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

26.06.2019
REN-TV News Front
United States, Russia, Ukraine
21.06.2019
60 minut @ Rossiya 1 (24:10 - 24:39)
US
24.06.2019
Oriental Review
United States, China
18.06.2019
RT (rt.com)
Ukraine, US
21.06.2019
Vremya Pokhazhet @ Pervyi Kanal (23:14 - 24:08)
Ukraine, Georgia
21.06.2019
Vremya Pokhazhet @ (18:00 - 18:55)
Ukraine, Georgia
19.06.2019
RT (rt.com)
Syria
24.06.2019
New Eastern Outlook
United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia
22.06.2019
New Eastern Outlook
United States, UK
22.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
Poland, Russia, Baltic states
19.06.2019
RT News @ RT, time: 01:02-09:27
Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
22.06.2019
News Front
Russia, US, Georgia
23.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
Russia, US
21.06.2019
Lenta.ru
Sweden
19.06.2019
Vremya Pokhazhet @ Pervyi kanal (19:50 - 21:30)
Russia
24.06.2019
New Eastern Outlook
United States, Ukraine
19.06.2019
Vremya Pokhazhet @Pervyi Kanal (0:55 - 1:42)
Russia
24.06.2019
New Eastern Outlook
United States, Georgia
18.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
Italy, Greece, EU
24.06.2019
News Front
United States, Russia, US, Georgia
18.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
EU
17.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus
Moldova, EU
21.06.2019
Sputnik Georgia
Russia, Georgia
12.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus
Russia, Lithuania, Belarus
19.06.2019
RT Deutsch Youtube @ [1:05-1:47]
Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
19.06.2019
RT Deutsch
Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
21.06.2019
Sputnik Deutschland
Russia, Ukraine
21.06.2019
Sputnik Deutschland
Russia, The West
21.06.2019
South Front
Georgia
22.06.2019
Strategic Culture Foundation
Eastern Europe, The West
22.06.2019
Strategic Culture Foundation
Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
22.06.2019
Strategic Culture Foundation
Russia, The West, Georgia
23.06.2019
South Front
Russia, Georgia
21.06.2019
RT Russian
Moldova, Russia, Ukraine, Georgia
17.06.2019
RT Russian
Poland, United States, Russia, EU
19.06.2019
Vremya Pokazhet @Channel One TV, (time 00:35)
Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
19.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
22.06.2019
Ukraina.ru
Russia, EU, US
18.06.2019
Sputnik Polska
Ukraine
07.06.2019
Iravunk.com
Armenia, Europe, The West
20.06.2019
Sputnik Polska
Poland
16.06.2019
Vedomosti.md
Moldova
13.06.2019
Sputnik Polska
Poland, United States, Russia
19.06.2019
Sputnik Deutschland
Serbia, The West
19.06.2019
Sputnik Deutschland
Kosovo, Serbia
20.06.2019
Sputnik Deutschland
Russia, US
19.06.2019
Sputnik Deutschland
Russia, The West, The Netherlands
20.06.2019
South Front
Malaysia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
14.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus time 08:10 - 11:05
Russia, The West, Belarus
14.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus time 05:00 - 07:10
Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, Russia, The West, Belarus
10.06.2019
Sputnik Polska
Poland, Russia
13.06.2019
60 Minut @ Rossiya 1 (from 40:15)
Russia, Ukraine
19.06.2019
News Front English
EU
19.06.2019
Journal of the New Eastern Outlook
UK
18.06.2019
Journal of the New Eastern Outlook
United States, US, Georgia
18.06.2019
Journal of the New Eastern Outlook
United States
18.06.2019
Journal of the New Eastern Outlook
United States, Russia
18.06.2019
Journal of the New Eastern Outlook
United States, Germany
03.06.2019
blognews.am
Armenia
17.06.2019
RT France time 4:00 - 4:06
Russia, Ukraine
17.06.2019
RT France time 3:51 - 4:36
Russia, Ukraine
12.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
United States, Russia, US
14.06.2019
Sputnik Belarus
Latvia, US
12.06.2019
RT France, time 0:50 - 1:11
Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France
10.06.2019
Sputnik Italia
Russia
12.06.2019
RT Russian, 60 Minut @ Rossiya 1 time 43:00, KP.ru
United States, Russia, Ukraine
10.06.2019
Nash TV Channel (1:37-1:41)
Ukraine
01.06.2019
Obiektivi time 00:08 - 0:18
UK
07.06.2019
Georgia and the World
Georgia