On 2 March, the website kresy.pl published an article titled “Ukraine wants compensation from Mongolia for the burning of Kyiv in the 13th century.”
The false fact or narrative: The website, attributing information received from the secretary of the Mongolian Embassy in Moscow, reported that “the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine presented an official letter to the State Great Khural of Mongolia, that is, to Mongolia’s Parliament, which letter stated that in the 13th century Batu Khan organized a genocide of the Ukrainian nation. And now the Ukrainians expect compensation for that.”
The truth: The press secretary of Mongolian Embassy in Moscow denied having said anything like that to the Russian media.
Technique: Citing a false statement by a diplomat from a distant, exotic country—which makes it difficult to verify the information—and putting into that person’s mouth an untrue declaration. Then, engaging experts to comment on said statement, thereby boosting the credibility of that news item. As a result, foreign media—in this case kresy.pl—picks up the information without any verification.
Audience: Internet users who visit kresy.pl, including inhabitants of the so-called “Eastern Borderlands of the Second Polish Republic”—people who, for historic reasons, display a hostile attitude towards Ukraine and therefore gladly believe in absurd statements by Russian propaganda.
Analysis: That false piece of information is to demonstrate the absurdity of the official government in Kyiv. By reducing the situation to absurdity, Russian propaganda aims to show that Ukrainian officials have totally lost their minds. Simultaneously, Russia attempts to counter Ukraine’s compensation requests in the wake of its occupation of Crimea, as if to say, “even from Mongolia they want something.”
On 5 March, the website prawy.pl published a story titled “Latvian Parliament agrees to a march of Nazis.”
The false fact or narrative: Latvia’s parliament agreed to organize a march of Waffen-SS veterans, to take place in Riga on 16 March, according to the website.
The truth: Decisions on allowing or organizing marches are taken by Riga’s Municipal Office, which agreed to the march as well as a counter-demonstration.
Technique: The website distorted the truth about Riga officials letting Latvian veterans who collaborated with the Nazis march. Instead of the term “local authorities,” it refers to the Latvian Parliament, which gives highly political overtones to the whole matter.
Audience: Internet users, primarily the readers of the website prawy.pl.
Analysis: The purpose of that manipulation is to show that Latvia’s central government (Parliament) tolerates or even approves of the Nazis. In the news item, based exclusively on communications received from ITAR-TASS, there is no space for presenting Latvia’s historical view of World War II; this allows the Russian state-owned news agency to present Riga’s decision as a manifestation of its sympathy towards Nazism.