The Russian Federation spreads propaganda and disinformation not only on its land, or in Ukraine, but also in Europe, America, etc.
In October 2022, VoxCheck (VoxCheck is a fact-checking partner of “Forbes Ukraine”) monitored 94 mass media from Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary and found 373 cases of disinformation about Ukraine. Most cases of disinformation were found in Polish (105), German (81), and Slovak (75) mass media. The Kremlin’s narratives were most actively promoted that Ukraine is a «terrorist state»; the Ukrainian army commits numerous war crimes against the civilian population; Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is fully justified.
What pro-Russian ideas are widespread in Germany?
Russia creates many so-called mass media around the world. These media, controlled by the Russian Federation, promote open disinformation to the population of European countries and serve as channels for the spread of pro-Russian propaganda.
When studying the German mass media, three main blocks of pro-Russian ideas can be outlined: the Ukrainian army commits war crimes against its own population, the West controls Ukraine in its own interests, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is justified.
“Ukraine is destroying its own population”
Mass media controlled by the Russian Federation promote the narrative that the Ukrainian army allegedly commits war crimes against its own citizens, while the Russian army saves them. A vivid example of an article from SNA in which prisoners of war allegedly confessed to war crimes. And other articles of this mass media report that Ukraine allegedly fired at a boarding school with weapons from NATO, a residential building was destroyed by Ukrainian artillery, and entire neighborhoods, and buses.
There is also a fake that Kyiv does not even hide that it is killing its residents but openly talks about it. That Ukrainian militants shot civilians who received Russian humanitarian aid. In the articles, you can find fragments of, allegedly, interviews with refugees.
The Russian Federation still wants to convince not only its own population but also the whole world, that it is Ukrainians who are to blame for the victims of the civilian population. But objective data refutes this propaganda. Let us recall how the Russian occupiers raped about 25 girls and women aged 14 to 24 during the occupation in the basement of a house in Bucha, Kyiv region. Or how some of the children killed in Bucha had their hands tied, and girls under the age of 10 were found to have been raped.
Russia uses this propaganda to deny the fact that Russia is killing Ukrainian civilians and destroying residential infrastructure. With these fakes, the Russian authorities want to justify their actions regarding the «protection» of the residents of Ukraine from the «Kyiv regime».
“The West controls Ukraine for its own purposes”
The second narrative promoted by the Russian Federation is that the West uses Ukraine for its own purposes. Numerous articles report that the conflict in Ukraine is an alleged war between NATO, the European Union, and the United States against Russia. They spread the idea that the alleged “collective West” wants to start the Third World War. NATO countries violated the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. EU foreign ministers are training 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers for the war against Russia. Allegedly, concern for Ukraine is a cynical geopolitical game aimed at confronting and subduing Russia.
“Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is justified”
Russia wants to give the impression that all military actions directed at Ukraine are completely justified. German media controlled by the Russian Federation write that Ukraine is a Nazi anti-Russian state artificially established by the USA in order to control Russia, and that Donbas and Crimea are Russian territory. Donbas is suffering from “Ukrainian neo-Nazis”, and the people of Crimea are asking for reunification with Russia.
Fakes were also revealed that Russia has never used the supply of natural gas and oil as a political weapon, as it is today in the European Union.
There is misinformation that supposedly all the sanctions imposed on Russia by the West and the EU do not work but on the contrary help the country to develop. And at this time, the EU countries are suffering and collapsing because of this. Inflation is rising, the standard of living in Europe is falling, and Russia is prospering. And in order for Germany to function as before, it is necessary to cooperate with the Russian Federation.
Does this political agenda really affect the Germans?
Yes, and powerfully. Since the beginning of the Russian war, more and more people in Germany believe in Kremlin propaganda. This is evidenced by research data of the non-profit Center for Monitoring, Analysis and Strategy (CeMAS).
- 40% of respondents fully or partially agreed with the statement that the Russian war of aggression was Russia’s inevitable reaction to NATO’s provocation.
- 44% are completely or partially convinced that Putin is taking measures against the «world elite» who are «pulling the strings behind the scenes.»
- 14% fully agreed with the fact that Ukraine «historically had no territorial claims» and «actually was a part of Russia.» About a fifth of the respondents believe that this is so.
- 9%, the number of those who fully believe that the war was «necessary» «to eliminate the fascist government there» has almost doubled. The authors of the study write that Russia has been «building the narrative that fascists rule Ukraine for years.»
The population of East Germany believes more in Russian conspiracy theories about the war in Ukraine. They more often agreed with such statements than residents of West Germany.
- Approximately every third respondent in East Germany is completely convinced of the statements that justify Russia’s aggressive war with NATO provocations. 59% fully or partially agree.
Russia attacks in the information field not only in Ukraine and the Russian Federation, but also throughout the world. The Kremlin wants to change the point of view of Europeans and turn them against Ukraine. Russian propaganda forces us to think in accordance with the interests and goals of the ruling elite. The goal is not to convince, as in classical propaganda, but to make the information field «dirty» so that no one trusts anyone. When the information field filled with face news, all that remains are fears, panic and apathy.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu himself called the mass media of the Russian Federation «Another type of the Armed Forces.» Be careful and check all information on the Internet and use simple and free resources for this.