The world’s news is focused on the bravery of the Ukrainian people, but the news is seen in Russia is very different. The storyline of this invasion is being twisted by the Russian propaganda machine and misinformation is flooding the nation through state-run media that is creating a false narrative based on lies. They are actually justifying the attack and blaming the Ukrainians for the violence.
To maintain control over the story, Russia has shut down access to many websites and threatened their own media with long prison sentences if they criticize the war.
Through several watchdog groups that can monitor state news and get input from Russia’s propaganda machine, here are some of the false narratives that are being blasted across the nations.
When bombs from Russia killed Ukrainian civilians, the story the people of Russia got blamed “neo-Nazis.” While many Ukrainian people in the Mariupol region were trying to flee for their lives along the southeast coast, bombs battered the area and killed several civilians. There was supposed to be a cease-fire along that corridor so that people could leave the country.
But the people of Russia were told that Ukrainians fired on Russian troops during the cease-fire and neo-Nazis were hiding behind civilians as a human shield. This is according to the Russian state news website Tass.
Russia has been using the “neo-Nazi” theme for years against Ukraine. They have been proponents of “denazification” in the area. When apartment buildings were bombed by Russia, they claimed that neo-Nazis had put heavy weapons in the buildings.
When a nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia caught on fire, the Russians claimed that they were protecting it. According to a Kremlin statement in Tass, the Russian military had to seize the facility to keep Ukrainians and neo-Nazis from “organizing provocations fraught with catastrophic consequences.”
Ukrainian President Zelensky called what Russia did “nuclear terrorism.”
When Russia bombed a residential neighborhood, they simply said it wasn’t them, the Ukrainians did it to themselves. This was the attack made in Kharkiv in the northeast of Ukraine near the Russian border.
The Atlantic Council, an American research group, reported that Russia had without provocation bombed a residential neighborhood and killed civilians. The International Criminal Court even opened up an investigation into war crimes because of the attack. One round of bombing killed 34 civilians and injured 285 more, according to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service.
But the Russian state media ran a story that said the missiles came from Ukrainian territory. They maintained that the Ukrainian missiles had come from the Northwest and were controlled by the Ukrainian military. And the Russian defense department declared that they never attacked cities, only “military infrastructure” with “high-precision weapons.” This was reported in an article by RIA Novosti, which is a state-run news agency.
When one report featured civilians bloodied by Russian bombs, the media from the Kremlin called the civilians Ukrainian crisis actors. They were referring to a woman who was a resident of an apartment building in Chuhuiv. Alex Laurie was the journalist who captured her photo after the attack. The woman’s bandaged picture spread across the globe through the Western media.
Russian media portrayed her as a member of Ukraine’s “psychological operations unit.” They put her on a Russian website under the title “War on Fakes.” They said that the blood might be grape juice and the woman was a part of the “territorial defense.” They posted another picture that was supposed to be the woman that had a slight resemblance. But that image came from The New York Times and was taken in Kyiv, which is a seven-hour drive from Chubuiv.
Can the people of Russia really be kept in this much darkness over the long haul? Let’s hope that there are new ways to make sure Putin’s people face the reality of what he is doing.