On November 29-30, Kremlin propaganda media (1,2,3,4,5,6) including Комсомолская Правда, Царград, and Арегументы и Факты reported that campaign leaflets appeared in Ukraine to encourage the elderly to go to the front. The leaflets feature the following slogans: “You have already lived your share – go to the front;”(Ти вже пожив своє – йди на фронт!);” It’s never too late to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine” (Ніколи не пъзно записатися до ЗСУ), “Happiness in old age is possible, update your data in the territorial recruiting centers” (Щаслива старисть можнова. Оновлюй дани в ТЦК); “Age is only in your mind, join the armed forces of Ukraine.” The coat of arms of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine can also be seen on the leaflets.
The claim about the campaign to encourage the elderly to join the war in Ukraine is disinformation. The Center for Combating Disinformation of Ukraine responded to the information about the leaflets and denied it.
The Center for Combating Disinformation of Ukraine responded to the reports about the propaganda leaflets distributed on October 30. The Center is a body established at the initiative of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. The statement of the agency mentions that the leaflets are part of the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign.
“The so-called postcards are another propaganda forgery, which is part of the information campaign about “violent mobilization” in Ukraine. Accordingly, no postcards of similar content are distributed in the capital” – mentions the statement.
The Center for Combating Disinformation points out that a similar campaign featuring fake cards with the call of the President of Ukraine and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces was active in the past as well, encouraging Ukrainians to make the right choice.
Disinformation that Ukraine wants to mobilize the elderly and pensioners has been resurfacing at different times. The report by the Ukrainian organization “Detector Media”, which highlighted the disinformation and propaganda narratives directed at the elderly people during the Russia-Ukraine war, notes that the topic of mobilization of pensioners in Ukraine is one of the Kremlin’s disinformation messages and has been spreading across different social networks since 2022. The report gives specific examples, for example, in 2022, information was spread about the alleged mobilization of pensioners. Russian propaganda manipulated the words of the former head of the intelligence service Mykola Malomuzh, who spoke about the need to strengthen the reserves, but did not mention pensioners anywhere. In 2023, the Russian media РЕН-ТВ showed a video of the Ukrainian humorist blogger “Grandpa Tolya” as one of the examples of the recruitment of pensioners in a story about the general mobilization, in which there was also talk about the recruitment of pensioners to the front. In the autumn of 2023, similar disinformation was spread on various Telegram channels, as if Ukrainian social services specially collected information on elderly people in order to transfer the data to military commissariats.
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