On December 28, at 15:00, the Lviv Regional Youth Center hosted a presentation of the 2022 report of the InfoLight.UA project’s Research and Analysis Group “What Russia’s Propaganda Was Talking About: The Main Narratives”. The project is implemented by the Democracy Promotion Foundation (Ukraine) with the support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Ukraine (Germany).
The participants told the audience and the viewers watching the presentation online about the main achievements of the project team, which was launched in October 2022.
Thus, it was noted that the coverage of the project’s publications reached more than 2 million social media users. At the same time, the publications constantly and promptly refuted disinformation and the Russian Federation aimed at the Ukrainian audience. All available methods were used for communication, from the project’s website, which is an aggregator of all news and publications of the team, to pages on popular social media. We published 29 educational videos on current challenges and refuting Russian disinformation and propaganda.
The following narratives of Russian propaganda were noted at the presentation:
- “Ukrainian soldiers were thrown to the front line unarmed to die” – dissemination of false or distorted information about the course of hostilities, the state of troop supply and hyperbolization of real problems.
- “TheUkrainian government has forgotten about those in captivity” is a manipulation of the fair desire of the relatives and friends of captured soldiers to bring their loved ones home as soon as possible. It is used by Russia to demoralize the Ukrainian army and provoke mass unrest.
- “While Ukrainians are freezing/sitting without electricity, the government/oligarchs are getting rich, trading electricity…” – manipulating the difficult situation in the energy sector caused by Russia’s missile attacks. The focus is being shifted away from Russia’s hostile actions, provoking conflicts and envy of those who do not have problems with electricity supply or have much less. A separate area is the use of traditional distrust of the authorities among the population and their tendency to conspiracy theories to accuse them of “selling electricity when Ukrainians are freezing.”
- “Ukraine is selling Western weapons” is a narrative aimed mainly at a Western audience. The goal is to stop the supply of weapons to Ukraine.
- “An offensivefrom Belarus” – for at least six months, information has been thrown into the information space of Ukraine about the allegedly exact date and imminent threat of another front opening in northern Ukraine. The main goal is to divert the forces and means of the Ukrainian Defense Forces from the real areas of combat operations. An additional goal is to sow panic among Ukrainians.
Valentyn Balagura, an expert on socio-political issues at InfoLight.UA, who presented the report, emphasized that this does not mean that the attack will not take place at all. On the contrary, it is highly likely that Putin will use this opportunity as an additional chance to postpone defeat in the war. However, there are currently no objective grounds to respond to this possible threat.
The InfoLight.UA project manager, Vice President of the Democracy Assistance Foundation Yuriy Honcharenko, thanked the project partners, first of all, the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Ukraine. He also emphasized the important support of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, with which an official memorandum of cooperation has been signed. We thanked the Center for National Resistance for providing lecturers and other support.
The project partners include the Department of Youth and Sports of the Lviv Regional State Administration, the Lviv Regional Youth Center, which hosted the event, the Novyny website, and the Lviv Event Organization Workshop.
He also emphasized another important component of the project – training programs to improve media literacy and combat fakes and propaganda. Valeriy Maydanyuk, PhD in Political Science, lecturer and methodologist of the InfoLight.UA project, spoke about the content of the training programs, their features and importance.
He also presented certificates of training to the participants of the online training.
In just two months, 22 lectures and 4 workshops were held, and 196 participants took part in the training, despite the problems with communication and electricity that began almost simultaneously with the start of the training program.
Among the lecturers are such well-known experts as Dmytro Zolotukhin, Executive Director of the Institute of Post-Information Society, Mykyta KnyshCEO of HackControl, Ukrainian expert in the field of information security, Andriy Kachor, a serviceman, representative of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War, former editor-in-chief of the Vinnytsia-based information portal Vezha, Mykhailo Basarab, D. in Political Science, officer of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, co-founder of the Institute for Current Affairs, Father Mykhailo Hredilmilitary chaplain, mentor of the youth spiritual and patriotic public organization Apostolic Choir, Mykola Malukha, Director of Communications at CASE Ukraine.
It was emphasized that the main goal of the training is to prepare those who can then pass this knowledge on to others or participate in real information resistance to enemy propaganda.
Project lectures and other videos can be viewed on the project’s YouTube channel: