Fake Suspilne compiled a video of Zelenskyi’s speech at the UN General Assembly

Such information was disseminated on social networks, in particular, on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that on September 20, Volodymyr Zelenskyi spoke at a special meeting of the UN Security Council dedicated to Russia’s war against Ukraine. At the same time, propaganda telegram channels promoted messages that the Ukrainian president was not supported and was not listened to during his speech; that Western officials “ran away” from the Security Council meeting room in protest against Zelenskyi. But in support of this thesis, the authors added video evidence - supposedly an excerpt from the live broadcast of the United News marathon, where Ukrainian media workers allegedly resorted to editing. So, at one of the moments in which Zelenskyi was giving a speech, they inserted what seemed to be a shot from the audience, as the president was already sitting and listening to someone. That is, they hinted that the Ukrainians were deceived in this way, just to create the impression that the hall was full during the official’s speech. And the anonymous telegrammers summed it up: “such a product will only be useful to the Ukrainian viewer”. However, this is a lie.

In fact, Zelenskyi’s speech was broadcast live at the Marathon with a completely different translation. This can be checked by comparing two video excerpts - a fake one and one from a real broadcast. That is, at least Suspilne has nothing to do with the probable compilation of the broadcast. But we managed to find a video with exactly the same translation as in the propaganda passage. It was published on the official TSN YouTube channel. However, the fake legacy here also differs from the broadcast: it does not record the moment when, during the delivery of a speech, the synchronization with Zelenskyi sitting in the hall is superimposed. It’s easy to determine this by starting from a fake video and finding that moment already in the TSN broadcast. Most likely, the video was edited by the authors of the fake publications. Information about the “editing” of the live broadcast was subsequently picked up by the Kremlin media.

Thus, propagandists are trying to portray Zelenskyi as an unsuccessful politician, whose opinion is not listened to or who is ignored at international events, “running away” from the meeting room. Among other things, fake makers are also trying to convince people that the President of Ukraine has usurped and owns the entire Ukrainian media space: it is known that the public broadcaster is financed from the state treasury and should not be influenced by political forces. And if journalists allegedly indulged Volodymyr Zelenskyi and compiled the moment for broadcast, the Ukrainian authorities are ready to direct the agenda, seemingly in places beyond the reach of the state, and impede freedom of speech.

Tactics and tools How Russian propaganda uses the “40 to 60” method to achieve its own goals

“40 to 60” or “60 to 40” is a propaganda method in which 60% of the information is true, and 40% is manipulative. Propagandists create media that work on this principle and position themselves as an objective, independent or alternative source of information. By spreading true news, propaganda media ingratiates themselves with the reader, which encourages him or her to turn off critical thinking and swallow the other 40% of misinformation. It is often presented as something that the authorities are hiding from society and conspiracy theories. The proportion of truth and misinformation can vary in one direction or another depending on the media.

During World War II, this method was used by Joseph Goebbels, who headed the Ministry of Propaganda and Public Education of the Third Reich. On his instructions, an “anti-Nazi” English-language radio station was created, the announcer of which was William Joyce (a British man who supported Nazism and fled to Germany with his wife). At the time, radio was vital to the British public and the BBC was heavily censored, so English-language radio was seen as an alternative. William Joyce began broadcasts with the phrase “Germany is calling, Germany is calling”, read out genuine news from newspapers purchased in neutral countries (60%), and disseminated information about the dizzying successes and victories of Germany (40%). He reported that Germany wanted peace and was not going to bomb women and children in Great Britain, but the British left no choice and forced the Reich to violence. He also ridiculed Winston Churchill and tried to convince the British public that only the destruction of the British Prime Minister would save them from violence and give them a chance to reach an agreement.

This method is used by media that position themselves as independent, but from time to time they disseminate Russian propaganda. Meduza, which positions itself as an independent and reliable international Russian-language publication registered in Latvia, does not support Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine and provides truthful news. However, in July 2022, analysts at the Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy conducted a study of Meduza media publications for the presence of pro-Russian narratives, and they were found in 47 publications (more than 55%). The online publication disseminated messages that “Ukraine has betrayed the residents of Donbas”, “The Ukrainian army is shelling civilian targets in the occupied parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions”, “The drama theater in Mariupol was blown up from the inside”, and also repeated statements by the Russian authorities about a “preemptive strike on NATO”  and the narrative “not only Putin, but also Western politicians are to blame for the war”. Such statements were balanced with actual true news. So, consciously or unwillingly, journalists from the Latvian media help Russia justify its crimes. Consumers of the content that Meduza creates may have the feeling that “everything is not so simple” and they will not try to find a truthful version of reality.

Just like the media, some opposition Russian bloggers and politicians, whose content is consumed by Ukrainians, also pose a danger. Maksym Kats, a politician and blogger who left Russia after the start of the full-scale invasion and posts supposedly counter-propaganda videos on YouTube every day, expressed the opinion that “the Russian opposition does not owe anything to anyone, especially the Ukrainians” or “we need to share blame and responsibility. The one who shot and who gave the orders is to blame. The one who did not overthrow Putin is not to blame”. His colleague, politician and blogger Illia Varlamov, who is also watched by Ukrainians, denied Russia’s 2014 invasion of the Luhansk region and Donbas, traveled to occupied Crimea and filmed videos from the annexed peninsula, and made a film against Ukraine, where he distorted historical facts.

Bloggers in opposition to the Putin regime appeal to emotions and create the false impression that they were persecuted by the regime, they are for justice, against war and support Ukraine. For external audiences and some Ukrainians, they look like victims of global injustice, but they continue to broadcast, in measured doses, like supposedly independent media, consciously or unconsciously Russian narratives that can be picked up by content consumers.

Disclosure How the pro-Kremlin agenda is seeping into the Italian media space

A Guardian journalist published material about how Russian propaganda is seeping into the Italian media space and why local TV channels indulge it. In support of the thesis about the spread of misinformation among Italian television viewers, the mediaman cites the results of a study: almost 50% of Italians choose not to support either side in the Russian-Ukrainian war. It seems that “not everything is so simple”. In the end, this situation arises because the Italians launch typical pro-Russian guests, representatives of the Russian “authorities” into their media space. Which, in turn, spread narratives that benefit them. For example, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, such Russians have become invited guests on Italian television: among them Russian Foreign Minister Serhii Lavrov and his press secretary Mariia Zakharova, who at one time explained the supposed desire of the Ukrainians to have their state led by Putin. Russian ideologist Oleksander Duhin, who has repeatedly called for the destruction of Ukraine and its division. Find the full list of Russian guests here. The analysis also noted that compared to other Western European countries, Italy is more susceptible to Russian disinformation simply because media professionals allow Russians into the most popular TV shows to provide commentary. Consequently, the more freedom Italian journalists give to opponents of freedom of speech (after all, so are Russian propagandists), the more society becomes vulnerable to any Kremlin narratives. With propagandists it is impossible to maintain a balance of opinions.

Such actions lead to the fact that the public does not become interested in helping Ukraine, and especially may deny the existence of the war, the deaths of Ukrainian civilians and the shelling of civilian infrastructure by the Russians. And in people’s minds there may be an opinion that if Russian propagandists are invited as experts, then they are worthy of attention or, at least, they should also be listened to. Which, of course, is wrong. The journalist cited another study, which explains that Italy is among the EU countries where people trust Zelenskyi the least. According to the European Council on Foreign Relations, Italians were the most sympathetic to Russia among the member states surveyed, and 27% of them also blamed Ukraine and the United States for the war. Such results indicate that Italy’s policy is too liberal towards Russians, who take advantage of this for their own selfish purposes.

Fake Western media receive instructions from intelligence agencies

Media broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric spread information that the Western media allegedly operate under real military control and receive instructions from the security services. They refer to the words of Dmytro Pieskov, who said that Western media “live under real military censorship”, stressing that “they receive instructions from intelligence”. It's fake.

EUvsDiSiNFO fact-checkers drew attention to the case. They report that in democratic countries, the media is neither controlled nor censored by the government or any of its institutions, including the military. So this statement is wrong.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the countries with the most freedom of the press and freedom of speech are the countries often referred to as the “Western”, dominated by European countries, as well as Canada and the United States.

Russian propagandists use reflection tactics to divert attention from Russia's own censorship. Earlier, Detector Media talked about the message that Ukraine is harassing foreign journalists for the “truth” about the war against Ukraine.

Message Ukraine oppresses foreign journalists for telling “the truth” about the war against Ukraine

Propagandists create and distribute publications that Ukraine has imprisoned journalists from abroad for publishing “inconvenient truths” about Russian aggression. They say that such “Western values” are supported by the Ukrainian government, hiding behind the silence of the West.

As the main example, the authors of such publications use the situation with a citizen of the United States and Chile, journalist Gonzalo Lira. Allegedly, he was imprisoned only for what he said: “facts recognized by Kyiv.”

However, in reality, the journalist was arrested for spreading openly anti-Ukrainian aggressive rhetoric and Russian disinformation. For example, Lira called Ukrainian President Zelenskyi a “thug”, EU leaders “incompetent” (supporting the words of Russian Prime Minister Medvediev), and also accused the US and Poland of intentions to “divide Ukraine”. The journalist justified Russia's actions by saying that it needed the entire territory of Ukraine so that there would be no worse problems. In addition, he called on the International Criminal Court to arrest the ex-president of Ukraine Poroshenko for allegedly “killing children in the Donbas”.

All these and other statements by Lira were once drawn to the attention of the Center for Counteracting Disinformation under the National Security and Defense Council. By spreading this message, Russia wants to shift the responsibility for its actions to other forces and divert attention from its own systemic problems with freedom of speech.

Disclosure How Chinese media repeat Russian narratives in their stories

Analysts of the project Beyond the News investigated the information field of the Chinese media and found that local journalists repeat Russian narratives in their materials. For example, Chinese media often refer to Nazism in Ukraine.

For example, in the Global Times, reporter Frank Bro connected Peyton Gendron, who killed ten people in the American city of Buffalo, New York, with the Azov regiment. That is, according to the author, Azov is “a controversial ultra-nationalist armed group in Ukraine”.

Of course, this is not true. However, fact-checkers have explored the foundations of these myths about the Azov Regiment. They explained that usually the Chinese media use the topic of the existence of Nazi Ukrainians as a justification for the Russian invasion. Fact-checkers emphasize that since 2015, Russian propaganda began to identify nationalism with Nazism, and consider Ukrainian nationalists to be one of their main enemies. It seems that being a Ukrainian is already a reason to receive accusations of Nazism from the Russians. But it is not true. And the term “nationalism” itself is not something bad, but is characterized by loyalty and devotion to one's nation.

The thesis of Chinese journalists that the Azov regiment is an armed association is not true either. Azov has never been an unofficial formation. Even at the beginning of its creation in 2014, the volunteer unit was subordinate to the Ministry of the Interior. Subsequently, it became a separate special forces detachment of the military unit 3057 of the National Guard of Ukraine.

Message In EU countries, there is no freedom of speech

This thesis is spread by the Russian propaganda media. They say that there is no freedom of speech in Europe, because Russian media are blocked there and “they do not allow the public to hear an alternative thought”. The reports also cited as an example the situation when EU High Representative Josep Borrell reacted to the arrest of Evan Gershkovich in Russia, saying that “journalists should have freedom of work and the right to be protected”. Propagandists are asking in their posts if Borrell is going to call for the release of journalist Julian Assange, who has been imprisoned in Britain for exposing US and NATO war crimes.

In fact, the message that there is no freedom of speech in EU countries, or in the US, is not new. Russian propaganda promotes it from time to time to establish the opinion that the local media should not be trusted, since they are all allegedly puppet, and promote the unified position of the governments of the countries. In such messages, propaganda uses the tactics of reflection: in fact, the lack of freedom of speech is precisely in Russia, where most media disseminate the position of the country's government and are of propaganda direction.

Analysts of the EU vs Disinfo project drew attention to the case in the network. In fact, comparing American journalist Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested in Russia on March 29 and charged with espionage, with Julian Assange is a typical Whataboutism technique, a rhetorical distraction. Evan Gershkovich is a WSJ journalist illegally detained in Russia. The EU condemned his detention, and the Secretary General of “Reporters without borders” called Gershkovich's detention an “institutional hostage-taking”. Julian Assange is the founder of Wikileaks, who has released numerous classified documents and is now being held in the UK.

According to “Reporters without borders”, Western countries have the most freedom of press and speech, with European countries predominating, as well as Canada and the United States. Russia, where authoritarian tendencies are on the rise, ranks 150 out of 180 in the press freedom ranking.

Disclosure UK-registered news company spreads Russian disinformation to multi-million Arabic-speaking audience

The BBC Disinformation Team found that the UK-registered publication Yala News has Syrian roots and distributes content that reflects the theses of the Russian propaganda media.

BBC analysts tracked Yala News's most popular videos over the course of a year and found that many of them resonated with Russia-sponsored disinformation. Thus, Yala News reported on the US plans to use birds as a biological weapon to carry diseases to Russia, the staging of massacres of civilians in Bucha, Zelenskyi’s video message to Ukrainians allegedly intoxicated, and the flight of the Ukrainian military from the front line. All this news was first published in the Russian propaganda media, and after a few hours such videos appeared on Yala News.

The analysts also said that the Yala Group (the parent company of Yala News) is registered in central London at an address shared with more than 65,000 other firms. There are no physical offices or Yala Group employees there.

With the help of geolocation tools, the BBC team was able to find photos of employees and offices of the Yala Group on Facebook. They are located in the suburbs of Damascus. Most of the employees' social media profiles also show they are based in the Syrian capital. This information was confirmed by one of the former employees of the company.

The founder and CEO of Yala Group, Syrian businessman Ahmad Moemna, lives in Dubai. When asked by the BBC team about the presence of pro-Russian videos on Yala News, he replied that the content provided on this news resource is objective and impartial.

However, specialists in the study of Russian disinformation told the BBC that the timing of the distribution of news videos and their similarity to the Kremlin theses may indicate that Yala News is likely serving as a tool for disseminating Russian propaganda through foreign media, so as not to look like these theses come directly from the Kremlin.

Russia often tries to spread misinformation to international audiences. For example, Detector Media investigated what kind of disinformation narratives Russia is spreading in Eastern Europe in order to achieve political goals.

Fake The Ukrainian army will lose 60% of its combat strength

Such information is distributed in the Georgian segment of Facebook in Russian. Reports say that 60% of the Ukrainian military cannot return alive from the front line, and the losses are about 200,000 out of 800,000 fighters. The authors of the messages referred to information from The New York Times allegedly dated March 11. However, this is an unsubstantiated conclusion.

According to Myth Detector project analysts, the statistics presented in the viral post cannot be found in any official source. In addition, the New York Times did not publish an article about the liquidation of 60% of the Ukrainian military.

However, according to analysts, the New York Times is not directly mentioned as a source in the published information, although the text circulated on Facebook is accompanied by a screenshot of the publication, which gives the impression that this media published the information.

In fact, the March 11 issue of the New York Times pictured in the post contained two articles about Ukraine. The first one concerned the meeting between US President Joe Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, where the main topic of discussion was the effective resistance of Russia against the backdrop of the ongoing war.

The second article is devoted to the grief of the fighter Dmytro Kotsiubailo who died near Bakhmut and was the commander of the “Da Vinci Wolves” unit. However, none of these articles contains information about the losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and statistical information about the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Manipulation The New York Post refused to permanently place the Ukrainian flag on its cover

This thesis was circulated in social networks and propaganda media. Reports say the New York Post “has ditched” the permanent placement of the Ukrainian flag on its cover. Like, the last major publication does not want to place the Ukrainian flag on it. As evidence, the authors of the messages attached a screenshot of two covers of an American newspaper to the publication. The first cover shows the Ukrainian flag at the top right, but the cover of the next issue shows a clover leaf instead of the flag. This is manipulation.

The fact-checkers of the VoxCheck project investigated the case and found out that the cover of the New York Post newspaper with the image of a three-leaf clover is dedicated to St. Patrick's Day, which is traditionally celebrated in the USA on March 17th. In the future, the cover of the publication continued to depict the Ukrainian flag according to the usual schedule: six issues are published with the image of the flag, one without. That is, the publishers of the newspaper “did not abandon” the Ukrainian flag, it was rescheduled to be replaced in only one issue, which was dedicated to the celebration of St. Patrick's Day. For example, in the March 20 issue of the newspaper (the latest available at the time of publication), the flag of Ukraine was again placed.

Disclosure What is the Russian disinformation in the Eastern and Central Europe Telegram?

Analysts of the international project “Fireworks of Lies” analyzed about 18 thousand accounts (including channels and chats) related to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and identified the main trends of Russian disinformation on the Telegram of this region. Detector Media has highlighted the main points of the investigation published on investigaci.cz.

In the telegram space, the number of channels in Polish, Czech, Slovak, Bulgarian, Croatian, Romanian and German with pro-Russian narratives has increased. They also differ in the form of presentation of content - some of them try to provide information as seriously as possible, while the other part presents these problems subjectively or even on behalf of “clairvoyants” and “fortune tellers”. Russian propagandists are well aware of the level of trust in them among the ordinary population in the region and use this to spread their own narratives.

In particular, in such channels one can find a repetition of a number of Russian narratives about the war in Ukraine: they say that this is all the West, there will be nothing left of Ukraine, but that’s how they need it, because there are Nazis. But in addition to this, they intertwine concern about the domestic political situation in the countries of the region. It seems that this war is not our business, we do not want to suffer from its consequences.

In addition to matching Russian messages, these channels also play conspiracy theories. In particular, they contain a lot of materials on the topic of the “world destruction plan” of the “world government”, in which the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine are only “stages”. According to conspiracy theorists, Russia started the war to fight “this swamp”, as the world's political and economic elites are sometimes called.

Thus, Russian propagandists want to disorient the inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe and shift the responsibility for Russia's crimes to the victims of aggression and those who help it. In addition, the destabilization of the situation in Europe helps Russia to carry out its aggression and build a platform for further spread. Detector Media has already examined the disinformation on the German telegram and highlighted its main narratives.

Disclosure Ukrainian military fake accounts are created on social networks by Russian propaganda

Radio “Svoboda” (Liberty) journalists came to this conclusion in their study of Russian disinformation on social networks. In particular, during the study, media workers discovered fake accounts disguised as profiles of the Ukrainian military.

One of the tiktok accounts masqueraded as the personal page of a sergeant of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who actually keeps his war diary. The clone page had over 19,000 subscribers, with some videos reaching millions of views. The account, which was a clone of the profile of a member of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, contained real videos shot by real soldiers, but the messages superimposed on them were not at all the messages that the author of the real tiktok account had in mind. According to journalists, these messages inspired despair and mistrust. For example, such messages were promoted: “Bakhmut cannot be kept”, “We leave Soledar”, “Military are tired”, etc. Later, a real sergeant of the Armed Forces of Ukraine was found, who confirmed that his video was used by Russian propagandists.

The journalists also investigated the fake telegram channel of the 46th airmobile brigade, created back in September. The propagandists have gathered a fairly large audience on this channel, up to 15,000 subscribers. That is, it allows the dissemination of various manipulative or fake news from there that are beneficial to Russian propaganda. It was also a clone of the real telegram channel of the 46th brigade. The official authors stated that there was nothing to do with the creation of the clone page.

Disclosure In the Kharkiv region, Russians can broadcast fake radio “Slobozhanske FM”

The Kharkiv regional military administration reported that the invaders could broadcast under the fake name “Slobozhanske FM”. Ethers are on a wave of 100 MHz. They are not led by Ukrainian journalists. The enemy is misinforming the population of the Kharkiv region, using FM frequencies, on which it broadcasts fake news.

The Kharkiv regional military administration notes that all official information is broadcast on the following waves: Balakliia - 104.9 MHz; Zmiiv - 90.8 MHz; Blyzniuky, Lozova - 100.1 MHz; Barvinkove - 103.4 MHz.

We recall that earlier Russian hackers penetrated the air of several Ukrainian radio stations and spread a fake about “Zelenskyi in intensive care”. More details.

Manipulation Ukrainians are less likely to watch TV because of “Ukrainian propaganda”

The Russian media write that allegedly now Ukrainians watch less television because of the “media policy of the “Kyiv regime”” and Ukrainian propaganda. The messages refer to the results of a survey by the Rating sociological group. Allegedly, compared to November 2021, the share of television in the segment of information sources fell from 55% to 43%, while the share of social networks (including Telegram) increased from 11% to 41%. This is manipulation.

According to the results of a study by the Rating group, today national TV channels and instant messengers really have almost the same popularity as a source of news for Ukrainians. However, the study does not conclude that the current situation is the result of Ukrainian propaganda on television. Moreover, over the past year, trust in the news content of national TV channels has increased from 43% to 72%, and local media - from 43% to 62%. As StopFake writes, the Russian media added to the results of the study the opinions of unnamed experts, distorting the general context.

Russian propaganda uses the tactics of substitution of concepts and tries to give out information to Ukrainians about state propaganda. Thus, they also nourish the narratives about censorship in the Ukrainian information space and the absence of independent media in Ukraine.

Disclosure How propaganda used the interview of the former Israeli prime minister to spread disinformation

Pro-Russian telegram channels used a recent interview with ex-Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett to spread disinformation. Detector Media refutes the main messages of Russian propaganda made on the basis of this interview.

Putin promised for “100%” that he would not kill Zelenskyi.

Propagandists claim that in an interview, Bennett said that the Russian president showed “mercy” to “bring peace”. They emphasize that allegedly Russia has power over Ukraine to such an extent that it can decide the fate of the President of Ukraine. Pro-Russian media write that it is supposedly “proof” of Zelenskyi's weakness and his personal “dependence” on Russia in the current situation.

In fact, the ex-premier does not say too much directly on the topic of Ukraine in an interview, but recalls that Russia allegedly promised not to do anything with the Ukrainian president. However, Bennett himself does not attach as much importance to this as propaganda ascribes to it. In particular, Bennett says he did not believe Putin's words. The message about Russia's “act of mercy” in this case is an invention of propagandists as  Bennett did not say this.

Western countries “leaked” the negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

Russian propaganda writes that allegedly in an interview, Bennett said that the West is deliberately “dragging out” the war and does not consider Ukraine an independent state. Like, the West and personally Boris Johnson “curtailed” negotiations at the beginning of the war. Moreover, Ukraine allegedly only “plays along” with the West and has no influence on the outcome of the war.

The propagandists took Bennett's phrases out of context and mutilated quotes to advance their interests. According to Bennett, negotiations have indeed stalled. However, he calls the tragedy in Bucha, and not the unilateral decision of the West, the real reason for this. Bennett said that after these events, the negotiations ceased to make sense.

Russian propaganda has repeatedly tried to shift responsibility for its actions to others and create the illusion of a “sincere desire for peace”. To do this, they use the tactics of substitution of concepts. The main goal of propaganda is to demoralize Ukrainian society and increase the level of distrust in the authorities.

Message Europe has no freedom of speech

This is the message propagandists use in their telegram channels and in the pro-Kremlin media. The report says that the propaganda TV company “Russia Today” is massively shut down in European countries. In particular, the enemies cited the example of France and said that there is no “freedom, equality and fraternity” there, hinting that the countries of the European Union do not profess the foundations of freedom of speech and the EU states comprehensively regulate their own media. It seems that one will not find out any truth from local media.

In fact, Russia Today is the center of Russian propaganda that spoke to a multinational audience by spreading Russian propaganda narratives against Europeans. The TV company was repeatedly accused of spreading lies, including about the war in Ukraine.

At the same time, on December 7, 2022, the European Commission made a proposal for the ninth package of sanctions against Russia, which provides for a restriction of almost 200 individuals and legal entities. In addition, the EU sanctions provided for the blocking of propaganda of the Russian Federation in Europe. As suggested by the head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the ninth package provided for the impossibility of broadcasting four Russian channels. That is, the broadcasting of channels in Europe is stopped in order to prevent the spread of propaganda by Russia, which is waging a bloody war in Ukraine, and not because of the lack of freedom of speech.