Object of manipulation: Gazeta Bałtycka
Date: 14 April 2016
Title: “Ukraine turns away from EU. Further disintegration of the country continues.”
Author: Piotr Sobolewski
Source of manipulation: vz.ru - Vzglyad
Date: 1 April 2016
Title: “City Council in the Lvov Region demands an extraordinary economic status”
On 14 April
, the Polish website Gazeta Bałtycka
[“Baltic newspaper” in Polish] published an article
by Piotr Sobolewski titled “Ukraine turns away from EU; further disintegration of the country continues
.” Earlier, the Russian news agency TASS
had reported that the city council of Drohobych submitted a motion to bring to parliament for discussion the “draft act on the special economic status of the Lviv district.”
The false fact or narrative: Gazeta Bałtycka reported as follows: “The disintegration of the country continues. First, the central authorities received a motion for autonomy from the inhabitants (and the local authorities representing them) of Carpathian Ruthenia".
: The regional board of deputies of Carpathian Ruthenia did not address Ukraine’s central authorities about a demand for autonomy
. The source
of this disinformation is the online newspaper Vzglyad
, which is linked to the Russian political party One Russia. This case was described in detail in our 1-10 April 2016 analysis
. The suggestion that Drohobych’s city council had filed a motion to obtain special economic status for the Lviv region was widely publicized by Russian media, led by TASS
. However, the city council denied the rumor in a press statement by Taisia Chernyenko that was carried by the Ukrainian National News information agency.
Technique: This is not the first time Russian media have launched a disinformation campaign suggesting that separatism is spreading throughout western Ukraine. Usually, such news items are based on facts, as in the case of Carpathian Ruthenia, or they are completely made up, as in the case of Drohobych and its supposed motion seeking extraordinary status. Russian media often throws into the mix false separatist content or alleged appeals for autonomy.
Audience: Readers of the Gazeta Bałtycka website, which bills itself as Polish and independent from authorities and business interests.
Analysis: Such actions seek to spread the idea that Ukraine is disintegrating and may fall apart at any moment. It is the continuation of a disinformation strategy Russian propagandandists began in 2014. Today, it aims to inspire pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine, as well influence attitudes throughout the European Union and thereby limit EU support for Ukraine. After all, why support a country which will soon implode anyway because of internal conflicts?