Russia’s wartime misinformation strategies. Part two

News

Lies of March, 3

1. Lie #1. “Benderites” beating up peaceful Crimeans

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The TV channel Rossiya 24 broadcasts that riots in Simferopol have taken the lives of three people. Interviewed people say that the “benderites” are wreaking havoc and that they must be protected. The only picture of the “Benderites is at 1:44 of the video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5r1ggZMR8w

…but it’s not from Simferopol! It is from the self-defense on Maidan fighting the Berkut, on February 18, on Khreschatyk street in Kyiv!

In this way, the Russian media forms a picture of “ravaging fascists” beating up peaceful Crimean locals, that surely need to be protected by Russian troops.

2. Lie #2

The vice speaker of Crimea, Sergei Tsekov, told Russian RIA news agency that officials in Odesa, Kherson, and Mykolayiv oblasts had declared their intent to join the Crimean Republic.

The information could not be verified, but recall that mass demonstrations in opposition to separatism and Russian intervention occurred in all three of these cities the day prior. In Odesa, 700 Russian nationalists violently stormed the city council building, a far cry from the 10,000 who took to the streets the day before to protest against Russian expansion. The city council of Odesa made statements condemning separatism. Source

In the evening, a peaceful confrontation of pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian meetings near the Odesa State Administration resulted in dismissal of the governor and taking off of the Russian flag from a flagstaff near the Odesa State Administration.

3. Lie #3. Russians are being killed by “benderites” 

Russian President Vladimir Putin requested the Federation Council’s consent to deploy Russian troops in Crimea after a broadcast on Russian TV showing the purported death of Russian military servicemen as a result of shooting at the Crimean Council of Ministers building in Simferopol. Too bad the masked “banderites” appeared on a Crimean bus and were armed with weapons only available to the Russian army. Read the whole story here.

4. Lie #4. Putin claims that Russian is endangered in Ukraine. In reality, the opposite is true, Ukrainian is by far more endangered. Check out our Russian Minority Language in Ukraine FAQ.

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Putin claims that he needs to protect the Russian people in Ukraine. He claims the Russian language needs protection. We found that over 95% of the publications at the metro station near the Verhovna Rada (Parliament) are in Russian. Whose language really needs to be protected in Ukraine?

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Read a statement by a Russian-speaking Ukrainian, 50% ethnically Russia, from Donetsk, to know how the language situation in Ukraine really is:

“Over 22 years of independence of Ukraine fears of language or ethnic persecution have never come true, but they were kept alive by Russian propaganda. We understand that Putin is trying to escalate tension and provoke civil war in Ukraine right now. He can’t afford free Ukraine to succeed. His own people might get an idea that it’s possible to overthrow a tyrant and build a prosperous country. He won’t succeed in that. Ukrainians are wiser than that and won’t kill each other over non-exsitant problem of language. To demonstrate that last week people in Lviv (traditionally Ukrainian-speaking) spoke only Russian all day and in response Donetsk (traditionally Russian-speaking) spoke Ukrainian!”

Can’t get away with lies in the era of Internet? Block the Ukrainian sites!

While much of Russian media is state-controlled, the Internet has mainly far remained largely free from censorship and has provided an active forum for anti-government criticism. On Monday Moscow blocked access to 13 websites linked to Ukrainian protest movement. The general prosecutor’s office of Russia claims the sites “propagandized the activity of Ukrainian nationalist groups,” and accused them of encouraging “terrorist activity” and “participation in unsanctioned mass actions.” More censorship and control of information flow in Russia. Source

Actually, the lies in Russia media are so overwhelming that a fact-check site created to control disinformation in Russian media was launched – http://stopfake.org/ 

Due to the massive Russian propaganda, based on distributing false news about the situation in Crimea and Ukraine, Ukrainian journalists launched a fact-check site to control and refute this disinformation.

So why does Ukraine lose the information war to Russia again and again? Olga Burda on FB has a theory:

“First of all, because Russia appears in the Ukrainian mass media only when it imposes a ban on Ukrainian cheese supply (from time to time) or threatens to launch a war against Ukraine (like this time). The rest of the time Ukrainian mass media do not give a damn about Russia and focus their journalistic attention on other issues. In a meantime, Russian mass media write about Ukraine in detail on a daily basis, study it under a microscope, bring out of woodwork and exaggerate things enormously, presenting some insignificant nitty-gritty from our life as chiller-dillers.”

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