What were the hybrid influences in Ukraine this week? Read in our #HybridWeekly rubric:
- In the lead-up, during and after the founding summit of the Crimean Platform that Kyiv hosted on August 23, 2021, the pro-Kremlin media conducted a campaign to discredit the forum, reiterating the messages of Russian propaganda. They are meant to downplay the role of the initiative and shift the responsibility for the vast human rights abuses and other crimes Russia perpetrates in the occupied peninsula. 46 countries proved the support of the Crimean Platform by visiting the forum and signing the declaration reaffirming that Crimea is Ukraine, and the Kremlin undoubtedly feels the threat of such initiative, hence the information attacks on the Platform.
- After Ukrainian authorities imposed sanctions on one of the main pro-Kremlin websites in Ukraine Strana.ua, which is notorious for the outright pro-Russian propaganda, the pro-Kremlin forces pushed the narrative about “oppressing the freedom of speech”. The mentioned website has systematically disseminated the Kremlin’s narratives and fakes about Ukraine, e.g. the “external governance” narrative and the recent fake about the boy in the occupied territories “killed by a Ukrainian UAV” (read more on it here: Crucified Boy v.2 – How Kremlin’s Propaganda Justifies Escalation). The sanctions are aimed at protecting Ukrainian information space from Russian hybrid influences, which is crucial for the national security of Ukraine.
- Zelensky’s address to the nation on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence served as another pretext for the pro-Russian forces to push the narrative about “Russophobic” rhetoric. The President mentioned the intent to establish a new holiday – the Day of Ukrainian Nationhood on July 28, which is also a day of the Kyivan Rus’ baptism. The reaction of Russian propaganda is predictable, as the Kremlin has long been leading a large-scale campaign to appropriate this holiday, as well as to portray the historical heritage of Ukraine as its own.