RussiaDecember 27 2023, 5:04 am

Russian “Yacht Propaganda” Amplified by Former US Marine

On  21 Decem­ber 2023,  the BBC report­ed a false claim cir­cu­lat­ed by a web­site with Russ­ian links, sug­gest­ing Ukrain­ian Pres­i­dent Volodymyr Zelen­sky bought lux­u­ry yachts with Amer­i­can aid mon­ey. This unfound­ed asser­tion orig­i­nat­ed from an obscure YouTube chan­nel and was ampli­fied by DC Week­ly, a site found­ed by for­mer US Marine John Mark Dougan, who now resides in Rus­sia. The claim was that Zelen­sky, using prox­ies, spent $75 mil­lion on two yachts, but inves­ti­ga­tions revealed the yachts in ques­tion, Lucky Me and My Lega­cy, have not been sold, and the Ukrain­ian gov­ern­ment has denied the alle­ga­tions. Despite its base­less­ness, this sto­ry influ­enced dis­cus­sions in the US Con­gress about mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine, with some mem­bers ref­er­enc­ing the rumor in argu­ments against fur­ther sup­port. DC Week­ly, mas­querad­ing as a Wash­ing­ton-based pub­li­ca­tion, has been iden­ti­fied as a plat­form for Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da, spread­ing var­i­ous false nar­ra­tives. The site’s con­nec­tion to Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts is evi­denced by its host­ing on a Moscow serv­er and its founder’s activ­i­ties in Russia.

For a GIOR report on “US Ampli­fiers of Russ­ian ‘Ampli­gan­da’, go here.


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