Making up a win. How Russian propaganda shifted responsibility for the mass strike on Ukraine to Ukrainians themselves
IMI has monitored the Telegram channels of the leading Russian propagandists and Russian state media in the period between October 8 and 10*. It was established that each of the researched resources was carrying out an information operation aimed at shifting responsibility for the massive attack on Ukraine to the Ukrainian authorities and citizens – each resourse doing this in their own style, but following some common patterns. For this purpose, propaganda mostly used aggressive rhetoric and extremist appeals bordering on hysteria. At first, without going into explanations, the propaganda accused Ukraine of sabotaging the Crimean bridge and called it an "act of terrorism." Then they painted the mass strike as a "symmetric response." The propagandists used information about the damage to Ukraine's energy facilities and temporary power and water supply interruptions in Kyiv and the regions as proof of successful revenge, as well as spread fakes about rockets hitting state body buildings. In addition, they tried to create the impression that the shelling caused panic in Ukraine.
Telegram channel run by Russian propagandist, blogger, and TV presenter Vladimir Solovyov. Targets an audience of pro-Kremlin Russians. 1.4 million subscribers.
The channel covers the situation on the Crimean Bridge (08.10) mainly by sharing posts from other news and propaganda resources. Some of these posts are a direct call for more strikes on Ukraine. Even so, until the National Investigative Committee of Russia reports the "sabotage," they avoid explaining what exactly happened on the bridge and only mention a "fire" in their coverage. For this, they use aggressive rhetoric which prepares the audience to accept the idea of Ukrainian cities being ruined or even completely destroyed.
When Solovyov allows himself to post articles about the explosion on the Crimean Bridge, his statements become even more aggressive. The channel is full of direct accusations towards Ukraine for having organized the "terrorist attack." Such statements are repeated dozens of times.
Several posts are aimed at suppressing possible panic on the peninsula and Russia's neighboring regions. Considerable attention is paid to assuring the audience that the damage to the bridge is not critical, that the incident will be investigated, and that repairs will be made as soon as possible. The audience is also being persuaded that Crimea has enough food and oil products, that everyone who wants to leave the peninsula or get there can do so. Thus, the channel regularly reports on the course of the investigation into the bridge's state and on the gradual traffic resumption.
Solovyov dedicates a separate original post to a post stamp depicting the Crimean Bridge on fire being issued in Ukraine, and to people in downtown Kyiv taking pictures next to a banner with this image. From this, the propagandist concludes that "the NATO command took part in preparing this saboteur attack." In response, he calls to plunge Ukraine "into a dark age," which requires destroying Ukraine's "railways, CHP and other infrastructure facilities." To substantiate such claims, Solovyov quotes Vladimir Lenin.
As road and rail traffic gradually resumes on the Crimean Bridge, the belligerent rhetoric subsides. From then on, the channel mainly reports on course of transport connection restoration.
The next day (09.10) the "Solovyov" Telegram channel paid significantly less attention to the Crimean Bridge. Several posts on this day assure the audience that the situation on the bridge has stabilized and the transport connection has been restored. At the same time, the propagandist still keeps writing other posts lest the audience forgets the main message: Ukraine is responsible for the explosion, its intentions were terroristic, the blow targeted an important symbol of the "new Russia."
The propagandist concludes by quoting the statements of the Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said that the responsibility for the Crimean Bridge sabotage is on the Ukrainian special services and emphasized that it was a "terrorist attack aimed at the destruction of critically important civilian infrastructure." The channel endorses Putin's narratives, coming back to them again and again in a variety of ways: in text and video, abridged and in full.
On October 10, Solovyov's Telegram channel posted a lot of videos showing the aftermath of the missile strikes on Ukrainian cities. Major attention is paid to fires and damages in Kyiv, primarily in its downtown. For the most part, the events are described as "explosions" of unexplained origin. However, a small part of them contains the phrase "missile strike." One of such reports is accompanied by the caption "next to the Verkhovna Rada."
Solovyov shares a fake from another propaganda resource, which says that "Zelensky is being urgently evacuated to a secret bunker in the west of Ukraine." The channel also reprints an untrue post about the damage sustained by the SBU's building on Volodymyrska Street in Kyiv.
Another fake is Solovyov's own post about EU embassies "receiving an order for urgent evacuation from Kyiv."
There is also a repost of Ramzan Kadyrov's threats to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and the caption: "Now I am one hundred percent satisfied with how the SMO is being carried out."
At the same time, the propagandist reminds the readers of the banner with the burning Crimean bridge which was placed in the Ukrainian capital's downtown.
The channel also shares Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech at a Russian Security Council meeting, wherein he accused the Ukrainian authorities of using "terrorist methods," declared Ukraine responsible for the explosion on the Crimean Bridge, and emphasized that the goal of the attack was to destroy "critically important civilian infrastructure." Solovyov's channel offered the audience both the full version of the speech and separate quotes.
Ultimately, the channel's focus shifts to the destruction of Ukraine's energy system facilities, the power outages in Ukrainian cities, and the public transport disruptions. All this is accompanied by photos and videos of the missile strikes' aftermath.
In addition, the propagandist posts excerpts from his program "Solovyov Live" in his Telegram channel. Among them is a conversation with a so-called "political scientist" who is in fact former Verkhovna Rada deputy Spyridon Kilinkarov, who claims that the massive attack on Ukraine caused a panic to in Kyiv, because Ukrainians, who were "zombified by Zelensky," did not believe that Russia could strike at Ukrainian infrastructure.
In general, the Telegram channel is convincing its audience that the massive missile attack achieved its goal, that is, it showcased Russia's military power, taught Ukrainians a lesson for sabotaging the Crimean Bridge and intimidated them, and also caused irreparable damage to Ukraine.
Telegram channel run by Igor Girkin – blogger, former Russian FSB colonel, recognized as a war criminal in Ukraine. Targets a Russian audience, poses as critique of the current Russian government. 738.5 thousand subscribers.
The channel's author describes the detonation of the Crimean Bridge (08.10) as a birthday present to Vladimir Putin. He also reminds Dmitri Medvedev of his promise to arrange a "doomsday" for Ukraine, mocks Russian journalists and offers them a list of phrases they can use to appease the Russian audience.
09.10, the propagandist expresses his regret over the fact that all bridges in Kyiv are still intact and that the state administration bodies are working.
10.10, a post in Grikin's Telegram channel convinces the readers that the strikes on "critical infrastructure" will have an impact on the frontline situation and on the general state of the UAF. At the same time, he regrets that such an effect will not be immediate, and assumes that it will result in the Ukrainian army's counteroffensive in the near future.
In general, the posts on the channel boil down to Russian troops not striking Ukraine enough, and calls for escalation.
The Telegram channel is named after its owner, the editor-in-chief of the Russian news and propaganda agency "Russia Today." Targets a pro-Kremlin Russian audience. 509.8 thousand subscribers.
Margarita Simonyan reacts to the Crimean Bridge the detonation (08.10) with a short, rhetorical “So?”
The channel brings the topic back no sooner than the massive attack on Ukraine (October 10). "And now we have the answer," the post reads. In this way, the propagandist succinctly emphasizes the connection between the explosion on the Crimean Bridge and the missile attacks on Ukrainian cities. This message is confirmed by the following post: "The Crimean Bridge was the red line all along."
Next, Margarita Simonyan praises some unnamed team where she has been working "since she was 20" and where someone, again unnamed, makes decisions that may not be immediately understandable.
In general, Simonyan's posts can be described as cautious or as hints due to their vagueness, the lack of specifics, the persistent effort to avoid surnames, other proper names, and clear definitions of objects and phenomena.
The Telegram channel is named after its author and owner, a Russian propagandist who calls himself a National Bolshevik and has a penchant for extremist statements. The channel targets so-called patriotic pro-Kremlin audience. 295 thousand subscribers.
On 08.10, the propagandist posts a photo of the fire on the Crimean Bridge and complains that "there will be another little celebration" on Ukrainian social media, because "they will be dragging this photo around and dancing."
In his posts, Prilepin admits that he does not know for sure what happened, and at the same time assures the readers that the bridge's ship arches are intact. He calls for acts of sabotage on Ukraine's territory and reminds the audiece of the time when "Comrade Stalin used to organize such rear partisan work on the territory of Ukraine."
Next, the propagandist tries to develop a logical chain between the exploded truck driver's death and terrorism accusations against Ukraine. After that, he openly rages about the fact that the Crimean Bridge explosion may cause positive emotions in Ukrainians, that Ukrposhta issued a stamp with the burning bridge, and that in Kyiv people are taking pictures next to the banner with the image of this stamp.
Prilepin incessantly looks for those responsible for blowing up the Crimean Bridge and claims that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has admitted being responsibile for the explosion.
The next day (09.10), the channel's author returns to the topic of positive emotions that the detonation of the Crimean Bridge caused among Ukrainians. He once again expresses his indignation about this.
On 10.10, the propagandist posts some photos and videos with the shelling aftermath, first in Kyiv, and later in other cities of Ukraine. He also shares a false report about a pedestrian bridge being destroyed in Kyiv.
In several of his posts, Prilepin reminds Ukrainians of their recent joys and the Ukrposhta stamp with the Crimean Bridge. At the same time, he urges Russians not to be rejoiced by the shelling, because "Kyiv is a Russian city. It's a shame this is happening to Kyiv." At the same time, he does not hide his satisfaction with the destruction in western Ukrainian cities.
The channel's author attributes special strategic importance to power supply interruptions in Ukrainian cities.
Telegram channel run by Olga Skabeyeva, a Russian propagandist and host of the Rossiya-1 TV channel, targets a Russian audience. 168.2 thousand subscribers.
Skabeyeva provides a wide coverage of the "fire" on the Crimean Bridge (08.10). The channel contains a series of photos and videos showing the fire on the bridge and the damage it took from different angles. At the same time, she informs the audience about Crimea having enough food and fuel.
After the National Investigative Committee of Russia publishes its statement about the explosion on the bridge, the propagandist declares that "Ukraine has admitted responsibility for the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge."
First, Skabeyeva openly expresses her despair over the explosion on the bridge, and then calls for revenge (08.10). "Perhaps now we will do something. We probably will. We will, won't we?” she writes.
The Telegram channel of the propagandist shares a number of posts from Ukrainian departments and officials regarding the assessment of the events on the Kerch Strait bridge. Commenting on them, Skabeyeva claims that they are calls for terrorist attacks.
The channel also draws the readers' attention to the banner in Kyiv downtown that has the image of the post stamp dedicated to the burning Crimean Bridge.
Moreover, Skabeyeva relays Putin's statements about the explosion on the bridge being a "terrorist attack aimed at destroying critical civilian infrastructure" and "Ukrainian special services being behind it."
Later on the same day, as well as the following day (09.10), the channel made multiple posts claiming that a terrorist attack took place on the Crimean Bridge and accusing Ukraine of it.
Generally, Skabeyeva's Telegram channel presents the topic of the Crimean bridge destruction as an unequivocal reason for escalating military action against Ukraine.
On 10.10, Skabeyeva posts a series of videos showing the aftermath of the missile attacks on Kyiv and other cities of Ukraine. One of them, which shows the Teacher's House in Kyi, is accompanied by the caption "Kyiv. Center. Verkhovna Rada."
Later, the propagandist again and again regurgitates the fakes about a missile strike either on the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine or near it, and stresses that "Zelensky's office" is located near Volodymyrska Street. Another compilation of videos showing the destruction in the city, captioned: "From my understanding, this is the SBU building."
To justify the massive attack on Ukraine, Skabeyeva shares a video of the Russian president's speech, captioned: "Putin warned you."
She also shares Ramzan Kadyrov's statement which says that he is "now one hundred percent satisfied with how the SMO is being carried out."
The Telegram channel also quotes Ukrainian officials, mostlytheir reports about Russian missile strikes on Ukraine's energy system facilities.
Finally, the channel shares Putin's statements about "the Kyiv regime's terrorist methods", as well as him confessing to the massive strike on Ukraine, in both abridged and full formats, in text and video.
In general, the Skabeyeva's Telegram posts during the day (10.10) emphasized the massiveness of the missile attack on Ukraine, the destruction of energy system facilities, as well as persistent attempts to find evidence of damage to at least one Ukrainian state body.
Telegram channel run by Egor Kholmogorov, who calls himself a writer and publicist and does not hide his Ukrainophobia. 49 thousand subscribers. Targets Russian audience.
The channel's author starts his 08.10 agenda with a reminder of Dmitri Medvedev's promise of a "doomsday" if there is a "strike on Crimea." At the same time, he straightforwardly declares that the bridge was blown up "without any HIMARS," and calls for the destruction of the "terrorist country," referring to Ukraine.
The propagandist declares that the "strike on the bridge" is symbolic, because it had to do with Putin's birthday, and immediately calls for destroying the Paton Bridge in Kyiv and the downtown Lviv. According to Kholmogorov, retaliatory strikes should also be symbolic.
At the same time, the channel's author stresses the Crimean Bridge's importance for providing supply to the Russian military units on Ukrainian territory.
The propagandist repeatedly expresses his indignation at the fact that Ukrainians are rejoicing over the damage done to the bridge, and aggressively reprimands Ukrposhta for issuing a topical stamp and for a photo area in downtown Kyiv with an image of the Crimean Bridge on fire.
During the day, Kholmogorov steps up his aggressive rhetoric, persistently calls for striking Ukraine with "weapons of maximum destruction." He declares that blowing up of the bridge across the Kerch Strait justifies the occupation of Ukraine's territories on the Black Sea coast, and also stresses that "there are no more rules in this war," insistently urging: "Bomb them!"
In his assumptions about the further development of events, the propagandist goes so far as to claim that Ukraine will carry out a "dirty bomb nuclear strike" on Russia.
At the same time, the channel's author does not forget to tell his audience about the car traffic on the Crimean Bridge being resumed.
Finally, Kholmogorov draws a conclusion from his posts: he claims that the "strike of retaliation" on Ukraine will be perceived as a logical step by the world.
The next day (October 9), the Telegram channel only made two posts on the topic of the Crimean Bridge: one about the resumption of traffic and one about two Russians who allegedly died in the explosion on the bridge.
When it comes to the Crimean Bridge, Kholmogorov's Telegram posts come in two opposite emotional tones. Posts that are intended to reassure the audience that the bridge explosion is not critical alternate with posts that are bordering on hysteria.
Egor Kholmogorov begins the morning of 10.10 by sharing a post which states: "For the first time, a Russian rocket has reached a real decision-making center. There are reports of the SBU office on Volodymyrska Street being hit."
During the day, the channel's author posts a series of photos and videos that show the aftermath of the shelling in Ukrainian cities. Some of them come with reminders about the Crimean Bridge and especially aggressive ones mention the banner in downtown Kyiv which depicts a stamp with the burning bridge. The other half focuses on the destruction of power supply facilities.
Among other things, the propagandist declares that for the "revenge action" to be effective it is necessary to deliver powerful blows to Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk and to "destabilize the situation in Kyiv at least to Donetsk levels." He also insists on the need to destroy the Ukrainian energy supply system.
The Telegram channel also endorses Putin's statement regarding the "terrorist methods" allegedly employed by the Ukrainian authorities, and his admission that a massive strike "on energy infrastructure facilities" has been inflicted on Ukraine.
In general, throughout the day, Kholmogorov's reports about the attack on Ukraine place a noticeable emphasis on the strikes on western Ukrainian cities, the destruction of power supply facilities, and calls for a repeat of such acts.
The propagandist repeatedly uses the expression "Doomsday" when talking about the massive missile strike on the cities of Ukraine, and emphasizes its connection with the explosion on the Crimean Bridge.
Russian state media
Telegram channel of the Russian propaganda conglomerate RIA Novosti, targets a Russian audience. Over 2.5 million subscribers.
The channel's first 08.10 reports mention the fire and the traffic problems on the Crimean Bridge in a neutral tone. When the "National Anti-Terrorist Committee" of Russia admitted to the explosion, propagandists started using the terms "detonation" and "emergency" to describe it. Several posts also inform the readers in different words that President Putin has been informed of the situation and has ordered an investigation into the causes and addressing the consequences.
Generally, when it came the Crimean Bridge, the channel focused on quoting statements from Russian officials and representatives of the Russian-controlled authorities of the occupied Crimea. First, accusations against Ukraine and hopes for a retaliatory strike were being spread. Then, first mentions of the event as a terrorist attack and statements about the beginning of a "war without rules" appeared among them.
The quoted statements also assure that the bridge has not suffered too much damage, and that transport traffic will be restored as soon as possible. The channel reports on the restoration of the ferry crossing, the establishment of a land transport corridor and plans for the repairs to be done as soon as possible. The channel covers all visits to the bridge made by Russian officials and representatives of the Russian authorities in Crimea.
At the same time, readers are being convinced that Crimea has enough food and fuel reserves. "RIA Novosti" also pays attention to the Russian Ministry of Defense's statement regarding the uninterrupted supply for the military units on the territory of Ukraine.
The Telegram channel covers the gradual traffic restoration on the bridge in detail; in particular, it repeats the report about rail connection being provided over and over again, and claims that there are no traffic jams on the way to the bridge.
The next day (09.10), when the Kremlin leader was ready to make public statements about the Crimean Bridge, the RIA Novosti Telegram channel quoted him both in text and in video format, keeping up with the narrative about the explosion being a terrorist act involving the Ukrainian special services.
The also channel keeps quoting statements about the damage to the bridge being minimal and reporting on the resumption of road and rail traffic.
The RIA Novosti Telegram channel paid no less attention to the massive missile attack on Ukraine (October 10) than to the fate of the Crimean Bridge. Posts citing social media, Ukrainian mass media and officials refer mainly to "explosions" of an unspecified nature. At the same time, in the post about the attack on Volodymyrska Street in Kyiv, which cites the adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs Anton Herashchenko, the propagandists no longer avoid the word "missiles" and stress that the SBU's office is located on this street, and that "Zelesky's office" is somewhere "nearby."
The channel allows itself to use the word "strikes" (without specifying who did them and with what) when the reports refer to the damage done to the Ukrainian energy system facilities and transport infrastructure, as well as to the pedestrian bridge in Kyiv. The latter is even confirmed by video footage. One of the more extensive posts has a headline that emphasizes the connection between the massive missile attack and the explosion on the Crimean Bridge: "Strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure facilities two days after the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge."
In fact, the message that the massive missile attack is retaliation for the Crimean Bridge bombing and targets Ukraine's energy supply system specifically seems to be the RIA Novosti Telegram channel's primary agenda. The channel stresses this, quoting both Ukrainian and Russian officials, reports in detail on the power outages in Ukrainian cities and regions, on Ukraine ceasing electricity exports, and separately comments on President Volodymyr Zelensky's address to Ukrainians regarding economical electricity consumption.
The same logic follows even from the order of posts in the channel. Initially, they are about Putin holding a Security Council meeting regarding the Crimean Bridge, then they quote him accusing Ukraine of terrorism, and only after that comes the Kremlin leader's statement about a "massive strike on the objects of the Ukrainian infrastructure, done with high-precision weapons."
The propagandists also did not forget to report that Ramzan Kadyrov "is now 100% satisfied with how the special operation is being carried out," and that according to Dmitri Medvedev, "the first episode is over. More to come." They also qouted some less significant "experts" hoping that Russia's next steps would be "missile strikes on the decision-making centers" and "paralyzing the supply system for Ukraine's military operations."
The Telegram channel of the Russian state-owned multilingual television company which primarily targets foreign audience. However, the Telegram channel itself is intended for consumers within Russia. Over 648 thousand subscribers.
The Telegram channel was reporting on a fuel tank catching fire on the Crimean Bridge for over two hours (08.10), then it posted a photo of the destroyed span of the bridge's car track, and in the next post they relayed the Russian Anti-Terrorist Committee's statement about "a truck being bombed."
Below is a series of posts citing Russian officials and Crimean officials assuring that the damage to the bridge is insignificant — the ship arches are intact and the ferry crossing will be repaired soon. At the same time, the channel spreads statements about Crimea being sufficiently supplied with fuel and food, and that in general "the situation is under control." In separate posts, readers are being assured that the Russian military units on the territory of Ukraine have full and timely material supply.
Literally a few minutes after reporting the explosion, the channel posted a statement by the head of the "We Are With Russia" movement Vladimir Rogov accusing the "Kyiv authorities" of organizing a terrorist act, and provided the geographical coordinates of the "decision-making centers" in Ukraine: the President's Office, the SBU and the DI MoD offices.
Next, "RT in Russian" stats directly calling for revenge against the Ukrainians. They share a post from the Telegram channel of Komsomolskaya Pravda employee Roman Golovanov, who wonders "what will be our response?" and immediately offers to "aim for Bankova."
In addition, the channel shares several posts by figures they either call "journalists" or "publicists", which are all united by a common opinion: the detonation of the Kerch bridge was authorized by the West and carried out by the Ukrainian special services, and therefore it is necessary to strike at those same "decision-making centers" One example is a post by Boris Kochevnikov, Spas TV channel director, which, among other things, claims that Russia went war "like David against the bully Goliath," and therefore it must "kill the enemy everywhere. But not the people."
"RT in Russian" also quotes Maria Zakharova, a Russian Foreign Ministry representative, who says that she is seeing evidence of the Ukrainian authorities' "terrorist character". After that, the phrase "terrorist entity" gets repeated in several posts, unrelated to Zakharova's statement.
In the evening, the Telegram channel focuses mainly on reporting the visits of various officials to the Kerch bridge and their promises to repair it as soon as possible and restore the transport connection between Crimea and Russia. It also covers the restoration of first car and then rail traffic across the bridge in great detail.
The next day (09.10), the topic of the Crimean Bridge becomes secondary on this Telegram channel, or even comes third — significantly fewer posts are devoted to it. Now, Ukraine is being accused of a "terrorist act" on the Crimean Bridge with reference to The New York Times and The Washington Post, and the channel is also reporting on the car traffic restoration on the bridge and the establishment of a ferry crossing from Crimea to Russia's Krasnodar region.
As the day ends, the Telegram channel relays Putin's statements about the explosion being organized by the Ukrainian special services that it was a "terrorist act."
On the day of the massive missile attack (October 10), the "RT in Russian" Telegram channel is full of reports about "explosions" and "fires" first in Kyiv, then in other cities of Ukraine, giving no explanations about the reasons of these explosions, but citing Ukrainian mass media. Propagandists only dare to use the word "strike" after a video of the explosion near a pedestrian bridge in Kyiv becomes public, and the word "missile" is only used to refer to the "explosion" on Volodymyrska Street, where, as they specify, the SBU office is located.
News about the Kyiv and Kharkiv underground railway and the work in Kyiv schools being suspended, the damage sustained by Ukrzaliznytsia facilities, the power supply disruptions in Ukrainian cities and the like are posted separately, without being directly associated with "explosions" or "strikes".
The Telegram channel started using the phrase "strikes on energy infrastructure facilities" after the Ukrainians President's address regarding the massive missile attack on Ukraine. After that, the propagandists focus on power and water supply shortages in Ukrainian cities.
The channel also reports on Yuriy Zaskoka, head of the Ukrainian cyber police department, dying during the massive attack on Kyiv. "The Ukrainian cyber police, in particular, excludes citizens who cooperated with the Russian military," the posts states.
"RT in Russian" relays Putin's statements following the Russian Security Council meeting in their exact order: "the Crimean Bridge emergency" is "a terrorist attack aimed at destroying civilian infrastructure;" "the Kyiv regime has been using terrorist methods for a long time;" "a massive strike with high-precision weapons has been carried out on Ukraine's infrastructure objects." These messages are repeated at least twice each.
The channel also shares a screenshot of Ramzan Kadyrov's post with threats against Volodymyr Zelensky and expressions of satisfaction with the so-called SMO.
The propagandists also share a post by Yevgeny Poddubny, VDTRK's war correspondent who claims that "such an escalation was what the Russian leadership wanted least," because that leadership "continues to protect the lives of Ukraine's residents" and overall "residents of the largest Ukrainian cities are now without electricity and water because of Zelensky." The author of the post also feels sorry for "the girls and boys in Kyiv who were happily taking pictures next the poster with the image of the burning Crimean bridge just two days ago."
As the day was ending, "RT in Russian" Telegram channel posted a video with drones lining up over the Crimean Bridge to form the letters "We are together."
Telegram channel of Russia's main state propaganda news agency, TASS. Has 336.2 thousand subscribers. Targeted towards the Russian audience and partly towards Russian-speaking consumers outside the Russian Federation.
The channel reported nothing on the explosion on the Crimean Bridge for almost three hours after it became known. The reports only refer to a fire, the attempts to extinguish it, and the suspension of traffic on the bridge. Even the posts about the start of the investigation talk about a railway tank catching fire and an "incident".
The channel only allows itself to mention the "truck detonation" on the bridge when quoting the statement of the National Anti-Terrorist Committee of Russia. And immediately after that, they go back to the rhetoric of "fire" and "incident".
At the same time, the channel begins to repeat the officials' promises regarding the speedy restoration of transport connection between Crimea and the Russian territory by waterways and land. At the same time, several posts are convicing the audience that due to the damage done to the bridge, there is no threat of supply problems on the peninsula, in particular when it comes to food and fuel. Collaborators Kirill Stremousov, who assures that Kherson oblast will be provided with everything necessary, and Vladimir Saldo, who makes a similar statement, are also quoted.
TASS also quotes statements with theories regarding the explosion. Here, a State Duma member claims that "the bombing of Crimean Bridge was carried out by Ukraine, among other things, to create issues in deploying Russian troops to strengthen the borders of Kherson oblast," and the so-called "senator from the Republic of Crimea" says that "the explosion on the Crimean Bridge was committed in order to disturb the provision of supplies to the new Russian regions and to Russian military personnel."
Next after this post goes another — the Russian Ministry of Defense assures the people that the Russian units in the south of Ukraine are "fully supplied."
Later, the channel starts calling for revenge:
"The response to the detonation of the Crimean Bridge must be tough, 'but not necessarily head-on,' said Slutsky," the channel writes.
Also, the Telegram channel is actively reporting on the restoration of car traffic on the bridge and the establishment of a ferry crossing, which is to come as soon as possible. They also cover the rundowns of the destruction of the bridge made by officials of various ranks from Russia and Crimea.
TASS also did not miss out Ramzan Kadyrov's statement about the Chechen Rosguards' readiness to control the traffic on the Crimean bridge, the report about Vladimir Putin instructing the FSB to organize security efforts on the Kerch Strait, and Sergey Aksyonov's reassurances about stepping up the "transport security".
The Telegram channel concludes its daily agenda with reports on the restoration of road and rail traffic on the bridge.
The channel brings back the topic of traffic resumption on the Crimean bridge the next day (09.10). It also reports on the start of the ferry rides across the Kerch Strait. Here, TASS again avoids any statements about the explosion and uses the terms "incident" and "event".
However, the Crimean Bridge is not this day's main topic. It is only covered in isolated reports until Aleksandr Bystrykin and Vladimir Putin's statements, wherein they blame the "Ukrainian special services" for the explosion and claim that it was a "terrorist attack" aimed at destroying "civilian infrastructure," are made public. These statements are posted in abridged form, accompanied by full versions.
The TASS Telegram channel covers the massive missile attack on (10.10) by reporting a series of explosions in Kyiv and other cities, citing Ukrainian media and officials; it also focuses on reporting the "damage" done to "critical infrastructure", the power supply and transport interruptions. One post on the channel says that an air raid alert has been announced throughout the territory of Ukraine. At the same time, the propagandists avoid even alluding to the nature of the "explosions", the "damages", and the cause of the air raid alert. The channel reports twice that Ukraine is suspending power supplies to Poland.
Later, they relay the Russian President's statement saying that "the Kyiv regime has been using terrorist methods for a long time." After that, the Kremlin ruler's admission that a massive strike on Ukraine has been carried out is delivered to the audience. It was carried out "with high-precision weapons and targeted power supply, military command, and telecom facilities," propagandists say. Putin's statement is relayed in a variety of ways: in separate quotes and in whole, in text and in video.
TASS also quotes Dmitri Medvedev, who seeks to "dismantle Ukraine's political regime," and also cites the words of the head of the Russian State Duma's security committee, who declares that "a response" to the "sabotage on the Crimean Bridge" has been given. In addition, the channel retells Sergey Aksyonov's words and asserts that "Russia's approach to conducting the special military operation in Ukraine has changed after the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge," and reports that Ramzan Kadyrov is "now completely satisfied with how the special operation is being carried out."
At the same time, a series of uplifting messages quoting Russian officials assures the audience that the damage to the Crimean Bridge will be fixed "soon" and that transport connection will be "fully restored."
The official Telegram channel of the propaganda TV channel "Zvezda", owned by JSC "TV and Radio Company of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation". Targets a Russian audience, primarily the "patriotic" one. 82.7 thousand subscribers.
On 08.10, Zvezdanews Telegram channel was making up to 20 posts per hour regarding the Crimean Bridge situation. Most of them assure that the Russian higher authorities, as well as President Putin, have been informed and are taking measures to investigate the incident, establish transport connection between the peninsula and the mainland, and restore the bridge.
The next step is to spread the message about the "terroristic nature of the Kyiv regime," which, according to Maria Zakharova, is proven by the Ukrainian President's Office representatives' reaction to the bombing of the Crimean Bridge. What follows is a series of quotes from figures of various ranks repeating the same opinion some manner or other.
Propagandists are also beginning mass pacification of the audience. They quote Kiril Stremousov – "there is no panic in Kherson oblast" – and assurances from the Russian Ministry of Defense, which says that the Russian military units on the territory of Ukraine are receiving "full" material and technical support. The overwhelming number of reports on the situation in Crimea and the territories close to it affirm the opinion that there is no panic and no significant consequences for the population.
The Telegram channel posts several news reports which provide various theories as to who could have organized the explosion on the Crimean Bridge, how they could have done it, and who among the Russian security forces could be to blame for enabling the explosion.
Multiple posts contain detailed coverage of the situation on the bridge and near it, the officials' visits to the bridge, and their statements regarding the prospects of traffic restoration.
At the same time, the propagandists call for revenge against Ukraine for the damage to the bridge, namely citing "public figures" and claiming that such is the sentiment among Crimeans.
Over time, the propagandists move on to reporting the car traffic restoration on the bridge and assurances that the ferry crossing will be restored as soon as possible. They also show the footage of the first train crossing the bridge after the explosion several times.
The next day (09.10) the Crimean Bridge topic on Zvezdanews consists of three main aspects: the repairs on the bridge, the traffic jams and ferry crossing situation, and the resumption of railway passenger transportation on the bridge.
The channel also comes back to the figures quoted the day before and reminds that "the people are waiting for a just revenge." After that, they go on to quote the statements of the head of the Russian Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bystrykin and the Russian President Vladimir Putin, emphasizing the accusations against Ukraine for "destroyng civilian infrastructure" and "terrorism". These messages are broadcast several times both in full and in abridged form.
On 10.10, the Zvezdanews Telegram channel starts reporting on the "explosions" in Kyiv, citing Ukrainian mass media and officials. Here, among other things, they claim that one of the "explosions" took place next to the SBU office, not far from "Zelensky's office". A significant amount of posts is accompanied by videos showing the destruction.
Among other things, Zvezdanews spreads the fake news about the EU embassies evacuating from Kyiv.
As the events keep developing, the channel expands the geography of their posts about "explosions", emphasizing the damage to power supply facilities in various Ukrainian cities. Priority is also given to reports on transport, power and water supply interruptions in Ukrainian cities. At the same time, the channel's posts do not explain the nature of the mass of explosions on Ukrainian territory.
In the Telegram channel's reports, the "explosions" in Ukrainian cities of Ukraine are explained only by quoting Putin's statement about the "terrorist methods" of the "Kyiv regime" and "a massive strike on the objects of the Ukrainian infrastructure, carried out with high-precision weapons." The channel posts this statement several times – abridged and in full.
After that, the word "strike" begins to appear in the reports about the attack on Ukraine; the reports still focus on the power outages in Ukrainian cities.
Such posts alternate with reports on the situation on the Crimean Bridge, which repeat the phrase "the work is in full swing" over and over again.
*The monitoring included the Telegram channels run by propagandists Solovyov, Strelkov (Girkin), Simonyan, Skabeyeva, Prilepin and Kholmogorov, as well as the Telegram channels of Kremlin's state news resources RIA Novosti, RT, TASS, Zvezda.
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