Twitter’s “Ghost of Kyiv” Campaign

Task & Purpose offers readers an analysis of a war campaign running on Twitter

…with six air-to-air kills, the heroic pilot of a Ukrainian MiG-29 became the first air combat ace over European soil since World War II.

They call him ‘the Ghost of Kyiv’…real enough — for now.

The “real enough” morale-boosting aspect of this story reminds me of the larger-than-life ghost “King” Ned Ludd of the Luddites.

“It has been said that more British soldiers were fighting the Luddites than were fighting Napoleon on the Iberian Peninsula”

On a similar note, mythical planes are like the “Night Witches” of WWII. Nazis were so afraid of Soviet women dropping bombs on them, and unable to fight back, that they had to cook up a mythology instead of admitting reality.

Today’s Ghost pilot in the news also should be filed as a “deep fake” story, according to Newsweek.

…the Ukraine armed forces shared a video, claiming that it showed a Ukrainian MiG-29 taking down a Russian fighter jet in a dogfight. However, that clip was first uploaded onto video-sharing platform YouTube and was titled “GHOST OF KIEV KILL.” The uploader claimed in the clip’s description box that the footage was made using a digital combat simulator. “This footage is from DCS, but is nevertheless made out of respect for ‘The Ghost of Kiev.’ If he is real, may God be with him; if he is fake, I pray for more like ‘him,'” the user wrote.

That’s an almost exact repeat of the disinformation platform analysis presented in a blog post I wrote in 2018.

So, perhaps most importantly, the technical aspect of this story from Kyiv about a heroic pilot also reminds me of Twitter accounts recently embellishing the story of British Spitfire pilots who knocked down Nazi drones.

On the other hand it is VERY different from the “Ghost Camaro” of Bosnia, which seems to have suffered from a lot of puff and largess.

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