Worn-out disinformation tropes cannot disguise the cynicism and real intentions behind the Kremlin’s Special ‘Peace’ Operation. Meanwhile, we witnessed another collusion between Chinese and Russian manipulative actions…
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Worn-out disinformation tropes cannot disguise the cynicism and real intentions behind the Kremlin’s Special ‘Peace’ Operation.
Last week marked one year since Russia launched its unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine.
As we had anticipated, Putin’s address to the Federal Assembly of Russia on 21 February was a mind numbing mix of Kremlin Newspeak. The speech included historical revisionism for political purposes, lies to justify unjustifiable aggression, and a desperate attempt to frame the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a fight against NATO and Western powers.
Putin’s hollow words failed to explain away how the Kremlin’s machinations have been constantly proven wrong during the past year, apart from their own delusions and a constant barrage of disinformation, deceitful manipulations, and lies. Unable to provide the citizenry with any inspiring future outlook, the Kremlin resorted, not surprisingly, to celebrating the bloodstained invaders with worn-out Kremlin disinformation tropes.
Special ‘Peace’ Operation
As we have reported time and again, the Kremlin continues its cynical exploitation of ‘peace’. In Kremlinese, the word ‘peace’ equals a thinly veiled way of demanding that Ukraine surrender, give in to occupation, lose sovereignty, and accept Russification. At the same time, the Kremlin aims at misleading and distracting Western audiences unaware of the real Kremlin intentions behind their ‘peace’ talks.
Meanwhile, China published a 12-point ‘Position paper on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis’ on February 24 to a cool reception. China still fails to acknowledge Russia’s role as the aggressor and tellingly keeps using the word ‘crisis’ to describe the devastation in Ukraine instead of a much more accurate word, a war.
However, the paper did not fail to convey barely disguised criticism against the US, NATO and the West with references to the alleged politicisation of humanitarian issues, the use of sanctions, and the ‘weaponisation’ of the ‘world economic system’.
The Chinese paper also made references to the need to abandon ‘cold war mentality’ and to chemical and biological weapons, echoing accusations frequently used by Chinese State-controlled outlets, and the pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets alike, throughout the past 12 months (and beyond).
Chinese and Russian FIMI ecosystems sitting in a tree
The Chinese FIMI ecosystem was clearly primed for the paper’s publication. Chinese diplomatic channels on Twitter, embassies around the world, and Chinese state-controlled outlets quickly and expectedly amplified the paper and its multiple translations. Resonators and other Chinese ecosystem members also chimed in and converted the paper into image postings, Facebook posts, and Quora postings and replies.
The Russian information manipulation ecosystem was also quick to jump on the bandwagon and amplify the Chinese paper, which got a wide circulation in Russian official propaganda channels such as the German edition of RT and Sputnik International. We have reported about the collusion between Chinese and Russian manipulative actions before, including on the recently published first EEAS report on FIMI threats.
EU High Representative Josep Borrell made clear in his UN General Assembly statement and an accompanying blog post that for a just peace to take hold in Ukraine, the sole aggressor, Russia, must stop its attacks, cease all its hostilities, and withdraw all its military assets from Ukraine – immediately, completely, and unconditionally.
Other pro-Kremlin lies that tried to infiltrate our minds this week:
- The US is waging the Ukraine war, so Russia should negotiate with it. This little piece of disinformation has lots packed into it. First of all, it attempts to frame the ongoing war in Ukraine as between Russia and the US, instead of it being naked Russian aggression against Ukraine. Secondly, it suggests the US would go ahead and negotiate with Russia without Ukraine or its Western allies. Such a claim attempts to drive a wedge between Western allies, sow unfounded fears between Ukraine and its supporters, and prop-up the delusional self-image of Russia as a power on a par with the US. The European Council made it clear in their statement that ‘the future of Ukraine is for Ukrainians to decide’ and that ‘the European Union will continue to support Ukraine for as long as it takes.’
- Ukrainian nationalists are planning a false-flag operation in Transnistria, Moldova. No, they are not, but we should be wary of Moscow’s moves due to the claim, as they have a long history of staging false flag attacks and fabricating false evidence. EUvsDisinfo also wrote about Kremlin false flag claims which preceded the Russian full-scale invasion last year. Lastly, to confuse Ukraine’s allies, the Kremlin continuously attempts in their disinformation to frame Ukrainians and Ukraine with deceiving and false narratives, such as ‘Nazi Ukraine’ and ‘aggressive Ukraine’.
- Spanish National Strategy on Weapons of Mass Destruction adopted out of concern about corrupt Ukraine. This disinformation piece targeted Spanish-speaking audiences and tried to tie a completely unrelated Spanish government process to recurring Kremlin disinformation narratives about corruption in Ukraine, Western military support ending up in the wrong hands, and Ukraine contemplating the use of chemical or biological weapons. The goal for such lies, proven wrong several times, is to attempt to erode support for Ukraine by painting support as morally questionable.