Kremlin forces kids to watch propaganda videos and limits BBC access

Kremlin forces kids to watch propaganda videos and limits BBC access

Kremlin forces children to watch propaganda videos telling them that reports of a Ukraine invasion are ‘Western misinformation’ – as Russia also ‘limits’ access to BBC website

  • Kremlin propaganda targeted children with a warning that Russia’s attack on Ukraine is a ‘disinformation campaign’ from western intelligence agencies
  • Russia released a 30-minute ‘education’ video titled ‘a lesson about world peace’
  • The ministry of education used a 12-year-old signing prodigy to repeat’s Putin message his troops are in Ukraine to protect Russians there from ‘neo-Nazis’
  • Russia will also limit access to the BBC, its media watchdog has announced
  • Putin is ramping up censorship of non-state media and internet sites as protests mount over the destruction brought to Ukraine by Putin’s soldiers
  • Click here for MailOnline’s liveblog with the latest updates on the Ukraine crisis 

Russia is targeting children with the message that its invasion of Ukraine is a disinformation campaign, releasing a 30-minute video with a child star to embellish the propaganda on Thursday.

In the video obtained by The Daily Telegraph from the Ministry of Education, 12-year-old singing prodigy Sofia Khomenko tells child viewers ‘we are going to have a lesson about world peace’.

She is joined by two male presenters who explain the truth behind the events in Ukraine, at least from the ministry of education’s point of view.

Denis Polunchukov, the main presenter from the ministry, explained that many images circulating the web about the war in Ukraine are in fact from different conflicts.

The 12-year-old singing prodigy Sofia Khomenko (pictured left), sits next to ministry of education presenter Denis Polunchukov (pictured right) in a Kremlin propaganda video

The video was titled ‘A lesson about world peace’ and taught children about how Putin’s ‘special operation’ in Ukraine were protecting Russians from Nazis

The presenters said many images of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine shared on social media were from other conflicts or computer games

Some images are even from computer games, he added, warning about the dangers of believing photos shared on social media.

The Kremlin has in the past used video game footage to claim the US was supporting ISIS in the Middle East, shortly before Russian troops entered the Syrian Civil War in 2017.

Miss Khomenko asked bewildered questions to the two presenters, who assured her with recent-history lessons on how Nazis attacked Russian speakers and police during riots in Ukraine – a reference to the 2014 Maidan Revolution.

The attacks forced Russia to intervene in 2014, said the presenters, justifying the 2022 invasion by alleging that women and children in eastern Ukraine needed protection.

Polunchukov provided claims of rockets hitting a kindergarten, a column of tanks  breaking down, or planes being shot out of the sky, as examples of misinformation on social media. 

The air defense units of the Ukrainian Forces shot down another Russian Su-25 attack aircraft. The plane bombed civilian homes and civilian infrastructure.

Satellite imagery captured by Maxar shows a large military convoy seen north of Kyiv which has not moved in the past three days, according to the UK Ministry of Defence

The video portrayed NATO as the aggressor, and the United States as a warmonger, according to the Telegraph. 

He concluded by facing the camera, and telling the children directly:

‘You are the heirs of our great country.’ 

Russia ‘limiting’ BBC

Russia’s media watchdog said Friday it had restricted access to the BBC and other independent media websites, tightening controls over the internet more than one week after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Access to websites of the BBC, the independent news website Meduza, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, and the Russian-language website of the US-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Svoboda, were ‘limited’ by Roskomnadzor following a request from prosecutors.

The agency said that in each case, the prosecutors’ request was filed on February 24, the day Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his attack on Ukraine. 

German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported that the BBC site was not working within Russia.

However, BBC Russia said the domain has not been added to the country’s registry of banned sites. 

The BBC said it will continue efforts to make sure people in Russia have access to its news output following reports that its Russian Service website has been blocked in the country.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Access to accurate, independent information is a fundamental human right which should not be denied to the people of Russia, millions of whom rely on BBC News every week.

‘We will continue our efforts to make BBC News available in Russia, and across the rest of the world.’

The BBC said it will continue efforts to make sure people in Russia have access to its news following reports that viewers are no able to access its Russian-language website service

The broadcaster previously said the audience for its Russian language news website has more than tripled its year-to-date weekly average to a record 10.7 million people in the last week, while visitors to the English language in Russia were up 252% to 423,000 last week.

The invasion has claimed hundreds of lives and spurred allegation of war crimes.

The past year has seen an unprecedented crackdown on independent and critical voices in Russia that only intensified after the start of the invasion.

Ekho Mosvky – a liberal-leaning radio station majority-owned by Russia’s energy giant Gazprom – said Thursday it would shut down after being taken off air over its coverage of the Ukraine war.

Authorities had on Monday blocked the Ekho website and took the station off air as punishment for spreading ‘deliberately false information’ about the conflict.

Editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov said in a post on Ekho Moskvy’s Telegram channel Thursday that it would continue to publish content on YouTube and social media ‘despite the decision of the board of directors’ who voted to liquidate the radio station and website.

Ekho Moskvy was founded in 1990 during the final days of the Soviet Union.

Russian media have been instructed to only publish information provided by official sources, which describe the invasion as a military operation.

Russia’s state-controlled television channels meanwhile have doubled down on Kremlin narratives about nationalism in Ukraine, while accusing Kyiv of using civilians as human shields in the conflict. 

Propaganda efforts 

The kremlin has been ramping up propaganda efforts across the country as the war in Ukraine becomes bloodier.

Teachers have reportedly been given manuals, which demand they describe the savage invasion as ‘a special peacekeeping mission’.

Russia has already banned use of the words ‘invasion,’ ‘offensive’ and ‘declaration of war’ in the media, while reporters are also prohibited from mentioning civilian deaths caused by the conflict.

Now secondary schools are hosting special war-themed social studies classes, in which pupils are told the official government position on Russia’s history with Ukraine.

Manuals have been distributed throughout the school system, instructing teachers to tell students that Ukraine did not exist as a nation until the 20th century, and that it suffered a bloody coup in 2014, which resulted in the installation of an American puppet regime, according to Al Jazeera.

The propaganda goes on to claim Donetsk and Luhansk, recently recognized as independent by Putin, rose up against the ‘coup’, and were subjected to a ‘genocide’ for eight years, forcing the Kremlin’s hand.

Teachers are forced to provide proof they are giving lessons in such a way as complies with the propaganda handbook.

Some staff have reportedly received letters from school, warning them to monitor their children’s activities on social media platforms such as TikTok.

Kremlin chiefs claim the children may be encouraged to use the hashtag #нетвойне (‘no to war’) and be drawn into ‘unsafe’ protests.

There are also ‘warnings’ that children may also be exposed to ‘suicide flash mobs, detailed instructions on gender reassignment, and promotion of same-sex relationships’, it is reported.

The reports come amid warnings from the US State Department that Russia’s government is throttling Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, platforms that tens of millions of Russia’s citizens rely on to verify information.

A Russian opposition politician user Twitter to share heart-rending images of children detained in the back of a police van after taking part in anti-war protests on Wednesday.

But despite the crackdowns, protesters have defied Moscow and taken to the streets against President Putin’s illegal war in, risking life imprisonment and even treason charges.

Police officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in central Saint Petersburg

Children are held in a police station with their mothers for laying flowers to the embassy of Ukraine in Moscow, and for carrying No War posters

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