The Alleged Nazism in Kyiv Still the Subject of Russian Disinformation

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Photo: Michael Parulava on Unsplash

Several disinformation narratives have prevailed this year in the Macedonian-language online space and media – from Ukraine’s “statehood being at stake” should the war continue, to the claim that Zelenskyy has lost popularity. The most consistent disinformation narrative, however, concerns the connection between Kyiv elites and Nazism – a narrative directly promoted by Putin and Medvedev. What stands out in the “domestic scene” is the protest organized by the political party Levica (The Left) against the decision of the EU Delegation in Skopje to allocate approximately €1 million in donations to new non-governmental organizations


A reaction from the political party Levica, which made its way into the Macedonian-language media and online space provides a classic example of foreign influence in North Macedonia. Namely, Levica reacted against the decision of the EU Delegation in Skopje to allocate approximately €1 million to around fifty non-governmental organizations from North Macedonia, as part of the program “EU Civil Resilience Mechanism” – a program for financial support of small and grassroots civil society organizations.

This is the latest example of the long line of classic bribes implemented by the Western “strategic partners” in the Macedonian public space. We reiterate that from 2017 to 2022 the US Congress, according to its own report, in the period 2017 – 2022 allotted $67 million to non-governmental organizations, media outlets and other entities in Macedonia fighting against “Russian and Chinese influence”.

Levica’s reaction is not only a result of the Russian influence in North Macedonia but also of the influence of Hungarian and other conservative right-wing and left-wing political elites in Europe and beyond, which dates back to the war between Moscow and Budapest and George Soros and his Open Society foundations. All non-governmental organizations or free-thinking people with liberal views are labeled as “Sorosoids”. Before the emergence of Levica, the most prominent party that publicly displayed animosity towards the NGO sector was VMRO-DPMNE.

Levica’s response was relayed in the media to a moderate degree, and was shared on social media in some instances, yet it all amounted to a sufficient reach, taking into consideration the reach of one of the online media that published Levica’s stance, it is safe to say their message had sufficient reach.

Putin: There will be no return of Ukraine’s territories, Ukraine can lose even what is left of its territory
This year’s annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos and what was said about Ukraine there was enough to spur news coverage on the future of the war in Ukraine, i.e. the eventual end of the Russian invasion. The plans for a peace conference and a peace plan that are being proposed without consultations with Russia by almost the entirety of the West and other countries from around the world were met with a fierce response by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Namely, Putin stated that Russia would never return the territories it occupied in Ukraine since the beginning of its invasion in February 2022 and that Ukraine, faced with a failed counter-offensive in 2023, had lost the war. Putin added that should the war continue as it is, Ukraine’s statehood would be under serious threat – Ukraine may lose its remaining territories.

As Reuters reports, more precisely, Putin stated that Ukraine’s statehood could suffer an “irreparable blow” should the war continue. Furthermore, he stated that Russia would never be forced to give up the territory it had seized.

“So, if you do not want to [negotiate], then don’t! Not only is it now clear that the Ukrainian counter-offensive failed but it is also evident that the ball is in the Russian Armed Forces’ court. If the war carries on as it has, Ukraine’s statehood may suffer an irreparable and very serious blow,” were Putin’s words that some Macedonian-language media relayed.

Photo: Russian President’s Press Service

Putin made these statements, which were covered by Macedonian-language media, a day after Switzerland agreed to host the global summit upon the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Putin rejected the so-called “formulas for peace” discussed by the West and in Ukraine and the “excessive demands” he claims they entail.

At the same time, Zelenskyy warned that less aid for Ukraine’s defense amounts to direct support of Putin’s aggression plans:

We must gain air superiority for Ukraine, just as we gained superiority in the Black Sea – we can do it. Our partners know what and how much we need, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the World Economic Forum in Davos, appealing for Western support in countering Russia’s attacks.

All those who think only Ukraine is at stake are fundamentally wrong. Russia’s military goals outside Ukraine are becoming clearer and clearer, Zelenskyy said.

The crash of the Russian Ilyushin airplane reignited propaganda about Ukrainian Nazism
The Russian transport plane Il 76 that was downed near the Russian border city Belgorod started an avalanche of fierce accusations and disinformation about who shot it down and whether Ukrainian prisoners were on it and whether it transported weapons. Initially, Macedonian media outlets extensively reported on this event, which from a propaganda standpoint, gave Russia an advantage in the first few days. That is exactly why President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for an international investigation, even though, as the BBC reported and Macedonian media outlets relayed, Ukraine tacitly admitted guilt.

It is obvious that Russians are playing with the lives of the captured Ukrainians, their loved ones’ feelings and the emotions of everyone in our society, said Zelenskyy, without confirming that prisoners were on the plane. We must establish all the facts as clearly and as quickly as possible, while bearing in mind that the plane was struck down on Russian territory, which is beyond our control, said the Ukrainian president, as was covered by media outlets in North Macedonia.

The media also broadcasted the statement of Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, who clarified that the purpose of Moscow’s request for an urgent session of the UN Security Council was to discuss Russia’s accusations that Ukraine is committing terrorist acts on Russian territory. The media also covered Lavrov’s propaganda narrative – that he has no concern as to whether the international community would accept Moscow’s arguments.

Russia does not care whether the international community will believe it about the plane or not. Two years afterward, there are still no facts from Bucha, said Lavrov. As he pointed out, the international community, embodied by representatives of the West and the media has already proven their discredited position.
I am not at all nervous about the fact that the “international community” might not believe us, says Lavrov.

Some media outlets also covered the statements of one of Moscow’s main propagandists, former prime minister and former president Dmitry Medvedev, who blamed “Ukrainian Neo-Nazis” for the attack on the plane.

The story about the downing of the Il-76 plane is the result of the internal political struggle of the Neo-Nazi elites in Kyiv, Putin’s close associate said.

He said that the killed Russian pilots were heroes and that Ukrainian families did not receive their family members prisoners from Russia.

It will only get worse: Ukrainians have no problem killing their military staff and war prisoners if it means holding onto power, accused Medvedev further and added:
They will mercilessly bomb their cities and villages, destroying their homes and burning down their elderly and children. After all, the main things in this game are power and money.

Photo: Vitaly V. Kuzmin – commons file, CC BY-SA 4.0,

However, uncertainties and controversies had been spreading for days, as can be seen in this link showing articles from Macedonian-language media published at the end of January 2024. On 29 January, Russia stated that the airplane’s black boxes showed that the cargo plane had been shot down, as reported by the Russian News Agency TASS, which quoted an official source. This information then made its way to Macedonian media.

The Nazism never disappears from Moscow’s propaganda repertoire
The commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the end of the German WWII siege of St. Petersburg, then known as Leningrad, showed that accusing Ukraine and its leaders of having ties to Nazism remains a key feature of Russian propaganda. Namely, Russian President Vladimir Putin repeated the accusations of the “Nazification” of Ukraine by stating that “we will do everything possible to put an end to Nazism and finally eradicate it.”

Kyiv’s regime continues to glorify Hitler’s accomplices (…) and to use terror against those it does not like, said Putin, as reported by Macedonian-language media.

The disinformation posted on social media further proves that the alleged Nazification of Ukraine is a living, breathing topic in the world of Russian propaganda.

In one of its analyses regarding disinformation, Truthmeter pointed out the use of a letter allegedly written by Putin as evidence of Nazism in Ukraine. In the alleged letter, Putin writes about Russia’s war with Ukraine and asked the citizens of Western countries to help Russia fight against “Ukrainian Nazism”, which was “fed by your American taxes and NATO hawks.”

Another disinformation narrative that was distilled into actual disinformation is the one that instead of believers in Ukraine, there are only blasphemers and Satanists who are supported by the Ukrainian church. More specifically, a video advertisement for an online casino has been used as evidence of Satanists in a Ukrainian church. Generally, this type of disinformation aims to spread the narrative that Russia, through the war in Ukraine, is in fact defending traditional Orthodox values.

Another common disinformation narrative claims that Ukraine and its citizens are scapegoats of the West in their alleged war against Russia. This narrative can be observed in a fact-check by Truthmeter on the topic. The specific disinformation claims that “the West never cared for Ukraine and its people” and that “Ukrainians were used in the most despicable way, with the sole purpose of harming Russia.”

Zelenskyy’s popularity allegedly declining
Another disinformation narrative found in the Macedonian-language online space concerns Ukrainian President Zelenskyy directly. A disinformation narrative analyzed by Truthmeter claimed that Ukrainian authorities were worried about several potential problems on the fronts, including Ukraine’s casualty figures (which are derived from statements by Russia’s Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu), issues with supplying power in 9 Ukrainian regions. and, allegedly most concerning of all, that the President’s popularity is waning (presented without evidence).

Photo: Cabinet of the President of Ukraine

But what currently concerns Ukrainian authorities most is Zelenskyy’s popularity, which has dropped to 42% – as stated in the disinformation.

Truthmeter’s analysis determined that the specific figure of 42 as a percentage of Zelenskyy’s approval rating is nowhere to be found. A study has shown that Zelenskyy’s approval rating sits at 62%. This disinformation narrative is yet another in a series of such narratives aimed directly at the Ukrainian leadership, with the goal of demoralize the other side and mislead the general public.