The war in Ukraine is a military one. But there’s another frontline, too: Media. Ukraine is fighting the Russian propaganda machine with a grassroots strategy — and getting a boost from President Zelenskyy’s olive green T-shirt.
The Russian war of aggression on Ukraine is among the first to be played out in real time on social media. TikTok “reporters” – known as “war-tokers” — are reporting from the front lines. Videos of influencers discussing the war are going viral. Instagram posts justifying the invasion of Ukraine are being produced by troll factories.
Russia is spreading targeted disinformation. With one aim: To systematically devalue news. Internally, Russian disinformation’s goal is to convince its own population that the Russian regime wants to rid Ukraine of Nazis. Ukraine has organized an informational counterattack: Mobilizing its own population emotionally, in order to strengthen resistance against the aggressor. Externally, it seeks large-scale military support from the West to defend itself.
In the propaganda battle over Ukraine, spin doctors are particularly important. On the Ukrainian side, they are often influencers like Oleksiy Arestovych. On the Russian side, propagandist Vladimir Solovyov, with his daily talk shows on TV and the Internet, is supposed to “sell” the war to his countrymen and women.
The film examines the new front lines of virtual warfare. It provides insights into how populism plays out on social networks. But it also shows how classic TV is experiencing a resurrection — as an effective propaganda machine.
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