The study analyzes in a multiplatform perspective the evolution of the Brazilian public debate around the War in Ukraine, one year after its beginning. Based on the analysis of publications on Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram, between February and March 2023, the study identified the persistence of low public engagement and the preponderance of right-wing actors and groups, with emphasis on supporters of former President Jair Bolsonaro. The segment that gives explicit support to Ukraine is played not by institutional political actors but by opinion makers who, in general, express enthusiasm for President Lula’s diplomatic and pacifist conduct. Extremist and conspiratorial speeches circulate with high visibility on the analyzed platforms, and are aligned with positions of the extreme right, with emphasis on the disapproval of Western culture broadly and intolerant speeches towards minorized audiences, more specifically.
War in Ukraine; Brazilian public debate; extreme right; intolerant discourse.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
- One year after the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, there is still little involvement of public opinion in the debate about the conflict. On Twitter, right-wing actors take center stage and inflate views favorable to Russia; Support fronts for Ukraine are led mainly by progressive opinion makers.
- Publications favorable to Russian President Vladimir Putin stand out in engagement, with his speech exalted by criticism of the West and, in this perspective, LGBT phobic speeches gain visibility.
- Actors across a broad ideological spectrum persist with negative assessments of the United States and NATO; criticisms of media treatment related to the War are also frequently evoked as biased in comparison to other geopolitical conflicts.
- The rapprochement between President Lula and Volodymyr Zelensky, at the beginning of March, leveraged the debate, with positive repercussions for the movement of the Brazilian government by the national and international media. seen by the critics until then as “neutral” in relation to the conflict.
- On Facebook, Lula was among the most cited names in the analyzed publications, the president was frequently pointed out as responsible for a supposed recovery of international credibility of Brazilian diplomacy.
- The issue of fuels organized the base that allies itself with the conservative right, and the return of charging taxes on fuels in Brazil gave rise to criticism of the current administration of the federal government, placed in opposition to a supposed economic development in the previous administration, despite the War. Discussions on cybersecurity, China’s role in the conflict, and the moral panic incited by the Russian president were still among the most mobilized topics on the platform.
- On Telegram, extremist speeches and the dissemination of conspiracy theories rise to prominence among the monitored groups, with prominent action by right-wing political groups.