Zelensky, Russian Government, Ukraine discussed on Weekend Edition Sunday


In Germany he reminded the parliament of the vow to never again let a dictator exterminate a people and about Germany's own invasion of Ukraine in World War II And in army fatigues on a large screen before Congress zelensky asked American lawmakers to remember A terrible day in 2001 when he will try to turn your cities independent territories And battlefield When innocent people were attacked While zelensky used history in his campaign to recruit help from the west the Russian disinformation machine was busy with its own campaign to spread conspiracy and division The focus biolabs or more specifically the United States developing or helping develop biological weapons and laboratories across Ukraine Ben Collins is a senior reporter for NBC News covering disinformation extremism in the Internet and he says while this may sound like a far fetched plot it's really a digital age revival It's not that new in the grand scope of Russian propaganda history to accuse adversaries of having biological weapons and then using them yourself They did this in Syria several years ago in Aleppo they tried to claim that the Syrians somehow gats themselves or faked a chemical weapons attack when they were the perpetrators themselves And they also did this with a spy poisoning British police now believe that former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned with a nerve agent The government said it was novichok a poison developed in the Soviet area and that the Russian state must be behind the attack They claimed that it's actually the U.S. making nova chuck Maybe in Ukraine and that spy that's how he got poisoned with American no drug but of course that makes no sense There was later identified as FSB agents who pulled off that attack So this is a Russian propaganda operation that has done this consistently What are they alleging What are biolabs It sounds like something out of a marvel movie They are research facilities that don't study things like bioweapons or the coronavirus or whatever But that's what is being pushed by the Russian government now You'll see talk by the Russian government that they are making specific coronaviruses in these labs to target ethnic Russians but not Ukrainians And it's being flown over the border by birds who are taking the coronavirus bypassing the Ukrainians bypassing Europeans and infecting your Russians This is a Russian style conspiracy theory I guess But that's not exactly the origin of it at this moment right That's exactly right I think a really important history here is to go back to just a few weeks ago before the war And see what Vladimir Putin was talking about Two of the Russian government was talking about as their pretext for the war They were not talking about Ukrainian biolabs that did not come up What did come up was denazification The idea that the Ukrainian government was run by Nazis actual Nazis And that they needed to go in there and get rid of them and then install a separate government that is more aligned with Vladimir Putin And what you can see is this not landing with the global far right this D notification idea You saw for weeks traditional allies in the propaganda spaces China or India Pakistan even weirdly enough Uncommon allies but allies against the west in propaganda They did not buy in on this the notification thing Didn't make any sense to them And in fact the American far right didn't buy in either The American far right was like what are you guys talking about Do you know what The characters that you guys are bringing up now are new to us And we need some comfort food And the comfort food to them is Anthony Fauci or Joe Biden or something like that So on the day of the invasion you can see this we worked with this company called pira the CEO of Welton Chang did this data And you can see that there are like single digit posts about bio labs on the top 15 far right American social networks in the days before the invasion And then on the day of the invasion there's hundreds and then after that thousandths and you can see that they are trying to find a reason why Vladimir Putin is not the bad guy because they've been told for years he's not the bad guy He's sort of like Donald Trump He's smart He's savvy he's tough When they went into Ukraine and they found.

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