In places like the US and the UK, Russia already created self-sustaining systems of propaganda and disinformation. This opinion was expressed by Kyle Walter, Head of Research and Insights at US company Logically, in an interview with the Ukrainian project KYIV NOT KIEV.
«I don’t see Russia targeting the US as much as it has in the past. In places like the US and the UK, they have already created self-sustaining systems of propaganda and disinformation. There are already people in the US who are happy to share Russian propaganda and disinformation and disseminate it further», — says Walter.
Walter believes. In his opinion, the messages that Russia spreads to the American audience are not significantly different from those that their aggressor country targets at the rest of the world to justify its attack on Ukraine. This is Ukraine's accusation of Nazism, Satanism, and terrorist activities.
Logically released a short analysis for the anniversary of Russia's full-scale aggression in Ukraine. In it, experts analyze how Russian narratives about Ukraine have resonated in English-language between November 1, 2021, and February 7, 2023. To do this, experts from Logically analyzed thousands of domains, messages from social networks and web platforms for the keywords Nazism/Satanism/Terrorism with the help of AI, excluding from the search their use to designate Russians themselves.
Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian aggression in Ukraine, references to Ukraine as a "Nazi state" have increased by 2,600%, accusations of Satanism have increased by 7,300%, and terrorism — by 16,200%. At the same time, the peak of Ukraine's accusations of Nazism occurred in the first months after the beginning of the invasion — February-March 2022. Narratives about Satanism and terrorism were most widely spread at the end of 2022 against the background of increasing armed support of Ukraine by allies. Logically experts believe that the English-speaking audience of these messages reaches tens of millions of people.
Kyle Walter is convinced that Russian propaganda will not succeed in shaking the support of the Americans. However, the expert notes that Russian narratives have evolved over a year of full-scale war in Ukraine.
«A lot of the rhetoric has become more serious from the Russian perspective in terms of the sacrifices that the Russian people are going need to make, definitely echoing the WW2 significantly, echoing things like Stalingrad, painting Russian forces as the liberators like they were in WW2», — Walter says.
Narratives about the "collective West" and NATO, which will not stop until it destroys Russia, have also intensified. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov compares Russophobia to the Holocaust, and official messages portray Russia as a victim of the imperial colonial West. As for the external audience, Russia intimidates it by escalating the war as a result of their support for Ukraine.
For a more thorough study of potentially harmful online content, in particular Russian propaganda and disinformation, Logically specialists widely use the capabilities of artificial intelligence. AI can point out potentially harmful narratives so that experts can start investigating them, and saves the time needed for searching the Internet manually.
«It helps to auto categorize things for further research and investigation by analysts», — Walter says.
Experts, for their part, teach the algorithm to work with the largest Russian Telegram channels, VKontakte pages and Twitter accounts through which propaganda or disinformation is spread, train it through interaction just like Chat GPT works.
"We provide the subject matter expertise to begin with, and then we help the model to identify what the experts are seeing as potential mis- and disinformation",- Walter says.
Logically employs about 200 specialists, of whom about 40 are engaged in investigations, and the company's offices are in the US, Great Britain, and India. The combination of AI and human capabilities allows it to monitor potentially harmful online narratives related to elections, health care, the impact of war, and more.
KYIV NOT KIEV is an English-language project from the Truman team that aims to improve Ukraine's communication with the world. The founders of the project believe that insufficient communication leaves space for disinformation, which is filled by Russia. The project is known for a series of interviews with foreign ambassadors to Ukraine.