Monitoring of topics of Russian disinformation. Issue #6. Medvedchuk and Shariy

Two weeks before the election, the number of anti-Ukrainian materials from Opposition Platform “For Life” (OPFL) continued to grow. Media from the occupied territories, in addition to the standard theses on shelling, peace and impoverishment, accused the Ukrainian authorities of suppressing freedom of speech through the cancellation of teleconference "Need to Talk" and the trial of Vyshynsky (former editor of RIA Novosti in Ukraine).

Monitoring period: July 8—21, 2019

Topics of disinformation news for July 15—21, 2019

The main event of July 15—21 was early parliamentary elections. Junk websites published tons of black PR against opponents, first-past-the-post voting candidates accused each other of bribing voters. While websites from the occupied territories speculated about the election process and the fate of the future Verkhovna Rada. The electoral process in disinformation from the occupied territories was presented as bribery by majority voters, cementing of the Zelensky regime, making fun of most political forces and the campaign as a whole.

Attention to Zelensky decreased in election week, comparing to previous weeks. A large part of disinformation news on July 8-14 was dedicated his visit to Boryspil and his style of behavior there. Most of the material was rather mocking than informative. For example, a website from occupied territories wrote about Zelenskiy visit to Odesa with headline “Zelensky copies Putin. Ukrainian guarantor appeared with bare torso in Odesa”. Anti-Ukrainian materials continued to compare Zelenskyi with the his predecessor. We first noticed this line of disinformation on the sites from occupied territories, but now it is replicated, for example, in supposedly paid-for materials in favor of OPFL: "Medvedchuk stated that Zelensky, like Poroshenko, splits the country with his stone age russophobia."

Topics of disinformation news for July 8—14, 2019

Anti-Ukrainian disinformation was replicated in supposedly paid-for materials in favor of OPFL and Medvedchuk. The number of such materials increased before the election, compared to the previous weeks. In addition, the visit of majour OPFL representatives to Moscow was widely covered. They mentioned gas, peace plans, the second "president of war" and hostage exchanges. There has been a noticeable gradual transition from electoral manipulation to pushing the idea of ​​peace talks and compromise with terrorists. Medvedchuk is increasingly being presented as a skilled negotiator and hostage exchanger.

Much of the news on July 8—14 focused on plans to host a teleconference between NewsOne (Medvedchuk) and Russia1. Support for the propaganda campaign was expressed in the media controlled by Medvedchuk, or in supposedly paid materials on the Ukrainian junk websites. A great share of manipulative news from Ukraine were emotionally biased, but protested against the teleconference. The publications from the occupied territories were written in support of the teleconference. In the second, election week, the topic of the teleconference transformed into an outcry about the suppression of free speech in Ukraine. The Vyshynsky trial and the firing of a grenade launcher into the building of the 112 TVG channel were the information drives.

Disinformers have continued to update topics that deepen and provoke divisions in Ukrainian society: language and the church. When Filaret became less acute, they returned to questioning legitimacy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine. Attempts to actualize the language issue concerned mainly the fate of the law on language. Demonization of Poroshenko continued as well.

Restrictions of the research: the topics of Russian propaganda in Ukraine are taken only from the following groups of sites:

- online media that are written for the population of the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
- and from Ukrainian sites where a significant amount of manipulative news was detected. The second category is intended for the Ukrainian audience and publishes a large number of manipulative news with different ideological orientations.

In this study, we took into account only those topics that are in line with Russian disinformation campaigns.

Examples of topics

Pre-election circus

Expert: Muraev is a puppet of power used to confuse opposition voters | dneprcity.net

Igor Vasilkovsky: "To my competitors: dirty tactics will not stop me!" | odessamedia.net

Sergei Kivalov leads polls in Primorsky district - sociologists odessamedia.net

The "servant" learns to get what’s his | odnarodyna.org (terrorist publication)

Promises and buckwheat. How Ukrainian politicians buy up votes. Photo report | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

Murayev accused The Armed Forces Of Ukraine of attacking peaceful Donbas residents | antifashist.com (terrorist publication)

Fahrion woke up: "attacked" Zelenskyy and called him a product of the Russian world | ukrainianwall.com

Poroshenko's headquarters wants to convince voters that Vakarchuk's party won’t make it to parliament - Dmitry Litvin | replyua.net

People’s Deputy Igor Kononenko to be arrested by the State Security Committee for bribing People’s Deputy Mosiychuk | rnbee.com.ua

"Svintus breaks into the Rada." Lukash urges like-minded people not to ignore the elections | antifashist.com (terrorist publication)

Building a new Reich will not suceed | e-news.su (terrorist edition)

“#Grid.” Remake. How candidate’s from Poroshenko’s party are trying to buy votes in their districts | naspravdi.info (terrorist publication)

Pre-election race: Zelenskyy quarrels with officials, and Poroshenko sent to the visitor’s balcony at the European Parliament building | e-news.pro (terrorist publication)

Party of balloons: where does the “live revolution” lead in Ukraine | naspravdi.info (terrorist publication)

The end of Tymoshenko - Alexander Yablokov | e-news.pro (terrorist publication)

Medvedchuk's visit to the Kremlin and his "peaceful" plans

Medvedchuk: Lukashenko plays an important role in the peace talks on the Donbass | ukrainianwall.com

Putin thanked Medvedchuk for efforts to establish peace in Ukraine | kievpravda.com

Medvedchuk presents a peace plan to the European Parliament in Strasbourg for resolving the crisis in the Donbas | politeka.net

Medvedchuk was called upon by the European Parliament to assess the repressions being conducted by the Ukrainian authorities | znaj.ua

Autonomous Donbass. Medvedchuk presented his conflict resolution plan | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

Medvedchuk predicted 15 years of uncompetitiveness for impoverished Ukraine | nation-news.ru (terrorist publication)

“They won't get away with it” - Medvedchuk accused Opposition Block of violations against Opposition Platform | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

Oleg Tsaryov: The best coalition would have been with Medvedchuk, but the Ukrainian right would not allow it | antifashist.com (terrorist publication)

Pro-Russian disinformation from Opposition Platform — For Life

Shufrich: Zelenskyy in matters of freedom of speech also turns into Poroshenko | dneprcity.net

Rabinovich: the 6th number in the bulletin - the biblical symbol of creation - was given to OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE | crisis.in.ua (terrorist publication)

Medvedchuk’s party said Zelensky, like Poroshenko, splits the country with his caveman-like Russophobia | ukrainianwall.com

Leaders of the “Opposition Platform - For Life” held a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Medvedev and the leadership of United Russia | 112.ua

AgoraVox: Medvedchuk began to de-facto exercise some presidential powers in Ukraine | bbc-ccnn

In Slavyansk they expressed distrust in the mayor, Lyakh: he betrayed the community and gave up the city to Poroshenko - Oleg Nedav | rupor.info

The head of the electoral commission from "Opposition Block" stole 200 ballots at a site in the Donetsk region - OPPOSITION PLATFORM - FOR LIFE | golos.ua

Rabinovich voted in elections | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

Reaction to the television conference with Kremlin Media

Shufrich turned hard on Parubiy, Poroshenko, Lutsenko and Zelenskyy because of the pressure on NEWSONE | newsmir.info

Medvedchuk supported the idea of a teleconference between Ukrainian and Russian television | 112.ua

Rabinovich: Zelenskyy turned too quickly from a "servant of the people" into a gentleman

In Kyiv there is a rally in defense of the TV channel NewsOne - LIVE BROADCAST | rusvesna.su (terrorist publication)

Instead of a productive conversation, a pre-election hype turned out - Dzhangirov | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

For some Ukrainian politicians, peace in Ukraine is not advantageous - Pikhovshek endorsed the idea of conducting a teleconference with Russia | crisis.in.ua (terrorist publication)

Ukrainian authorities fear national diplomacy - Oleinik | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

Poverty and permanent economic crisis

Yuriy Boyko: After the elections, we will revise the pension reform | t.ks.ua

“We are getting into debt”: the expert explained how Ukraine is being driven debt bondage | khersonline.net

Zagid Krasnov told what is needed for the development of medicine in Ukraine | dneprcity.net

Czech Republic: the hunt for Ukrainian doctors | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

Portnikov made fun of Zelenskyy and the Ukrainians: “There will be no Olympiad!” | antifashist.com (terrorist publication)

Government in ruins raises the price of education and make it inaccessible | anna-news.info (terrorist publication)

Slandering Poroshenko and the old government

Poroshenko disgraced in Khmelnitsky: people began to banish him and shouted "Shame!" Video ukrainianwall.com

“He hates those around him”: Poroshenko was rendered a deeply sick verdict on social media | from-ua.com

In Ukraine they told when mass arrests of Poroshenko’s entourage will begin | e-news.pro (terrorist publication)

Poroshenko trying to destabilize the political situation and start a new Maidan | naspravdi.info (terrorist publication)

"Scammer-separatist": Poroshenko became a fan of Putin and is ready to start a new war | akcenty.com.ua

Runaway Poroshenko disgraced the whole world, frames appeared: "Hiding from ..." | taras-ua.com

Zelenskyy’s team will drive Poroshenko, creating the effect of apparent success - Lesev | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

Portnov: Today Ukrainians are getting rid of Omelyan and Suprun | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

Oppression of free speech: Kirill Vyshinsky’s detention

Rabinovich and Avakov discussed the shelling of the TV channel "112 Ukraine" | 112.ua

Medvedchuk: I think Vyshinsky will be able to return to freedom and prove his innocence | dneprcity.net

“Opposition Platform - For Life” demands the release of Kiril Vyshinsky and the end of the freedom of speech violations | znaj.ua

Ukraine made Kirill Vyshinsky a bargaining chip with Russia | nahnews.org (terrorist publication)

Vyshinsky again remained behind bars: Ukraine does not hide that he is a political bargaining chip for trading with Russia | antifashist.com (terrorist publication)

Zelenskyy: critique of decisions and comparison with predecessors

Zelenskyy “tore apart” a boorish official on camera: “He also needs to be hit in the face” | newsmir.info

Zelenskyy in his underpants caused a stormy reaction from Ukrainians: “Screw them,” this video caused a stir | politeka.net

Giving Zelenskyy “a sticky note” on who knows whom and showing the president off as a hysterical madman is the heritage of Poroshenko’s school

Zelenskyy's U-turn over the Dnieper. How the "Servant of the People" is becoming a "party of war" | 112.ua

Zelenskyy copies Putin. Ukrainian guarantor appeared shirtless in Odessa | e-news.su (terrorist publication

Zelenskyy's advisor suggested renaming Russia and Russian language | newsland.com (terrorist publication)

The President is manipulated by his entourage, he was framed in Boryspil - Bortnik | ukraina.ru (terrorist publication)

"Behead and impale them," - Zelensky's adviser on the fate of Donbass and Russia | rusvesna.su (terrorist publication)

Promoting direct dialogue with Russia and the militants

Europe benefits from direct talks between Zelenskyy and Putin: political analyst | censoru.net

Medvedchuk: On the issue of peace, neither the pressure of the authorities nor the threat of the radicals will stop us | onpress.info

Medvedchuk’s party demanded that Zelenskyy fulfill the will of the Ukrainians and enter into direct dialogue with Putin | golos.ua

Groysman’s party voiced brutal plans for the "liberation" of Donbass | e-news.pro (terrorist publication)

They are trying to get out of the Normandy format and Minsk agreements”: in the DPR they commented on Zelenskyys’s initiative to involve the US and the UK in negotiations | antifashist.com (terrorist publication)

In the LPR, people responded to Zelenskyy’s statement about lifting the blockade from the Donbass | rusvesna.su (terrorist publication)

Pro-Russian propaganda from Anatoly Shariy

A. Zolotarev: “Poroshenko is behind the protests against Klyuev on Maidan” | golos.ua

Poroshenko is not an obstacle: "The Party of Sharia" is confidently moving towards the renewed parliament | donbass.ua

Rock-bottom: Drunk Poroshenko in Kamyanets-Podolsk swearing from the stage at people with balloons | antifashist.com (terrorist publication)

Mosiychuk demands that the Security Service of Ukraine open a criminal case against Russian lawyer Feigin for calls to beat and humiliate the supporters of Sharia | comitet.su (terrorist publication)


We searched for topics in 3731 manipulative news in Russian from 18 propaganda sites and 61 Ukrainian online media, which was revealed more than 10% of manipulative news from all news about Ukraine, total - 81 sites. Manipulative news was determined by an improved classifier from the project "We’ve got bad news!".

List of sites that were included in the monitoring:
112.ua, 1news.com.ua, akcenty.com.ua, alternatio.org, anna-news.info, antifashist.com, argumentua.com, bbc-ccnn, begemot.media, bessarabiainform.com, beztabu.net, bin.ua, bn24.biz.ua, censoru.net, comitet.su, crime-ua.com, crisis.in.ua, dialog.ua, dneprcity.net, donbass.ua, dosie.su, e-news.pro, e-news.su, from-ua.com, glavk.info, golos.ua, hyser.com.ua, inform-ua.info, ipukr.com, ivasi.news, khersonline.net, kievpravda.com, kordon.org.ua, mir-lug.info, most-dnepr.info, nahnews.org, naspravdi.info, nation-news.ru, newnews.in.ua, newsland.com, newsmir.info, newsonline24.com.ua, nk.org.ua, odessamedia.net, odnarodyna.org, onpress.info, patrioty.org.ua, person.org.ua, pl.com.ua, politeka.net, politica.com.ua, prioritet.org, proua.com.ua, prportal.com.ua, replyua.net, rnbee.com.ua, rupor.info, rusvesna.su, skelet-info.org, sobytiya.info, spzh.news, t.ks.ua, taras-ua.com, timer-odessa.net, u-news.com.ua, ua-reporter.com, ua24ua.net, uazmi.org, ukr.life, ukraina.ru, ukrainianwall.com, versii.com, vybor.ua, w-n.com.ua, укроп.org, znaj.ua, zrada.today

The project was funded by the National Democratic Institute


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