As the North American Aerospace Defense Command prepares for its traditional tracking of Santa’s journey around the globe on December 24, it’s also a suitable time to see how well the pro-Kremlin media covers the planet.

Based on our research, we were able to come up with close to 30 countries where Sputnik has created a web page. Those countries range from Vietnam to Armenia and include languages like Arabic, Dari and Persian.

While some Sputniks have up to three different languages per country, the total number of different URLs is 49. But what’s even more impressive is the fact that 31 of those URLs are in our database, meaning that they have been spreading disinformation. The societies affected range from Uzbekistan to Belarus, and from Germany to Spain.

In other words: while Santa flies around the world once a year, pro-Kremlin disinformation does the same, but on a daily basis.

WADA, Browder and the Baltics

Last week, pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets were fighting back against the World Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to ban Russia from the Olympics. As a response, accusations of doping were described as a theater of the absurd, a weapon against Russia, and revenge for Russian athletes’ victories. In reality, Russia could have made a serious attempt to stop its state-sponsored doping system, but evidently decided not to.

This refusal to accept responsibility can also be applied to the case of Sergei Magnitsky, who was tortured, denied medical care, and ultimately left to die in a Russian prison. Instead, the pro-Kremlin media describes the chief proponent of the Magnitsky sanctions, Bill Browder, a tax-cheating Jewish oligarch who keeps lying about his dead auditor to make everyone hate Russia.

And while we are on the point of Russia’s image in the West, according to pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets, the Baltic states are the main culprits in spreading Russophopbia. The Baltics are also said to be under Washington’s political control and increasing militarisation. In broad terms, one could argue that the signals of Sputnik are just like they were in 1957, when the satellite was first launched: self-defence is seen as aggression and criticism of Russia by the West as groundless – even absurd.

But in addition to disinformation, an old trick was applied in Finland, where the establishment of a new “Union of Journalists“ was announced. For the record, the real Union of Journalists in Finland (www.journalistiliitto.fi) has nearly 15,000 professional members who work in the media. The copycat Union imitates the same domain name (.com instead of .fi), but in fact its vice-chair is a Finn who resided for years in occupied Donetsk and ran a propaganda media operation there. Luckily, Twitter has already reacted and suspended the account of the copycat organisation. There is nothing new in creating fake NGOs with fake websites and social media accounts, fake embassies and even fake fact-checkers by pro-Kremlin disinformers. Earlier, a very similar operation targeted the European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats in Helsinki.

So, if pro-Kremlin media does not change its tune, we too have to continue tackling the globetrotting of disinformation. And that’s a nice promise for the new year.


related disinfo cases

17.12.2019
mv-lehti.net
Finland
09.12.2019
RT Russia, tass.ru
Russia
02.12.2019
Russia-insider.com
UK, Russia, US
16.12.2019
Journal of New Eastern Outlook
Ukraine, US
06.12.2019
Stoletie, Brianskiye Novosti
Latvia, Russia, Baltic states, Estonia, Lithuania
16.12.2019
RT Germany
Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania
15.12.2019
Geopolitica.ru
13.12.2019
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Russia, Ukraine, Germany, France
15.12.2019
Geopolitica.ru - Italian, Geopolitica.ru - Spanish, Castilian
US
12.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
Syria
15.12.2019
ria.ru, Moskovskij Komsomolets, Sputnik Lithuania - Russian, life.ru, izvestia.ru, lenta.ru, Pervyi Kanal - YouTube
Russia, US
12.12.2019
Sputnik English, RT Russia, ria.ru, tvzvezda.ru
Russia, Syria
10.12.2019
RT English
Ukraine
11.12.2019
RT English
Russia, US
13.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws), ahfad.info, akhbarak.net, elbayan-news.com, emeknes.com, elssayda.com, sabq-sa.com, news-araby.com, news.akhbarten.com, albidda.net, bbcnews1.com, abudhabi-news.com, masr20.com, news.miralnews.com, saadaonline.net, uk-arabicnews.com, araby7.com
Russia, Ukraine
14.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Russia, US
09.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
Russia, Ukraine
11.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
USSR, Russia
11.12.2019
Stoletie
Hong Kong, Vatican, UK, Ukraine, US
13.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Russia, The Netherlands
12.12.2019
riafan.ru
Ukraine
12.12.2019
Sputnik Poland
Russia, Ukraine, Poland
11.12.2019
Stoletie
Russia
10.12.2019
nurtv.kz, izvestia.ru, tass.ru, Sputnik South-Ossetia
Ukraine
10.12.2019
Materik.ru, Teleskop
Vatican, Russia, Belarus
13.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws), saadaonline.net, urdupoint.com, alghadpress, elmarada.org, dostor.org, shamra, alsudanalyoum.com, bbcnews1.com, emeknes.com, emeknes.com, 24.com.eg, innlebanon.com, elbayan-news.com, elbayan-news.com, elbayan-news.com, abudhabi-news.com, masr20.com, masr20.com, sabq-sa.com, news.akhbarten.com, news.akhbarten.com, news.akhbarten.com, uk-arabicnews.com, news.miralnews.com, albidda.net, albidda.net, news.miralnews.com, akherkhabrtoday.com, news-araby.com, nafeza2world.com, lomazoma.com, lomazoma.com, akhbarlibya
Russia, Ukraine
11.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com), Syria friends, Arabi today, akhbarak.net, rtarab.com, emeknes.com, bbcnews1.com, elbayan-news.com, sabq-sa.com, news.akhbarten.com, news.miralnews.com, abudhabi-news.com, nafeza2world.com, saadaonline.net, news-araby.com, albidda.net, akhbarlibya, uk-arabicnews.com, dmcnews.org, belbalady
Russia, US
10.12.2019
60 minut @Rossiya 1 - YouTube
Ukraine
06.12.2019
RT Spanish, Sputnik Spain
Mexico, US
12.12.2019
Russia-insider.com
US
12.12.2019
One World
Ukraine, US
03.12.2019
Sputnik Spain, Sputnik Spain
Estonia
03.12.2019
News Front - Spanish, The Saker - Spanish
China, Ukraine, US
11.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws), ria.ru, ar.farsnews.com, Elfagr.com, awajelpress.com, bbcnews1.com, dmcnews.org, Wikimsrweb.com
Syria
11.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws), elnashra.com, alqraralaraby.com, ar.farsnews.com, almanar.com.lb
US, Syria
11.12.2019
One World
Hong Kong, Brazil, Australia, Denmark, UK, Russia, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, France
03.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com)
Russia
05.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com)
Russia, Middle East
09.12.2019
Together with Russia
Russia, US
22.11.2019
Verelq.am
Armenia, Ukraine, Georgia
27.11.2019
Sputnik Belarus - Russian, Sputnik Latvia - Russian, Sputnik Estonia - Russian, Sputnik Georgia - Russian, Sputnik Moldova - Russian
Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Lithuania
03.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com)
US, Poland
04.12.2019
Sputnik English
Russia, Ukraine
06.12.2019
livenews.am
Ukraine, US
09.12.2019
Voskresnyi vecher s Vladimirom Solovyevym - YouTube
Ukraine
07.12.2019
fondsk.ru, Tehnowar.ru, Naspravdi.info
Russia, Germany, France
02.12.2019
Golos Armenii
Armenia
09.12.2019
Voskresnyi vecher s Vladimirom Solovyevym - YouTube
Ukraine
05.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
05.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com)
Ukraine
02.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic
Russia, Ukraine
05.12.2019
Moskovskij Komsomolets - Crimea, utro.ru, nahnews.org
Hungary, Russia, Ukraine
05.12.2019
RT Russia
Russia, Ukraine
30.11.2019
RT France - YouTube
UK, Russia, US
08.12.2019
Pervyi kanal
Russia, Ukraine
01.12.2019
RT France - YouTube
Syria
09.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com)
Syria
22.11.2019
Sputnik Spain
Chile
03.12.2019
Vremya Pokazhet @ Channel One TV time 20:43-20:49
US
03.12.2019
Komsomolskaya Pravda - Moldova, Enews.md, Argumenty i Fakty v Moldove, Point.md
Moldova