Russia’s classic information warfare approach is based on the desire of some Ukrainians to end the war in Donbass “at any cost” and “what a difference it makes”. Position-based and ceased to function after the start of a full-scale invasion. And with the invaders’ forces withdrawing from Kyiv and Chernihiv provinces, Russia finally focused its efforts on hidden tools.
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In 2023, Russia will continue to use highly effective information warfare tactics. Now two of his and one of her Facebook users in Ukraine are spreading messages that intensify Russian intelligence operations. Most of them work to divide the country. What can Ukrainians expect next?
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First, we expect continued attempts to divide the country through the energy crisis. Regular power outages reduce people’s resistance to information viruses. As soon as electricity is restored, everyone wants news and he goes to Telegram and Facebook, waiting for “correctly chosen messages” that offer quick solutions to complex problems. Such.
Second, “forced negotiations” will be one of the key vectors of information warfare in 2023. Russia operates along a wide range of fronts, from Western lobbying to attempts to bring Ukrainians to the Maidan to oust Volodymyr Zelensky from power. Given the Ukrainians’ distrust of the authorities and their unwillingness to compromise with Russia, the adversaries are willing to achieve certain results, for example, by spreading their opinions about the “agreement” and “the betrayal of Ukraine by the West.” I can.
The exhilaration of victory changes depending on the postwar reality
Third, Russia tries to spread the message about corruption in Ukraine by saying that everyone is stealing. Russian propaganda has been working in this vector for years, but now it is gaining new weight. Lobbying for cuts in military and financial support under this kind of slogan can do. Corruption cases of civil servants during the war would provide further grounds for dissatisfaction with lobbyists seeking Russian interests in the West and authorities inside Ukraine.
Fourth, the discrediting of volunteers will continue. The focus will continue to be on large organizations. Russia is well aware that by undermining the credibility of one of them, it seriously undermines the credibility of the volunteer movement as a whole. It wouldn’t have been so successful without it.
Fifth, the return to conspiracy theory and the formation of the opinion that ‘everything is not so simple’ in societyAn objective vacuum of information and a misunderstanding of the nature of important processes (from how the energy system works to international politics) only increases the effectiveness of this vector.
Sixth, in the fall, Russia stepped up its efforts to soften the reputation of Russians and “reconcile” them with Ukrainians.We are talking about offshoots of the massive ‘it’s all Putin and the Russian people are not to blame’ message campaign promoted by ‘good Russians’. They mostly resonate with Ukrainians who until February 24 saw little difference between the Kyiv authorities and those serving Moscow. Not sure if it is possible.
Seventh, Russia’s intelligence efforts will continue to be fragmented.Ukrainian should be set against Ukrainian and subject to disagreement is not a problem. Whether it is internally displaced persons, languages, electricity, or the division between expatriates and residents, Russia will continue to monitor intelligence areas, identify divisions, and work to deepen them.
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2023 will be a year of emotional swings. The euphoria of victory is altered by the realities of postwar life and the challenges of economic recovery. Narrow expertise is required to understand fatigue, information fragmentation, and process complexity. All of this creates a hotbed for enemy information operations. Their success depends directly on the Ukrainians — whether they believe in Russian manipulation and whether they discuss and spread it.
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