The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

Russian propagandists quickly launched a media campaign about the fall of the IL-76 transport plane in the Belgorod region and started speculating about the death of Ukrainian war prisoners. The actions of the propagandists were coordinated and prepared — this can be seen from the coordination of the Telegram channels that spread the narrative necessary for the Kremlin. “Realna Gazeta” tracked how exactly it happened in the first days after the disaster.

It became known about the fall of the IL-76 military transport plane in the village of Yablonovo in the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation at 11:00 a.m. local time. Telegram channels published a video of the plane falling.

“All 63 people on board the IL-76, which crashed near Belgorod, died,” Russian mass media said. Then several propagandists immediately declared that the people who died on board were Ukrainian war prisoners.

Volodymyr Solovyov, Olga Skabeeva, RT in Russian, Ridovka and other propaganda telegram channels referred to the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, although at that time there was no such statement in the channel of this Russian agency. The difference between similar messages was less than 5 minutes.

The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine
The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine
The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine
The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

Almost immediately, the head of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, called from the podium to find out which missiles and from which launchers the IL-76 was shot down. He stated that Western governments should “realize their responsibility and understand that they are helping the Nazi regime.” Russian mass media and Telegram channels also began to reproduce his appeal.

The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine
The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

Russian military commander Andriy Rudenko not only synchronously replicated the statement of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation about the downing of the IL-76 by the Ukrainian military, but also tried to saddle the old message of dissension – about the enmity between President Volodymyr Zelensky and Commander-in-Chief Valery Zaluzhny. At the same time, to describe the power struggle, the propagandist uses the vocabulary used to describe pro-power races within the Russian Federation. “There is a battle of towers…” he declares in the video, although in this context they are talking about the Kremlin towers. There are no towers in Ukraine.

The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

Propagandist and military leader Yevhen Poddubnyi also began to declare a “confrontation of groups of Western curators of the Kyiv regime”, whose participants are allegedly Zaluzhnyi and Zelenskyi.

The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

Some propagandists reported details that are simply impossible to find out quickly. Thus, z-propagandist Yehor Kholomogorov paints a picture of the heroic manoeuvre of the IL-76 crew, which turned the plane away from the village of Yablonovo at the last moment. He claims that residents saw it with their own eyes.

The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

Moreover, he, along with other propagandists, is convinced that the plane was shot down with the help of a Patriot system. And allegedly, this can prevent the further transfer of weapons to Ukraine. Such a narrative works to portray the Ukrainian military as an uncontrollable force that is dangerous to provide with Western air defence systems.

The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

Even the Luhansk telegram channels, which usually used to focus on purely internal affairs of the occupied Luhansk region, began to write about the downing of the plane, which might have contained Ukrainian prisoners of war. Telegram channels “Luhansk 24” and “LuhanskInformCenter Z” usually write positive messages about Putin, preparations for “elections”, “reconstruction” of cities and small repairs on TOT. But this time they simultaneously reported the downing of the plane along with a pool of Kremlin propagandists. Before that, they did not write about the destruction of planes or ships of the Russian Federation.

The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

The channels also began to spread the opinions of “experts”, who mention another key narrative for propaganda: “Ukraine shot down the Malaysian Boeing”.

The fall of IL-76. Russian propagandists launched an information campaign against Ukraine

Propagandist Margarita Simonyan published pictures of a list called “List 65”. She claims that this is a list of prisoners of war who were on board the IL-76 plane. Propagandists have already begun to share photos of people from this list with the caption “Ukrainians whom Zelensky killed by attacking IL-76.”

What is known about the fall of IL-76

“Ukrainian Pravda”, citing sources in the Defence Forces, reported that the downing of the Russian IL-76 was the work of the Armed Forces, and the plane was transporting missiles to the C-300 complexes. Later this information was deleted. Now Russian propaganda accuses them of concealing the fact that the plane was shot down.

Andrii Yusov, a representative of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, confirmed that on January 24, an exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine was supposed to take place.

After the accusations from the Russian side, the General Staff announced that they would continue to destroy the means of delivering rockets, which are used for shelling Kharkiv Oblast.

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