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How Russian propaganda failed miserably at predictions
The forecasts of Russian propagandists are less accurate than horoscopes / collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio
Feeling safe (for now), Russian propagandists have assumed the most "hawkish" stance on the war in Ukraine. They are genuinely perplexed as to why negotiations should be held and why Kyiv has not yet been taken. And they make forecasts and "insides" that proclaim an almost complete "victory". However, if you "watch the hands," as they call it, you will see how ridiculous it is.
They "took" Mariupol... several times
The Readovka project was one of the main mouthpieces of Russian propaganda immediately after the war began. Once a regional media from the Smolensk region, it now has almost a million subscribers on Telegram, and traffic to the site has grown several times over. And they are not shy about giving their unique forecasts. For example, about the "capture" of Mariupol:
Podolyaka then went even further: on April 1, he reported that "Kyiv may be taken" -- and his words didn't sound like an April Fool's joke.
Air Force and Air Defense Forces are there but they are not
In the early days of the war, Russian propagandists reported a great "victory" and the dominance of Russian forces in the air.
For example, on February 24, a VGTRK staffer Andrei Medvedev wrote in his telegram channel:
"Ukraine's air defense no longer exists. It is gone. What the cruise missiles did not destroy in the first wave was destroyed by aviation. In one go. Based on the logic of modern warfare, the Iskanders will hit long-range airfields. Here we have written more than or twice that the air defense operators and those of Bayraktars will be the main targets. And so it turned out."
However, Medvedev never specified why, even after the "destruction of the air defense system," Ukraine continues to shoot down Russian aircraft and successfully use the Bayraktars.
On March 6, the Russian Defense Ministry, followed by a herd of propagandists (like Podolyaka) reported that Ukraine had no air force either. But already on April 1, they all started accusing the Ukrainian air force of strikes on the oil depot in Belgorod -- as they did in the days that followed. No one explained how it was possible to launch air strikes when you had no air force.
The propagandists' calculations of the number of Ukrainian Bayraktar drones are also entertaining. Many wrote about their complete destruction as early as the beginning of March, but on March 25 the Russian Defense Ministry reported that it had shot down "35 out of 36" drones. Then they supposedly destroyed the last one. And then they started destroying more Bayraktars than originally claimed. And seemingly won again... But then the drone took part in the sinking of the 'Moskva' cruiser.
"The tanks are already in Kyiv!"
Ilya Kiva was a Ukrainian deputy from Medvedchuk's "the Putin's cousin" party "Opposition Platform - For Life". He was, because in the middle of March, the deputies deprived him of his mandate and a criminal case on suspicion of treason was brought against him.
Today, Kiva has an active telegram channel and, on behalf of the Ukrainian politician, shares "insides" and "forecasts". For example, here is what he reported on February 25:
"The war has been lost! Russian tanks are in Kyiv! Zelensky must resign!"
On March 4, Kiva stated the following: "They have just confirmed to me that the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border today".
Soon, on March 6, Kiva told his followers that "Ukraine has a month left".
As time went on, his predictions became more and more unusual, to say the least. On April 1, for example, he spoke of the alleged appearance of 7,000 NATO troops in Poland and did not rule out Warsaw wanting to "take" the western regions of Ukraine.
On April 11, citing his sources, the former MP reported that the Azov commander Denis Prokopenko had allegedly fled to Kyiv. For some reason, Kiva decided to ignore Prokopenko's video message from April 13.
Interestingly, Belarusian propagandists like to refer to Kiva, as well as to Podolyaka. Confusions don't bother them either: for example, the "Yellow Plums" channel wrote that a Russian flag was "hung up" in Kharkiv, using a photo from... 2014. It happens.
Kadyrov's ghost troops
The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, stands out among propagandists: after all, he is also an official. But this does not prevent him from taking a picture of himself praying at a Rosneft gas station and pointing out that this is supposedly a photo from Mariupol (where, of course, Rosneft does not exist).
On March 18, for example, Kadyrov wrote that "Ukraine will be completely cleansed in a few days". Then there are photos and videos of him allegedly in Ukraine. Surprisingly, they are sometimes combined with footage of him videotaping from his office in Grozny. Maybe he has his own ways of reaching Mariupol from Chechnya in just a couple of hours and then flying back.
He is also proud of his "warriors": he regularly publishes videos of them "fighting" in Ukraine. True, some of the recordings are impossible to geolocate. None of them show opponents. For example, the Kadyrovites just shoot through the window with no return fire. Or they shoot into the basement with the same result. The basement, of course, is passed off as the one located at Azovstal, although the plant has not yet been taken.
On April 12, Kadyrov also wrote about "cleansing" the plant's basement of "Azov" fighters. However, a few weeks earlier, on March 21, he wrote the following: "Chechen fighters are successfully advancing in the Mariupol direction. After capturing and cleansing a large Azovstal factory, they proceeded directly to storm the city, liberating block after block."
Something does not add up.