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Presidential Office should react to Kremlin’s disinformation on Ukraine’s “anandoning” Donbas, iDemocracy

Presidential Office should react to Kremlin’s disinformation on Ukraine’s “anandoning” Donbas, iDemocracy

A non-governmental organization iDemocracy has carried out a monitoring of information space within Ukraine, the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts as well as Russia and detected that militants’ and Russian media outlets broadly spread an anti-Ukrainian narrative about Ukraine’s “fencing off” Donbas at the end of June-beginning of July 2021.

«We observe a strategic propagandistic campaign aimed at shaping a stereotype among citizens of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories that our state has betrayed and abandoned them. This is a long-term strategy of the Russian propagandistic machinery to create a deep and very inert attitude towards Ukraine and ensure dominance of pro-Russian forces even in case of democratic elections»
‒ stressed founder and CEO of iDemocracy Sergii Vlashchenko.

According to iDemocracy’s research, two cases led to the promotion of this narrative, namely an interview of the President Volodymyr Zelensky for «TSN» media outlet on June 24, 2021, and a disruption of a meeting within the political working group to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on July 6, 2021.

After the President’s announced option to bring the issue about relations with the temporary occupied territories to an all-Ukrainian referendum as a last resort, i.e. in case of negotiation failure and non-compliance with the Minsk agreements on the part of the Russian Federation and its puppet regimes of so-called «Donetsk People’s Republic» («DPR») and «Luhansk People’s Republic» («LPR»), such headings as «Zelensky’s wall», «border with ORDLO», «wall», etc started to actively appear within Russian, «DPR» and «LPR» information space. A manipulative Ukrainian outlet spread also the same narrative.

A meeting of the political working group to the TCG was disrupted by the separatists on July 6, 2021. The Ukrainian delegation was forced to leave a videoconference of the political group to the TCG which was employed by representatives of so-called «DPR» and «LPR». They began to spread the messages that can be summarized as «Ukraine’s desire to fence off ORDLO». This message was disseminated by Russian mass media outlet «Ria Novosti», TASS, Sputnik, etc. This led to an information wave that Ukraine allegedly plans «to fence off» Donbas.

iDemocracy believes the spread of this narrative is aimed at shaping a negative stereotype among citizens of Donbas that Ukrainian side will betray and give up on them. In addition, another goal of the narrative is to disseminate false information that Ukraine itself does not comply with the Minsk agreements and pursues dragging out negotiations on the resolution of war in Donbas. It means that this narrative is Russian and pro-Russian propaganda which we consider as a main weapon in information warfare directed to support one side of a conflict but not on another one.

Given the above mentioned, iDemocracy recommends the Presidential Office of Ukraine and the other ministries concerned with issues of reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories take this information into account and generate a counter-message to convince Ukrainians in the temporarily occupied territories that we do not intend to betray and abandon them.

Link to the analytical material: Militants’ and Russian media promote a narrative about Ukraine's "fencing off" Donbas.

iDemocracy is a non-governmental scientific and public research and educational organization.

iDemocracy was created to be a center of expert opinion and public attention to the development of democratic and religious freedoms in Ukraine, to study the issues of public life security in all aspects of civil society and to counteract the spread of misinformation and propaganda.

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