According to the activity of Russian media in covering the activities of the Ukrainian defense industry and exports, it is possible to “synchronize watches” at which foreign policy events are taking place for Kyiv.
The fight against Ukraine is conducted in Moscow stubbornly, and, despite the dubious successes, this mechanism works monotonously and does not give failures. The latest Russian wave of discrediting Ukraine on the world arms market was timed to coincide with the discussions of the UN General Assembly on the options for deploying peacekeepers in the occupied territories of Ukraine. The members of the General Assembly have always gravitated to the numerous problems of the poorest countries in Africa, and a systematic wave of discredit has started against the Ukrainian companies operating in these countries.
Along with the tasks of prosaic competition and vain attempts to oust Ukraine from the world market of military equipment, the Moscow illusion around the Ukrainian arms export begins to work every time when something very important is happening in our country’s life. We list the recent key events that hurt the Kremlin and forced it to spend resources in the Ukrainian direction.
The voice in the desert and the fanfare of unreliability
The task of Moscow during this wave of discrediting Kiev was the intention to draw the attention of the UN specialized agency, UN Office of Disarmament, to the trade operations of Ukraine in Africa, in particular in Southern Sudan.
But this did not happen to the Russians. Many countries are supplying weapons to this region of the world, including Russia itself. There are no international sanctions against countries that have bought Ukrainian equipment. Most of the Ukrainian transactions, with which “useful idiots” of Moscow in international humanitarian organizations undertook to oversee Kiev, generally had a three-year prescription. And it was not possible to get enough supporters to vote on the Russian version of the Ukrainian peacekeeping mission in the corridors of the UN General Assembly.
Another important event for Kiev occurred before the failed Russian epic in the UN General Assembly. In the United States, the procedure for passing a bill on granting US government defense assistance to Ukraine ended.
The question was whether the aid would consist of lethal weapons, or not. During this milestone event, Russian propaganda tried to undermine confidence in Ukraine’s ability to be a reliable recipient of assistance.
During this period, Moscow took measures to suspect Ukraine of supplying arms to Kurdish extremists in the Middle East. But in the end, none of the suspicions that Moscow has put forward to Ukraine through allegedly independent associations of international journalistic investigations have been realized.
Violations in Ukrainian trade were not found. They could not to reverse the procedure for assignment of military equipment to Ukraine.
The process of the territorial partition of Syria in the zones of de-escalation, in which the Kurdish factor plays the first role – it also directly affects the interests of Ukraine. The Syrian adventure hinders the significant human and military resources of the Kremlin. It makes it easier for Kiev to contain Russian invaders in the border areas of Ukraine. The task of Russia in the Syrian war is the preservation of the territorial integrity of Syria and the domination of the Bashar al-Assad regime over the whole country. This task is failed, the Russian Federation gets stuck in the war deeper, and the indirect Ukrainian interest is observed.
If Moscow could achieve its goal in Syria, Russian private military companies would be involved in the land of Ukraine in full force. Syria is divided into areas of responsibility of the League of Arab States, the United States, Turkey, and the Russian Federation with Iran.
The only chance for Moscow is to delay the final disintegration of Syria and provoke a rift in the Western coalition, especially between Turkey and the United States. With a qualified approach, competently concocted Russian scandals around the supply of Kurds could play a major role in this rift.
Trying to rekindle mutual mistrust in the coalition, Moscow tried to create a scandal with the distribution of contracts by the US Department of Defense. They are distributed among the countries of Eastern Europe, including Ukraine. But the Moscow could not make a very big scandal around ordinary purchases of the Pentagon.
No one found the facts of supplying Kurdish extremists with weapons, including allegedly Ukrainian, in Turkey and Iran. Moreover, the media campaign struck Moscow as an obvious boomerang. Because the press learned that the position in the East of Europe is strengthened not by the Russian Federation, but by the United States.
This raises a natural question: did Moscow at all need to start talking about some kind of mythical “Kurdish supplies” if this highlighted the Russian strategic failure in Syria and showed how the integration of the US defense industry with the East of Europe is growing?
For example, the invincible and mighty Russian defense industry has no comparative cost of cooperation with defense industries in Eastern Europe. There is no significant cooperation and significant Russian contracts in other regions of the world. In this sphere, by the way, there is another plane of Moscow’s media activity aimed at discrediting Ukraine in the world arms market – this is the level of competition in the market of Soviet and post-Soviet defense technologies.
Scandals as a weapon of competition
Chronic lust for the Russian Federation to impose on Ukraine a pro-Russian puppet political regime has been manifested for decades. And this lust to constantly meddle in Ukrainian affairs has a direct bearing on the competition in the world arms market. According to the rigid ideals of Moscow strategists, the ideal “springboard” for the promotion of Soviet and Russian technologies to the world market is precisely Ukraine, and not some other state.
Moscow did not succeed to make China as intermediate place for the assembly of Russian military equipment. China and Russia are competing on the world arms market, exposing are often absolutely identical models of technology to the market.
For a long time it was believed that the assembly site and the “springboard” for the export of Russian developments could be the defense industry of India. However, this country, even against the backdrop of blackmail from Moscow, will not tolerate one-sided dependence on Russia, since they have long professed the doctrine of diversifying their defense industry in New Delhi.
At first glance, Belarus seems to be a good springboard for Russian exports. But this country, unlike the broad-profile defense industry of Ukraine, has a rather narrow specialization. As a result of the narrow structure, Minsk has a fairly high level of independence, up to the point that China’s weight in some Belarusian defense industries is greater than the weight of Russia.
The market for modernization and repair of Soviet and post-Soviet engineering is considered enormous. It is estimated at tens of billions of dollars per year. The beginning of the era of credit limitation and international sanctions against the Russian Federation led to the fact that the struggle for foreign markets between Ukraine and Russia was extremely hardened.
The classic fakes and veiled injections of frankly false information in this competition have become an ordinary Russian tool. An example of this behavior of the Russian Federation is Moscow’s resistance to the advancement of Ukrainian armored vehicles to Southeast Asia. For example, the headline of the Russian edition of the VPK Kurier – “Damn this weapon: the buyers get rid of the Ukrainian” miracle tank”.
In this Moscow publication it was alleged that there was a disgusting quality and disruption in the delivery schedule in the procurement of Ukrainian tanks “Oplot” to Thailand. Although in fact, neither the Ukrainian nor the Thai sides of the contract announced either the disruption of the schedule or the claims of the buyer.
In 2016-17, the tactics of the Russian information wars against the development of the export of military equipment from Ukraine was changed. Early, an overabundance of petrodollars gave rise to colorful informational manipulations on this field and costly propaganda campaigns. When the oil super profits came to an end, the costly Russian information campaigns with wide coverage became less. Moreover, some fake distribution platforms, like the “LifeNews” TV channel, generally had to disappear.
Instead of the old broad information campaigns, the cascades of Russian propaganda began to move away from the deeply conspicuous factories of point-by-point compromise, and increasingly began to take an institutional character.
The economy makes the Russians increasingly buy the services of public organizations with a well-spun name. It’s much cheaper than paying for the services of foreign TV channels or expensive advertising spaces of large-circulation publications.
An example of such technology can be considered the recent involvement of the international humanitarian organization Amnesty International to the analysis of Ukrainian exports to the Republic of South Sudan.
There are no international sanctions against this country. Ukrainian state companies did not participate in the deals. Despite this, the publications and reprints in the Russian media, produced from the submission of the Amnesty International report, tried to stir up excitement, the meaning of which was that Ukraine, in some outrageous right, is actually exporting weapons and special equipment to regions where all other states sell their equipment. This direction of the Defense Industry activities is necessary so that our country can earn currency for the needs of the defense industry.
In the old days, information of this kind would be replicated by the Russian Federation in expensive European or American publications. And then, some “data from independent sources” were already disseminated from strictly Russian media sites. Now, in the Russian information technologies directed against Ukraine, changes under the motto of economy are underway.
In the course of such reforms, Russian special services often have to shine their long-proven foreign cadres, which in the greasier times of Russian propaganda would necessarily be in the shadows.
Now, it appears that careful Russian attitude to valuable personnel is a thing of the past. A good example of such a new policy is given by Moscow’s already mentioned attempt to inflate the scandal surrounding the AI report and the supply of military equipment of Ukrainian private firms to African countries.
The buzz about this report was first raised by blogger Diana Mikhailova, who works in the Kiev office of Russian RIA Novosti, and earlier, was considered a very useful expert in criticizing the Ukrainian defense industry.
Could the representative of the news agency from Ukraine conduct in Moscow an investigation of Russian arms exports, similar to the work that was done by RIA Novosti in Kiev?
The probability of this is zero. At the same time, Russian news agencies and representative offices abroad are increasingly falling into the epicenter of propaganda campaigns aimed at Ukraine.
This indicates the changes that occur in the tactics of the Russian information wars. The end of the era of petrodollars leads to the fact that more and more information operations Russians are forced to carry out on the brink of a foul, saving money, and squandering once valuable human resources. And “Diana Mikhailova” is an outstanding example!
And the last such bogus story, the Kremlin-stitched up in a hurry, is the campaign launched through the “gray segment” about “supplying the Ukrainian weapons to the Taliban.” At the same time, it is worth noting that the Russians are trying once again to shift their punctures with arms supplies to the Taliban.