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How Russian propaganda works on the example of the publication of “internal trust ratings” in authoritative foreign media

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On November 28, 2023, at approximately 20:00, The Economist publishes an article titled “Russia is poised to take advantage of political splits in Ukraine” (“Russia is poised to take advantage of political splits in Ukraine”).

The first time http://web.archive.org/ saw the publication was at 20:41.

In Ukraine, thanks to the artificial intelligence-based monitoring system that our team works with, the article was published in translation by journalist Yuriy Nikolov at 10:50 p.m., with his own comments and assessments.

At 23:03, former government official Volodymyr Omelyan shared his post, and at 23:38, the pro-Russian Telegram channel Politika Strany published his assessment and version of the article.

Further distribution came from these two sources. It was distributed both on Facebook, mostly with reference to Yuriy Nikolov, and in pro-Russian publics of telegram channels. The text of Strana was published separately in Ukrainian by fugitive blogger Myroslav Oleshko, who was put on the SBU’s wanted list.

Until the morning of November 29, this narrative was actively spread by Russian publics.

Then, at 9:50 a.m., the ZeRada Telegram channel, which is pro-Russian, published another “sociology” with a reference to USAID: “We have a closed November sociology, which was commissioned by the Americans (USAID) and conducted in Ukraine. It has a very interesting questionnaire (wording of questions) that reveals the intent of the research objectives.”

Subsequently, these two sources were distributed separately and, in the Russian “segment,” together.

This was also accompanied by “analytics” in which the poisoning of Kirill Budanov’s wife was interpreted as a means of “shifting emphasis” and “buying time” in connection with the failure of the Armed Forces and the fall in ratings.

After that, the narrative was also launched that the publication in The Economist was “another step by the West to remove Zelenskyy and put Zaluzhnyy or Budanov in his place” (we wrote about the first attempt to plant the “military coup on the instructions of the United States” here ).

At the time of publication, the narrative is still being actively disseminated.

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