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 25 June, on the 852th day of the full-scale war, our editorial office recorded:

Русскій фейк, іді на***!

Сonspiracy theories How conspiracy theorists explain events in Ukraine and the world: Deepstate (Deep State Theory)

The “deep state”, according to conspiracy theorists, is a hidden network of members of the federal government (particularly in the US intelligence agencies) who collaborate with high-ranking financial and industrial institutions to control the elected government of the United States from within.

However, the term first emerged in the 1990s as a reference to the “deep state” in Turkey. It also has its roots in at least the 1950s, but back then it meant more of the concept of the military-industrial complex, which involves the collusion of generals and defense equipment manufacturers who enrich themselves due to endless wars in other countries. Subsequently, it began to be used for the American government, especially during the administration of President Barack Obama in a slightly different context. The theory gained widespread publicity during the presidency of Donald Trump, who spoke of a “deep state” allegedly working against him and his policies. Trump's use of his social media account Twitter (now X), along with other elements of right-wing populist movements during his presidency, helped develop the theory into one of the fundamental elements of the QAnon movement.

Public opinion polls conducted in 2017 and 2018 indicate that about half of all Americans believe in the existence of the deep state.

Russian propagandists use this theory in different contexts on the topic of Ukraine. In particular, they are trying to justify the actions of the Russians by saying that it is in fact the United States that is subservient to the elites and artificially continuing the war. Proponents of the conspiracy theory argue that the rich and intelligence agencies are pushing the parties towards war and even determine US policy, so elections are supposedly meaningless, and Ukraine cannot end the war with victory. Or that in general both Russia and Ukraine are supposedly pawns in their hands and they need to go and negotiate peace. In addition, in this way they also express their distrust not only of the United States, but also increase their distrust of Ukrainian institutions and the state as a whole. Like, if this is how the States work, then in Ukraine, especially, everything is controlled by a limited elite and special services.

Fake Germany will pay pensions to 57.5 - 60 years old refugees from Ukraine

Social media users are sharing a video saying, “We need to protect ourselves from this” and “Should they work until they are 67 when they can retire at 57 without investing anything?” The point is that Ukrainian refugees in Germany can retire earlier as early as June: men aged 60 years and older, and women another two and a half years earlier, and that Germany will pay for their pension. However, this is fake.

Fact-checkers of the German project Correctiv drew attention to it. They found out that this fake has been circulating in Germany since 2022. In fact, Ukrainians cannot retire before the Germans. The retirement age ranges from 63 to 67 years.

The fact-checkers also found out whether any rules on pensions for Ukrainians have changed. Katja Braubach from the German Pension Insurance Service (DRV) objected: “For citizens of Ukraine, no special conditions are provided for in the pension legislation”. The German Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) also confirmed that “the current legislation applies when receiving a German pension”.

Ukrainians can receive a pension in Germany in the same way as Germans. Persons from abroad must have at least five years of statutory pension insurance contributions to be entitled to pension benefits in Germany. Periods of work abroad only count if it is an EU member state or if the country has a social security agreement with Germany - neither of which applies to Ukraine.

Although EU accession negotiations have been ongoing since December 2023, Ukraine is not a member of the EU. Germany signed a social security agreement in 2018 and ratified it in 2020, but the ratification process in Ukraine has stalled.

For Ukrainians, the “regular retirement age” applies. Excluded from this regulation are a “very small group” of Ukrainian refugees who - like other persons recognized under the Emigrants Act who come from ethnic German families - have acquired working hours recognized as German insurance periods, as stated on the DRV website . However, according to DRV, “normal pension age restrictions” apply here too.

This information can be disseminated by propagandists in order to arouse skepticism and hostility towards Ukrainian refugees among the population. They say that they are taking away the pensions of Europeans, which means that Ukrainians need to stop helping. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other Russian provocations against Ukrainian refugees in Europe.

Fake Georgia allegedly accused Ukraine of involvement in protests in Tbilisi

Propagandists in Russian media and telegram channels claim that Georgia allegedly announced the participation of Ukrainians in organizing protests in Tbilisi. They say this was reported by the Georgian security service. However, this is fake.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found out that we are talking about mass protests in Georgia against the bill “On Foreign Influence”, similar to a document in Russia, which is used there to oppress dissidents.

However, statements about the participation of Ukrainians in “organizing protests in Tbilisi” are unreliable, in particular because the Georgian security service, cited by Russian media, did not make them. StopFake journalists examined all official channels of this department and did not find any relevant statements.

It seems that the fake was created based on a report from the Georgian security service that during the protests some groups are trying to “organize provocations aimed at developing destructive and violent scenarios”, and these groups are funded by foreign countries, without specifying which ones. The Georgian Security Service also reported that “Georgian citizens outside the country are actively participating in the mentioned criminal plans, in particular, a certain part of the Georgians fighting in Ukraine, who declare their readiness to come to Georgia and actively participate in the planned violence against the police”. However, this service message does not talk about any Ukrainians.

Russia is covering the protests in Georgia through the prism of “color revolution” narratives and conspiracy theories. They say that any protests against government decisions are organized by “Western hands”. Detector Media has repeatedly refuted other conspiracy theories used by Russian propaganda.

Fake Deepfake: supposedly the White House press secretary said that only Americans and Ukrainians won World War II

Propagandists are actively distributing a video on social networks in which White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre allegedly stated that World War II was won only by the Americans, together with the Ukrainians who fought against Stalin, in response to a “question” about “ignoring neo-Nazism in Ukraine”. However, this video is a deepfake.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They found that the original portion of the press conference, where Jean-Pierre answered a question about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, was cut and edited to create a false context. There were no mentions of neo-Nazism in Ukraine at the briefing.

This falsification is used by propagandists to justify their invasion of Ukraine, but the international community, including the UN, condemns these actions of Russia, and calls for an end to the aggression and abandonment of false narratives. This technique of rewriting history takes on special significance in the context of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, when such manipulations become a way to justify violations of international law.

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.