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Russians believe misinformation about Zaluzhnyi, think "coup" is imminent in Ukraine

12 November, 2023 Sunday
20:44

Alina Bondarchuk, the head of the information collection and monitoring department at the NSDC’s Center for Countering Disinformation, stated that the Kremlin's disinformation campaign against Zaluzhnyi has failed, yet the Russians persist in embracing the false narrative of a coup in Ukraine

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She shared this insight in an interview on the Espreso.

"Understanding why the Kremlin spreads these fakes about Zaluzhnyi is challenging. It's not so much about why they do it but who is their audience. This entire story was crafted for a Ukrainian audience and possibly a Western one in the future. However, the campaign's actual goal was different," explained Bondarchuk.

She highlighted that the Kremlin invested significant funds in this disinformation campaign against Ukraine.

"We all know that Putin orchestrates these disinformation campaigns. Zaluzhnyi's article in The Economist reached his desk. Discussions occurred with the Ukraine’s President’s Office, and the Commander-in-Chief was requested not to publicize the front situation. That's it. Everyone understands there's no conflict; it's a typical work situation that has happened frequently. Putin seized on this and earmarked funds for a disinformation campaign. Ukrainians didn't buy into their lies, but the narrative persists in Russia. Russians continue to believe Kremlin fabrications about Zaluzhnyi, convinced that a coup is underway in Ukraine," she added.

Background
On November 1, the Economist published Valeriy Zaluzhnyi's column for the first time since December 2022.

The Commander-in-Chief noted that the Russian war against Ukraine could enter a more dangerous phase and outlined priority directions for preventing this. Zaluzhnyi explained what is needed to break the stalemate in the war with Russia.  He also named 5 priorities that will prevent the war from turning into a positional war.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded to the article by the Commander-in-Chief of Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, and said that Ukraine was not in a stalemate.

In addition, Deputy Head of the Presidential Office, Ihor Zhovkva, commenting on the article by  Valeriy Zaluzhnyi in The Economist, said that the military should not make public what is happening at the front.

ISW analyzed Zaluzhnyi's article on positional warfare in Ukraine.

Later, the NYT article noted that Zelenskyy's rebukes against Zaluzhnyi indicate a split in the Ukrainian leadership.

On November 7, Russian sources launched a diplomatic fake involving the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, who allegedly called for a coup d'état. At the beginning of the full-scale war, Russia launched similar diplomatic fakes with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Former Prime Minister of Ukraine (2014-2016) and Chairman of the Kyiv Security Forum, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, urged Zelenskyy and Zaluzhyi to clarify to the public that there is no internal division.

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