How Russian state media misinformed the audience on the escalation in Avdiivka



Russia, War in the Donbas

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In 2014, NATO’s General Philipp Breedlove talked about Russia waging “the most amazing information warfare blitzkrieg we have ever seen in the history of information warfare” in relation to obfuscating over its intervention in Ukraine. This week we have seen the “fog of falsehood” fall again, this time in connection with recent violence in the Ukrainian city of Avdiivka.

Avdiivka is on territory that should be under the full control of the Ukrainian army, according to the line of conflict stipulated in the Minsk Agreements. On the morning Sunday 29 January, the Ukrainian army reported that Russian-backed militants had begun shelling their positions there. The OSCE special monitoring mission positioned in the city flagged up hundreds of ceasefire violations in both directions of the front. Journalists reported that the shelling came from Russian-backed “separatists” (here, here, and here).

But Russian state media immediately started denying any Russian role in the newest escalation. During the talk show “Vremya pokazhet”, we heard that there are no Russian troops on the ground – not only around Avdiivka, but also in the whole territory of Ukraine. Later in the same show it was claimed that a “secret plan” of the Ukrainian government is being realized, aimed at ethnic cleansing of Donbas. The next day, we heard in the same show that actually it is European humanists and their friends from the US who are responsible for the deaths in Avdiivka – not those doing the shelling.

Another show, “Mesto vstrechi”, blamed Kyiv for the humanitarian catastrophe in Avdiivka.  One of the speakers accused President Poroshenko of provoking the conflict in order to divert the attention of Europeans away from the “fact” that he is stealing the gas flowing from Russia to Europe. Sergei Zheleznyak, Kremlin-loyal MP of the Duma, stated in “Pervaya studia” that Poroshenko provoked the hostilities in order to receive financial help from the West, as he had lost a huge investment in backing Hillary Clinton. suggested that Ukraine provoked the fighting to test the loyalty of the new American administration.

President Putin has also made multiple accusations: that Ukraine provoked the renewed violence in the east of the country in order to pretend to be a victim and receive money from the West; to establish a dialogue with the new US administration (after Ukraine supported the losing candidate); because the government needs to regain the people’s support; and because Ukraine is not ready to implement the Minsk agreements.

Germany again

The disinformation focus and personal attacks continue to follow Germany, as we so often report they do. We learned from Russian state TV that Angela Merkel is trying to occupy Ukraine and to put her country into conflict with Russia .  In the same TV show, we were later told that Germany supports neo-Nazism in Ukraine . Another pro-Kremlin outlet accused Germany of also occupying Lithuania and parallels were drawn with WWII (there was no mention of the fact that the manoeuvre in question is a joint venture of the participating NATO countries and thus by definition not an occupation). Furthermore, an Italian outlet informed us that Germany has in fact already decided to leave the Euro before the end of the year.

Since you’re here – we have a favor to ask. Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine is ongoing, but major news agencies have gone away. But we’re here to stay, and will keep on providing quality, independent, open-access information on Ukrainian reforms, Russia’s hybrid war, human rights violations, political prisoners, Ukrainian history, and more. We are a non-profit, don’t have any political sponsors, and never will. If you like what you see, please help keep us online with a donation!

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  • Fortranz

    This article verifies beyond any shadow of doubt that:

    Russian State Media = Pravda, RT, sputnik, Tass… etc = “pravda” = relative truth = Supposition, speculation, innuendo, rumors, misinformation, disinformation, conspiracy theories, half-truths and out-right lies.

    The world should begin to immediately add this definition of “prvada” [truth] to this Russian word.

  • Tony

    I am still amazed how little attention world media gave to the provocative shelling of Donetsk incident.
    3 Different apartment buildings get their east walls shelled and there are two different shell trajectories. Some argue misfire, sure maybe if it was just one building, but three buildings with impacts from 2 directions? Not a chance, this was deliberate.
    Alas something I noticed about human nature is that convincing is not about evidence but rather about what they are willing to accept. If the psyche is not ready to accept, then all the evidence in the world will not convince. So the world can see these buildings shelled from the east with their own eyes and yet they cannot accept the obvious deduction because they are still stuck thinking that this is a “rebellion” instead of a invasion(thus, “why would they shell themselves?”, cause their not from the area, not Ukrainian!).

    (link to the other shelling is also on this page)

    • Fortranz

      Problem is Tony that everyone is watching Trump make an idiot of himself right now. And since his new administration doesn’t care much about what happens in Ukraine [probably because Trump made some deal with Putin lift sanctions against Russia] don’t expect attention to shift towards the Ukraine problems anytime soon.

    • Alex George

      But great that you and others are continuing to point it out.

      And we won’t stop. Just like the truth of MH17, we will continue to highlight this in blog posts everywhere, day after day, month after month, year after year.

      It all contributes to the Kremlin’s general reputation for being utter liars.

      • Fortranz

        We need to get this message to Trump as well and very soon to I think.

  • zorbatheturk

    All ruSSians are natural born liars. No wonder they wish to join the FSB. They can lie all day and get paid for it!

    • Fortranz

      Old Polish saying:

      How does a Russian start a sentence? With a lie.

    • Alex George

      True, but great to see that these things are being exposed.

      They have to be continually exposed, in detail. Every single lie must be refuted. In the process, more and more people in the West learn not to trust anything that comes from the Kremlin.

      This is the problem Putin now faces e.g. with sanctions – the vast majority of lawmakers throughout the West simply do not trust anything he says, and are opposed to the lifting of sanctions.

      Looks like all the vast sums of Russian taxpayers money which he has spent on disinformation and propaganda hasn’t been very successful.

      • zorbatheturk

        People are finally getting wise to the lies of the Putinator. The consensus is beginning to turn against the crook in the Krumlin.

        • Alex George

          “Krumlin” I like it!