Russian Military Told to Stage Videos to Exaggerate Success: Report


A burning tank is seen during Ukrainian practice assault tactics at a military training area, on March 22, 2023. A Russian blogger said Russian troops are instructed to exaggerate their successes by filming already-destroyed Ukrainian equipment being hit multiple times.DMYTRO LARIN/GLOBAL IMAGES UKRAINE VIA GETTY

A Russian military blogger this week accused his country’s military officials of encouraging soldiers to exaggerate their successes in destroying Ukrainian equipment.

In reporting on the blogger’s post, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) on Thursday wrote the blogger said Russian servicemen have been instructed to “report false successes on their missions to please their commanders and claimed that commanders and peers actively discourage Russian military personnel from writing honest, but ‘dull’ and negative reports.”

The Washington, D.C.-based think tank said the blogger indicated that Russian soldiers have staged some scenes of battle destruction. They have allegedly done this by filming helicopter and artillery units “firing on the same, previously damaged Western-provided armored fighting vehicle from different angles and on different days and reported them as separate kills at least three times,” according to the ISW.

Images and videos from the frontlines of the war that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched in February 2022 are a constant presence on social media, and Telegram is now a favored platform for voices from both sides of the conflict. Military bloggers, or milbloggers, have become especially influential in Russia, and many of these writers claim to have military knowledge in Telegram posts.

As a sign of the influence these journalists now have over Russian public opinion, Putin held a direct meeting with several milbloggers on June 13 to discuss issues related to the war.

A milblogger who posts under the name “Colonel Shuvalov” on Telegram made the accusations of Russian soldiers exaggerating their battlefield successes. WarTranslated, an independent media project that translates materials about the war into English, shared Shuvalov’s August 7 post—which could not be independently verified by Newsweek—on the site X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday.

“Now I’ll say a vile and unpopular thing, but let at least one active officer point that out if I’m lying: Before, and after the appearance of Western military equipment—in general, a very popular way to give a good result upwards is to beautifully fire at the enemy’s already destroyed equipment,” Shuvalov wrote, according to WarTranslated.

The blogger then reportedly described how a United States-made Bradley fighting vehicle destroyed by Russian forces could be used for maximum exposure.

He said the Bradley can “be beautifully fired at from helicopters, and tomorrow you can hit it from self-propelled guns. With video recording, reports, and all the right angles. So this becomes not one, but three wrecked Bradleys.”

Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense via email for comment.

The ISW noted Colonel Shuvalov said that “everyone in the Russian military knows that servicemen do this and that the Russian military leadership has no intention of stopping servicemen from making false or embellished reports.”

The think tank wrote other milbloggers have made similar accusations in the past as well as have suggested that the Russian Ministry of Defense may be using these fabrications as a way to “inflate Ukrainian losses.”

“The Kremlin has previously used wildly inflated Ukrainian armored vehicle losses to portray Russian defensive operations as extremely effective,” the ISW said.


  1. What a surprise!
    It’s always important to know that a ruskie is not a ruskie without a lie.

  2. “Newsweek reached out to the Russian Ministry of Defense via email for comment.”

    This almost always appears in NW war articles. I wish they would desist from this practice. It does no good and might even be harmful.
    Contact the putinaZi MOD when it has been totally crushed; not before.

    • Yes, this is their SOP with every article. It’s completely superfluous. Even if the mafia were to respond, anything they say is worth as much as any brown logs floating in the toilet.

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