Supporting Ukrainian Grandparents, Yandex, Saving Cultural Heritage, More: Ukraine Update, August 17, 2022


GlobalNews: Adopt a Ukrainian grandparent: online portal launches to help Kharkiv’s most vulnerable. “As well as organizing evacuations from the Luhansk, Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, Rescue Now has created an online database of elderly and vulnerable locals that features a brief bio, photo and fundraising goals for each of them for each month, depending on their needs. It’s almost like hundreds of GoFundMe pages accumulated in one place.”


Bloomberg: Putin Aide Leads Talks on Fate of Russia’s Top Internet Company Yandex. “One of President Vladimir Putin’s top Kremlin aides is leading negotiations to decide the fate of Russia’s most popular search engine, whose founder was sanctioned over Yandex NV’s portrayal of the war in Ukraine, according to three people familiar with the talks.”

New York Times: Rescuing Art in Ukraine with Foam, Crates and Cries for Help. “Many cultural institutions were not prepared to protect their collections and buildings before the Russian invasion, so ad hoc groups of arts workers and leaders stepped in to fill the breach.”

The Scotsman: How Ukraine’s librarians mobilised to fight the Russian culture war. “When war broke out in Ukraine, it was not only the troops who mobilised – but the librarians too. Within days, libraries across the country had set up initiatives to supply books to citizens sheltering in underground Metro stations, had created centres for refugees displaced within Ukraine in library buildings and diversified to set up to act as hubs to supply military equipment and essentials to the hastily-formed army.”


CNN: He was abducted and tortured by Russian soldiers. Then they started using his Instagram to push pro-Kremlin propaganda. “[Igor] Kurayan, who was freed in a prisoner exchange in late April after nearly a month of detention, is one of several Ukrainians to be abducted from occupied areas of the country’s southeast in recent months and then sucked into the Kremlin’s propaganda machine. Some of their social media pages have been used to promote pro-Kremlin talking points, while others have appeared in staged TV interviews in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war.”

Daily Beast: How NASA Is Accidentally Helping People Spy on Putin’s War. “For people trying to track the conflict only from public sources, FIRMS can be a lifesaver. Social media coverage of the war in Ukraine is a deluge of claims, counterclaims, unattributed or misattributed footage of fighting, as well as actors pushing their own agendas.”

AFP: The curators saving Ukraine’s heritage at all costs. “When she understood Russian troops were advancing in the region of Zaporizhzhia, Natalya Chergik helped to fill a truck with a ton of paintings, antique firearms and 17th-century ceramics.”

Poynter: How ‘War on Fakes’ uses fact-checking to spread pro-Russia propaganda. “War on Fakes claims to be a fact-checking service…. But a review by PolitiFact shows that its ‘fact-checks’ are actually pieces of disinformation that use well-known techniques of Russian propaganda — incoherence, a high volume of claims, repetition and the statement of obvious falsehoods— to confuse readers trying to understand what is happening in Ukraine.”

New York Times: How Russian Propaganda Is Reaching Beyond English Speakers. “Social media companies have taken steps to restrict Russian state media accounts. But posts from those accounts still spread in Spanish, Arabic and other languages and in places outside the West.”


New York Times: From the Workshop to the War: Creative Use of Drones Lifts Ukraine . “Ukraine still uses advanced military drones supplied by its allies for observation and attack, but along the frontline the bulk of its drone fleet are off-the-shelf products or hand-built in workshops around Ukraine — a myriad of inexpensive, plastic craft adapted to drop grenades or anti-tank munitions.”


The Defense Post: How Zelensky Seized Control Over the Narrative in Ukraine. “This conflict is about information as much as kinetic warfare. Zelensky understands that and is playing the role of president to the hilt. Battles are won in the heart, but warfare is fought by balancing values, historical experience, ideals, and practical reality. Zelensky has balanced these adroitly. He intuitively grasps the nature of information warfare: the use of information and electronic communication technology to conduct warfare, and how to use it.”

The Conversation: Social media provides flood of images of death and carnage from Ukraine war – and contributes to weaker journalism standards. “Photos of civilians killed or injured in the Russia-Ukraine war are widespread, particularly online, both on social media and in professional news media. Editors have always published images of dead or suffering people during times of crisis, like wars and natural disasters. But the current crisis has delivered many more of these images, more widely published online, than ever before.”

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