Spilnota Detector Media
Detector Media collects and documents real-time chronicles of the Kremlin disinformation about the Russian invasion. Ukraine for decades has been suffering from Kremlin disinformation. Here we document all narratives, messages, and tactics, which Russia is using from February 17th, 2022. Reminder: the increasing of shelling and fighting by militants happened on the 17th of February 2022 on the territory of Ukraine. Russian propaganda blames Ukraine for these actions.

On 18 July, on the 875th day of the full-scale war, our editorial office recorded:

Русскій фейк, іді на***!

Manipulation NBU will collect data on all payments of individuals

Such information was disseminated in social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that recently the National Bank of Ukraine collects data on all payments from individuals (i.e. ordinary people). They say that in Ukraine they collect personal information for their own, possibly selfish needs. The authors of the messages add a reminder letter from the NBU to Ukrainian banks in the publication. This is manipulation.

The department of the NBU denied this information. They explained that the National Bank, in order to strengthen supervision, from December 2022 on a periodic basis receives generalized information from banks exclusively on business entities, payment service providers - legal entities using the services of banks. That is, we are talking about organizations, enterprises (legal entities). There was no mention of individuals in the letter. The authors of the messages simply distorted the contents of the document itself.

Message EU GDP is falling to critically low levels while Russia is only increasing

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that the Western economy is “losing its former potential” and is declining to critical levels. The authors say that GDP in Europe is only decreasing every year, which indicates a poor economic situation. In Russia, despite the war, all indicators are only increasing. This was stated by dictator Putin at the plenary session of the Eurasian Economic Forum.

The fact-checkers of The Insider project took up this case and found out that the European Commission recently published the Spring Economic Forecast, according to which the GDP of the EU countries in 2023 will grow by 1% (the previous forecast, winter, assumed an increase of 0.8%). Growth of 1.7% is projected in 2024. That is, the thesis about a decrease in economic indicators in the EU, in particular GDP, is unfounded.

Regarding Russia, the Trading Economics team of economic analysts notes that in the first quarter of 2023, Russian GDP decreased by 1.9% compared to the corresponding period last year. According to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2022 has been a bad year for the Russian economy. According to experts, in 2022, Russia's gross domestic product fell by at least 2.2% in the best scenario and to 3.9% in the worst case. The Russian economy will shrink in 2023 as well. GDP is expected to contract by 5.6% or 3.3% according to the organizations.

In addition, the Yale University study examined in detail the impact of sanctions on the Russian economy, concluding that “sanctions are catastrophically destroying the Russian economy”. And according to the latest figures from the European Commission, the EU economy is “resilient and ready to face challenges, in particular those caused by Russia's war against Ukraine”.

Tactics and tools How Russian propaganda uses “flag waving” tactics

Flag-waving propaganda tactics are used to justify an action on the grounds that it is patriotic or that it benefits the country, group, or cause that the target audience supports. This tactic uses patriotic symbols (national banner, anthem, patriotic symbols) to evoke a sense of national pride and loyalty. Propagandists appeal to the sense of patriotism, which is sacred to many people, by appealing to the values and identity of the nation.

Flag waving has its roots deep in history. So, even during the French Revolution, the Legislative Assembly of France on July 11, 1792 issued a decree entitled The Motherland Is In Danger. At that time, the French Revolution was under the threat of defeat, external (Austria, Prussia and other states) and internal (nobility, clergy) enemies were actively attacking the young republic. This decree helped to rally and mobilize French society to repulse enemies on the basis of patriotism and preserve the republican structure in the country.

Other examples of “flag-waving” are the Uncle Sam slogan “I need you for the United States Army” and the Soviet “Motherland Calls!”. They appealed to patriotism and sacrifice for the sake of their native countries and used the personifications of the USA and the USSR of “Uncle Sam” and “Motherland”.

Through this tactic, Russian President Volodymyr Putin justified the invasion of Ukraine, the so-called “special military operation”. Allegedly, the expansion of NATO threatens the very existence of the Russian Federation, and it only defends itself, protecting its national interests, in Ukraine rampant Nazism and the genocide of the pro-Russian population.

Another example of the use of this tactic is the policy of so-called “import substitution”  carried out in Russia since 2014, when Western states imposed the first sanctions against it for the illegal annexation of Crimea. It is accompanied by a corresponding information campaign, where there is a strong appeal to patriotism. Like, we do not need Western goods, our analogues are no worse than them, we need to develop and stimulate domestic producers, and so on.

Message Ukraine launches fake nuclear attacks to discredit Russian forces

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that Ukraine may engage in fake operations and shelling of nuclear facilities in order to blame Russia in the first place. The authors add that in the conditions of “lack of military progress” Ukraine will demand provocations.

Fact-checkers of the EU vs Disinfo project took up this case and determined that the propaganda thesis appeared against the backdrop of news from the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine that the Russians are preparing a large-scale provocation to simulate an accident at the ZNPP. Actually, as the GUR later stated, the Russian special services began provocations with the use of chemical weapons. Meanwhile, the fact-checkers explained that Russia is committing provocations in order to primarily blame Ukraine for this. And the real victims of the provocation will be the occupiers who then Russia will expose as victims of the “Ukrainian regime”. The Main Intelligence Directorate notes that the Security and Defense Forces of Ukraine use exclusively conventional means in the course of hostilities with Russian troops. Conventional weapons are weapons that are subject to control in terms of international treaties. That is, Ukrainian troops use only permitted weapons and do not use others.

Russia simply reflects its actions and thus tries to present itself as a constant victim of Ukraine's “aggression”. Propagandists mirror their actions to divert attention from the current agenda.

Fake Moldovan President Maia Sandu said that she gives permission to the Armed Forces of Ukraine to enter the territory of their country in order to “deal with Transnistria”

Such information was disseminated in social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. The reports say that Moldovan President Maia Sandu, during a meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskyi on June 1, allegedly confirmed her readiness to provide her territory for the military operations of the Ukrainian army, namely to “deal with” the so-called Transnistria. The authors add that this allegedly is how the president of Moldova expresses her “disposition” towards Ukraine and the troops. It is not true.

The fact-checkers of the StopFake project drew attention to the case and determined that Maia Sandu did not say this. The propagandists simply made up her words about the military of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Actually, the presidential office denied this information and called it fake. And in a meeting with the press, Maia Sandu said that Ukraine ensures the security of Moldova and that their country respects the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine and its internationally recognized borders.

Of course, Ukraine can respond and help other countries if there is such a request. And there was no request from Moldova, so we are not even talking about any dispatch of troops. At the same time, during the same meeting on June 1, Zelenskyi said that Ukraine does not claim the territory of Transnistria.

By spreading such a message, propagandists seek to show that the Armed Forces of Ukraine want the war to escalate, to continue it outside of Ukraine, or, for example, to resolve other conflicts. Allegedly, Ukraine is ready to dispose of the territories of neighboring countries as it pleases, especially when the military “gets permission”. Thus, Russian propaganda exposes the Ukrainian military as aggressors who allegedly claim other territories outside Ukraine.

Fake The German edition of Eulenspiegel published a cover titled Ukraine Raises Money For Suicide

Such information was disseminated in social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that recently the German publication Eulenspiegel published the cover of its magazine called Ukraine continues to collect money from everywhere for its suicide. It is not true.

Specialists of the Center for Countering Disinformation investigated this case and found that such a cover does not exist. Instead, with the specified barcode on the fake cover, one can find a real one: it has a different image and inscription on it. This fact was checked by the fact-checkers on the official website of the German magazine.

We have repeatedly refuted fakes related to fake covers on magazines / newspapers of foreign production. In fact, in this way propagandists seek to show that their rhetoric (for example, that Ukraine is groaning for money) is also repeated in Europe. So, readers may get the impression that the public is really dissatisfied with Ukraine. And especially when the authors use fake covers of humorous magazines, hinting that people are making fun of the situation in Ukraine and that the Ukrainian agenda for Europe is a reason to laugh.

Fake The head of GUR, Kyrylo Budanov, “died”

Such information was disseminated in social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that during the last air raid, Kyrylo Budanov died from a missile attack. The authors of the messages convince readers that they are preparing for the funeral procession. It's a lie.

Fact-checkers of the Center for Countering Disinformation investigated this case and explained that this is another propagandist stuffing about the “death” of the Ukrainian military leadership. Kyrylo Budanov is on duty.

By spreading this fake, propagandists seek to demoralize Ukrainians and show them that “there is no one to protect them anymore”. Thus, propagandists sow panic among Ukrainians.

Let us remind you that we recently refuted similar fakes regarding the “death” of the military leadership. This was one of the cases about the commander of the territorial defense units, Ihor Tantsiura, who, according to Russian propaganda, was allegedly killed in Bakhmut. And we also refuted the fake about the “death” of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

Orest Slyvenko, Artur Koldomasov, Vitalii Mykhailiv, Oleksandra Kotenko, Oleksandr Siedin, Kostiantyn Zadyraka, and Oleksiy Pivtorak are collaborating on this chronicle. Lesia Bidochko serves as the project coordinator, while Ksenia Ilyuk is the author of the project.