As part of the Regional Initiative in Combating Disinformation “Western Balkans Anti-Disinformation Hub: Exposing Malign Influences through Watchdog Journalism”, we present you a new analysis of fake news and disinformation narratives.
The Ukrainian Media Narrative: American Hegemony is Definitely Perishing
We have another news ahead of us that talks about the strategic, military, intellectual and moral domination and superiority of Russia against the West and the United States of America, which, in this news as well, are presented as morally corrupt, hypocritical and inferior actors.
The news begins by listing some of the world’s biggest crises from the end of the last century until today, stating that they are all the product of the lies of the United States of America. Further, it is stated that “The entire Western world lives in the “Matrix”, a world created by propaganda. The vast majority of people in the West have no idea about the reality they live in. This makes them powerless and completely incapable of protecting their freedom. They are easy prey for the tyranny that is spreading rapidly around them.” When we talk about degrees of citizens’ freedom, according to the “Freedom House” report, which ranks the degrees of freedom in the countries of the world from 0 to 100, where 0 is the lowest and 100 the highest score of freedom, it is the Western countries that are ranked with the highest score (USA 83, France 89, Germany 94), while on the other hand, the degree of political rights and civil liberties in China is rated 9, and in Russia 19.
The author of the news then states that the Western media are spreading a story about the history of Ukraine that “has nothing to do with reality” and that “the Ukrainian narrative has perished and there will be no return”, however, the text does not tell us which story and narrative it is about, nor does it direct us to the source where we could find that out.
Russian aggression against Ukraine is still relativized with the phrase “Russian military intervention”. “Today, the Russian military intervention refers to the Donbass region in eastern and southern Ukraine. It was inhabited by Russians and was part of Russia until the Soviet leadership transferred it, like Crimea, to Ukraine for its own reasons. When the US overthrew the democratically elected Ukrainian government and took control of Ukraine in 2014, majority of Crimean and Donbass Russians voted for reunification with Russia. The Kremlin accepted Crimea, but not Donbass.”
This paragraph alone contains a number of very controversial information and data. Although it is stated that the Donbass region was inhabited by Russians, it is true that it was inhabited by a Russian-speaking population, but its ethnicity is questionable. Also, the US did not overthrow the Ukrainian government in 2014, rather the people did. The part that says that “Crimean and Donbass Russians voted for reunification with Russia” is also debatable because a referendum was held in Crimea, but only after unmarked Russian forces took control of that territory, while in Donbass, that referendum happened during the war situation and not in the entire territory, so those results are also very questionable.
The news further conveys that “Neo-Nazi remnants in western Ukraine, whose ancestors fought on Hitler’s side against Russia in World War II, began abusing the Russian population in the Donbass region in the east” while “the American puppet government in Kiev, for example, banned the use of the Russian language” which led to a defensive response in the form of the declaration of independence of Donetsk and the Luhansk Republic. Even if there were neo-Nazi groups fighting on the side of Ukraine in Donbass, first of all, there was an incursion of pro-Russian forces into Donbass, which started the conflict, before that there was no abuse of the Russian population as the news reports. As we have already explained, the USA did not run this government, nor was the Russian language banned, and even the show hosted by the current president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, was in Russian.
“The Russian military intervention in Ukraine is aimed at Ukrainian and neo-Nazi forces in Donbass. This is the reason for Putin’s slow war, which excludes the use of heavy weapons in civilian areas.” The information provided by the UN is that only in the first fifteen days of the war, kindergartens, schools and hospitals were shelled and that cluster bombs were used in several populated areas, while since the beginning of the war, 4,335 civilian casualties have been recorded, of which 1,842 people were killed, while 2,493 were injured.
According to the author of this news, it is American arrogance, the desire to destroy everything around itself, globalism, and it is Russia’s determination to survive and exist as a sovereign nation that must defend itself against American destructive hegemony. The dominant narrative is that Russia is a morally and value-wise superior actor compared to the West, which is morally corrupt and identified with the devil, and the hate speech goes farther stating that the West and the Americans are “fools, idiots, arrogant globalists and hegemons”.
“The Russian government is too gullible to succeed in negotiations. The West has no moral dilemmas. The Russians don’t know how to negotiate with Satan… Fools also fail to understand that the American empire is coming to an end… American hubris created an arrogance that could not prevail over Russian, Chinese and Indian determination to exist as sovereign nations. American globalism, Washington’s method of exercising hegemony, is collapsing. The idiots in Washington have single-handedly brought down their ruling system with senseless sanctions that are driving the East out of the dollar system.”
This kind of narrative is dominant on numerous portals and “mainstream” media in Serbia, and the worrying trend is that a large part of the population uncritically takes and accepts this kind of narrative, using it and spreading it later in their social media interactions, as our monthly narrative analysis of these comments showed.
Author: Jovana Bogosavljević