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Three Propaganda Narratives and Harmful Manipulations. Fact Check of Dasha Navalnaya's Speech at TED Talks

Єлизавета Гогілашвілі
Єлизавета Гогілашвілі Редакторка
17 жовтня 2023 3 хвилин читання

Recently, the TED Talks platform published a speech by Dasha Navalnaya, daughter of Alexei Navalny. The video has already received millions of views. In her speech, Navalnaya talked a lot about how her father fights the regime, modestly mentioned Russian aggression once, and then revealed the main thing – apparently, only 15% of Russians support Putin.

This is an open manipulation, as the well-respected (and as independent as possible in current Russia) Russian sociological center Levada Center conducted a survey of Russian public opinion in September 2023 — and the level of support for aggression remains at 73% (41% «unequivocally support» the actions of the Russian military in Ukraine, another 32% «rather support» those.).

SPEKA asked VoxCheck's senior analyst Kirill Perevoshchykov to analyze Navalnaya's speech for fakes and manipulations. Here are the propaganda narratives and fakes he found:

1. Exaggeration of the achievements of the Russian opposition

«FBK conducted more than 500 anti-corruption investigations». We could not confirm this number of investigations. Open sources contain data on more than 100 investigations by Navalny's team. It is possible that some of the works are not public, but it is currently impossible to verify.

«Governments around the world use the »sanctions list« of the Russian opposition to form sanctions packages» is a rather baseless statement. Such a list does exist, and FBK representatives are trying to distribute it among Western officials. However, there is no evidence that this list is the basis of all anti-Russian sanctions. For example, this list includes Russian oligarchs (Abramovich, Friedman, and others) who would have been sanctioned regardless of FBK's activities.

2. Ignoring the responsibility of the Russians for the war

Dasha Navalnaya claims that only a minority of Russians support aggression, and therefore only Putin (hence the phrase «Putin's war») and his inner circle are to blame for the war. The idea is dangerous because Russian liberals are not going to work with the imperial mindset of a significant number of Russians. Therefore, the aggressive attitude of the Russian Federation towards neighboring countries and revanchist sentiments may be preserved after the war.

The latest polls show the majority of Russians support the war. 

3. Shifting emphasis from supporting Ukraine to supporting Russian political prisoners

The vast majority of Russian oppositionists are reluctant to talk about supporting Ukraine in the war. Instead, they are focusing on the release of Navalny or other prisoners. Moreover, some representatives, such as the previous head of the FBK, Leonid Volkov, called donating to the Armed Forces of Ukraine a «ridiculous idea» and a «provocation.»

That is, FBK verbally supports the overthrow of Putin's regime, but in fact they refrain from supporting Ukraine, whose victory would significantly weaken Russia.

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