Network of hyperlocal Russian Telegram channels spew disinformation in occupied Ukraine

Written by
May 23, 2022 | CYBERSCOOP

The Russian disinformation effort in Ukraine is so extensive that it now includes a hyperlocal Telegram network which spews disinformation customized to resonate in individual towns across occupied Ukraine, according to recent research published by the Ukrainian think tank Detector Media.

The channels, which are anonymous, are used to “legitimize the occupation of specific villages and cities and to establish control over the information environment,” Detector Media wrote in a blog post about its research. The Telegram channels feature Russian propaganda and are entitled with the name of the town for which they serve as a “news” source. According to Detector Media, at least 88 such Telegram channels have been registered since Feb. 24, with a majority clustered in towns near Kiev.

Many of the channels’ subscribers are bots, a conclusion which the Detector Media researchers arrive at based in part on how quickly their subscriber bases mushroomed. In other cases, channels’ subscription numbers grew even when mobile communication was unavailable in a given city as happened in the case of the “Berdyansk Tomorrow“ iteration, the researchers say.

The Kremlin has long used “affinity groups” to amplify the reach of

Read More: