Ukraine again in the focus of disinformation
In recent weeks, the media have been widely reporting on the increasing Russian military build-up near the border with Ukraine. However, weeks before this incident, Ukraine had been the subject of Russian criticism and pro-Kremlin disinformation, and more so than usual.
This development followed Ukraine’s move to sanction three media channels owned by MP Taras Kozak, a close ally of the Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk and the leader of the “For Life” party, who has a very close and personal relationship with the Russian president. The affected channels owned by Kozak were allegedly actively and openly used as a tool of Russian propaganda and had sought to undermine the authority of the Ukrainian government. They repeatedly spread disinformation narratives about “fascist Ukraine after 2014”, widespread “Russophobia”, and Ukraine as a “failed state” or as “managed from the outside”. Moreover, several experts point out that these channels still denied Russian aggression against Ukraine and demonized the so-called Revolution of Dignity, attacked the Ukrainian language, promoted the Russian vaccine or invited pseudo-experts and pro-Russian activists and bloggers.
Partly in response to that, the Chairman of the Russian State Duma Vyacheslav Volodin claimed that Russia is the “last island of freedom,” even though the Kremlin approaches independent media at home with strong distrust. This is demonstrated, for example, by the Russian law regarding foreign agents which includes independent media and journalists, who are subject to special financial audits.