ArchivedJuly 5 2022, 15:27 pm

Russian Media Coverage of ‘Nazis’ in Ukraine Spiked after February Invasion, Report Says

US media is report­ing that in the months since Rus­sia invad­ed Ukraine, the lie that the gov­ern­ment and cul­ture of Ukraine are filled with dan­ger­ous “Nazis” has become a cen­tral theme of Krem­lin pro­pa­gan­da about the war. Accord­ing to a  New York Times report:

July 2, 2022 A data set of near­ly eight mil­lion arti­cles about Ukraine col­lect­ed from more than 8,000 Russ­ian web­sites since 2014 shows that ref­er­ences to Nazism were rel­a­tive­ly flat for eight years and then spiked to unprece­dent­ed lev­els on Feb. 24, the day Rus­sia invad­ed Ukraine. They have remained high ever since.  The data, pro­vid­ed by Seman­tic Visions, a defense ana­lyt­ics com­pa­ny, includes major Russ­ian state media out­lets in addi­tion to thou­sands of small­er Russ­ian web­sites and blogs. It gives a view of Russia’s attempts to jus­ti­fy its attack on Ukraine and main­tain domes­tic sup­port for the ongo­ing war by false­ly por­tray­ing Ukraine as being over­run by far-right extrem­ists. News sto­ries have false­ly claimed that Ukrain­ian Nazis are using non­com­bat­ants as human shields, killing Ukrain­ian civil­ians and plan­ning a geno­cide of Rus­sians.  The strat­e­gy was most like­ly intend­ed to jus­ti­fy what the Krem­lin hoped would be a quick ouster of the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment, said Laris­sa Doroshenko, a researcher at North­east­ern Uni­ver­si­ty who stud­ies disinformation.

Read the rest here.

The NYT report says that mul­ti­ple region­al experts said the claim that Ukraine is cor­rupt­ed by Nazis is false, not­ing that in the 2019 par­lia­men­tary elec­tions, all far-right par­ties com­bined received only about two per­cent of votes — short of the five per­cent thresh­old for rep­re­sen­ta­tion. The report also says that the Russ­ian media’s por­tray­al of the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a far-right group, exag­ger­ates the extent to which its mem­bers hold neo-Nazi views. In March, we report­ed that the Azov Bat­tal­ion, a tiny part of the Ukrain­ian armed forces, has been at the cen­ter of a large amount of dis­in­for­ma­tion since the start of the Ukrain­ian conflict.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report has exten­sive­ly cov­ered Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion about Ukraine being dom­i­nat­ed by Nazis. Recent report­ing has included:

  • In May, we report­ed that pro-Krem­lin influ­encers and oth­ers attempt­ed to link the shoot­er in the recent Buf­fa­lo, New York school shoot­ing to the Azov Bat­tal­ion in Ukraine.
  • In April, we report­ed that Russ­ian embassies claimed that Ukrain­ian sol­diers are Nazis “oper­at­ing under US orders.”
  • In April, we report­ed that more than half of the French pub­lic believes in at least one Russ­ian con­spir­a­cy nar­ra­tive about the Ukraine war, with 10% of them con­sid­er­ing that “Ukraine is gov­erned by a jun­ta infil­trat­ed by neo-Nazi movements.”


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