The war in Ukraine, sovereigntist rhetoric and conspiracy theories regarding the so-called sanitary dictatorship were the topics of scores of disinformation narratives and fake news published in Romania in 2022. They were promoted by/on various media outlets (România liberă, Național, Activenews, GoldFM, gândește.org etc.) as well as on social media by controversial figures such as Sorin Roșca Stănescu, Cosmin Gușă, Diana Șoșoacă and Adrian Severin.
The war launched by Russia in Ukraine also led to an intensification of the use of propaganda materials, fake news and disinformation targeting the Republic of Moldova. The goal was to discredit the West and undermine the values it promotes, but also to blame the pro-European government for the economic and social issues initially triggered by the Covid pandemic, then by the war.
Classical disinformation themes and fake news were increasingly replaced with war propaganda as an instrument of publicizing Moscow’s false narratives. The purpose of these narratives, irrespective of how they were presented to audiences, was to manipulate public opinion, to legitimize Russia’s actions, to conceal war crimes and atrocities committed in Ukrainian settlements, to shatter the Ukrainians’ morale and fighting spirit, as well as to spread a controlled form of chaos in the proximity of ex-Soviet space.
According to a propaganda narrative carried by the pro-Kremlin media, German society is outraged by the EU's decision to provide financial assistance to Kyiv in the context of the war, with such discontent reflected in the pages of national newspapers. In reality, only a few comments from Die Welt newspaper were selected and presented as the opinion of all Germans. Also, the news translated into Russian was intentionally misrepresented.
The losses sustained by Ukraine’s army are so huge, that Ukrainian pupils are forced to donate blood for the servicemen, according to a propaganda narrative disseminated by the Russian media. In fact, underage children are forbidden from donating blood in Ukraine, and the authors of this false narrative made other errors that clearly prove the story was fabricated.
The United States and its Western allies have been arming Ukraine since 2014 in order for it to start a war with Russia, writes the Russian press, which resumes, in another form, the narrative according to which the West and Ukraine are responsible for the war. In reality, Ukraine was invaded by Russia, and the provision of arms to Kyiv was a reaction to Russia’s aggression.
As pro-Europeans in Sofia are confident that Bulgaria will switch to the Euro in 2024 pro-Russian parties claim the adoption of the EU single currency will only bring economic instability. Debates and heated exchanges on this topic might become part of the political landscape in the next two years. Disinformation is bound to be part of the picture.
Russia is careful when bombing Ukrainian infrastructure because it knows this brotherly people does not support the neo-Nazis in power, reads a false propaganda narrative published by Russian media. The article quotes a controversial American political theorist, known for spreading countless conspiracy theories and for his enthusiastic support of Vladimir Putin.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has displaced a huge number of Ukrainian refugees. Millions of people fled Ukraine, heading to other European countries, although many chose to relocate to some of the country’s safer areas. Russia has been trying to turn this crisis to its advantage. In EU countries, it has been promoting false narratives designed to generate public hostility towards Ukrainian refugees. In the case of Ukrainians relocated at national level, Russian propaganda sought to focus on fueling public unrest and internal tensions.
Belarus and Russia are forced to create a joint military group to defend themselves against a potential NATO aggression, fascist provocations by Poland and terrorist actions by Ukraine, according to propaganda narratives carried by the two countries’ media. In reality, Belarus is not targeted by any foreign power, but it has allowed Russia to use its territory for the aggression against Ukraine.
The unemployed in Ukraine will be sent to the front, according to a false narrative disseminated by Russian state media. In reality, the government in Kyiv wants to attract people who have lost their jobs into the process of rebuilding the Ukrainian infrastructure, part of a project symbolically called the “Recovery Army”.
Alex Jones, one of the best known American conspiracy theorists, was sentenced to pay nearly 1 billion USD after claiming for years the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting never actually took place and was actually staged. The sentence represents a landmark for combating the increasingly toxic phenomenon of fake news. The battle might have been won, but the war wages on.
A general in Kyiv has announced that the Ukrainian army has lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers in the war with Russia, according to a propaganda narrative launched by the pro-Kremlin media to sow panic in Ukrainian society and discourage resistance. In reality, General Sergey Krivonos spoke of civilian casualties as a result of Russia's war against Ukraine.
After Vladimir Putin decreed the partial military mobilization, Russian state media launched a series of false narratives justifying the decision. Partial mobilization is presented as a step towards de-escalation, a measure necessary for diplomatic dialogue and the prevention of a nuclear disaster or a war on Russian territory.
The Russian army is not responsible for the Izium massacre, which was framed by the West or represents an act of provocation from Kyiv, which is killing Russian speakers in the Kharkiv region, a new Russian propaganda narrative reads. The narrative was launched after the Ukrainian army discovered mass graves in the Izium area with the remains of hundreds of people, some appearing to have been the victims of swift executions, as well as the rooms where civilians were tortured.
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry said it no longer trusts its Western partners, who don’t want peace in Ukraine, reads a propaganda narrative published by the Russian state media. Oleksii Reznikov’s statement was taken out of context. The Ukrainian official referred to a prospective multilateral peace agreement once Russia has surrendered and a constructive dialogue with the West.
The Polish Defense Ministry announced it would launch a war against Russia within the next 10 years, according to a propaganda narrative disseminated by the Russian government media. In fact, Poland’s Government adopted an endowment program also designed to increase the number of troops in the context of the war in Ukraine possibly spilling over into Poland’s territory.
Residents of the Zaporizhzhia region are waiting for Russia to liberate the cities of Mykolaiv, Kharkiv and Odesa, which have been oppressed by Ukrainian Nazis for the past decades, the pro-Kremlin media say. In fact, all these localities have been the target of Russian aggression and bombing, and the majority of Ukrainians – including the inhabitants of the Zaporizhzhia region – consider Russia an enemy.
According to the pro-Kremlin media, experts with the International Atomic Energy Agency have allegedly praised the Russian army for defending the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from Ukrainian bombing. In reality, there is no report or statement by IAEA experts expressing this point of view anywhere, the source cited being, in fact, the pro-Russian separatist leader Yevhen Balytskyi.
The former US chief epidemiologist has publicly admitted that US laboratories in Ukraine were involved in the production of the coronavirus, according to media in Russia and in the self-proclaimed Luhansk republic. The so-called news is a fabrication: there is no statement by Anthony Fauci regarding the production of viruses or other biological weapons in Ukraine.
European Union Member States have created centers for training mercenaries and terrorists who will kill civilians in Donbas, reads a recent propaganda narrative promoted by the Russian government media. In fact, the EU doesn’t have any such centers on its territory. European Union Member States have repeatedly condemned international terrorism and have called on Russia to stop its armed aggression against Ukraine.
Due to Kyiv’s propaganda efforts in the last eight years, Ukrainians fail to understand that the Russian soldiers are there to liberate them, and mistakenly believe Russia is the occupier, according to false narratives promoted by Kremlin-linked media. In fact, Russia launched a conquest war, provoking the death of thousands of people and wide-reaching destruction.
The United States wants a nuclear disaster to happen at the Zaporizhzhia NPP in order to wipe out any evidence of their biological weapons labs, reads a false narrative disseminated by the Russian government media. In fact, no Western state wants to see a nuclear incident, all the more so as it might have a powerful global impact, whereas the laboratories manufacturing biological weapons in Ukraine are a fabrication of Russian propaganda.
EU Member States will ask Ukraine to surrender to Russia and will gradually side with Moscow, according to a false narrative widely disseminated by the Russian media, which references a text published in Foreign Affairs by the former adviser to the head of European diplomacy. In fact, the words of the Italian expert are taken out of context, and the article where she supports Ukraine is misrepresented as pro-Russian.
According to a false narrative carried by the Russian state media, Ukraine's crime rate has tripled because of Kiev's decision to arm the population. In reality, against the background of the country's depopulation and traffic restrictions, the crime rate has dropped. Moreover, not the entire population has been armed, only some volunteer units have been set up.
After the Ukrainian authorities fled Kherson, the new military-civilian administration had to take over power to annex the region to Russia and protect the Ukrainian language and culture, the Russian press writes, citing the self-proclaimed leader Kirill Stremousov. In reality, the authorities in Kherson were evacuated following the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army, which bombards Ukrainian territories daily.
The agreement signed in Istanbul regarding the export of Ukrainian grain means the UN and Turkey recognize Russia’s right to control Ukraine’s maritime ports, according to propaganda narratives disseminated by the Russian media. In fact, the agreements signed in Istanbul do not include any such provisions, and Moscow has violated the agreements by bombing the port of Odessa.
Ukraine could cause a nuclear disaster if it keeps bombing the Zaporizhzhia power plant as ordered by the US, according to a propaganda narrative released by Russia's Foreign Ministry and distributed by the state media. In reality, Russia is placing weapons and military equipment on the plant’s site, endangering the nuclear security of Europe.
At least 15 Ukrainian generals were killed following a single tactical airstrike, the Russian government media writes. According to the narrative, the Russian missile allegedly hit the House of Officers in downtown Vinnytsia, just as the Ukrainian generals were holding a briefing on the counter-offensive in Donbas. In fact, the airstrike killed 23 civilians, including children. The House of Officers center, which is not a military objective, was supposed to host a charity concert.
The Ukrainian region of Zaporizhzhia has established international contacts with at least 15 states, including EU members, writes the Russian state press, citing a separatist leader from Ukraine. In reality, EU states do not recognize Russia's occupation bodies in Ukraine as legitimate bodies of power, and personal sanctions have been introduced against Russian collaborators in Zaporizhzhia.
The Russian independent press reports that Russian doctors, teachers, civil servants and builders are being sent to the occupied territories of Ukraine to prepare “the union with Russia”. Meanwhile, Western sanctions are hitting the Russian economy and the well-being of the population, experts say. President Putin, however, continues to blackmail Europe with cold in the winter and famine.
The leadership of the Kharkiv Oblast will support the inhabitants who have called in rather large numbers for the unification with the Russian Federation, the Russian government media writes. In fact, over 85% of the inhabitants of Eastern Ukraine have condemned the Russian aggression, and the people cited by Moscow media do not represent the legitimate authorities of Ukraine.