Elves are not only characters from fiction books. This network of activists, who have chosen a fantasy name to oppose Russian trolls, has long existed in the Baltic countries, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. Since the fall of 2020, they have been operating in Ukraine as well.
“Elven” trainings gathered people from many regions of Ukraine. These trainings were held, of course, in the mystical forests, but the lecturers were very real people with competencies in countering propaganda, misinformation, as well as the military, journalists, volunteers – those who have actively fought against Russian aggression over the past 6 years.[boxright]
The first elves appeared in Lithuania in 2014, when local activists decided to unite to give an organized rebuff to Russian information attacks against Lithuania, Ukraine, and other democracies. The movement, which includes people with different professional and life experiences, has grown to include about 40,000 Lithuanians, and then residents of other countries, who voluntarily and on a voluntary basis invest time and effort in the struggle for the integrity of the information space.
Ukrainians need no exlanations that information manipulations and propaganda pose a direct threat to state security and the well-being of Ukrainians, so they have always made their own contribution to the fight against Russian interference — online and offline. Now we have borrowed the Lithuanian experience and created our own network of activists, which covers 8 regions from Kyiv to Donetsk oblasts and will only grow – and with it the resilience of Ukrainian society.