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"Bad refugees, Ukraine's defeat, hand of West": Russia bombs Poland with fakes most intensively

Monday, 6 November 2023, 13:11
Bad refugees, Ukraine's defeat, hand of West: Russia bombs Poland with fakes most intensively
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Russian propaganda is targeting Poland with the most fake news among Western countries.

Source: Ukrinform news agency, citing Myroslava Markova, Senior Research Analyst at VoxCheck, during the presentation of a study on the spread of Russian disinformation in Europe

Quote: "Polish media were and still are the first among European countries in terms of the number of fakes spread by Russia in 2022 and 2023.


Details: Markova noted that the focus of these messages is now on the fact that Poles lack the resources to provide decent social care because "everything goes to Ukrainians".

In addition, Russian media portray Ukrainian refugees as an uncivilised force that does not respect Poles.

Furthermore, there were claims that Ukraine's defeat was apparent and predictable and that all the resources spent on the country were, in fact, a waste, so it was not worth the effort.

Slovakia ranked second among the European countries with the highest spread of Russian propaganda in 2023, with Czechia in third place, Hungary in fourth, Germany in fifth, and Italy in sixth.

The top three narratives that analysts identified back in 2022 continue to be layered and amplified by a number of false reports.

The first narrative is that the West controls Ukraine and uses it for its own purposes.

"The topic of peace talks is being pushed extremely vigorously now. Russia is supposedly putting forward numerous proposals, and Ukraine and the West are strongly rejecting them only because they want the war to go on," the VoxCheck analyst said.

The second narrative is that the actions of Ukraine and the West forced Russia to start the war. The third is that supporting Ukraine hurts the West more than it hurts Russia.

Markova said their point here is to send messages about the costs allocated to Ukraine and how unhelpful or harmful this is for the country. Some domestic audiences feel closer to their own problems, the war isn't as close to them, and narratives about how the government could spend more, for example, on the healthcare system, may resonate with them, the analyst said.

Besides it, another common narrative is that of Ukrainian refugees.

There is also a noticeable trend in Russian propaganda: existing fakes are not replaced by new ones but are layered. As an example, they used to claim that Ukraine has resold or given away Western weapons to third countries for years. Still, the narrative has now shifted to the assumption that everything transferred to Ukraine is ineffective or that the Ukrainian military cannot master it.

Markova noted that the situation with disinformation is worst in the countries where politicians themselves directly or indirectly support Russian narratives.

Quote: "This was evident in Poland in the last months before the elections, in Slovakia during the election campaigns, and in Hungary, a person with pro-Russian views has been in power for years. Consequently, even fairly high-quality media will increasingly replicate Russian propaganda narratives because they are forced or want to quote their leaders," Markiva wrote.

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