Putin’s Glorification and NATO Attack. Russian Media Monitoring for June 13th-19th
Russian disinformers continue to cover every third piece of news about the war and its consequences for Russia. And we 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 almost 22 thousand news from the Russian state media and manipulative websites that are purposely spreading Russian disinformation.
Western weapons kill civilians in Donbas
Last week, the Russian media actively wrote about the successes of the Russian army in Donbas: “The militants blocked at the «Azot» plant in Sievierodonetsk are signaling that they are ready for negotiations.” The inability to completely capture Sievierodonetsk was explained by resistance at the gunpoints of “anti-retreat forces.”
They also said that Western weapons for Ukraine did not affect the pace of the war: “According to him, foreign artillery supplied to Ukraine has no effect on the front-line situation, but only poses danger to the civilian population,” “stocks for helping the «independent» [Ukraine] are already running out. What managed to arrive was largely destroyed by the Russian and allied (pay attention to this word, we wonder which allies Russia means - ed.) troops, and the Ukrainians themselves have no military production.” They argued that Ukraine needed Western weapons only to strike at the people of Donbas: “Zelenskyy uses French self-propelled howitzers Caesar to bomb civilians in Donetsk.”
Horror stories about the inability of the Ukrainian military to master new weapons (such as drones) and that Western aid would fall into the wrong hands continued to spread: “The US military fear that the Ukrainians simply won’t be able to handle them – and the drones are highly likely to either end up on the black market or become trophies of the Russian army.”
“Withdrawal” of the independence of unfriendly states to Russia
We are already accustomed to the Russian media writing a lot about NATO and about the bloc’s threats to Russia’s existence. This news has become a staple for Russian consumers of information. Russia justifies its war against Ukraine by NATO activities because “Russia was patient even too much. It was provoked and insulted for a very long time”, “the short-sighted policy turned out to be another consequence for the collective West.”
Neighbouring countries’ entry into NATO is seen as a betrayal of Russia by partners (as they for some reason call Finland in this case), and the news often speaks of obvious losses for them. For example, they already promised collapse in the economic sphere for Finland: “Finns without wood, without Russian electricity, without energy resources, but in NATO! No, save the alliance soon. As long as it exists, Europe will be impoverished.”
NATO and Western special services are everywhere, and they actively spoil the lives of Russians, even on social networks: “Earlier, the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, said that Western special services are hiding behind the avatars of girls on the Instagram social network ... Zakharova said that Western agents are checking people who like Russian-supported posts.”
At the same time, there are military threats to NATO countries in the Baltic direction. Last week, journalists actively circulated statements by the State Duma deputy, author of the legislative initiative on the non-recognition of Lithuania’s independence Yevgeny Fyodorov, that Russia could liquidate or legally play back the existence of independent states that emerged during the collapse of the Soviet Union: “We just started with Lithuania. And it is clear why: Lithuania is more dangerous for the Russian Federation in terms of the situation related to the Kaliningrad region, and in the confrontation with NATO and the United States. Therefore, Lithuania is more important now, but this does not mean that we will stop there.”
And Speaker of Duma Vyacheslav Volodin threatened to liquidate the existence of Poland and Europe in response to the words of Polish politician Radosław Sikorski on NATO’s right “to give Ukraine nuclear warheads so that it can defend its independence: «He does not think about the future of either Ukraine or Poland. If his proposals are implemented, these countries, or rather Europe, will cease to exist».”
Putin is threatening everyone again
Last week, one of the central topics of Russian propaganda was commenting on Putin’s speech at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. The number of mentions of this event even exceeded the intensity of the discussion of hostilities and the “Western threat” in the Russian media. Putin’s speech lasted more than an hour. It was filled with faultfinding of the United States and the European Union, and its main listeners were the President of Kazakhstan, the leaders of the self-proclaimed “Luhansk / Donetsk People’s Republics”, and a delegation from the Afghan Taliban.
Russian propagandists called Putin’s speech “large-scale”, “historical”, and also admired “deep analysis of the world economy and all its current processes.” Some of them even felt the “psychotherapeutic effect” of Putin’s “tranquility” and “benevolence”. Putin quoted conspiracy theories about the “golden billion”, threatened the notional West that “it won’t be like before anymore”, and called for the strengthening of Russia’s “independence” and “sovereignty”.
“There is no way back… Russia will have to turn to the domestic market, and new national liberation movements of many peoples are waiting for the world” - Russian pseudo-experts optimistically summed up his speech.
They also wrote:
They were outraged by the exit of Coca-Cola from the Russian market: “All these are just big strokes to the immoral portrait of a huge commercial corporation against which many other accusations were made. The departure from Russia, which Coca-Cola has now announced, is not really related to caring for reputation - because this reputation simply does not exist in reality. American business is following the instructions of its own government to harm its competitors. And this is the only morality that modern capitalism obediently follows.”
Once again, the EU was daunted by catastrophes due to the abandonment of Russian energy, and also they promoted conspiracy theories that Europe is going to rob poorer countries in the gas market: “In order to meet European demand, it will be necessary to attract gas from other markets, mainly from Asia. As a result, Europe is already buying LNG destined for developing countries that cannot compete on price.”
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.