Ukrainian activists fight Russian propaganda and network control Listen to this article

Flying leaves and fliers are scattered through the curtains today. It is there, in cyberspace, where the war of information and propaganda is primarily evident. But not everything is cooked in impenetrable maximum security centers in Kyiv, Moscow, Brussels or Washington. From a tower of 25 heights in Kyiv overlooking the disputed cities of the northwest, Oleksiy Stanchevsky serves as a soldier in that battle, while in the background the sound of explosions coming from the front lines.

Weapons of this journalist and community Manager There are 28 years of social networks, mainly Telegram and Viber. He is part of a dense network of activists spread across Ukraine who try to secure the channels through which information reaches citizens. However, they know that the flow of data they handle and the population they have access to are also targets of Russians.

“Of course, our position is pro-Ukraine. We can’t say that what we do is explicitly journalism, but it’s a job we develop to protect ourselves, so we can’t give all the information that we have”, Stanchevsky clarifies. Huh. That is to say, they avoid revealing the positions of local soldiers, the exact locations of attacks, and they also prevent the publication of images of dead or very unscrupulous people that can undermine civilian morale. “We want to give people hope and security and keep them away from gossip. We receive many videos or photos that we cannot publish”, admits activists without denying its veracity.

Aware of the importance of social networks and their ability to reach the very core of the society of an invading country, Russians also use them to their advantage inside Ukraine. This has happened in enclaves under their power in the south of the country, such as Burdiansk or Melitopol, where they have managed to infiltrate, drug and mislead residents via mobile phones, Stanchevsky says. “The Russians have a strategy. When they take over a city they try to control the local infrastructure. They go to local journalists and if they don’t cooperate, they get the password (of their social network) and they take control of the channels”, he says.

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the kidnapping of journalist Svitlana Zalizetska’s father by the Russians, with the aim of exchanging him in exchange for gaining control of the media outlet RIA-Melitopol, directed by him. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the 75-year-old man was finally released on Friday night and Zalizetska no longer controls the outlet he runs.

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telegram channel called Berdyansk tomorrow With some 6,000 followers, you can see the man who emerged as the new authority of that city as it fell into the hands of the Russians, addressing the population as if he were some sort of mayor. This new authority launches messages in which it tries to convince residents that life in the city has returned to normal, as well as the resumption of emergency services. They also announce the launch of Russian-language radio and television channels, publications of casualties among Ukrainian ranks from the Russian Defense Ministry or messages against the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, whom they brand as “fascist”. and whom they accuse of using people as human shields. They also broadcast videos of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speeches.

opposite group Berdyansk tomorrowin that Berdyansk TodayWith 43,000 followers, there are sirens alerting about possible airstrikes, alerts about how to get humanitarian aid, bank operations, evacuation, addresses of shops and businesses, or bus schedules. In short, “how to live”, Stanchevsky explains. Some Ukrainians consulted by EL PAS in these weeks of conflict believe that the channels they access from their mobile phones are the main source of information and judgments about what they read on them on a daily basis. take. A woman from the Mikolaiv region said she was taken with her children to Lviv thanks to a list organized via Telegram by local authorities.

Stanchevsky has more material means to develop his activism than any other citizen. The special thing is that on this Saturday, they do not even have electricity or internet in the house. But don’t be disappointed. He and other activists had been preparing for months what would happen with a Russian presidential order on February 24 to open the box of thunder as an invasion of the country. It stands out among the reports it manages death of putin who shows up next to the other, Ukraine’s regional defense model, both published by the Ukrainian Institute for the Study of the Future. but community Manager He recognizes that his work is now at street level, on the floor of Telegram. “We are committed to positive content so as not to disturb the population. Every day at sunset, we publish a joke or meme to inspire people to sleep peacefully.

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