Hungarian students caught up in global Russian propaganda campaign against America
A YouTube video, featuring several young Hungarians claiming to be students at various colleges and schools, shows that Russian propagandists loyal to Vladimir Putin have some good friends in Budapest. Atlatszo.hu has investigated to find that this is one more move in an international effort by Moscow to lash out at the United States.
Recently, a YouTube video appeared in which Hungarian students deliver condemning opinions of the oppressive and violent practices of the United States, calling the United Nations to take action against the efforts of Barack Obama. The speeches in the video are poor, though the English in the subtitles is even worse. It was uploaded through a new account and this was the first post. Its profile took off a week after the initial upload when a popular Facebook page supporting Russia shared it and the video received many more views. By then, however, it had been watched by hundreds of people on the two most popular Russian social networks, to which the video had been uploaded days before it was first posted on Facebook.
With some research it was easy to find the original material; a video based on the same script, first recorded by a Crimean young women’s organization, Officers’ Daughters, apparently backed by the pro-Putin Russian youth organization, Set’ (Network). The organization calling itself Officers’ Daughters first appeared after the Russian occupation of Crimea, marching around in downtown Sevastopol with portraits of Putin.
Atlatszo.hu tracked down the Hungarian organizers, and we found that one of them initially responded to an ad on the Russian social network Vkontakte, in which young Russians were looking for people who could make a local version of the message and also gather together a willing cast for the shoot.
Once the Hungarian organizer translated the text into Hungarian, they set up an appointment, and the seven Hungarian students were met by a couple of Russians on a central square in Budapest. The Russian party took care of shooting, editing, and subtitling the video, and then returned the end product to the Hungarian organizer who uploaded it to YouTube.
Based on the available information, the Hungarian version was also facilitated by Set’: the Russian organizers sent another video to their Hungarian contact, which they referred to as the basis of the campaign, and which had been uploaded to the official youtube channel of Set’.
As we learned from our sources, the Hungarian installment was just one of many similar recordings that took place throughout Europe. This was soon confirmed by the release of the international compilation.
The campaign is accompanied by another one, in which Russian students demand the UN to bring Obama to the International Criminal Court. The video for this latter campaign gathered half a million views on youtube and was widely reported in Russian media. The organizers even launched a petition on the website of the White House, gathering more than nine thousand signatures.