Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Kyiv, 29 January 2016
Russian Propaganda’s Influence In Regions Of Ukraine
Ms. Tetyana CHERNENKO
Consultant of Information Security Unit of the National Institute for Strategic Studies under the President of Ukraine
(please note that this is a summary)
As part of their hybrid warfare against Ukraine, the Russian Federation has chosen the sector of TV broadcasting as the primary means of disseminating disinformation, propaganda and other destructive information. In most regions of Ukraine, Russia’s attempts of media expansion have had limited effects. In the occupied ‘Luhans’k People’s Republic’ and ‘Donets’k People’s Republic’ which constitute the Donbas region, however, the influence of Russian propaganda seems to have been greater. In both regions, the media space is still dominated by Russian and separatist TV channels, while Ukrainian channels remain marginal. This situation effectively facilitates the dissemination of anti-Ukrainian sentiments, which causes the demoralization and radicalization of the local populations.
The liberation and reintegration of the occupied territory of Donbas will be impossible if Ukraine does not regain control over the region’s media space. In order to do so, the Ukrainian government will have to overcome technical, financial, legal and property challenges as well as create quality content for the channels in order to successfully reestablish the dominance of Ukrainian national TV broadcasters in the occupied territories. It is well-known that the social, political, financial, economic and sociocultural conditions in the temporary occupied regions are extremely bad, comparatively to the other regions of the country, which will be another challenge for the Ukrainian government. In addition, Russian TV channels still continue to fuel negative public attitude towards the Ukrainian government, which will make Kyiv’s recovery work even more difficult. According to the polls, a majority of the people in the occupied Eastern Ukrainian territories finds the Russian media sources more trustworthy and credible than the Ukrainian ones. Due to the powerful influence of Russian propaganda, anti-Ukrainian or rather anti-Ukraine’s government sentiments prevail. The main issue facing the Ukrainian government is not only neutralizing the Russian media-presence in the occupied regions by replacing it with the broadcasting of Ukrainian national TV channels. It is vital that Ukraine develops high-quality media productions curated by highly experienced professionals which will target the population of the occupied territories. This strategy could really change the current situation for the better. It is, however, certain that the reintegration of the occupied territories in Ukraine will be a complex, multi-dimensional and long-run task.