Social media offers Russia a broad range of propaganda platforms.
From websites, blogs, YouTube videos, Twitter, Face Book and many Russian social media outlets, there’s a myriad of ways to pump out disinformation. But despite this variety, the basic rule of thumb remains the same. To have an audience engage with your propaganda, your content must first grab their attention.
To solve this attention-grabbing conundrum, along with fake headlines, Russia’s propaganda machine makes extensive use of unrelated and previously published imagery. These are either falsely reported as directly relating to a current event or viewers are led to believe they do so.
When it comes to the Ukrainian army, a simple Google image search reveals the overwhelming majority of pictures in articles/videos published by Russia’s Donetsk & Luhansk republics in Ukraine, are totally unrelated and most certainly not new. Amusingly, there is a disinformation downside to their searching out eye-catching pictures. This being the repeated use of imagery portraying troops and hardware from foreign countries, including the Russian army.
Right on cue, the above image is a perfect example.
We’ve got a colourful and dramatic picture showing something having been fired at. As seen below, on Russian VK social media, this pic was posted by Russia’s Donetsk people’s republic (DPR) in Ukraine. On Sept 29th 2019, they claimed Russia’s Luhansk republic shot down a Ukrainian army UAV. Note the image was clicked on 4,500 times, meaning a good many of them will naturally assume the image directly relates to the post.
The image is actually from 2010. At a military base outside the Russian town of Yeysk on the Azov Sea, via the below article, Russian soldiers can be seen training using various anti-aircraft systems. The irony of them using a pic showing Russian soldiers to represent Russia’s forces soldiers in Ukraine, is not lost on anyone.
Link to the below article.
My Google image search results.
Sticking with all things airborne.
Over the last few months, we’ve seen an explosion of fake news stories about Ukrainian army using UAV to deliberately bomb civilians. Oct 6th on the Donetsk republic website, they posted yet another article claiming “DPR forces shot down a Ukrainian UAV that corrected fire in residential areas…” And to accompany it, we get a nice clear pic of a UAV. Note there is no text indicating this is an archive image.
Seen below, back in Feb 2019, they also claimed to have shot down this same UAV.
And they even posted a YouTube video proving it (10.09 in).
Screen grab from video.
The same UAV make, bullet hole damage and missing rotor blades, as seen in the OCT 6th DPR website article.