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In today's #vatniksoup I'll introduce an Indian political analyst, poet, singer, and patriot (all his words) Atul Mishra and his network, The Frustrated Indian (@TheAtulMishra & @FrustIndian). He's best-known for his awful pro-Russian takes on the Russo-Ukrainian War.
As I have said before, Western analysts and disinformation researchers have a blind spot in the Global South, where pro-Kremlin propaganda thrives and Russia is somewhat popular. For example, in India, 57% of the population sees Russia as in somewhat/very favorable light.
The Frustrated Indian tries to profit from this particular niche by providing a false and made-up image of European politics and of the Russo-Ukrainian War. The whole scheme works on making pro-Russian, outrageous claims that works on lies and half-truths.
Mishra's network is actually a family of accounts, including @tfipost and @tfistore. This network seems to be artificially inflated, as most of them have a quite big following (the main channel has 226k followers) but most of the tweets have very low engagement (if any).
The network also has a strong multi-channel approach. They have a YouTube channel with 429 000 followers, and they're on IG, Telegram and Facebook. They also have their own video streaming site, TFIGlobal, which seems to be just another ghost town.
Mishra is pushing hard the for monetization of his propaganda network. He's selling brand partnership, "official TFI merchandise", and begs for subscribers on Patreon (he has currently 4). All this with whopping 15 employees and less monthly impressions than #vatniksoup!
The whole network was almost closed down the network a year ago. This speaks for the artificial inflation of the network too, as YT channels with +300 000 followers should be able to monetize quite well already.
He seems to be a huge fanboy of Putin's, and he's even written an article claiming that Putin is a "cult figure" in India. He thinks that Putin is some kind of "master strategist" who makes no mistakes, and that he's just playing the West with his 4-d chess, just like Trump.
When it comes to Ukraine, Mishra's predictions are quite grim: he thinks that its allies are fading and its changes are fleeting. He's also suggested that post-war Ukraine will be "politically controlled by Moscow and economically by Beijing."
One day after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Mishra made a wild prediction: Russia captures Kyiv, Zelenskyy flees the country, becomes a social media influencer. Ukraine welcomes Russia, group of women welcome Russian soldiers and tend to the wounded.
TFI's political and military analysis are simply utter crap. Don't believe me? Here are some examples: their expert analyst Ansh Pandey suggested that the Prigozhin mutiny could've been a "premeditated move" which would allow Wagner to attack Kyiv from Belarus. Pretty wild.
TFI loves to bash and defame Zelenskyy.For example, they suggest that Ukrainians are planning to overthrow him,and that his approval rate is "lowest in decades" - as of Feb 2023,91% of Ukrainians either somewhat or strongly approve of Zelensky's actions - higher than Putin's.12/18
Atul and his pals also went with the "Zaluzhny dead" BS, but they took the whole thing to a new level - according to TFI, Zaluzhny was "probably assassinated" by Zelenskyy, and that the person we now see in media is actually his body double.
In Sep 2022, TFI speculated who would become the next Ukrainian president after "Kyiv falls". Their candidate was Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch universally hated by most Ukrainians. He was swapped to the Azovstal defenders in a prisoner swap in the same month.
As is tradition in India, TFI and Mishra also compare Ukraine to Pakistan, India's biggest geopolitical rival. I'm sure this rhetoric works extremely well in India, and it might garner some following.
And the nonsense doesn't stop there. There's "news" about Finland stopping aid to Ukraine (it didn't, we give more than ever), Putin potentially activating the "Kaliningrad module", Ukraine's plans to allow same-sex marriage and of course the sanctions not hurting Russia.
Now, @TheAtulMishra, maybe you can answer some questions: as a poet, singer and reciter, what are your qualifications for geopolitics? What about your employees? Why do you purposefully spread lies and disinformation? Is it for (low) profit or just for fun?
And why on earth do you have own YouTube channel for Canadian disinformation? Anything to make that extra buck? And when will you do a correction to your article stating that Finland and Sweden will never be NATO countries?