Spilnota Detector Media

Message Elections to the State Duma in the temporarily occupied territories were held “legitimately”

On September 10, 2023, Russia held elections at various levels with by-elections of “deputies” to the State Duma and heads of a number of regions to local authorities. Elections were also held in the temporarily Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine – in parts of the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk regions. Anonymous telegrams claimed that the turnout in Ukrainian regions was “high”, which means that people allegedly show great interest in the formation of Russian politics — “competitive, fair and impartial”. And they add that the expression of the will of the people testifies to the so-called legitimacy of the past elections.

Like these elections, and any previous ones, together with pseudo-referendums, these are not real elections and sometimes not the absolute expression of the will of the Ukrainian people, in particular. Earlier, the Verkhovna Rada appealed to foreign states to recognize the illegality of the elections. Among other things, they adopted resolution No. 9581 based on the results of the plenary meeting. It states that the occupation authorities are intimidating, blackmailing and forcibly involving Ukrainian citizens in elections through illegal passporting and replacing Ukrainian identification documents with Russian counterparts.

Such elections contradict the general norms of international law and violate the legislation of Ukraine. Moreover, such actions on the part of Russia, first of all, put Ukrainians in danger - after all, they are forced to vote at gunpoint. The European Union also (back in June) condemned Russia's attempts to hold pseudo-elections at the temporarily occupied territories. Then EU representative Peter Stano said that Moscow has no legal rights to the seized Ukrainian territories and that, in fact, Russia is acting arbitrarily, ignoring all norms and rights. As a result, Russia only seeks to give legitimacy to its actions, hiding behind good goals. It seems that the desire to vote and be part of Russia comes from the Ukrainians themselves. And accordingly, they are given scope for “self-determination”.

The head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration Artem Lysohor also noted that the occupation authorities have admitted the failure of their forced passportization and allow people to vote without a Russian passport. And local collaborators were allowed not to open polling stations, but to conduct voting from home.

That is, this approach to holding “elections”, on the contrary, is the result of low turnout at the polling station, the disinterest of Ukrainians in voting and resistance to the occupation authorities. However, the Kremlin is trying in every possible way to whiten itself and demonstrate “democracy” amid the widespread chaos: they even invited the so-called “foreign supervisors” who highly appreciate the work of the occupation exit polls. But those “observers” turned out to be supporters of Russia and, apparently, covered the work of the Gauleiters with bias.

Message Ukraine may become a NATO member in exchange for giving up part of its territory

This assumption was made by the Head of the Office of NATO Secretary General Stian Jensen. He stated that Ukraine could become a member of the Alliance in exchange for giving up part of its territory.

Such a thesis is unfounded and does not express the opinion of the entire Alliance. At the NATO summit in Vilnius, a representative of the Alliance, in a commentary to the Public, emphasized: “We will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes, and we are committed to achieving a just and lasting peace”. This is a response to Jensen's statement. The interlocutor also noted that Ukraine itself must decide when and under what conditions to achieve peace.

The case was also studied by the fact-checkers of the Center for Strategic Communications. They note that the issues of accelerating Ukraine's victory were discussed at the summit. They also pay attention to the fact that both Ukraine and NATO do not trade their territories and citizens. Russia is an aggressor country that deserves punishment, not encouragement of new territories. This could be a bad example for potential invaders in the world.

The message, voiced by Stian Jensen, plays into the hands of Russia. Russian propaganda can use it to promote narratives around the world at any cost and distract from Russian crimes. Earlier we talked about the manipulation that Western countries refused to provide Ukraine with a security guarantee.

Fake The Ukrainian authorities admitted that they would have to give the occupied territories to the Russians

Russian media broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric spread information that Mykhailo Podoliak, adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, allegedly admitted that Ukraine was forced to give up Crimea and certain territories of the temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions of Russia. It's fake.

The fact-checkers of the Center for Strategic Communications drew attention to the case. Mykhailo Podoliak on the Rada TV channel said that there are three options for ending the war, but Ukraine is satisfied with only one victory over Russia and the complete de-occupation of Ukrainian territories. The adviser to the Office of the President did not speak about the fact that Ukraine was forced to give up part of the territories to Russia.

Thus, Russian propagandists are trying to discredit the Ukrainian authorities, saying that they are not going to recapture the occupied part of Ukraine. And also sow panic among Ukrainians. Earlier, Detector Media talked about the manipulation that the British supposedly assumed that the Ukrainian army and NATO would be defeated by Russian Armata tanks.

Manipulation Russia improves the medical system in the occupied territories

Such information was disseminated by the Kremlin propaganda media and anonymous telegrams. Russian Minister of Health Mykhailo Murashka said that 80 medical institutions were restored in the occupied territories, 50 ambulances were provided and medicines worth 7 billion rubles were sent. It is not true.

The VoxCheck project specialists drew attention to this case. According to the World Bank, the Russian military damaged or destroyed at least 978 medical facilities, 650 ambulances and about 596 pharmacies. They noted that in order to fully restore the medical system, Ukraine needs $16.4 billion over the next 10 years. Also, eyeWitness to Atrocities, Insecurity Insight, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), Media Initiative for Human Rights (MIHR) and the Ukrainian Health Center (UHC) created an interactive map showing that as of March 2023, Russia had 822 attacks on hospitals and other health infrastructure.

By spreading such manipulation, Russian propagandists are trying to convince the inhabitants of the occupied territories that they care about them and restore medicine. Also, in this way they try to hide the real state of affairs. Earlier, Detector Media wrote about manipulation that in the Kherson region from now on there allegedly will be free medicine.

Message While the “Kyiv regime” is at war, Russia is rebuilding the destroyed cities

Propagandists spread the message on social networks that Ukraine is killing civilians while Russia is trying to rebuild the destroyed places. Allegedly,Russia wants to return the “liberated” territories of Donbas, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson region to peaceful life, and Ukraine is trying to cause a humanitarian catastrophe on their territory. However, in reality this is not the case.

Analysts of the EU vs DisInfo project drew attention to the message. They emphasize that Ukraine does not kill civilians and defends itself against Russian aggression. In addition, Russia annexed part of the territory of Ukraine, which violated international law. Moreover, it was Russia that destroyed many Ukrainian cities, such as Mariupol. Russia continues to shell civilian infrastructure even in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions.

Thus, the propagandists want to justify the aggression against Ukraine and the annexation of Ukrainian territories. In addition, by spreading the word that the Armed Forces of Ukraine allegedly use Western weapons against civilians, they also want to blow up the process of transferring international aid to Ukraine. Similar messages could be seen in Russian propaganda before, in particular, the narrative that the 2022 “referendums” on the annexation of the temporarily occupied territories to Russia were held in order to allegedly bring peace to them.

Manipulation The West confirmed that residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions do not want to live as part of Ukraine

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. The reports say that the West allegedly confirmed that the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions do not want to live as part of Ukraine. At the same time, the authors of the messages refer to the material of The Spectator, the British edition. This is manipulation.

The case was noticed by VoxCheck fact-checkers, who found out that the British edition of The Spectator did indeed publish an author’s column by Owen Matthews with the title “One  year on: how will the Ukraine war end?”. As fact-checkers say, the material itself contains factual errors and numerous manipulations. In addition, the author's column does not show the attitude of Western politicians to the issue of the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, because the author gives his own thoughts.

One of the key factors by which the author “determined” the so-called unwillingness of the inhabitants of Donbas and the Luhansk region not to live as part of Ukraine is his own observations, not supported by any facts. In the column, he wrote that his post-2014 reports in the Donbas showed that “those who remained were more or less uniformly anti-Ukrainian”. And then he writes that the locals will perceive the de-occupation of these territories by Ukraine as a “coercive war of conquest.”

As fact-checkers say, there are no independent sociological surveys that would reliably show the correlation of political views in the region and the level of local support for Ukraine in order to conclude that the majority are pro-Russian.

Fake In Lviv, they rent out apartments preparing for the occupation by Poland

The propagandists distribute images that allegedly show an ad on OLX for renting out an apartment. According to it, “in case of the transfer of the city's territories to the jurisdiction of another state, the tenant is obliged to fulfill his obligations in full in accordance with the current lease agreement. A unique opportunity to move to Europe in one day without leaving your apartment!” The authors of messages with images in social networks add that they say that this indicates the imminent occupation of the western lands of Ukraine by Poland. It's fake.

VoxCheck analysts drew attention to it. They found the ads through the Internet Archive. The author posted it on the announcement platform on January 30 this year. At the moment, it is no longer on OLX, as well as on other platforms for finding rental properties. There are many inaccuracies in the ad itself, which is also a sign of its fakeness, in particular, the eighth floor is indicated in its text, and the second in the categories from OLX. The poster's author registered on the site in January and probably did so in order to place it, since there are no other publications in his profile. It is also impossible to find an image from an ad in an Internet search.

Thus, propagandists want to intimidate Ukrainians in the West and transfer the role of the aggressor to Western countries. They are trying to justify their aggression by “the actions of the West”. Like, today the West helps you, and tomorrow it takes your lands. Detector Media explained how Russians use this narrative in the context of Poland.

Manipulation In Ukraine, they want to deprive everyone who lives in the temporarily occupied territories or left for Russia of their pension

This thesis was spread on social networks, in particular, in the Ukrainian segment of Twitter. The report says that in Ukraine they are allegedly going to deprive the pensions of those who left for Russia or live in the temporarily occupied territories. The authors argue that this is one of the requirements of the International monetary fund. This is manipulation.

Fact-checkers of the StopFake project drew attention to this case and, after studying it, determined that such manipulation appeared against the background of the appearance of a bill on changing the procedure for paying pensions to persons who committed a crime against the foundations of Ukraine's national security, as well as after the draft order of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine “On approval methods for verifying pension payments and monthly life allowance”. Social media users distorted the main provisions of the bill and the project of the Ministry of finance.

The bill refers to the termination of cash payments to persons convicted of crimes against the foundations of national security. This category includes those who encroached on the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine or who carried out collaborative activities and collaborated with the occupiers. That is, we are not talking about everyone who, not of their own free will, ended up in Russian occupation.

Another document from the Ministry of finance of Ukraine regulates the process of checking and updating information about the recipient of a pension from the Ministry of social policy, the Ministry of justice, the Ministry of internal affairs and other departments. For example, the Ministry of finance will check and update information about the death of a pension recipient or disability group, etc. In Ukraine, pensions continue to be paid to citizens living in the temporarily occupied territories or those who have gone abroad. As for the so-called requirement of the International monetary fund, it does not exist at all.

Both documents are in no way aimed at depriving pensions of Ukrainians living in the temporarily occupied territories of the country, or those who left for Russia. Moreover, both documents have not yet been adopted and are under discussion.

Message In the territories occupied by Russia, the healthcare sector is at the highest level

This message was circulated on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. The reports say that in the temporarily Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine, life is not just going on, and healthcare is flourishing, but high-tech operations are being carried out with the most modern equipment. The publications add that allegedly the administration of the temporarily occupied region, Kherson in particular, is working to improve the healthcare sector.

In fact, as VoxCheck project analysts explain, Russians have a shortage of doctors in the temporarily occupied territories, because local Ukrainians refuse to cooperate with the occupiers. To replenish the medical staff, the Russians import doctors from their country and encourage them with additional payments from 4.5 to 18 thousand rubles.

In addition, there have been cases when Russian doctors treat only their own personnel. For example, in the Henichesk district of the Kherson region, the Russian military is modifying kindergartens as field hospitals, because the hospitals are overcrowded.

At the same time, only wounded Russian soldiers are treated, and local residents are forbidden to come to hospitals. Russia is silent about the robbery of medical equipment by the Russian military in Skadovsk, Nova Kakhovka and other occupied cities.

By spreading such a message, propagandists are trying to convince people that life is good in the temporarily occupied territories under the leadership of Russia. Russia creates the appearance that after the so-called liberation - which is occupation - ordinary people began to live better than under the criminal Ukrainian government. However, in reality, as practice shows, the cities and villages that the Ukrainian army liberates from Russian infidels are in a terrible state. Such a situation could be observed in the liberated Kyiv region, Kharkiv region, Chernihiv region, as well as in the liberated Kherson. In particular, in Kherson, after the withdrawal of Russian troops, the critical infrastructure did not work, there was no water, food, medicines. That is, there was no talk of any development of medicine under the conditions of Russian occupation, on the contrary, by constant shelling and robbery, the Russians provoked devastation in the city.

Manipulation SBU arrested a man for baking bread during the occupation

Pro-Russian and occupation telegram channels say that the Security service of Ukraine (SBU) arrested a resident of Kupiansk for baking and selling bread to locals during his stay under Russian occupation. Like, this is another act of the “terror of the Kyiv regime”. This is manipulation.

In fact, the former chief engineer of the Kupiansk bakery plant is accused of collaborating with the aggressor state. The detainee is accused of helping the Russians to export Ukrainian grain to the territory of Russia, to Rostov-on-Don.

As StopFake writes, the man not only openly supported the occupation authorities, but also forcibly took away the seals, stamps, statutory documents and personal files of employees from the chief accountant of the enterprise, and then handed them over to representatives of the occupation administration. For this, the occupation administration of Kupiansk appointed him the chairman of the “Food resources” enterprise created by the Russians, which exported Ukrainian grain from the temporarily occupied territory to Russia.

Russian propaganda systematically spreads fakes about the situation in the liberated territories of Ukraine. Earlier, they said that a pensioner from Kupiansk would be judged for organizing football matches during the occupation, and in Kherson, the Ukrainian military began repressions against civilians.

Message In case of resumption of negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, the occupied territories should remain in Russia

Russian propaganda media, citing a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, reported that “the entry of new regions into Russia should be taken into account in the event of a possible resumption of negotiations with Ukraine”. Also, the media of the enemy are actively spreading the thesis that the negotiation process should be “direct”. That is, without the mediation of the West.

This is not the first time that Russia has been trying to persuade Ukraine to negotiate using various methods. In particular, often manipulating that the war continues only because Ukraine does not want to negotiate. However, every time when it comes to potential negotiations, Russia sees them only on its own terms. This time, Russia sees them as possible only if Ukraine recognizes that the territories occupied by Russia are ceded to Russia.

In fact, Ukraine withdrew from the negotiation process last spring. The main condition for their restoration is the return of territories in accordance with the 1991 borders, but Russia does not abandon attempts to put forward ultimatums and threats, although they are not successful.

Message Ukrainian refugees “walk” around Europe in “dirty underwear”

Such a message is spread by pro-Russian telegram channels. Comments are added on social networks, such as “why is there such massive diarrhea abroad”.

In fact, in this way, Russian propaganda ridicules mass actions, the purpose of which is to draw the attention of foreigners to the war crimes of the Russian army in Ukraine, in particular, numerous rapes in the temporarily occupied territories. During actions, people are dressed in “bloody” underwear and with bags on their heads. This image symbolizes the victim, the crime and its consequences. In particular, the actions were held in Austria, Latvia, and Estonia.

Fake Zelenskyi promised to give Crimea and Donbas “as a sacrifice to russophobic foreigners”

Kremlin resources are spreading the thesis that after the de-occupation Crimea and Donbas will be given “as a sacrifice to russophobic foreigners”. Volodymyr Zelenskyi allegedly said this while speaking in the Verkhovna Rada. This is a fabrication.

In fact, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, during his annual address to the Verkhovna Rada, spoke about the restoration, development of the country and the temporarily occupied territories after the war, and that Ukraine should provide priority conditions for those foreign companies that were in Ukraine or came to Ukraine during war, or left the Russian market during the war.

Fake Ukrainian TV channel showed a map of Ukraine without temporarily occupied territories

The network is spreading a screenshot allegedly from the air of the 1 + 1 TV channel, where during the weather forecast a map of Ukraine was shown without the territories temporarily occupied by Russia. This is not true.

In fact, they showed a whole map with the borders of Ukraine on the air. The photo circulated on the net shows the logos of two separate programs at once: “Breakfast with 1 + 1” and “TSN”. VoxCheck fact-checkers found that the still image distributed on the network was taken from the program “Breakfast with 1 + 1” on December 5. This indicates an identical background on the original and edited image. The program showed not only a full map of Ukraine, but they began to tell the weather forecast from the East of Ukraine.

Manipulation A pensioner from Kupiansk will be put on trial for organizing football matches during the occupation

Russian media and pro-Russian telegram channels spread messages about a “pensioner from Kupiansk” who was allegedly unfairly announced on suspicion of treason. Like, the whole corpus delicti consists in holding football matches. And for this he faces a sentence of up to twelve years in prison. This is manipulation.

According to the Kharkiv region police, during the occupation of the settlement, the man served as director of the Spartak stadium, supported the decisions and actions of the occupiers, and, in addition to football matches, organized other cultural events with elements of propaganda.