This summer Russian fake factories threw their dirty “goods” into the information space of Indonesia. The Kremlin’s campaign to discredit Ukraine has taken a new turn after the Indonesian organization Global Future Institute (GFI) published an article attempting to denigrate Ukraine’s cruise missile “Neptune”. Before that, dozens of similar articles with unfounded false criticism of this missile were published in the Russian media.

Ukrainian development has become a burr under the saddle of the Russian defense industry since it not only proves the high level of Ukrainian design bureaus but also due to the price-quality combination presses the Russians from the markets which they consider their patrimony. All that competitors can do is to release a text resembling the typical frantic scream of Russian propagandists and is not even remotely related to analytics. This pursues the only goal – to denigrate Ukraine and to present Russia favorably against a fake background.

Mysterious expert

This July the portal The Global review released a text with a long and categorical headline: “The Government of Indonesia should cancel the Memorandum of Understanding under the contract with Ukraine for the purchase of anti-ship missiles “Neptune”. The author is Hendrajit, the executive director of Global Future Institute. The curious fact is that the website had 13 thousand visitors within a month after the article was published, and in August the figures dropped to 1850 (the website traffic analysis performed using pro.similarweb.com).

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The abnormal drop in traffic on theglobal-review.com in August 2021
is a decrease of 85.69% of the total number of visitors compared to the previous month.

The article does not even hint at the analysis of the rocket capabilities, however, it contains an excess of manipulation and emotion. Do you think there will be at least one paragraph without the word ‘doubtful’ addressed to Neptune? Doubtful.

The first thing to catch the eye when reading carefully is negligence in handling the facts. In the second sentence, the author misses the truth for 10 years. He writes: “On April 5, 2009, the Ukrainian government announced a successful test”, while the tests took place on April 5, 2019. It is clear that the staff of the Indonesian Global Future Institute are no robots, and if one puts effort into it, the numbers 1 and 0 can be confused on the keyboard. We assume it to be a mistake, but it is far from being the only one.

For instance, the author vaguely refers to a “Russian expert Zhdanov”, who allegedly criticized the range of the missile. Perhaps, such a Russian expert exists in Indonesian news feeds. Yet Russian-language sites stubbornly refer to only one Zhdanov, who is not a Russian, but a Ukrainian, and he does not criticize, but praises Neptune.

Distorted facts

However, will the average Indonesian check one’s last name? They will read that “the range is in doubt” and will not go into the meaning of what is written. While skimming, one can believe that it lacks conviction, “Especially in the range of hitting the enemy’s weapon system”. In the language of origin, it is as follows: “Khususnya dalam kemampuan daya jangkaunya untuk memasuki zona operasi dari sistem senjata pertahanan dari negara musuh”.

Admittedly, translating this set of words and understanding this ‘khususniya …’ was not easy. Most likely, however, the quote is a poor translation of the following: “The main disadvantages include the range that requires the carrier to enter the long-range air defense zone”. The last one is a quote from the Russian-language Wikipedia article about the Soviet and Russian X-35 cruise missile. The weight of the Neptune warhead – 145 kg – was also taken from the characteristics of this X-35 rocket. In the Ukrainian cruise missile, it weighs 150 kg. As for the stated range of the Ukrainian cruise missile, it is up to 300 km, and, according to experts, is limited due to the international MTCR treaty.

"Doubling or tripling the fuel tank will increase flight range up to a thousand kilometers or more," – said Serhiy Zgurets, the director of information and consulting company Defense Express, in a comment to the BBC.

The reputation of Ukrainians is beyond doubt

It is noteworthy that the Neptune does resemble the X-35 missile outwardly (which, in its turn, is similar to the American Harpoon). Nobody is concealing the fact that the Soviet missile was taken as a basis by Ukrainians. Emphasizing this point, Russians developed the full power of manipulations picked up by the Indonesian portal. The phrases “It was developed almost half a century ago”, “Allegedly carried out in Ukraine” suggest that Soviet junk is sold to Indonesia.

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Meanwhile, the spy who attempted to retrieve secret information on Neptune for the FSB of the Russian Federation is being held in one of the Ukrainian prisons. Do you believe that the Russian secret services have an antiques department?

In fact, the Ukrainian project exemplifies successful research and production cooperation. The propulsion engines are manufactured by Motor Sich, the homing heads are produced by Radionix, the hull is manufactured by the Kharkiv State Aircraft Manufacturing Company (KSAMC), and the air orientation systems are manufactured by Orizon-Navigation. Connection and assembly of components are performed by SKDB “Luch”. The data is open, no one conceals it from the world in general and Indonesia in particular. Why is it not mentioned in the text? The reputation of the abovementioned enterprises cannot be questioned. Ukraine’s products are being imported to many countries around the world, including Belgium, Poland, Turkey, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and others.

Facts of no interest for the author

Then again, the facts make no interest for the author. Here is an example of how the lie is layered on the truth about Neptune:

"Suspicious is the fact that the first test firing was conducted in mid-2017, but the results were not published to the general public". 

Here the notions “tests” and “firing” are intentionally made equal. There is no need to be a CEO to understand those individual systems can be tested, without narrowing everything down to the hitting accuracy. Importantly, the first flight tests (successful results of which have been published) took place in early 2018. Moreover, launching a missile at the target before was clearly strange. At the same time, its accuracy is a special object of pride. During the trials, the latest electronic warfare, fire resistance means were used, and the Neptune coped with them.

Do they write about it? No. Hendrajit, though, uses a cheap method of referring to some “reliable sources” known only to him. Based on unclear reasons, he states that buying spare parts is very difficult for Neptune. The author not only purposefully destroys the reputation of the new cruise missile, but he also shifts the blame by concluding that it is not the Neptune that is unreliable but Ukraine itself.

Global Future Institute is the institute of the future: 8 directors, 2 research fellows

In Indonesia, there is a saying: “An empty drum makes a loud sound”. Let us look more into this Global Future Institute founded in 2007.

In Indonesia, there is a saying: “An empty drum makes a loud sound”. Let us look more into this Global Future Institute founded in 2007.

“As a result, those texts are read by less than a hundred people, in case no customer is providing a budget for advertising”.

It is headed, as we have already said, by the author of “analytics”, CEO Hendrajit. In addition, there is a business development director, legal director, director of geopolitics and regional studies, director of the archipelago and local wisdom studies, a total of 8 directors, and 1 deputy director. Meanwhile, there are two research fellows and three junior researchers. As a result, those texts are read by less than a hundred people, in case no customer is providing a budget for advertising.

Judging by the headlines, the articles on the website are outright anti-American. Check it yourself: “US never learns valuable lessons after losing in war simulators”, “Geopolitical shifts in Afghanistan and Central Asia force American and Western blocs to ‘come out of circulation'”, “The fall of Saigon and Kabul proves the US to be an unreliable ally”, “When the White House exposes its own secret service”. Sometimes Israel gets it, sometimes China.

Against this background: “Indo-Russian strategic cooperation deepens”, “Purchasing Su-35. Strategic cooperation of the Republic of Indonesia – Russia becomes more powerful”. Among the top most popular articles there is a text from 2009: “Strategic significance of President Putin’s visit to Indonesia”.

Looking through the texts instead of the headlines though, once again, we can see distorted information. For instance, you will not find a single word about the annexation of Crimea in the text entitled “The entry of US warships into the Black Sea signals tension between the United States and Russia”. Yet it contains a clear lie: “The Black Sea is far from the zone of the current conflict in the Donbas”.

Universal cruise missile

It is worth mentioning that it was the annexation of Crimea that gave impetus to the development of the anti-ship complex “Neptune” (RK-360MC). Ukrainian ships remained in Russian-occupied ports. Ukraine had to urgently seek effective means to protect itself from being attacked from the sea. The seizure of Ukrainian military boats in the Kerch Strait evidences this threat to be real.

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The anti-ship land-based complex “Neptune” armed with the anti-ship cruise missile R-360 was designed to defeat warships. The cruise missile is universal and can be installed on land, as well as on sea and air platforms.

Regrettably, the Ukrainian budget cannot be compared to the Russian one, and contracts for the supply of Neptune to other countries are vital for the national military-industrial complex. The earned money will be invested as well in the strengthening of Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.

Russia, though, as you can see, does not neglect aggressive, unfair methods of competition. The republics of the former socialist camp, the former union republics pose a threat to the Kremlin’s commercial interests in the international arms market. They spend considerable budgets on false advertising, make use of fakes, feed foreign “experts” and dubious institutions. However, the output is an information product consisting of outright lies, the deception of which is visible even to non-specialists.