Russian propaganda frequently produces narratives to sow dissent, distrust, and desperation among the people it targets. Two of those narratives propagandists busily spread in Ukraine are dedicated to discrediting the Ukrainian President and articulating the message that “the West is tired of Ukraine.” (Check out our report on common narratives of Russian propaganda to know about more of those).

Propagandists create posts, images, and fake video reports with logos of worldwide media companies to spread these narratives. We debunked these multiple times — fake news masquerading as articles from Titanic, The Telegraph, BBC, and other outlets. 

This time, Russian propaganda used the name and logo of Politico, an American media company, to create a video about the social media users losing interest in Zelenskyy. We’ve analyzed this report — and debunked it. 

What happened? 

On January 3, 2024, pro-Russian Telegram channels, in particular, VZBOD» (archive), Oxana MS Франция, Шейх Тамир (archive), «Мисливец LITE» (archive), and others shared a video with a logo of Politico, a well-known media company. 

The video says that, compared to 2022, the engagement in Zelenskyy-related content dropped by 63% in 2023. Video subtitles read that, in 2023, users intentionally looked for information about the President of Ukraine two times less, and the popularity of accounts that contained more than 20% of content about Zelenskyy dropped by 47% during the last year. 

In the post under the video, the authors, based on these numbers, conclude that YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, X, and TikTok users are less interested in the President of Ukraine. 

“It explains the desire of foreign media to “talk less about Ze” [Zelenskyy, — ed.], he’s such a bother that the engagement drops,” Telegram-channels’ authors react to these numbers. 

We’ve reviewed at least six pro-Russian Telegram channels to investigate this case. Only within those six, the posts about the “Politico news” got more than 300,000 views in less than three days. 

The news was also shared on Facebook, X (archive), and in the pro-Russian press, in particular, in Mriya (archive) [Мрия — ed.].


Politico is an American media company focused on American and international politics. The outlet has an official website,, and social media accounts on Facebook, Linkedin, X, and Instagram. They also have a YouTube channel. 

The media company also has an official Telegram account. The last video there was published a year ago, in February 2023. All Politico videos on Telegram had a widescreen aspect ratio (the height of the frame is smaller than its width).

We checked Politico’s official resources and didn’t find the video report. None of them had the news about the referred “SocialBlade” analytics into social media users’ engagement with the content that includes the President of Ukraine or Ukraine, in general. 

Social Blade

Social Blade is an American analytics company focusing on social media analytics. Social Blade mainly analyzes YouTube user statistics and contains data about Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok that helps creators “track progress and growth” of their accounts. 

Social Blade has an official website, social media profiles on Facebook, X, Instagram, and a YouTube channel. 

Incongruencies in the video report shared by pro-Russian channels:

  • The company’s name has two words: “Social Blade,” which doesn’t correspond to the “SocialBlade” title used in the titles for the video. 
  • The functionality of the Social Blade website (even within the possibilities of API Business and Custom Report Creator) doesn’t allow for the analysis of social media data by content. In other words, it’s impossible to get statistics for all users interacting with content that’s “connected to Zelenskyy in more than 20%.” 
  • Social Blade doesn’t have features for users’ search query analysis, so it’s also impossible to get data about users who “intentionally looked for information about the President of Ukraine and Ukraine.” 

Social Blade allows users to get general data for user activity (channel activity, subscriptions, views rate, etc.) in social media by two parameters: the social network and the username. For instance, see the statistics for an official account of Volodymyr Zelenskyy on X (formerly Twitter) in the picture below.

In response to our request, the customer support service of Social Blade confirmed that their service only tracks user data for social media accounts and doesn’t have features for searching for channels mentioning Zelenskyy. 

Video analysis 

We’ve compared the video posted by pro-Russian channels and original Politico video stories. The former has: 

  • a logo in the upper right corner is identical to an original Politico logo; 
  • animated fragment at the end of the video, used in some Politico videos; 
  • atypical for Politico’s video reporting 1080×1080 resolution;
  • different font than the one Politico uses in their video; similar but distinct. 

We’ve also figured out that the video from Telegram channels has fragments from different illustrative images and videos. English subtitles and background music were added to them. These fragments are from: 

  • video stories with Volodymyr Zelenskyy; 
  • video with a Ukrainian flag; 
  • video with scrolling pages in social media; 
  • the website of Social Blade (a screenshot). 

So, the news shared a video that is not an original Politico story. It’s created by combining illustrative images and video fragments that aren’t related to an imaginary data analysis authors write about. Social Blade functionality doesn’t allow conducting engagement and content research mentioned in a video. 

Conclusion: Fake 

Author: Anna Ormanzhy