The Italian pseudo-journalist Andrea Lucidi spreads lies about Ukraine for the Italian audience.
Lucidi has profiles on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, but he does not manage them very actively, and the audience on each of these platforms does not exceed 3,000 followers.
The Italian regularly travels to the temporarily occupied territories, where he shoots propaganda stories, which are then distributed to the Kremlin media with a special emphasis on what is reported by an “Italian journalist”.
Lucidi’s main place of “work” is Telegram, where he has a personal channel with 7,700 subscribers, as well as the support of several Kremlin sites that mimic “independent” media that want to “tell the truth to Italians.”
On May 7, Lucidi published a Tik-Tok video on his page, in which the Ukrainian military allegedly hanged a priest, and then showed it off on social networks.
“Recently, there is a lot of talk about religious persecution in Ukraine against the Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate. We have seen violence and hatred against religious people and believers. We saw how the Kyiv authorities expelled ordinary monks from one of the oldest and most important monasteries for Orthodoxy. What we haven’t seen yet is that the Ukrainian military has released a video showing the hanging of an alleged doll dressed as an Orthodox priest. All this to a cheerful song,” Lucidi wrote on his Telegram channel.
It is important to clarify that Lucidi still called the “hanged man” a doll, while his Russian colleagues simply spread videos on social networks with the headlines “Beasts from the Armed Forces hanged an Orthodox priest.”
As of June 1, Lucidi’s post has already garnered more than 80,000 views, mostly due to reposts on other Russian-controlled channels.
Initially, this video ended up on another pro-Russian channel, which is aimed at Italians – Donbass italia (35,000 subscribers).
This is one of the favorite techniques of Russian propagandists – throwing in a fake, seemingly not from themselves, but from the Western media.
Later, the fake began to be distributed on “trash” sites and small accounts in social networks. It is important to note that big Kremlin media such as RIA or TASS are not included in such campaigns, leaving the dirty work to platforms specially created for such tasks.
Italians are considered one of the most religious nations in Europe, so it is not surprising that Kremlin propaganda uses this feature to spread lies about Ukraine and the Armed Forces.
For example, the Italian-language Telegram channel La terza ROMA (almost 10,000 subscribers) pays special attention to this topic.
“Due to the silence of the international community, the official Orthodox Church is persecuted throughout Ukraine. Burned churches, arrests of priests, threats and beatings, constant violence against believers, not to mention expropriated churches,” the Telegram channel wrote on May 19.
Similar posts are published regularly – in May alone, and on this channel alone, the Center for Strategic Communications recorded more than 10 posts in which Italians are convinced that believers are being persecuted in Ukraine, and the country is ruled by Satanists.
Similar narratives are promoted on other Italian-language Telegram channels: in particular, on the channel Un ponte tra Italia e Russia, which is hosted by “Italian-Russian journalist Tetiana.” In the profile of the channel, the author offers her audience a “space for dialogue”, and instead promotes exclusively Kremlin ideology, often touching on religious issues.
Photo: An activist holds a banner with a portrait of Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh as he demonstrates outside the Dutch embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Feb. 5, 2016, Reuters.