What do you do when your disinformation campaign is running both out of time and oxygen?

You start artificial respiration.

As we head toward the trial of four suspects for downing MH17 and murdering all 298 people on board, set to start in March next year, there is increasingly less room for the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign to mislead audiences about Russia’s responsibility for the tragedy.

Yet we can see that pro-Kremlin actors are persistently trying to use every opportunity to keep disinformation high on the agenda, promoting its lies with the help of social media channels.

The latest round of disinformation, after the Dutch-led international investigation team announced that the suspects will be prosecuted, has focused on recycling old claims how “all the evidence points to Russia’s non-involvement”, about the “information dumps designed” to accuse Russia, and that the missile could have been fired only from an area controlled by Ukraine. All these disinformation messages were already debunked four years ago – see the respective links.

Disinformation agenda on social media

Artificially  boosted or not, pro-Kremlin sources seem to be successful in their disinformation promotion task. Let’s take a step back and see how they have performed during the past year.

Data from Buzzsumo shows that, altogether, 12,759 articles on MH17 were publicly posted on social media between June 2018 and June 2019, gathering 1.6 million engagements on Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

Of the top 30 most engaging domains covering MH17 over the given period, five pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets appear on the list: RT in English, Russian and German, news agency RIA Novosti, and Sputnik in English.

Russia Today (RT.com) is the fifth most engaging outlet on social media (to compare: BBC is the second, The Daily Beast is the first).

Next target: Georgia

Keep your oxygen mask on – there was also another disinformation frontline opened this week. The protests in Georgia against a Russian MP who took the Georgian Parliament Speaker’s seat during an annual meeting of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy triggered an angry reaction from the Kremlin, coupled with an aggressive disinformation campaign.

It reactivated some of the most repeated messages targeting Georgia and its European integration, aiming to silence any kind of criticism towards Russia, which occupies one fifth of the country’s territory after the 2008 war: it brought back the false claims of Georgian snipers behind Maidan and “forces” conspiring both in Ukraine and Georgia to organise colour revolutions, Soros as an “anti-Christ” bringing chaos to the post-Soviet space, conspiracies of the CIA aggressively promoting gay pride to take over Georgian resources, and the US preparing a “massive group of protesters” to capture the Georgian state.

Now, take a deep breath of fresh air and have a look at all the disinformation cases exposed this week, going beyond targeting the MH17 and Georgia. We offer only one spoiler: No, Sweden is not teaching immigrants to have sex with Swedish women.


related disinfo cases

Date
Title
Outlets
Country
26.06.2019
ren.tv, News Front - Russian
US, Ukraine, Russia
24.06.2019
News Front - Russian
Georgia, US, Russia
24.06.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
Georgia, US
24.06.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
US, Ukraine
24.06.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
Israel, Saudi Arabia, US
24.06.2019
Oriental Review
China, US
23.06.2019
SouthFront - English
Georgia, Russia
23.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
US, Russia
22.06.2019
ukraina.ru
US, Russia
22.06.2019
Strategic Culture Foundation
Georgia, Russia
22.06.2019
Strategic Culture Foundation
Malaysia, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
22.06.2019
Strategic Culture Foundation
22.06.2019
News Front - Russian
Georgia, US, Russia
22.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
Poland, Baltic states, Russia
22.06.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
UK, US
21.06.2019
RT Russia
Moldova, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia
21.06.2019
SouthFront - English
Georgia
21.06.2019
Sputnik Germany
Russia
21.06.2019
Sputnik Germany
Ukraine, Russia
21.06.2019
Sputnik Georgia
Georgia, Russia
21.06.2019
lenta.ru
Sweden
21.06.2019
Pervyi Kanal
Georgia, Ukraine
21.06.2019
Pervyi Kanal
Georgia, Ukraine
20.06.2019
SouthFront - English
Malaysia, The Netherlands, Ukraine
20.06.2019
Sputnik Germany
US, Russia
20.06.2019
Sputnik Poland
Poland
19.06.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
UK
19.06.2019
News Front - English
19.06.2019
Sputnik Germany
The Netherlands, Russia
19.06.2019
Sputnik Germany
Kosovo, Serbia
19.06.2019
Sputnik Germany
Serbia
19.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
Malaysia, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
19.06.2019
Pervyi Kanal
The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
19.06.2019
RT Germany - YouTube
Malaysia, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
19.06.2019
RT Germany - YouTube
Malaysia, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
19.06.2019
Pervyi Kanal
Russia
19.06.2019
Pervyi Kanal
Russia
19.06.2019
RT English
The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
19.06.2019
RT English
Syria
18.06.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
Germany, US
18.06.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
US, Russia
18.06.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
US
18.06.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
Georgia, US
18.06.2019
Sputnik Poland
Ukraine
18.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
18.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
Greece, Italy
18.06.2019
RT English
US, Ukraine
17.06.2019
RT France - YouTube
Ukraine, Russia
17.06.2019
RT France - YouTube
Ukraine, Russia
17.06.2019
RT Russia
Poland, US, Russia
17.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Moldova
16.06.2019
Moldavskie Vedomosti
Moldova
14.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
US, Latvia
14.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Venezuela, North Korea, Iran, Belarus, Russia
14.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Belarus, Russia
13.06.2019
Rossia 24 - YouTube
Ukraine, Russia
13.06.2019
Sputnik Poland
Poland, US, Russia
12.06.2019
Rossia 24 - YouTube, RT Russia, Komsomolskaya Pravda - Donetsk
US, Ukraine, Russia
12.06.2019
RT France - YouTube
France, Germany, Ukraine, Russia
12.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
US, Russia
12.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Belarus, Lithuania, Russia
10.06.2019
Nash TV Channel - YouTube
Ukraine
10.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
Russia
10.06.2019
Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
07.06.2019
Georgia and the World
Georgia
07.06.2019
Iravunk.com
Armenia
03.06.2019
Armenian blogger
Armenia
01.06.2019
myvideo.ge Resource
UK