UK media is reporting that Russia’s military build-up on the Ukrainian border is accompanied by a propaganda campaign pushing twisted historical facts and the lie that Ukrainians and Russians are “one people.” According to a report in i News:
January 22, 2022 Rather than study history, authoritarian states prefer to re-write it. So, last summer Vladimir Putin gave us his essay “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians,” a propaganda sheet that made clear his intentions to absorb Ukraine by twisting historic facts and pushing the lie that Ukrainians and Russians are “one people”. Orysia Lutsevych, Head of the Ukraine Forum and Eurasia expert at Chatham House, yesterday declared that “Putin is weaponising history”. But manipulating historical facts is only part of the Russia information war being waged right now on Ukraine – before a single tank crosses the border. Some of the Russian propaganda deals in generalities. The Kremlin says its troop build up on the Ukrainian border is happening against the background of “active military ‘expansion on the territory of Ukraine by Nato countries, which creating a direct threat to the security of Russia”. In reality, the West’s supine reaction to the current crisis shows that it’s failed to learn the lessons of the August 2008 war in Georgia, in which Russia grabbed 20 percent of Georgian territory. The muted international response encouraged the Kremlin to invade Ukraine and annex Crimea six years later. Moldova is another victim of Russian aggression; the Kremlin maintains troops there against the will of its people.
Read the rest here.
Since its illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014 and its ongoing military aggression against Ukraine, Russia has waged a sustained and coordinated state-controlled disinformation campaign targeting public opinion in Russia, the European Union, and beyond.
EUvsDisinfo, a disinformation watchdog affiliated with the European Union’s foreign service, has published a list of the most prevalent disinformation related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, including:
- “The current tensions are the result of persistent aggressive behavior of Ukraine and its allies in the West.”
- “The situation in Ukraine triggered this conflict”
- “The EU and the West are not interested in the Ukraine and have abandoned it”
- “The current crisis is the fault of NATO and the West. If they had honored their promise not to enlarge the alliance, Russia would not feel threatened.”
- “Because of NATO’s aggressive expansion, Russia is now ‘encircled by enemies’ and needs to defend itself.”
- “Ukraine has deliberately violated the Minsk agreements and the West is further arming Ukraine.”
- “The EU in any case is weak and irrelevant. Why even bother speaking to the EU?”
Read the full EUvsDisinfo, report here.
In December, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that pro-Kremlin outlets were still denying the existence of any troop deployments on the Ukrainian border and continued to spread the disinformation about their purely defensive motives and NATO provocations.