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TOPIC: cartography

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Mapaganda: How The World Falls For Russia's Bogus Maps — National Geographic And All

Though Russia's intentions to take over Ukraine on the ground have failed, they are winning in the field of cartography. Maps seen in respected books and periodicals around the world offer a distorted view of who has the right to territory — and who is the aggressor. A campaign is underway to change maps to change perception of reality.


KYIV — Mapaganda is a particularly well-targeted form of propaganda used by Russia against Ukraine and other countries affected by its military aggression. Mapaganda is implemented by the influencing of cartographic companies and communities so that they print and publish the Russian view of the world in their products: school textbooks, world atlases, globes, car atlases, tourist products, electronic map services, etc.

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It’s a real shame, but dozens of international companies, including National Geographic, develop, print and widely distribute maps that contain Russian disinformation and the Russian view of the situation. For example, they designate Crimea as a part of Russia while "claimed by Ukraine." This creates the impression that Ukraine is the aggressor.

The lion’s share of educational products of bookstores in Germany, Austria and Switzerland depict Ukraine in different variations outside the 1991 borders. The situation is no better in other European states, in the UK and the U.S.

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