Connect with us
ANE Scholarship
Categories:
X

General

War in Ukraine: The emergence of a new Russian propaganda apparatus

Published

on

Share this post:

 

War in Ukraine: The emergence of a new Russian propaganda apparatus

The ID card of the Moroccan man we spoke to was displayed in the video report.

The port city of Berdyansk had been occupied by Russian troops for less than a week, but a new pro-Kremlin online media outlet had already moved in.

The company, whose name translates as Southern Front, makes and distributes pro-Vladimir Putin propaganda across YouTube, social media app Telegram, and through a website that targets areas newly under Russian control.

The Southern Front news site posted its first message on day one of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and now has several correspondents filing stories on a daily basis.

The BBC has found evidence that the site’s reporting contains falsehoods and misleading claims.

In early March, Southern Front’s correspondent was at the scene in Berdyansk. They reported that Russian soldiers had apparently thwarted an attack, and killed two Moroccan men involved. The reporter alleged the men were working as mercenaries for Ukraine. But it appears elements of the video were staged.

The two Moroccan men identified in the attack were allegedly found with their Ukrainian residency permits still on them.

The BBC tracked down one of the men implicated. According to the report he was dead, but we spoke to him on social media. He requested anonymity but says he was not aware of the Russian report and that he left Ukraine before the invasion and returned to Morocco.

Southern Front regularly posts videos containing unsubstantiated claims.

The majority of the reports claim to show “peaceful life” has been established in occupied areas. The channel often runs stories that justify Russia’s invasion.

In one video package, a correspondent reports from a library where she says she found numerous examples of books containing “Nazi symbols”. No evidence is seen on screen. The books that do appear on camera include works by contemporary Ukrainian writers about genuine historical events, such as the battle of Ilovaisk.

The Southern Front reporter claimed to find "Nazi literature" at this local library.

The Southern Front reporter claimed to find “Nazi literature” at this local library.

“Southern Front is likely to be part of the wider Russian strategy to establish control over the occupied territories of Ukraine,” says Julia Smirnova, an analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.

The company and its social media channels are portraying the Russian occupation in the southern regions of Ukraine as a “liberation”, and Russian forces as “protectors”, says Ms Smirnova.

Who’s behind Southern Front?

Southern Front’s first message on Telegram to its small audience of 25 subscribers on the day of the invasion said: “Vladimir Putin announced the start of a special operation to demilitarise and de-Nazify the territory of Ukraine!”

Three months into the occupation, its audience has now grown to 23,000.

The presenters are often seen wearing the letter "Z" - the Russian pro-war symbol.

The presenters are often seen wearing the letter “Z” – the Russian pro-war symbol.

A website was registered a day after the invasion started. Initially using a Russian server from St Petersburg, it then moved to the American provider Cloudflare, which allows a site to hide the identity of its owner.

The channel produces a regular news service fronted by young, apparently amateur presenters from annexed Crimea or self-declared separatist republics. Ukrainian news sources have been largely cut off.

One of the presenters contacted by BBC Russian said they worked for free, and didn’t know who funded the operations.

We also asked Southern Front about the ownership, but did not receive a reply.

Positive interviews with figures including the newly-installed pro-Russian Melitopol mayor feature heavily.

Positive interviews with figures including the newly-installed pro-Russian Melitopol mayor feature heavily.

But it does appear an influential organisation with ties to the Russian government is hosting Southern Front’s content.

After researching dozens of videos, we noticed some clues as to who might be behind the shadowy media organisation.

Many of them were recorded in a conference room displaying the logo of the Russia-Donbas Integration Committee, which suggests this organisation’s premises are used to film. The Crimea-based committee’s mission, listed on its website, is to build economic and humanitarian ties with the annexed Crimea and the pro-Russian separatist republics in the Donbas.

The leaders of these self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine have key roles in the organisation. The co-ordinator is Andrei Kozenko — a former Russian MP, currently under US and EU sanctions.

Southern Front’s content reaches far beyond its website.

A network of like-minded Telegram accounts covering occupied cities often publishes its material.

Collectively, these channels now have more than 80,000 subscribers, although our research shows at least one-third of these were probably paid for to artificially inflate the audience. In three channels the number of followers jumped by more than 10,000 in an hour overnight on 29 March, according to analysis of TG Stat, which tracks Telegram data.

Despite the relatively small following on social media, Southern Front has been boosted by influential accounts, including a pro-Russian blogger with more than 650,000 followers, and by pro-Kremlin media such as Moskovsky Komsomolets – a Moscow-based newspaper found in most post-Soviet countries.

But the fightback has started. Recently pro-Ukrainian activists hacked Southern Front’s website with a message about Kherson, which the region’s new rulers say they want to be annexed by Russia.

Hackers also uploaded a poster saying "Kherson is Ukraine" on to the Southern Front website.

Hackers also uploaded a poster saying “Kherson is Ukraine” on to the Southern Front website.

One of the posts warned that any individuals involved in a so-called referendum on the future of the region will be punished by Ukraine.

Despite the attack, the site was up and running again shortly afterwards.

There are worrying signs for residents if the project establishes itself. After nearby Crimea was annexed in 2014, independent media outlets were expelled, says Ms Smirnova.

“In southern Ukraine, Russian authorities are likely to follow a similar path by threatening and arresting independent journalists, silencing independent media outlets and replacing them with propaganda channels.”


Get More Stories Like This On: Facebook: @AllNaijaEntertainment, Twitter: @AllNaijaEntertainment

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Your daily horoscope for Monday, July 25, 2022
Horoscope5 mins ago

Your daily horoscope for Tuesday, August 9, 2022

BBNaija S7: Phyna, Bryann, Groovy, Ilebaye, and Khalid are up for eviction
Entertainment9 hours ago

BBNaija S7: Phyna, Bryann, Groovy, Ilebaye, and Khalid are up for eviction

Entertainment9 hours ago

“I’m sorry for all the embarrassment I’ve caused my wife, my kids, my mother and all our families,” – Two Face Idibia

How and when to view the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids meteor shower, in 2022
Technology9 hours ago

How and when to view the best meteor shower of the year, the Perseids meteor shower, in 2022

Technology10 hours ago

Apple allegedly instructs suppliers to avoid labeling shipments to China with “Made in Taiwan”

Sports10 hours ago

Super Eagles hero celebrates Premier League accomplishment as “Dream Turns Reality”

Frenkie de Jong makes Chelsea transfer decision in phone call with Todd Boehly
Sports10 hours ago

Frenkie de Jong makes Chelsea transfer decision in phone call with Todd Boehly

News12 hours ago

Police re-arrest 25 other suspects and the escapee from Jos prison

News12 hours ago

Lagos policeman shoot and murder an ex-convict while battling with armed criminals

News12 hours ago

Cleaner received an eight-month sentence for stealing a laptop bag

Dariye and Nyame recover their freedom, 4 months after Buhari's pardon
News12 hours ago

Dariye and Nyame recover their freedom, 4 months after Buhari’s pardon

Education12 hours ago

BREAKING: WAEC announces the 2022 WASSCE results

"Buga" is a victory song for Nigerian medalists
Entertainment18 hours ago

“Buga” is a victory song for Nigerian medalists

Kizz Daniel dazzles in a sold-out performance in Uganda
Entertainment18 hours ago

Kizz Daniel dazzles in a sold-out performance in Uganda

After four years of marriage, Gideon Okeke's wife is getting a divorce
Entertainment18 hours ago

After four years of marriage, Gideon Okeke’s wife is getting a divorce

Beauty's brother burns critics over disqualification: "Calm down, her script was wonderful."
Entertainment18 hours ago

BBNaija S7: Beauty’s brother burns critics over disqualification: “Calm down, her script was wonderful.”

Your daily horoscope for Monday, July 25, 2022
Horoscope24 hours ago

Your daily horoscope for Monday, August 8, 2022

BBNaija
Entertainment1 day ago

#BBNaija: Christy O, Cyph evicted

Lewandoski Pedri Gavi Barcelona vs Pumas Joan Gamper Trophy
Sports1 day ago

Deadly Barcelona Thrashed PUMAS to win trophy, Lewandoski gets debut goal

Erling Haaland Manchester City
Sports1 day ago

Reactions to Manchester City’s opening-game 2-0 victory over West Ham: “Erling Haaland is scary.”

Beauty BBNaija
Entertainment1 day ago

BBNaija S7: Beauty eliminated from reality TV show

Erik Ten Hag Manchester United vs Brighton
Sports2 days ago

Erik Ten Hag Chops First Breakfast as Man Utd Manager as Brighton Wins 2-1

Ronaldo
Sports2 days ago

Man Utd must let Ronaldo leave – Wayne Rooney

Scholarship Graduate
Education2 days ago

Australia Scholarship: Apply for Griffith University degree scholarship, 2022

Godwin Obaseki
Education2 days ago

Edo Govt To Recruit 1000 New Teachers, Train 650 Others

Airport
News2 days ago

Ebonyi Govt Laments Destruction Of Airport Fence

Isco
Sports2 days ago

Transfer: Real Madrid star, Isco to Sevilla as free agent

Neto
Sports2 days ago

Transfer: Neto joins Bournemouth from Barcelona

Kano loses one pilgrim in Saudi Arabia
News2 days ago

Kano loses one pilgrim in Saudi Arabia

Tobi Amusan wins a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and breaks a record
Sports2 days ago

Tobi Amusan wins a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games and breaks a record

News2 days ago

Deposed Emir Sanusi: “I’ll keep speaking out to rebuild Nigeria.”

Religious organizations disagree on how to pay for the Jos Main Market project
News2 days ago

Religious organizations disagree on how to pay for the Jos Main Market project

Jenkins security: The most recent plugin advisory contains flaws with unpatched XSS and CSRF
Technology2 days ago

Jenkins security: The most recent plugin advisory contains flaws with unpatched XSS and CSRF

ParseThru: Multiple Go apps have been found to have an HTTP parameter smuggling issue
Technology2 days ago

ParseThru: Multiple Go apps have been found to have an HTTP parameter smuggling issue

Director of Batgirl reveals After the movie was canceled, Marvel CEO Kevin Feige contacted him
Entertainment2 days ago

Director of Batgirl reveals After the movie was canceled, Marvel CEO Kevin Feige contacted him

Our pop queen dreams have come true with the epic Break My Soul and Vogue remix by Beyonce and Madonna
Entertainment2 days ago

Our pop queen dreams have come true with the epic Break My Soul and Vogue remix by Beyonce and Madonna

Buhari
News2 days ago

Buhari condemns killings of Nigerians and police officials in South East

News2 days ago

In Ekiti, gunmen abduct a 4-year-old boy while the father runs

News2 days ago

NDA changes the curriculum to better train cadets for asymmetrical warfare

In Everton's tight loss to Chelsea, Alex Iwobi shines for the team
Sports2 days ago

In Everton’s tight loss to Chelsea, Alex Iwobi shines for the team

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Complete Episodes)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Complete Episodes)

WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER'S WIFE TAUGHT ME by Temi Akintade _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER’S WIFE TAUGHT ME (Complete Episodes)

SADE'S HEART TALE
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] SADE’S HEART TALE (Episode 19)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Episode 07)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 01)

WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER'S WIFE TAUGHT ME by Temi Akintade _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER’S WIFE TAUGHT ME (Episode 01)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Episode 01)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Episode 03)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Episode 05)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 09)

WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER'S WIFE TAUGHT ME by Temi Akintade _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER’S WIFE TAUGHT ME (Final Episode 04)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Episode 04)

WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER'S WIFE TAUGHT ME by Temi Akintade _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER’S WIFE TAUGHT ME (Episode 02)

WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER'S WIFE TAUGHT ME by Temi Akintade _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] WHAT MY ELDER BROTHER’S WIFE TAUGHT ME (Episode 03)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Episode 06)

Daniel Bachmann has won the race to start over Super Eagles goalkeeper Maduka Okoye for Watford this season
Sports4 days ago

Revealed: Why Watford goalkeeper Maduka Okoye was not included in the team on Monday

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 04)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Episode 02)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 05)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 03)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 08)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 12)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories5 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Final Episode 09)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 06)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 02)

BBNaija S7: Amaka and Phyna bemoan the lack of condoms in the home
Entertainment5 days ago

BBNaija S7: Amaka and Phyna bemoan the lack of condoms in the home

Epic movie "Anikulapo" by Kunle Afolayan is scheduled to premiere in September
Entertainment6 days ago

Epic movie “Anikulapo” by Kunle Afolayan is scheduled to premiere in September

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 11)

THE WITCH'S DAUGHTER story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories5 days ago

[STORY] THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER (Episode 08)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 14)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 17)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 18)

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Final Episode 20)

Nkem Owoh
Entertainment5 days ago

Nkem Owoh Breaks Silence On Claims He Rejected N10 Million To Endorse Bola Tinubu For President

Nancy Isime
Entertainment6 days ago

“Nancy Isime Did Butt Enlargement Surgery” – Blessing Okoro Makes Shocking Revelation

Use your knowledge wisely
Horoscope7 days ago

Taurus: Personality qualities, star sign compatibility and Horoscope dates

Monalisa Chida claims the abductor's phone may be used to find kidnapped Nollywood actors.
Celebrity7 days ago

Monalisa Chida claims the abductor’s phone may be used to find kidnapped Nollywood actors.

Money Over Love story _ AllNaijaEntertainment
ANE Stories6 days ago

[STORY] MONEY OVER LOVE (Episode 10)

Sports7 days ago

The representatives of Victor Osimhen call a CRUNCH meeting to debate the future of Napoli.

ANE's Billboard Hots



Join "ANE sabi" clique

Don't miss a thing, get ogbonge ANE latest updates to fuel your conversation daily.