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The essence of russia’s new methodology for conducting information warfare in Ukraine

The essence of russia’s new methodology for conducting information warfare in Ukraine

According to the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, on 25 August 2023, a meeting was held in the putin administration to discuss the next stage of the information war in the Ukrainian and global media spaces. Following the meeting, with the participation of first deputy chief of staff of putin administration s.kiriyenko, kremlin “technologists” and representatives of media resources involved in the PSYOP, the topics of a new disinformation campaign against Ukraine and specific narratives that should discredit Ukraine and influence its partners in the world were approved.

It is obvious that the previous methods of russian propaganda to promote outright fakes no longer work for most Ukrainians, who have gained a certain “immunity” from the kremlin’s disinformation during the war. Therefore, this time, the russians will try to use the real problems of Ukrainians, of course, in their own interpretation. According to Ukrainian military intelligence, russian propagandists will promote narratives about mass mobilisation and rampant corruption in Ukraine, as well as the failure of the Ukrainian Armed Forces’ counter-offensive and the lack of confidence in Ukraine among Western partners.

Thus, russian propaganda will assure the Ukrainian audience that Ukraine is facing a “mass mobilisation” that will affect all Ukrainians without exception, regardless of gender, age, health status, including minors.

The second propaganda message concerns the discrediting of Western partners’ support for Ukraine, under the general slogan “Partners do not believe in Ukraine’s victory”. In this case, the russian side will continue to spread narratives about “agreements” and “peace in exchange for territories”. The kremlin will also lie about the alleged “secret agreements” between Kyiv Mayor V. Klitschko and representatives of the US Republican Party to support him in the upcoming presidential election. The same package includes the promotion of a narrative tentatively titled “Counter-offensive is not successful”, where propagandists will lie about the increasing number of burials in military cemeteries and the lack of success on the battlefield. The russians are also starting to “search for those responsible for imaginary failures” in an attempt to discredit Ukrainian military leaders and officials.

The focus of russian political technologists remains on the topic of “corruption in Ukraine”. They will try to convince Ukrainians that the Ukrainian government is not fighting it, that “the budget is being stolen, procurement is not being carried out”, and that corrupt officials are going unpunished. And this is the situation only in Ukraine, because all European partner countries have never even heard of corruption.

The next narrative of russian propaganda will be to demonstrate the “wonderful life of Ukrainians in the occupied territories” with fabricated “evidence” of allegedly high salaries, low prices, provision of all necessary goods, “development” of infrastructure and reconstruction of destroyed housing. Along the same lines, the propagandists’ task is to convince the audience that the so-called “elections” in the occupied territories will be “free”, and that Ukraine is giving up the occupied territories and even “surrendering” Kupiansk.  

Since the regional media in the occupied territories are staffed exclusively by russian propagandists, the effectiveness of their “work” is very low due to the lack of trust in their statements. The kremlin has organised “training” in the art of propaganda in rostov-na-donu for a number of local collaborators. It is assumed that the “journalistic pool” created from them will, under the control of the russian federation, imitate the support of the occupation by the local population in the media.

Along with Ukraine, russia intends to spread provocative and manipulative materials to the target audience in Germany, France, Israel and the United States. The russian embassies and cultural centres are actively involved in the large-scale disinformation campaign in Europe, and fake websites and social media accounts have been created to promote russian narratives about the alleged ineffectiveness of sanctions against russia, the prevalence of Nazi ideology among Ukrainian officials, the negative consequences of accepting Ukrainian refugees for European countries, etc. For example, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that pro-russian content related to the war in Ukraine was spreading, including the vilification of its leaders through fake pages of the well-known French publications Le Monde, Le Figaro and Le Parisien, government websites, including the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, and French-language news websites created using the technique of typosquatting to reproduce their domain name. The German Federal Ministry of the Interior has also recorded continuous attempts by russia to spread disinformation through fake websites of German media outlets such as FAZ, Der Spiegel and Bild.

The next round of disinformation campaign against Ukraine will try to influence the minds of Ukrainians and the state policy of the West. The Ukrainian intelligence calls on citizens to observe information hygiene and trust only official sources of information to avoid becoming a tool in the hands of russian propagandists.

  • 29 August, 2023

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