Alexei Navalny, Disinformation Campaigns, Wardoxxing, More: Ukraine Update, Afternoon, April 14, 2022


The Guardian: Alexei Navalny calls for social media ‘information front’ against Russia. “Alexei Navalny has called for an ‘information front’ against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the jailed opposition leader asserted that poll results showing 75% of Russians support the conflict were a ‘Kremlin lie’. In an extended series of tweets, Navalny called on western leaders to support a massive social media ad campaign in order to break through Kremlin propaganda regarding the invasion.”

Reuters: Yandex appoints Artem Savinovksy as general director in Russia. “Tech giant Yandex said on Thursday Artem Savinovsky has been appointed to lead Yandex LLC, its Russian operating subsidiary, replacing Elena Bunina who held the role of general director since December 2017.”

Financial Times: Amazon’s Twitch bans some channels after researchers find pro-Russia propaganda. “Amazon-owned Twitch has moved to ban several accounts on the livestreaming platform after research detailed how pro-Kremlin propaganda had spread on the network. Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, Twitch said it would move to ‘prohibit harmful misinformation actors from using our service’. But a report from the Tech Transparency Project detailed multiple accounts pushing pro-Kremlin falsehoods, such as claims the invasion was ‘de-Nazifying’ Ukraine and a Russian ‘special operation’. Other streams peddled falsehoods about “biolabs” being set up in the war-torn country.”


Bloomberg: Russia Wages Social-Media Campaign to Label Bucha Massacre a Hoax. “Russian politicians, foreign embassies and state media accounts on Twitter Inc. with hundreds of thousands of followers tweeted the term ‘Bucha’ more than 1,000 times last week, according to the Alliance for Securing Democracy, a nonprofit which has been tracking Russian disinformation relating to the war. The campaign was an attempt to manipulate public discourse surrounding the events that unfolded in the Kyiv suburb early this month, according to researchers.”

Bellingcat: Russia’s Kramatorsk ‘Facts’ Versus the Evidence. “On April 8, 2022, a Tochka-U short-range ballistic missile struck the main railway station in Kramatorsk in the Donetsk region of government-controlled Ukraine. The missile killed at least 50 people, including five children. Civilians had gathered at the station to flee the approaching Russian offensive, which has pivoted to the country’s east in recent weeks…. Russian officials have blamed the strike on Ukraine, citing claims that the Russian military does not use the Tochka-U.”

Washington Post: In Ukraine, Facebook fact-checkers fight a war on two fronts. “First came a one-minute video taken on the streets of Bucha, a Kyiv suburb abandoned by retreating Russian forces. The footage showed numerous bodies, civilians in winter coats, scattered along the muddy roads like leaves on a fall day. Then came the deluge of misinformation: On social media, some argued the images were fake, that the bodies were actors pretending to be dead. Others falsely claimed the Ukrainian military had slain their own countrymen. It fell to Valeriia Stepaniuk, 22, to set things straight.”

Atlantic Council: Russian War Report: Russia promotes misleading video accusing Ukraine of using mannequins as casualties. “On April 7, Kremlin-controlled TV channel Rossiya 24 broadcast a video that it claimed was evidence of the Ukrainian military using mannequins to stage war casualties. However, the video was taken in Russia on a set of a TV series.”

PBS NewsHour: Open source intelligence combats disinformation on Russia’s war against Ukraine. “It is often said that truth is the first casualty in any war. Propaganda, disinformation and outright lies have always been dependable tactics to win hearts and minds. But in a world more connected than ever by technology, it is more possible for anyone to root out information. It’s called open source intelligence, and as Miles O’Brien reports, some are using it to lift the fog of war in Ukraine.”


Financial Times: Prepare for Armageddon: Ukraine’s tactic against Russian hackers. “Armageddon is not the most sophisticated of Russian government-affiliated hacking groups that have attacked Ukraine, but it is among the most prolific. In 5,000 different attempts, it has unleashed ever more effective malware, hidden within cleverly engineered emails to spy on Ukrainian government bodies. But following Russia’s invasion on February 24, its latest attacks have been parried thanks, in large part, to Ukraine’s deep knowledge of Armageddon’s signature moves.”


C4ISRNET: Ukraine conflict heightens US military’s data privacy vulnerabilities. “Russian operators, or at least their supporters, have flooded the inboxes of Ukrainians, particularly military service members, with malware-laden email. This tactic can be used to distribute disinformation and amass personal data to further their effort of compiling lists of Ukrainians for detention and harm. Similarly, thousands of text messages have reportedly been sent to local police and military members. This risk is not unique to Ukraine, and U.S. leaders must take steps now to harden the United States and protect its service members against similar tactics.”

Washington Post: Here’s how the U.S. should respond to any Russian cyberattacks. “Since before the start of the war, cybersecurity experts — including one of us — have predicted that the likelihood of Russian cyber operations against the West would increase as the United States and its allies placed more severe economic sanctions on Moscow. Now, with the Russian economy beginning to feel the effects of sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears poised to use his intelligence agencies’ significant cyber capabilities to hit back at the West. As these threats loom, the U.S. government has a critical decision to make: How will it respond to Russia’s first wave of major cyberattacks?”

Bloomberg: Ukraine War’s Most Potent Weapon May Be a Cell Phone. “Winning requires resources devoted to telling the stories from the bloody battlefields to the diplomatic boardrooms. Videos have to be crisp and convincing, showing in graphic detail the war crimes being committed daily in Ukraine. This needs to be packaged and moved over the social networks in creative ways that capitalize on the West’s advantages — from getting them in the hands of social influencers in dozens of key countries to setting up professional-quality websites that are easy to navigate.”

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