The Russian propaganda war has escalated in recent weeks, with the message shifting from invading Ukraine to a “special military operation” to pundits expressing the need not just to “denazify” the country, but to continue the “desukrainianization”. ”. Meanwhile, attempts to critique the war both at home and abroad have been left out of the narrative or downplayed as “fakes”.
One of the country’s largest state-backed media has launched an attack on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
In a report by Channel One Russia, dramatic music is played as the website logo is shown behind bars.
A narrator, translated by Francis Scarr, describes it in no uncertain terms as a “hotbed of counterfeits”.
Mr Scarr reported in a post on Twitter: “Russian state television is now doing ax work on Wikipedia. This one targets the site’s “fake” articles on Russia’s war crimes.
“He says that Wikipedia is now a ‘hotbed of fakes and misinformation’ and has become a ‘Russophobic site’.”
Wikipedia has pages including one titled “War crimes during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine”, which contains the suggestion “Russian authorities have been accused of carrying out wartime actions, including… possibly crimes against humanity”.
Christiern Santos Rasmussen, a doctoral student at the European University Institute, said the Russian state media attack on Wikipedia was unprecedented.
He wrote in a post on Twitter: “Wikipedia’s role as a point of reference for so much public discussion has made it a battleground for the disinformation editing wars.
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Another expert, Nikita Danyuk, exclaimed that in the West, “if you dare to express an alternative view [on the war]you are already being sued”.
Mr Scarr pointed out that in Russia, those who “spread false information” about the war risk up to 15 years in prison.
The sanction threat was announced after Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin described the “very harsh” response that would be addressed to any Russian who “makes statements that discredit our armed forces”.
Another key tool of the Russian propaganda program is rehearsal, which BBC Russia editor Steve Rosenberg says has been used on state television to convey the message that the war in Ukraine is just.
He pointed to the continued appearance of the phrase ‘our cause is just’ on Channel One’s main news program last night, Sunday.
This was spotted alongside the words “liberation army” which was also prominently featured on set for millions of people to see.