This week, the International Monetary Fund finally approved the $700m disbursement to Ukraine and extended the country’s Stand-By Arrangement into 2022, marking the progress Ukraine has made implementing reforms. In the light of this, the pro-Kremlin forces pushed populistic messages to discredit the new tranche claiming that the responsibilities assumed by Ukraine will lead to skyrocketing gas tariffs for the population. However, this is a manipulation: Ukraine has pledged to take steps to increase competition in the market and simplify the process of changing gas suppliers, which should aid the exact opposite. Moreover, the IMF’s funds will help finance social programs to help vulnerable groups pay tariffs.
In recent weeks, Ukrainian intelligence and independent investigators have recorded further confirmation of Russia massing troops, increasing combat readiness in the occupied territories of Ukraine and near its borders. In this regard, another focus of pro-Russian disinformation was portraying the related concern as the government diverting attention from the “Wagnergate” scandal. The pro-Kremlin media also resorted to reiterating other narratives of Russian propaganda, such as Kyiv “preparing an offensive in Donbas”. While spreading panic indeed does not serve Ukraine’s interests, Ukraine needs to inform the world about the threat of Russia escalating its aggression against Ukrainian sovereignty.
In light of the Day of Dignity and Freedom celebration on November 21, the pro-Kremlin forces intensified disinformation against the Revolution of Dignity and the changes it brought about. Among the key narratives – portraying the occupation of Crimea and Russia’s aggression in the east of Ukraine as direct consequences of the Revolution and positioning Euromaidan as a “coup” organized by the West. By promoting this, the pro-Kremlin forces justify the aggressor’s crimes while shifting the responsibility for them to Ukraine and yet again promote the external governance narrative.