Russian media aims to sow destabilization and discord ahead of elections in Ukraine

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An election campaign officially begins in Ukraine on the 31st of December. The Russian media are all set to penetrate Ukraine’s information space to sow destabilization and discord, also keeping in mind the need to beef up certain attitudes in Russia toward a neighboring state, which Kremlin claims has gone rogue, writes Alexander Morozov, a researcher at University Karlovy, Prague, for Delfi.lt, UNIAN reports.

The Kremlin’s strategic interest lies in any form of destabilization, which would ultimately nullify the political results of the Revolution of Dignity, the author wrote for Delfi.lt. The major stream of negative news about Ukraine flows from large media hubs: Izvestia Newsroom, producing information for the entire political bloc of Kovalchuk Brothers’ National Media Group; FAN and Yevgeny Prigozhin’s group of websites; Russia Today, RIA, and Sputnik; Channel 1, Rossiya TV channel; a large group of “pre-Donbas” resources, including Regnum, Tsargrad, Svobodnaya Pressa, Vzglyad.ru and others, according to Morozov.

It should be emphasized that the small number of readers of each individual resource plays no role in assessing the scale of general penetration. The thing is that the system has been created to promote certain news and headlines through news generators and email services. The over-exaggerated picture of “economic disaster” in Ukraine works well for the Russian audience (“it’s even worse there, in Ukraine!”), while “fascism in Ukraine” is designed to shift the assessment of news consumers from the Kremlin’s own ideology. The goal is to exploit the plot of the election campaign today and the first half of 2019 – before the elections to the Rada – to create a “failed state” perception along three lines: the failure of Ukraine’s economic policy, “religious war”, and promotion of neo-Nazism.

The Kremlin is shackled by sanctions and its own continuously deteriorating position in the international arena. But Russia has a powerful media machine able to pump across Eastern and Central Europe on a daily basis a flow of visual news aimed at delegitimizing Ukrainian democracy, its institutions, and its ability to adapt to European policy standards. The normalized atmosphere of presidential elections, and then the elections to the Rada, is of great importance not only for Ukraine, but also for the entire region and for all countries of the post-Soviet transit.

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