The developed system of misinformation in ORDLO gave us the opportunity to demonstrate another example – the manipulation of public opinion in the occupied territories with the help of an authority. It consists of replacing a really influential source of information – “The Guardian” with another, little-known, but similar in a name – “Off Guardian”.

Specialists of the information front in the occupied territories often use this method to create an idea of ​​the alleged “subjectivity” and “international weight” of self-proclaimed and unrecognized entities. The International Center for Countering Russian Propaganda continues to expose samples of misinformation in the occupied territories for Promote Ukraine.

“In early May, the website of the “SD Public Movement” published information with a loud headline: “Donetskflix – in “The Guardian” is the name of the article  about the shooting of a feature film in the DNR, which take place in a real war and pandemic,” – Valentyna Bykova, a media expert and analyst at the International Center for Countering Russian Propaganda, says. – The reader may get the impression that a respected British edition is actually writing about “cultural life” in ORDLO. Therefore, it recognizes the so-called “DNR” and considers it necessary to keep its readers informed of local events, thus supporting the occupation of part of Ukraine. Of course, there is no active reference to the original source in the material with such a resounding title is provided. But we have found the article in question, and this is not at all what pro-Russian propagandists want to portray”.

First, the title of the publication is “Off Guardian”, and its address:, in contrast to the original, for which it is trying to publish – “The Guardian” with the site This trick is used by unscrupulous manufacturers of goods parasitizing on well-known brands. For example, when clothes and shoes of dubious origin are labeled “Abibas” or “Dolse & Gaddana”.

Secondly, the online service Mediabiasfactcheck defines the “Off Guardian” site as prone to the spread of “conspiracy theories”, pseudo-scientific theories. 

“Sources in category “Conspiracy-Pseudoscience” may publish unverified information that is not always supported by evidence. These sources can be unreliable, so in order to obtain information from these sources, it is recommended to check the facts and make further investigations into each article,” the fact-checkers concluded.

Third, not surprisingly, Off Guardian promotes the narratives of Russian propaganda.

“Off Guardian reports the news with pro-Russian bias. Many articles are very critical of Ukraine. For example, allegedly, Ukraine admitted that it interfered in the 2016 US elections on Clinton’s side. This news does not offer hyperlinks, only translations of documents. The Off Guardian also often promotes conspiracy theories about GMOs, publishes fake news, and promotes against vaccination. In an article by Ukrainian fact-checkers Stop Fake, they describe The Off Guardian as “Russian trolls expelled from The Guardian who have found a home for their hatred”… In general, we rate OffGuardian as a website that often uses conspiracy theories, moderately pseudo-science, and promotes Russian propaganda,” Van Zandt of Mediabiasfactcheck said.

In addition, even such a dubious and openly pro-Russian resource as OffGuardian calls ORDLO an “unrecognized republic”.

Conclusion: misinformation – a way of psychological influence. It is the intention to provide the object with information that misleads him about the true state of affairs and creates a distorted reality. Dissemination of distorted, incomplete, or knowingly false information to achieve propaganda, military (misleading the enemy), commercial or other purposes.

What do we have with after a very simple and short-lived verification of the facts of an influential source of information – “The Guardian” and another little-known, but similar in a name – “Off Guardian”? Instead of the brilliant picture that Russian propagandists tried to create about the growing subjectivity of the so-called “DNR”, about which the respected and authoritative world-class media allegedly writes, we have an article on an openly “yellow” pro-Russian resource. Which is also defined as a source of fakes and misinformation. And, most likely, it is financed by the FSB through “Rossotrudnichestvo” or another company.

While Russia lacks funding for state media – it has already shrunk to 20%. This follows from the draft federal budget of Russia for 2017-2019. In particular, by 2019, the costs of FGUP “VDTRK” (channel “Russia 1” and others) were reduced by 9% – up to 20.5 billion rubles. 

Note that until 2017, spending on state propaganda media in Russia has been growing steadily.

Natalia Tolub

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