Systematic monitoring of the largest toxic public pages on VKontakte made it possible to better study the specifics of their propaganda activities. The content of twelve active public pages with exclusive content has been treated to a deeper study and classification based on the topics of posts published in the first half of 2020.
It turned out that during this period these pages published about 3,800 thousand posts that promoted the Russian World, contained propaganda regarding Belarus, Ukraine, and Western countries and/or were posts containing criticism, sometimes using hate speech, against individuals and groups of citizens. Anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western messages are regularly present in the content of the pages studied to a significant degree, which allows for the consistent discrediting of all states neighboring Belarus except Russia.
One post may correspond to two or more types of propaganda
The anti-Belarusian content of the VKontakte pages studied was expressed in discrediting the Belarusian statehood, history, language, and culture and refuting Stalin’s repressions, in particular the mass shootings in Kurapaty. Almost 2,000 posts contained various forms of discrediting various Belarusian activists and initiatives, journalists, human rights defenders, and other citizens.
By attributing to them various negative qualities, plans, and actions and by generalizing them through categorizing them arbitrarily broadly as “zmagars,” both democratic values and any manifestations of Belarusianness are discredited. Many posts contain hate speech against individuals and groups of the population based on professional, ethnic, and political grounds. Hate speech is expressed, inter alia, in the form of insults, obscene language, and calls to violence.
The anti-Ukrainian content of the pages studied is expressed in support of the D(L)NR separatists, through statements about Ukraine as a Western puppet, a failed oligarchic state, the dominance of fascists in the country, etc. Anti-Western statements most often relate to allegedly aggressive plans and actions against Belarus and Russia, fascist tendencies, moral decline, and the inevitable collapse of Western countries.
Материал доступен на русском языке: Антибелорусская пропаганда и язык вражды в «ВКонтакте»