14.06.2024 PSYOP

The influence of Telegram channels on the lives of Ukrainians has increased significantly since the beginning of the war. They have become one of the most popular sources of information among Ukrainians.

However, increasingly, Telegram channels with millions of followers are spreading unverified, commissioned, or even fabricated information (later debunked only through updates or not at all). They play on emotions, publish paid content, and more.

Interestingly, most of these channels remain completely anonymous. This raises several questions about whose interests some of these channels are so actively serving. Let’s analyze some of the largest Telegram channels and their connections to the Russian elite.

“Insider” and PSYOP for Russian Money

Insider UA (1.3 million followers) is a channel with a completely anonymous history but with contact information for advertising. The audience engagement rate is 38%. Notably, on February 24, the channel’s audience grew by 220,000 subscribers in one day.

During the monitoring period, 6% of posts were identified as sponsored content. The channel also featured materials with signs of black PR.

The channel often publishes musings of a certain “expert” Oleh Posternak. He has been seen in PR materials favoring Rabinovich, Viktor Medvedchuk, Vitali Klitschko, Oleksandr Vilkul, Yulia Tymoshenko, Anatoliy Shariy, and his party.

Among others, there were ads for representatives of the gambling business “Parimatch” and “Favbet”. The tobacco distributor “Teddis” also promoted itself on the topic of war and aid, while “L’Oreal Ukraine” posted sponsored content about an award for women in science.

As a highlight, Insider UA was listed among channels spreading Russian narratives. So it’s no surprise that today it published a post once again criticizing the activities of the NGO “NON-STOP” and its leader Kyrylo Yakovets.

Interestingly, the advertising did not pay off for the sponsors. Instead of generating hate, mudslinging, and canceling the activist, Insider UA’s subscribers actively supported the organization and its leader. Only a few specially created bot channels with three subscribers each started posting nonsense. It seems Insider UA decided to go all out to fulfill the order, using view and comment bots.

Another failure for the politics, who have been a thorn in our side for a long time. But excellent publicity for NGO “NON-STOP”. Thanks for the active and free audience!

Another distributor of Russian narratives is the anonymous channel “Sheptun”. It mostly writes about politics, publishes insider information, and unverified data, and frequently quotes pro-Kremlin propagandists. For over two years, Sheptun has been on the Center for Countering Disinformation’s list under the NSDC, as a resource masquerading as patriotic to spread Russian propaganda. However, this does not stop the channel from issuing PSYOP portions and charging money for such posts.

Russian Propaganda in Ukrainian Media Resources

The obvious sponsors of the black PR campaign against NGO “NON-STOP” and its leader are members of the “Monaco battalion” – ex-deputies Stolar and Abramovich. Realizing that neither car vandalism nor arson helped to silence us or prevent us from mentioning them on social media, the oligarchs resorted to an information attack. Which they completely failed.

It’s just a pity that the money was wasted. Moreover, politics PR department could have chosen less obviously commissioned channels. Maybe then at least one person would have believed these tales… It seems Stolar and Abramovich are just being conned for money.

Our advice: if you decide to launch a similar PR campaign next time, come up with more interesting narratives. And preferably provide at least one piece of evidence to support your claims, rather than just fabricating information.

Can you show at least one proof that Kyrylo Yakovets and NGO “NON-STOP” promoted evasion of mobilization and spread Russian narratives?

Return of the politics to Ukraine?

Why are these media wars happening? There are many reasons. However, we assume that the main one is the desire of Stolar and Abramovich to return to leadership positions in Ukraine. They want to re-enter with a crystal-clear reputation as benefactors and volunteers.

For example, the Vadim Stolar Foundation has long been promoting its boss’s name by helping Ukrainians, even under occupation. It’s interesting how they manage to get into Russian-controlled territories unimpeded.

Additionally, Stolar is triumphantly returning to the construction business in the capital, where his place has already been taken by Komarnytsky, who is close to mayor Klitschko. Stolar is also vying for shares in Medvedchuk’s investment funds and residential complexes, which the latter finances.

So, will Vadim Stolar and his friend Igor Abramovich manage to regain their lost influence so easily? And how will the public react to such changes?

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