Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia · Ukraine

Ukrainian ‘Rebels’ Cannot “Do” Propaganda


Today a good friend sent me the URL for a “Ukraine Rebel” propaganda video.

“This shows how sophisticated they are”.  I actually expected a decent quality product.

I was wrong.

He must have meant NOT sophisticated.

The video was terrible quality – the video resolution, the captions, and the thought that went into making it. 

The style of “singing” is drap, as in dumb rap. That’s what you do when you can’t sing and you definitely can’t rap.  You get some 20-something year old with a bad haircut, a self-made bad t-shirt with an indecipherable message, and have him lip-synch to overmodulated rap in the language of Ukraine (or is it Russian?)  with really cheesy captions underneath in English. Then soften the edges of the captions to the point where they are often illegible, sometimes fading into the background. It actually looks like it was filtered three times, it’s that bad.

A whole bunch of pictures are integrated into the video.  I recognized a few of them from Odessa.  Bodies lying everywhere.  THERE IS NO CONTEXT.  I guess I’m supposed to guess Government forces killed a bunch of rebels. I see a few men with St. Georges ribbons, so I guess they’re playing the part of a good guy.

The basic concept of this video is to have a misguided youth sit on a pile of rubble and throw down gang signs because he’s so gangsta.  Not. He’s trying to explain how they’re being hunted down because they’re rebels. Well, yeah, duh.

I especially loved the one man holding his AK up in the “spray and pray” position, over his head, not aiming.

Who in the hell would want to sit through that almost 3 minutes of that crap?

The captions were so bad I had to go back two or three times to read them. I discovered that most of the time I couldn’t stop the video and read the captions, that would only ruin what resolution there was and the captions faded away.

One unexplained concept: Manhunt.  The term is used frequently. My only guess is the Russian rebels are being hunted down by the government of Ukraine, so the rebels call it “Manhunt”.  Not “the manhunt”. Not “a manhunt”.  Just Manhunt.  Sorry guys, it’s not Prom.

The worst mistake of all is having the RT symbol constantly popping up in the corner, so that footage is obviously Russian propaganda.

If I had any doubt whatsoever of the muscle behind this propaganda video, it was dispelled at the end.  It also reinforced the concept that the video makers were incompetent. 

There are two major problems with this screenshot of the video at the end. Can you see what they did and did not do?

1. Donbass is the Russian spelling, Donbas is the Ukraine spelling.

2. “#Save Donbass From Ukraine Army” is ineffective as a hashtag.  They want to put it as #SaveDonbassFromUkraineArmy without spaces, but #SaveDonbass would have been more efficient.  “from Ukraine Army” is redundant, we know that is who they are fighting. A Hashtag should be short, sweet, and powerful.

Major fail.

After the video was finished I sat for a moment and tried to make sense of it.

My only conclusion?

It sucked, it stank, it blew.

The good news?  This video is four years old and it appears “Voice of Russia” has stopped producing videos.  That’s a good thing because this was really, really bad.

5 thoughts on “Ukrainian ‘Rebels’ Cannot “Do” Propaganda

  1. Limited resources.
    Limited production training.
    Gangster rap is popular in Russia.
    More than likely, this was put together in a sloppy haste.

    This ain’t sophisticated propaganda. This be a fail.

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