Crowdfunding Drones, Shahed-136, Weak Goose, More: Ukraine Update, October 19, 2022


Defence Procurement International: Ukraine’s Army of Drones crowdfunding campaign. “Ukraine is taking its drone war against Russian forces to unimaginable heights with a new crowdfunding campaign for an Army of Drones. The campaign aims to raise money to procure thousands of drones to monitor the more than 2,470 km long frontline in Ukraine and provide an effective response to Russian attacks.”


Institute for the Study of War: Russia’s use of Iranian-made drones is not generating asymmetric effects the way the Ukrainian use of US-provided HIMARS systems has done and is unlikely to affect the course of the war significantly. . “The deputy chief of the Main Operational Department of the Ukrainian General Staff, Brigadier General Oleksiy Hromov, stated on October 6 that Russian forces have used a total of 86 Iranian Shahed-136 drones against Ukraine, 60% of which Ukrainian forces have already destroyed.”

What’s on Weibo: Why Russia Is Nicknamed the “Weak Goose” on Chinese Social Media. “While the latest developments in the Russia-Ukraine war are closely watched by millions of Chinese social media users, the ‘Weak Goose’ meme is becoming more popular among military bloggers and Weibo users, signaling a shift in online sentiments regarding Russia’s position and its military competence.”

BBC: Ukraine war: Czech crowdfunding buys ‘Tomas the tank’ for Ukraine. “A Czech crowdfunding campaign has successfully raised more than $1.30m (£1.17m) to buy a modernised tank for the Ukrainian army. Dubbed ‘a gift for Putin’, the campaign received donations from 11,288 individual donors, and organisers say it is the first purchase of its kind.”


CBC: Ukraine accuses Russian troops of looting museums, destroying cultural sites. “In an interview with The Associated Press, Ukraine’s culture minister alleged that Russian soldiers helped themselves to artifacts in almost 40 Ukrainian museums. The looting and destruction of cultural sites has caused losses estimated in the hundreds of millions of euros, the minister, Oleksandr Tkachenko, added.”

ABC News (Australia): Ukraine and Russia’s second front is a propaganda war. But who is winning?. “While Russian claims of great victories against Ukrainian ‘Nazis’ may be regarded as laughable in the West — where in some cases evidence to the contrary has been publicised before the claim itself — researchers say these tactics have proved highly effective within Russia and among Russian allies.”

Associated Press: Experts: Russia finding new ways to spread propaganda videos. “Russia has devised yet another way to spread disinformation about its invasion of Ukraine, using digital tricks that allow its war propaganda videos to evade restrictions imposed by governments and tech companies.”

Grid News: Fighting Russia with a laptop: Meet the women on the front lines of Ukraine’s information war. “When it comes to the information war over Ukraine, Russia has President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin’s well-resourced propaganda machine, and a hammerlock on Russian television and radio. It also has laws Putin put in place in the early days of war, which made any counternarratives a crime. For its part, Ukraine has a charismatic president and a ministry for digital information. And it has a few dozen women who run an organization called Dattalion.”


WIRED: The Fight to Cut Off the Crypto Fueling Russia’s Ukraine Invasion. “AS RUSSIAN TROOPS have flooded into Ukraine’s borders for the past eight months—and with an ongoing mobilization of hundreds of thousands more underway—the Western world has taken drastic measures to cut the economic ties that fuel Russia’s invasion and occupation. But even as those global sanctions have carefully excised Russia from global commerce, millions of dollars have continued to flow directly to Russian military and paramilitary groups in a form that’s proven harder to control: cryptocurrency.”


Riddle Russia: Firehose of (useless) propaganda . “To better understand the link between Kremlin propaganda and the mass sentiments of Russians, we put together a corpus of messages in the Russian traditional and social media that were in one way or another related to the war in Ukraine. The corpus comprises about 18,000 messages broadcast from February to July on television and about 400,000 messages that appeared in social media in July 2022.”

Brookings Institution: Investigative journalism is essential for Ukraine reconstruction and anti-corruption. “Any consideration of the anti-corruption aspects of Ukraine’s reconstruction should include a central focus on funding an expansion of independent investigative journalism capacities. Supported by just a small fraction of reconstruction funding, journalists can mitigate corruption by reporting on financing, procurement, project execution, and other subjects.”

Brookings Institution: U.S. podcasters spread Kremlin narratives on Nord Stream sabotage. “Using a new Brookings dashboard and database, we are able to more systematically study how popular political podcasts shape the information environment. By spreading the idea that the United States was in fact responsible for the explosions, several leading U.S. podcasters have advanced the Kremlin’s preferred narrative while staying under the radar of researchers—until now.”

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