In the latest update from British intelligence as of August 18, 2023, concerning the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, significant developments have been observed in the Russian-occupied eastern regions. The report sheds light on Russia’s strategic efforts to exert influence in the education and media sectors in these areas.
Russian Official’s Visit to Donetsk
A key event of note occurred on August 15, when Sergey Kiriyenko, the First Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration, made a visit to Donetsk in the Russian-occupied eastern part of Ukraine. His visit was focused on inspecting schools and evaluating their integration into the Russian education system. This visit underscores Russia’s intent to solidify control over the educational infrastructure in the occupied regions.
Changes in Educational Standards
In Zaporizhzhia Oblast, which has fallen under occupation, the administration is receiving directives from Russia regarding the implementation of new standards for accrediting educational institutions. This move suggests Russia’s efforts to align education in these regions with its own policies and objectives.
Influence on Media and Information Space
Russian influence is not limited to education alone. The report highlights that journalists from Russia are being strategically employed in media outlets within the occupied regions. This move signifies a calculated attempt to shape the narrative and control information dissemination in these areas.
A Propaganda Tool: A New History Textbook
A particularly significant development is the upcoming issuance of a new history textbook in the occupied regions and across the Russian Federation, set to take effect from September 1, 2023. The textbook’s content is of concern, as it portrays the so-called “special military operation” in a favorable light and denigrates Ukraine by labeling it an “ultra-terrorist state.” This blatant attempt at historical revisionism and propagandistic messaging serves Russia’s larger objectives of shaping public perception and asserting its dominance over the occupied territories.
Undermining Ukrainian National Identity
The overarching goal of these strategic moves by Russia is clear: to establish a pro-Kremlin information ecosystem within the occupied regions. By controlling education and media narratives, Russia aims to weaken and erode Ukrainian national identity, replacing it with a narrative that aligns with its own interests. This deliberate effort to reshape perceptions is a tactic aimed at solidifying control and diminishing the occupied regions’ ties to Ukraine.
As the conflict continues, the influence of information warfare and strategic manipulation becomes increasingly apparent. This report from British intelligence highlights Russia’s calculated efforts to reshape the narrative within the occupied regions to serve its geopolitical goals.