Typology of Putin's public critics
As part of the analysis of the Russian media, which were positioned as opposition to the Putin regime, we identified publications that repeat the theses of Russian propaganda.
Based on the results of the analysis of the public oppositionists’ statements, five types were distinguished.
Useful for Ukraine in the info field (6 people)
This category includes those public figures who have a systematic pro-Ukrainian position (Andrii Piantkovskii) and/or take active actions to help Ukraine win and restore justice (Viktoria Ivleva).
We also included in this category:
Akhedzhakova Liya — a consistent pro-Ukrainian position.
Nucky Michael — systematic broadcast of the pro-Ukrainian position to the Russian audience.
Ilya Novikov — proactive actions.
Feigin Mark — systematic broadcast of the pro-Ukrainian position to the Russian audience.
non-public Russians who help Ukraine to win were left out of the study - they systematically donate to the Armed Forces, rescue Ukrainians from infiltration camps, et cetera. However, these are non-public cases now. Their number is unknown.
More useful for Ukraine in the info field than not (13 people)
This category includes those public figures who have a clear and public position on 4 key issues:
Is the war of 2014 a war?
Is Crimea an integral part of Ukraine?
Is the war of 2022 a war?
Is Russia an aggressor?
And also, their public statements mostly help Ukraine in the war with Russia.
Serhii Guriev was also included in this category. He condemns the war, recognizes Russia as an aggressor country, and war as a crime. Pays tribute to Ukrainian resilience. Tells about Russia's bombing of Ukrainian civilian objects.
However, he has an unclear position — sometimes he calls the war Putin's business, then he admits that all Russian citizens are responsible for it. Denies "Russophobia" in the West. At the same time, he also calls Russian migrants refugees and calls to help them, because they will have to rebuild Russia after Putin. He does not deny that the Russian Federation can change its borders (from the point of view of) disintegration. He opposes the introduction of a visa regime.
Neutral in the info field (29 people)
This category includes those public figures who tend to support the pro-Ukrainian side, but are situationally silent on important issues or broadcast Russian propaganda (knowingly or not).
This category included the biggest number of people who were situationally admired by Ukrainian society, despite their position in the past - in 2014 or later.
Kateryna Gordeeva, who publicly expresses a pro-Ukrainian position on key issues, but sometimes interviews Russian propagandists, which legalizes their disinformation messages, was also included in this category. The latter is argued with the idea of "journalistic standards" and "a different point of view."
She also claims that there is a "soft" way to confront the regime and propaganda — simply presenting an alternative point of view. With this, in particular, she justifies cooperation with the federal mass media in one of the entertainment programs.
Oleksandr Nevzorov, who is a well-known anti-Putinist, is also included here. Despite his long-standing public support for Ukraine, he once conducted propaganda work in Lithuania, where he duplicated all the messages of modern anti-Ukrainian military propaganda but against Lithuanians. Nevzorov also claimed that the Armed Forces would have started "bloody purges" and would have advanced further if the "Minsk Agreements" had not been signed in 2015.
More harmful for Ukraine in the info field than not (16 people)
Public figures who often broadcast Russian propaganda messages (knowingly or not) are included in this category. They do not have a clear position on key issues or have a pro-Russian position.
Nataliya Sindeeva and Lyudmila Ulytska were also attributed to this category.
Sindeeva condemned the aggression against Ukraine, and her media outlet “Dozhd” (Rain) was one of the first to tell the truth about the annexation of Crimea and the participation of regular Russian troops in the war in eastern Ukraine. However, Sindeeva is currently actively promoting her film "F@ck this job". It has two parallel storylines - the history of the creation of the "Rain" channel and the modern political life of Russia. As Sindeeva herself admits, it must prove to Europeans that not all Russians are enemies, that they simply found themselves in "difficult" circumstances.
Lyudmila Ulytska also belongs to this category. She criticized the Russian government for its nationalism, chauvinism and imperialism back in 2014. She condemned the annexation of Crimea and the attack on Ukraine (both in 2014 and in 2022). However, sometimes she deviates from her principled position. For example, she says that until 2022 there was no big/real war, but there were "small wars on the outskirts of Russia". When asked if she is ready to hold a creative evening for the "Russian people of Donbas", she answers that yes, she would be interested in it. In this case, it is indicative that she visited Nagorno-Karabakh illegally.
At the same time, Ulytska, together with other objects of research, is part of the Russian diaspora project "True Russia". The purpose of this is to tell abroad about "good, not Putin's Russia". She repeats the theses of Russian propaganda about "Russian-speaking Kyiv", suppressing the Russian language, which, in her opinion, is an artificial policy of Ukraine. She also sympathizes with the mothers of the Russian occupiers in the loss of their sons. For her, Putin is to blame, and collective responsibility is a debatable concept. For her, culture is also outside of politics.
Harmful for Ukraine in the info field (27 people)
This category includes those public figures with a pro-Russian position on key issues and regularly broadcast a pro-Russian position regarding Ukraine and the Russian-Ukrainian war.
Yuriy Shvets, Yulia Latynina, Mark Solonin, and Oleksandr Koch were also assigned here. Even though they publicly express a pro-Ukrainian position on key issues, they periodically broadcast Russian propaganda messages in their materials.
Yurii Shvets actively supports Ukraine, and recognizes the Russian-Ukrainian war since 2014 and the occupation of Crimea. He was systematically convinced that there would be no full-scale invasion. But it discredits the Ukrainian authorities, the public, and volunteer organizations. So, in 2015, he said that the Ukrainian command had brought the Armed Forces to the point of weakness and offered "his instructor" to correct this situation. And in 2022, he disseminated information aimed at discrediting the transparency of arms supplies to Ukraine, and also offered "his own controller" that would change the situation. He also said that the entire Ukrainian government since independence has been "incompetent" and used the term "fraternal nations".
Yulia Latynina periodically promotes Kremlin narratives. In particular, about "fraternal nations", "the artificiality of the Ukrainian state", "Kyiv as the newly restored center of Rus", the inferiority of Ukrainian culture, as well as Russia and Russians as victims of war. She criticizes the way sanctions are imposed, as well as the ban on visas for Russians.
Mark Solonin teaches Arestovych how to ask for weapons in the USA, criticizes Andriy Melnyk for his statements about Bandera, and justifies Zhdanov in his erroneous analysis. He also ridiculed predictions about the beginning of a full-scale invasion, calling it special intimidation by the United States.
Solonin calls the OUN and the UPA fascist organizations, distorts their history in every possible way and claims that a true patriot of Ukraine cannot support them. As for the Russian-Ukrainian war since 2014, he seems to admit the guilt of Russia, its military invasion and plans to seize all of Ukraine, or its south and east. But at the same time, he writes about some "separatists" as a real party present.
Although Oleksandr Koch currently supports Ukraine and has an appropriate attitude towards the Revolution of Dignity, he allows himself to "advise Ukrainians" on what to do. For example, to sell Crimea, and also to give up ORDO, so that Russia suffers economically from the subsidy of these regions. Also, he constantly tries to show Ukrainian allies in the black light. For example, he says that sanctions do not apply, and default will be in favor of Russia. He also accuses the Americans and the Ukrainian authorities of giving up the Crimean Peninsula. He hints that since 2014 there has been a civil war in Ukraine due to the desire for two regions in the east to separate.