This usual updating of legislation in Ukraine caused a sensation in Russia. Kremlin propagandists talk about fake advertising that was allegedly launched in Ukraine to get women to register for military service. They create video productions in which a female doctor from the Lviv region allegedly calls to rent an apartment in Mariupol because she is fleeing mobilization. Propagandists also use their favorite technique of taking it out of context and distorting an excerpt from an interview with a soldier who voluntarily joined the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. By doing so, they seek to show an aggressive and comprehensive campaign in Ukraine before mobilization.
In the new story of the "Goodbye, fake" project, together with Myroslava Markova, senior analyst of the VoxCheck project, we found out why Russians are so concerned about the mobilization of women in Ukraine and how they manipulate the topic and what dangers it hides for us.
"All these messages are aimed at, in fact, firstly, as always, Russian disinformation under martial law is trying to target, when there is already a huge tension in society caused by objective danger, objective threats to human life, safety, and health, and to cause additional tension, stronger fear, and anxiety. Now, because women will be mobilized allegedly violently, as disinformers are trying to show," Myroslava Markova explains.
However, provoking emotions of fear, panic, and danger is not the only goal of the Russians. With their fake news, they are trying to cause us to despair over the situation at the front, protest moods against the leadership of the state, and provoke a mass exodus of people abroad. To achieve their goal and inflict the maximum blow with disinformation, Kremlin propagandists do not shy away from using various methods.
The first example is the alleged closure of a hospital in Kherson because all the staff was sent to the TCC. In Moscow, they came up with the idea that in the regional center, which is constantly shelled by the Russians, there are allegedly no state health services. This fantasy is supported by the words of a "subscriber from Kherson" who said that some hospitals in the city gradually began to close. Announcements were added to the post, which were placed on the hospitals named after O.S. Luchansky and E.E. Karabelesh. In these announcements, it was reported that all medical workers went to register with the TCC.
"It was pretty easy to verify. Firstly, the health department of the Kherson City Council denied that such messages were posted somewhere, that these ads appeared. Secondly, if you try to call each individual hospital, as we tried to do, it was confirmed to us that there are still doctors, everyone is working, and the hospital administration has not posted such announcements. But what were they trying to create? To intimidate civilians that they now have no one to turn to for medical help. Moreover, we understand that Kherson is a recently de-occupied city, where the situation with both personnel and provision is already very difficult, but, for example, doctors from other regions and regions are involved. It is not the case that everyone left their jobs and went to register for military service," Markova said.
Another example is that women doctors will allegedly be banned from traveling abroad due to military registration.
"In fact, military registration does not affect the fact that women cannot cross the border. The same rules that were there are in effect. But without a specific reference to the source, they tried to spread these messages through channels that many Ukrainians read. It works better in Ukraine than some explicit Russian video productions," says the senior analyst of the VoxCheck project.
Later, the Russians contradicted their own theses with another fake of their own. They said that in the first weeks of October alone, 25 thousand doctors left Ukraine. In this information, the Russians referred to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine.
"Firstly, the State Statistics Service, since January 2022, has not published this data due to martial law. Secondly, even when they were published, the migration figures looked different. It was the number of arrivals and departures and also the coefficients. These were not messages divided by, for example, profession. Also, the information was published monthly or annually, not weekly, so that we could count how many women left in just two weeks and tie it allegedly to the process of mobilizing women doctors," Markova said.
Bottom line: As we can see, Russia does not shy away from any opportunity to spread its own propaganda and uses all possible means to destabilize Ukrainian society. In order for her not to succeed, it is important to follow the rules of media literacy.
"The first and easiest thing you can do without making any effort is not to spread information that does not have enough confirmation. If you see some messages, often emotional, but there is no specific source and you don't know how to check, then it's better not to at least share further on social networks, because content has the ability to go viral — the more users see, the more it shares. The more you see mentions of the same news, even if it is fictitious, it seems to you that it is true, because the effect of repetition works," adds Myroslava Markova.
In addition, carefully check the photos of documents or ads that you come across. They often contain absurd mistakes, such as incorrect names of institutions, incorrect addresses, errors when translating from Russian. Also, be careful with your emotions. During the war, the Ukrainian information space is a concentration of grief that is difficult for any psyche to bear. Russia brutally uses our emotionality in response to its crimes to force us to stop thinking critically.
When we're in pain, we don't always check the message. So keep this in mind and take care of your information hygiene!
This material was prepared as part of the "Comprehensive Information and Education Campaign to Counter Disinformation", implemented by 1+1 media and Smart Angel in cooperation with expert organizations.