The war in Ukraine. Ukrainian offensive, Russian mistakes and propaganda campaign. HEI analysis

In the Kherson Oblast, a counteroffensive by Ukrainian forces is taking place, and they are retaking more towns from the invaders’ hands. The American Institute for War Research estimated that in the face of these events, the Russian authorities were making mistakes in their information campaign about the war in Ukraine. As emphasized by the Institute of Military Affairs, the pro-Kremlin media describe the invasion as an effortless and error-free operation, which favors a misappraisal of the actual situation, also in the eyes of the commanders.

Analysts draw this conclusion from the reaction of Russian war bloggers to the success of the Ukrainian attack in the Balaklia region in the Kharkiv region.

Until now, bloggers have largely “supported the defense ministry’s narrative.” Russia about the fact that the Ukrainian counter-offensive in the Kherson oblast is completely unsuccessful “- reminded the Institute of Military Affairs. Now some of them criticize the Russian command for not having prepared for the impending counter-offensive.

Russian soldiers in Ukraine, near Kherson. Photo from September 9, 2022.PAP / EPA / RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTERS

“The error of the Russian information campaign”

“A change in the way bloggers rate Russia’s progress on Ukrainemay be partly the result of errors in the Russian information campaign during the war “- assessed the Institute of Military Affairs.

He mentions the attitude of the Russian defense ministry, which is unable to cope with sudden operations by Ukrainian forces, as one of such mistakes. The ministry has so far based its information strategy on presenting the invasion “as an easy and flawless operation”. As noted by the HEI, this contributes to a lack of knowledge about the actual situation, both in the Russian media space and in the Kremlin.

Russian soldiers in the Kherson region (9 September) PAP / EPA / RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE HANDOUT

“The Russian defense ministry needs quite a long time to build and disseminate false narratives in the Russian information space. Before the long-awaited Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south, the Kremlin and the defense ministry were successful in this” – indicated the Institute for War Studies. He added that the defense ministry was unable to prepare such a narrative for the Ukrainian operation in the Kharkiv Oblast.

The ISW compares the current criticism among bloggers to the events of May, when the Russian troops failed to cross the river in BiƂohorivka in the Luhansk region. The significant losses suffered by the Russians due to incompetence at that time “shook the faith of pro-Russian war bloggers,” reminds the ISW.


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