Twenty percent of news in foreign media about Ukraine use, as a source of information, media controlled by the Kremlin, such as Sputnik or RIA Novosti, emphasizes the Co-Founder and Coordinator of Countering Disinformation Department at UA PR Army, Nina Kulchevich.
“To demonstrate the capability of Russia’s disinformation force, we also investigated data, for example 20 percent of foreign media news about Ukraine use Kremlin-controlled media outlets such as Sputnik or RIA Novosti as a source of information,” says Kulchevich for The Geopost.
According to her, within a month there were 7,000 articles with Russian disinformation, manipulations and clichés.
“One year after the large-scale Russian invasion, the share of the media that spreads disinformation remains almost unchanged, and in just one month before January we had 7 thousand articles with Russian disinformation, manipulation and clichés, continuous efforts with powerful organizations to improve the situation for Russia”, she says.
It demands that the media and journalists from the Balkans cooperate with those independent Ukrainian media.
“The main message is that we should cooperate with independent Ukrainian media such as the Media Center Ukraine organization, there are communicators who can help you check the facts, we also have analytical centers that also help to check the facts,” Kulchevich asks.
The Geopost: How does Russian disinformation functions in Ukraine?
I think that their methods are rather primitive, they are working with the same narratives but also they involve a lot of money in this and because of money it happens, like for example, in Ukraine they started under our investigation, so, there are such organizations that post index attack, they have studied the situation since 2004, after the first revocation of Ukraine happened they started influencing with disinformation and misinformation working with civil society to influence on the results, to get power, to control.
As always, it was easier to control east region because it’s closer to borders and it is for them a strategic area. And how they were doing it, before the war they had connections, ties with political parties that caused opposition bloc, the name was “Party of Regions” and it was actually money of Russian financial group that were invested in media. They created such kind of network of media that were selling people the narratives, telling, showing different bad scenes what is happening with economy under some reforms that were going, against joining European Union, the same narratives that we see now against NATO, the same narratives that they used in many countries in Balkans also, that Russia wants to protect itself and so on.
They also were spreading narratives against US through these media. After the war started all these media channels were closed because before, because of democracy and liberal principles of our society we could not close the media, but, the more the talks about the war were, the more were understanding that these media were not working right.
After the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, it was not really clear scene that these media were working for Russia or doing something bad, because it was looking like just opposition, just as a point of view that is totally normal for democratic society and a right.
Only in November 2021 it was realized that these media should be closed because most of them were under the ownership of Medvedev and you know who is he and that is why it was final decision.
After the war started, as they lost these media channels, they still had politicians that were in opposition bloc and these politicians started doing video recording chats in Telegram and mostly now Telegram is used as a main source of disinformation and propaganda, also they use Facebook for making “bot” network in which they are spreading definite messages and narratives about the Kyiv and situation in Ukraine and messages about peace, that we need peace in any condition.
The Geopost: Can you tell us about Russian influence in Europe and cases in which Russia uses disinformation in Europe?
Speaking about Europe, Russia was officially recognized by the European external action services as the main disinformation source of this year. To demonstrate the skill of Russia’s disinformation force we had even data investigation, for example 20% of articles in foreign media about Ukraine use Kremlin controlled media like Sputnik or RIA Novosti as informational source. But, by doing this, foreign media unfortunately amplify mainly narratives, more than narratives for so called Russian media with no connections to journalists but proven records of spreading genocidal rhetoric. They use lies, they don’t use any independent facts, some journalism already lost meaning there.
One year after the full scale Russian invasion, the share of the media spreading disinformation remains almost unchanged and only within a month before January we had seven thousand articles with disinformation, manipulation and Russian clichés, continuous efforts with vigorous organizations to improve the situation for Russia.
It’s only during one month these seven thousand articles and according to statistics it’s 5 percent of 50 main tier 1 media use these narratives and without any contexts, so, they don’t explain that it is propaganda or something bad, they just use it.
This is the first understandable way and the second way also, for Balkans for example, what we investigated is that they use Facebook, because Facebook is more spread in these countries and they use Google advertising to spread messages, narratives about Azov and Nazi, because many media in Balkans can’t come to Ukraine, they just use some narratives that were given by RIA Novosti or Russian sources or also by Reuters.
Usually, Russia uses Reuters paid content to start spreading some kind of narratives, we have a lot of evidence, it’s a pity but they really have advertising their articles and Reuters let them do it. I can’t say that Reuters is bad, but these are the facts and after these we had cases about the referendum, the so called referendum. Reuters was the first one that wrote the number, percentage of people who were “voting” as they wrote and it was the main message at the beginning of the news that definitely was misinformation. During one hour it spread in 200 different small media and then after they changed the main message at the beginning, but already all these media printed this and it was out spreading and sharing more and more.
The Geopost: What is your message about Balkan media, especially in here in Kosovo, how to fight Russian disinformation and propaganda?
The main message is we need to cooperate with Ukrainian independent media such as our organization “Media Center Ukraine”, there are communicators who can help you checking the facts, also we have analytical centers that helps also to check the facts.
For example “Stop Fakes”, it’s an international organization based in Ukraine but they work in different countries, Balkans also, where you can come to and check or ask them to help to reach someone to have proofs and evidence and PR Army also helps with it very fast, in an hour we can find somebody from eyewitnesses and organize you translations. /The Geopost/