“Putin Flushed Donbass” – really?: Information War of a New Kind

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



They are working correctly, the bastards. It is not the primitive brainwashed with their blatant hatred. These ones are working more subtly…

The most primitive disinformation release is that “Russia (and Putin personally) has flushed Donbass”. But it only works on really dumb “SOS-patriots”. This primitive “Putin flushed” stopped working a year ago because the Republics are standing, nobody suppressed/flushed/or “reintegrated” them. Practice has contradicted (and continues to contradict) these stupid disinformation releases.

But there are more complex and more subtle disinformation releases. Some of them are acting in a very codified way. For example, there are several groups on social networks that are formally in their content on the side of Novorossiya/Donbass/Russia. But in the comments there, dozens of qualified bots are grazing, they are supported for months and years, perhaps even they bought unused accounts of real people), who unimpeachably spread anti-Russian disinformation.

Bots even “talk” to each other:

— Russia dropped us.

— You are so right!

— How could they?!

— Russia is ruled by oligarchs, they think only about their profits.

These bots even make money on the side. As they are paid for quantity and it is complicated and tedious to create constantly, so they write comments in the group and copy and paste it on their wall, then under the account “interlocutor” will make a repost on a new wall, it is the same text but will be paid for all three times. Profit!

If you walk through the links, you can find the entire bunch of them. Moreover, because they are grazing exclusively in a pair, which are “attached” to Facebook groups in which the Russophobic content is untwisted. This is such a rather primitive version of SMM (Social media marketing – the process of attracting traffic or attention to your brand or product through social platforms.)

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More delicate work is tearful stories about how the Russian Federal Migration Service (FMS) brutally acts, having driven refugees from Donbass (and the LDPR militias) in Ukraine.

But even there, the writers of such stories burn themselves in the little details. For example, just yesterday I saw a story about how supposedly employees of the FMS confiscated refugee’s documents in order to print on them the stamp of temporary residence permit. And then for more than a month, they wait for the documents to be sent back by post.

There are two obvious discrepancies:

— The document on temporary residence permit (RWP) is issued on a separate sheet, instead of “sealed documents” (where? in the passport of Ukraine? Driving licence? in the certificate of dementia?);

— This certificate isn’t sent by post (especially as state institutions will not send a passport or other ID by post). The maximum that you can receive is an attempted delivery notification saying that permission is obtained and you have to come to collect it. And this paper is issued under the recipient’s signature.

That is, after reading this plaintive story, you understand immediately that this anonymous “unfortunate” person who wrote this story had never passed this procedure of receiving the RWP from the FMS of Russia. And, most likely, they are sitting somewhere in Kiev or Zhitomir.

This kind of disinformation is made in order:

a) to show Ukrainians that people of Russia don’t welcome even pro-Russians (and Russians who are from Ukraine);

b) to configure Russians who support Russians against their own state.

The next stage in the information campaign is the writing of posts and comments on behalf of “Russians” (who in reality are sitting in Kiev and Chernivtsi) in the style of “Ukrainians fled in too large a number”, “These Hohol [pejorative Russian word for Ukrainians – ed] from Donbass became completely impudent”, “Stop hiding in Russia, go back home, and have your war there”. Finally, new blockbusters “Enough of feeding Donbass” and “Enough of feeding Crimea” from the authors of the State Department slogan “Stop feeding the Caucasus.” Nothing new.

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Well, it is the comments of “daughters of miners” who supposedly reacted to “Stop feeding Donbass” in the style of “We don’t want to live with such Russians in the same state”, “We returned home from Russia and will never go there again”, and “If we knew that it would be like that, we would never have voted in the referendum”, concludes our brief overview.

All such disinformation tries to give to casual readers the impression that:

a) supposedly Russians (both the authorities and ordinary people) are spitting on Donbass;

b) supposedly, all Russians hate all Ukrainians (and not only Maidowns, brainwashed, and Russophobes);

c) supposedly the people of Donbass hate the Russian government and do not feel gratitude for assistance and support;

d) supposedly Russia is not helping Donbass (and Crimea, too, haha) so all the locals are disappointed and would like to return to Ukraine (oh yeah, right now!).

It is in this way that they try to divide us Russians. It will not work.

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