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Russia invests at least half a billion USD in "patriotic" projects, part of it to fund the recruitment of Ukrainian youth – IMI representative

10.10.2023, 11:44

Russia is investing large sums in propaganda targeting young people in Ukraine's temporarily occupied territories, recruiting them to provide media support of the occupying power, involving them in projects like the "Mediatopol" media school, which opened in the temporarily occupied part of Zaporizhzhia oblast. Natalia Vyhovska, the regional representative of the Institute of Mass Information in Zaporizhzhia oblast, spoke about this on Ukrainian Radio.

"Rosmolodezh Grants" alone has allocated over 63 million rubles (more than 600 thousand dollars) for "patriotic" projects, in particular in the occupied territories, in 2023. "I am in contact with some people who remained in the occupied territory. They say different things, but all agree that Russian propaganda is very much targeting children and young people. If we divide the propaganda by social groups, it is the most intense for young people and children," noted Natalia Vyhovska.

In Melitopol, there is a "Mediatopol media school" funded by "Rosmolodezh Grants". This "media school" is headed by the collaborator Oleksandr Gurov, who straightforwardly claims that after graduating his "school" young people will be able to work in "state and municipal institutions" under the occupation authorities. However, most of the people engaged in Russian propaganda in Ukraine's occupied territories are Russians.

"Fortunately, most of such 'ambassadors' are from Russia. They bring in Russian propagandists. For example, when there was a big forum in Berdyansk (organized by the youth movement #YugMolodoy), it was attended by "prominent journalists" such as Alexandr Malkevich, we know him as a propagandist and Prigozhin's man. Another "super media person" was Ryhor Azaronak, a propagandist from Belarus. This, in my opinion, is a very intimidating person in terms of his influence on young people," said the IMI representative.

Natalia Vyhovska says that it is impossible to objectively verify information from the occupied territories, but based on the information available to her she assumes that the local propaganda outlets in the occupied Zaporizhzhia oblast are mainly staffed by Russians who came from Russia itself or from the occupied Crimea.

Read more in Natalia Vyhovska's investigation "Mediatopol" et al.: who is recruiting the youth in Ukraine's temporarily occupied territories".

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