Russian Disinformation Campaign Blames Ukraine for Shooting of Slovakian Prime Minister - Latest Global News

Russian Disinformation Campaign Blames Ukraine for Shooting of Slovakian Prime Minister

Russia Today editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan went further in a comment on her Telegram channel, blaming Ukraine for the attack: “The Slovak Prime Minister is injured. The one who said that the war started because of the rampant Ukrainian neo-Nazis and Putin had no other choice. That’s how they work.”

Logically, a company that tracks disinformation campaigns examined more than 100 Russian-language pro-Kremlin Telegram channels and found that they unanimously claimed that the attack was motivated by Fico’s “pro-Russian stance,” while simultaneously claiming that Western media supported the attack justified because of Fico’s lack of support for Ukraine.

Military blogger Mikhail Zvinchuk’s Telegram channel, which has 1.2 million subscribers, claimed that it was very likely that a “Ukrainian trace” would emerge in the attack on Fico. The post was viewed over 300,000 times. The official Telegram channel of Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, claimed that Fico was “known as a friend of Russia.”

“It is likely that Russian-language broadcasters and Russian disinformation operations will use the attempted murder of Fico as a new topic to claim that the West supports violence against pro-Russian politicians, and more broadly, to reinforce the pre-existing narrative that the “In widespread ‘Russophobia,'” Kyle Walter, research director at Logically, tells WIRED.

Most of the posts on “I didn’t see any allegations in the attacks [on social media] in Slovak, linking the attack to Ukraine or Russia.” These English-language posts, she says, imply an audience of international users, not Slovaks.

Fico is a divisive figure in Slovakia, a small EU country between Austria and Ukraine. The 59-year-old was considered pro-Russia and was re-elected for a third time in October after Fico called for the withdrawal of military support for Ukraine during the campaign while saying he could never support the idea of ​​LGBTQ marriage. Since his Smer-SD party won the election, he has proposed closing the country’s anti-corruption office and has been accused of cracking down on civil rights groups and restricting press freedom.

“The typical supporter of the current government is predominantly from rural areas and is usually an older voter who is not particularly satisfied with the government’s economic success,” says Sona Muzikarova, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council focusing on Central and Eastern Europe . “On the other side is the more liberal, slightly more woke, pro-European, pro-Western, urban voter.”

More liberal voters were unhappy with the return of Fico, whose last term ended with his resignation in 2018 after large demonstrations over the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová. Kuciak had exposed corruption in the government.

“He was elected through a democratic process, but still a large part of the population is very unhappy that this type of person is at the top again,” Muzikarova added.

Sharing Is Caring:

Leave a Comment