdiivka bulge. Almost all that equipment was destroyed on 10-12 October.

The propagandists also explained Germany’s reluctance to supply Taurus cruise missiles to Ukraine. The disinformation media are convinced that, if supplied to Ukraine, the high-tech missiles will definitely be captured, and all the advanced German technology will fall into Russian hands: “The German leadership is also concerned that Taurus missiles might fall into the hands of the Russian military who will learn all the secrets about Germany’s only “long-range deep strike asset””.

The Romanian Friends

Last week, Romanian senator Diana Șoșoacă was showered with praises.

The Romanian press had repeatedly called Șoșoacă a pro-Russian politician based on her statements on Romania-Russia relations and her views on Russia’s policy. Diana Șoșoacă is as far-right as it gets: she supports Romania's exit from the European Union and uses indignant anti-immigration and anti-Ukrainian rhetoric.

On October 10, the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Bucharest on an official visit. However, his scheduled address to the members of the Parliament of Romania, was canceled “for fears of provocations on behalf of certain pro-Russian MPs”.

Russian media insisted that the Parliament of Romania had canceled Zelenskyy's address because everyone had grown tired of Ukraine: “The members of the Romanian Parliament decided that they did not want to listen to Zelenskiy”, “an international beggar” and “an arrogant clown” within the walls of the national parliament is an insult to all Romanians”.

It is Diana Șoșoacă that the propagandists thanked for derailing Zelenskyy’s address: “Șoșoacă threatened to disrupt Zelenskiy's speech and warned the Romanian president about her intent without mincing words”.

Russian media portray Șoșoacă as Romania’s smartest politician who supports the interests of her country and is on a crusade against Ukrainian Nazism: “She did not hesitate to call him (Zelenskyy — editor’s note) a “Nazi” who had ridiculed and persecuted Romanians in his country”.

The Jews Follow in Hitler's Footsteps

Russian media have been paying keen attention to the war between Israel and Hamas, and, of course, their coverage was riddled with fakes and disinformation.

The propagandists claimed that Israel was refusing to comply with international humanitarian law according to the statement allegedly made by Israeli defense minister: “We abolished all the rules of war. Our soldiers are not responsible for anything. There will be no courts martial”. RIA Novosti website even published a column comparing Yoav Gallant's statement with Hitler's actions: “The statements and actions of the current leadership of Israel are confusingly similar to the statements and actions of a country that at one point in history exterminated some four to six million Jews”.

The fact-check of the statements of the Israeli minister of defense revealed that Russian media had lied again. Here is the investigators’ conclusion: “Based on the available media reports and official sources, the Israeli Minister of Defense did not utter the words attributed to him whereas Israel did not refuse to comply with the rules of war. In fact, the fabricated quote was originally posted on Russian-speaking Telegram channels where it went viral and was later borrowed by Russian media”.

Even after being caught red-handed Russian media did not take down the publication claiming that Israel had abolished the rules of war.


It Was All Obama’s Fault

The disinformation media keep posting hilarious news reports about secret American biological weapons programs.

Last week, the Ministry of Defense of Russia once again claimed that the former U.S. President Barack Obama had actively promoted the idea of creating biological weapons: “The former U.S. President Barack Obama was instrumental in the promotion of American biological weapons programs in foreign countries”.

The Ministry of Defense of Russia even maintains its own list of people who were allegedly involved in the development of biological weapons. The list is updated on a regular basis: “The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federaton published the updated list of American and Ukrainian officials as well as representatives of companies which had been taking part in joint activities of the U.S. and Ukraine to develop biological weapons”.

Russian officials assure that the Americans did conduct experiments on Ukrainians: “The United States admitted to conducting biological tests on Ukrainian human subjects”.

In the propagandists’ twisted reality, the whole world is waking up to the insidious crimes of the United States: “A number of Middle Eastern media outlets from Lebanon and Yemen published reports on the unjustified expansion of the network of American biological laboratories abroad. The journalists made a particular emphasis on the clandestine nature of the U.S. military biological activities”.

The Methodology

To monitor the information published on disinformation websites, we analyzed approximately 410,000 news reports collected from ~ 1000 Russian and occupation websites. The data for the analysis was provided by SemanticForce.

Each paragraph was processed using an 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.


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