Ukraine: Daily Briefing – March 20, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time

Ukraine: Daily Briefing
March 20, 2019, 7 PM Kyiv time
Photo courtesy @Canadian Forces of OpUnifier
1. Russian Invasion of Ukraine
Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense reported at 12:30 PM Kyiv time that on March 19, Uone service member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces was killed in action. In the last 24 hours, Russian-terrorist forces opened fire three times on Ukrainian positions in the Luhansk sector using heavy weapons in three instances.
According to the Ukrainian military intelligence report three invaders were killed and another three were wounded, as a result of returning fire by the Ukrainian Armed Forces on March 19. In addition, the enemy has increased sniper activity by deploying sniper teams staffed with the Russian Federation Armed Forces personnel.
2. Weaponising News: RT, Sputnik and Targeted Disinformation
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Recently, the Policy Institute at King’s College in London, published a report about how the Kremlin’s media manipulates the news in an effort to capture elite thinking.
The report, written by Dr. Gordon Ramsay and Dr. Sam Robertshaw, studied Ukrainian news and was done together with, an agency that focuses on data based journalism. It is based on an analysis of “nearly 12,000 articles published in English by the two outlets and over 150,000 online articles by UK news outlets. The articles were collected between May and June 2017, and in March 2018, in the immediate aftermath of the Skripal poisoning. Reportedly, the report is the first comprehensive study of how RT and Sputnik spread confusion and division in the UK and beyond,” as noted in the report.
The authors have identified three tools that Russian media uses to influence the audience. The first is “flood the zone”, meaning that they literally flood the information sphere with “alternative facts” and “contradictory narratives” like what happened after the 2018 nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Salisbury by two members of Russia’s military intelligence, the GRU. […]
The research revealed that RT and Sputnik had published 138 separate and contradictory narratives about the Skripal poisoning in 735 articles in the four weeks following the incident, incorporating the views of a “parallel commentariat” and amplifying Russian government sources.
The second tool is called “projecting Russian strength”: articles are pushed by RT and Sputnik that allege “western military weakness” alongside “Russian military strength”, which Ramsay and Robertshaw called “Heads we win, tails you lose.”
The third and final tool is: “Division and dysfunction”, these are narratives that highlight political and institutional failures, exacerbate and create social divisions and very often highlight the threat of immigration.
Using a forensic approach to their study, the authors discovered that news organizations in the UK republish content from RT and Sputnik and then conveniently, the Kremlin media again republish the same content.
3. Polyphony Project collects the biggest digital archive of Ukrainian folk songs
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In 2014 one Hungarian musician Miklos Both came up with the idea of going on an ethnographic expedition around Ukraine to record traditional songs. The initiative turned into a Polyphony Project that claims to be “the largest digital archive of Ukrainian folk songs,” according to Tamara Kiptentko, who writes from Kyiv Post.
The goal of the project is to study, preserve, and present Ukrainian folk culture in the world.
Five years ago Both discovered Ukrainian folk songs at a music festival and was impressed with polyphony of Ukrainian traditional songs. He noticed that unlike most of the European countries Ukrainian rural communities often preserved their unique culture. Three years into his expeditions throughout Ukraine, the Ivan Honchar Museum, a Kyiv-based folk culture center, joined Both’s project. In 2017 the Polyphony Project became a participant in the Creative Europe program, receiving financial support for its further growth.
“According to Myroslava Vertiuk, the deputy director of the Ivan Honchar Museum and coordinator of the Polyphony Project, the project is now divided into two stages. The first stage is to discover and collect folk songs from all Ukrainian regions. The second is to promote Ukrainian culture around the world.
“The Polyphony Project has collected more than 2,000 songs from 100 Ukrainian villages. The Ivan Honchar Museum staff helped structure and organize the scientific research for the project, conducting a thorough ethnographic study before each expedition and inviting ethnomusicologist experts from each region to help reconstruct songs of various genres, intrinsic to a particular community. […]
The Polyphony Project’s website has all the recorded tracks, categorized by region, genre, melody, and the season in which the song was sung. Each song in the digital archive was recorded with a multitrack recorder, which allows the audience to listen to all of the voices individually or in any combination. The Polyphony Project has reached 12,000 subscribers on Facebook and more than 380,000 views on YouTube.”
4. Ukraine ranks 133rd in World Happiness Report 2019
Logo courtesy of Juniperusco
Today, the UN celebrates the International Day of Happiness. Apparently, there is also a World Happiness Report where the 156 countries are rated based on the so-called “happiness index,” which is calculated according to such indicators as life expectancy, social support, healthy lifestyle, freedom, generosity, corruption, and trust in the state.
For the last seven years since the report was launched the ranking has been traditionally lead by the countries of northern Europe: Finland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Netherlands. At the same time, African countries (Rwanda, South Sudan, Central African Republic, Tanzania), as well as Afghanistan, are traditionally at the bottom of the list, with their population being “unhappiest”.
Ukrainian “happiness index” has improved over the past year when it occupied 138th place. Meanwhile, Canada remains in the top 10 neighbouring with New Zealand [8th place] and Austria [10th place].
Read the World Happiness Report here.

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