Bad EU, New “Victories” in Donbass, and Fakes about Ukrainian Grain. Monitoring of Russian Mass Media for May 9th-15th

Russian disinformers continue to cover every third item of news about the war in Ukraine and its consequences for Russia. And we continue to analyze the news of Russian websites and review what the enemy is telling its own population about the attack against Ukraine. To do this, we analyzed more than 34 thousand pieces of news from the Russian state media and manipulative websites that are targeted to spread Russian disinformation.

Yet another invectives against Europe

In the midst of discussions of new EU sanctions against Russia, first and foremost - the oil embargo, the Russian media have significantly intensified anti-European rhetoric. “The EU is going to the dump of history,” Russian propagandists declared last week.

Refusal to purchase Russian energy will launch another notable blow to the Russian economy, so disinformation is trying to reassure the public that this will not happen, as “the rejection of Russian energy carriers will lead to a paralysis of the economy, and the consequences of the paralysis will be comparable ... to the result of an atomic bombing.” Of course, behind the development of new sanctions packages are “overseas owners”, whose main goal is “to turn Europe into a voluntary concentration camp, so that it does not squeal and does not object to the robbery committed by Washington.”

The demonization of Poland continues. This country is called the “sarcoma of Nazism” in Europe and is credited with a wish to occupy part of Ukraine. “... the Polish General Staff was instructed to formulate plans for intervention in the Ukrainian conflict, capturing the western part of Ukraine”, “Poland ... is ready to create a contingent that will enter the territory of Western Ukraine and take control of large cities, carry out the occupation, and such a scenario is being considered seriously”, - says a number of Russian political commentators and propagandists.

Also last week, the Russian media paid a lot of attention to Sweden and Finland in the context of their future accession to NATO. However, we have not recorded overly aggressive rhetoric against these countries. Following the Kremlin leader, Russian propagandists called the decision “wrong.” They composedly threatened with some “military-technical measures”, but completely ruled out new “special operations” in the two northern countries.


Russia invents military victories on Zmiinyi island and promises “pockets” in Donbass again

Recently, amidst the failures of the Russian military campaign in Ukraine, the Russian media are trying to invent vivid stories about the successes of the Russians. Last week, they wrote a lot about the heroic defence of the occupied Zmiinyi island, which Ukraine tried to recapture.

“By direct order of the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian General Staff, with the direct participation of advisers from the United States and Great Britain, planned a major provocation to seize Zmiinyi island.”

In particular, they provide fantastic figures on the equipment and the number of people who were allegedly “liquidated” by Russia during the attempts of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to recapture the island. “In the course of the operation to capture Zmiinyi island, the Armed Forces of Ukraine also lost 14 planes and helicopters and 30 drones. The Russian Armed Forces destroyed three Mi-8 helicopters with landing personnel and one Mi-24 support helicopter.” The General Staff of the Russian Federation reports almost daily on the destruction of Ukraine’s air force, although according to their previous version, everything was destroyed in the first days of the war.

Russian media explain the pallid advance of its army in the Donbass with tactics, “which allows to save the lives of our soldiers”, but still do not stop dreaming of creating “pockets” for the Ukrainian army: “after these formations are routed, the Armed Forces of Ukraine may lose from 50 to 65 thousand military personnel, and in total with Ukrainian combat losses from February 24th, the final figure for the dead and captured military personnel may approach 100 thousand people. This will be a disaster for the country’s army and for the state as a whole, and, perhaps, it is precisely the symptoms of this fiasco that they are trying to hide with rumours about the beginning of mobilization in Russia.”

Russia is trying to hide the theft of Ukrainian grain

“Washington wants to arrange a famine in Ukraine”, - this is a new cynical lie from the aggressor country’s propagandists, looting elevators and destroying food depots.

“The United States is looking for ways to export grain from Ukraine. ... Instead of real help, they are taking away the most necessary, in fact, arranging a surplus appropriation. Ukrainians themselves need grain reserves to survive until the new harvest. They are thinking how to return the money as soon as possible, arranging a famine in Ukraine,” - declared the speaker of the State Duma of Russia Vyacheslav Volodin. His words were spread by leading Russian media and manipulative garbage sites. This is an obvious lie.

Ukraine has enough food supplies for years, as Ukraine produces five times more than it consumes. However, grain exports are critical to our economy, and we are currently unable to do so through ports blocked and occupied by Russia. Commenting on Volodin’s statements, Russian disinformers, as always, distorted reality. According to them, Ukraine wants to unblock its ports because it needs something to pay for military aid. “They will have to pay with grain, with land - what they still have left,” - the Russians develop conspiracy theories.

We recorded another Russian fake on this topic: “Zelenskyy ordered to export the state reserve of grain to Poland.” Releasing several contradictory points related to the same topic into the information space may indicate the implementation of a purposeful disinformation campaign (creation of a “smoke screen”). We believe that this is how Russian disinformers tried to divert attention from the export of stolen Ukrainian grain, as Ukraine and international investigative journalists loudly stated last week.

Russian bakery products instead of American McDonald’s

Russian media have been actively spreading news that McDonald’s allegedly “thought about resuming work in Russia under a different brand.” This is not true, because the company has already announced its withdrawal from Russia and the sale of business there. That is, Russian propagandists tried to present preparations for the sale of assets as an attempt to rebrand the company.

In the midst of the final shutdown of McDonald’s, journalists wrote that ordinary Russians seem to want to replace foreign brands with domestic equivalents: “Muscovites called bakeries and snack bars the best alternative to McDonald’s that left Russia.”

Propagandists reassured the population: “any company that, in the current economic realities, wants to stop working in Russia will quickly and easily be replaced by others, while the quality of goods or services will only become higher thanks to healthy competition”, “all foreigners who have invested billions of dollars in Russia, will lose billions because of their departure.” However, they also tried to warn of new economic shocks: “It will never be «like before», it’s time to start getting used to it now.”


Also they wrote:

About mass surrenders of the Ukrainian military, because “the military and political leadership of Ukraine made a terrible mistake by sending units to the Donbass from the central and western parts of the country - Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lutsk, Rivne, and other regions. In most cases, hastily mobilized by the Kyiv regime, conscripts surrender to the Russian army after the first shots, their real combat effectiveness is practically zero.”

Stories of low-quality Western weapons were being made up again: “videos with the failed use of man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems MANPADS, including American-made ones, are found by the Russian military in cell phones of Ukrainian nationalists at the defeated positions of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. According to experts from the United States, recently the effectiveness of the use of MANPADS against the Russian Aerospace Forces in Ukraine has fallen below 10%, which is the minimum indicator in the entire history of the use of these systems.”

Fakes from the Frenchman Adrian Boque, who allegedly watched the “crimes of Azov and the Ukrainian neo-Nazis” live, were widely distributed.


We searched all materials from the Russian and occupation sites, that have been used to traditional monitoring disinformation.

The algorithm is automatically determining topics was applied to each paragraph. Among these topics (groups of similar materials) were those related to the invasion. Then we received data for each material on the site regarding mentions of a particular topic. Conclusions were built on these data and examples of paragraphs on the topic.

Sites: regnum.ru, life.ru, kommersant.ru, naspravdi.info, lenta.ru, pravda.ru, antifashist.com, c-inform.info, kafanews.com, dni.ru, sevastopol.su, newc.info, vz.ru, ruinformer.com, sobytiya.info, meridian.in.ua, newsland.com, xvesti.ru, odnarodyna.org, nefakt.info, pravdanews.info, ukraina.ru, aif.ru.

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