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

Date
Title
Outlets
Country
17.12.2019
  • mv-lehti.net
Finland
16.12.2019
  • RT Germany (old)
Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Latvia
16.12.2019
  • Journal of New Eastern Outlook
US, Ukraine
15.12.2019
  • Ria Novosti,
  • Moskovskij Komsomolets,
  • Sputnik Lithuania - Russian,
  • life.ru,
  • Izvestia,
  • lenta.ru,
  • Pervyi Kanal - YouTube
US, Russia
15.12.2019
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian,
  • Geopolitica.ru - Spanish, Castilian
US
15.12.2019
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian,
  • Geopolitica.ru - Spanish, Castilian
14.12.2019
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
US, Russia
13.12.2019
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • 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
Ukraine, Russia
13.12.2019
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
The Netherlands, Russia
13.12.2019
  • Sputnik Belarus - Russian
France, Germany, Ukraine, Russia
13.12.2019
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • 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
Ukraine, Russia
12.12.2019
  • One World
US, Ukraine
12.12.2019
  • Russia-insider.com
US
12.12.2019
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Ukraine, Russia
12.12.2019
  • RIAFAN - Russian
Ukraine
12.12.2019
  • Sputnik English,
  • RT Russia,
  • Ria Novosti,
  • tvzvezda.ru
Syria, Russia
12.12.2019
  • Sputnik Italia
Syria
11.12.2019
  • One World
Hong Kong, Brazil, Denmark, Australia, UK, France, Belgium, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Russia
11.12.2019
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • elnashra.com,
  • alqraralaraby.com,
  • ar.farsnews.com,
  • almanar.com.lb
Syria, US
11.12.2019
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • Ria Novosti,
  • ar.farsnews.com,
  • Elfagr.com,
  • awajelpress.com,
  • bbcnews1.com,
  • dmcnews.org,
  • Wikimsrweb.com
Syria
11.12.2019
  • Stoletie
Russia
11.12.2019
  • Stoletie
Hong Kong, Vatican, UK, US, Ukraine
11.12.2019
  • RT Arabic ,
  • 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
US, Russia
11.12.2019
  • Sputnik Italia
USSR, Russia
11.12.2019
  • RT English
US, Russia
10.12.2019
  • Materik.ru,
  • Teleskop
Vatican, Belarus, Russia
10.12.2019
  • 60 minut @Rossiya 1 - YouTube
Ukraine
10.12.2019
  • nurtv.kz,
  • Izvestia,
  • TASS - Russian,
  • Sputnik South-Ossetia
Ukraine
10.12.2019
  • RT English
Ukraine
09.12.2019
  • RT Arabic
Syria
09.12.2019
  • Voskresnyi vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym - YouTube
Ukraine
09.12.2019
  • Voskresnyi vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym - YouTube
Ukraine
09.12.2019
  • Together with Russia
US, Russia
09.12.2019
  • Sputnik Italia
Ukraine, Russia
09.12.2019
  • RT Russia,
  • TASS - Russian
Russia
08.12.2019
  • Pervyi Kanal
Ukraine, Russia
07.12.2019
  • fondsk.ru,
  • Tehnowar.ru,
  • Naspravdi.info
France, Germany, Russia
06.12.2019
  • Livenews.am
US, Ukraine
06.12.2019
  • RT Spanish,
  • Sputnik Spain
Mexico, US
06.12.2019
  • Stoletie,
  • Brianskiye Novosti
Lithuania, Estonia, Baltic states, Russia, Latvia
05.12.2019
  • RT Russia
Ukraine, Russia
05.12.2019
  • Moskovskij Komsomolets - Crimea,
  • utro.ru,
  • nahnews.org
Hungary, Ukraine, Russia
05.12.2019
  • RT Arabic
Ukraine
05.12.2019
  • Sputnik Italia
05.12.2019
  • RT Arabic
Middle East, Russia
04.12.2019
  • Sputnik English
Ukraine, Russia
03.12.2019
  • Komsomolskaya Pravda - Moldova,
  • Enews.md,
  • Argumenty i Fakty v Moldove,
  • Point.md
Moldova
03.12.2019
  • Pervyi Kanal
US
03.12.2019
  • RT Arabic
Poland, US
03.12.2019
  • RT Arabic
Russia
03.12.2019
  • News Front - Spanish,
  • The Saker - Spanish
China, US, Ukraine
03.12.2019
  • Sputnik Spain,
  • Sputnik Spain
Estonia
02.12.2019
  • Golos Armenii
Armenia
02.12.2019
Ukraine, Russia
02.12.2019
  • Russia-insider.com
UK, US, Russia
01.12.2019
  • RT France - YouTube
Syria
30.11.2019
  • RT France - YouTube
UK, US, Russia
27.11.2019
  • Sputnik Belarus - Russian,
  • Sputnik Latvia - Russian,
  • Sputnik Estonia - Russian,
  • Sputnik Georgia - Russian,
  • Sputnik Moldova - Russian
Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Latvia
22.11.2019
  • Verelq.am
Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine
22.11.2019
  • Sputnik Spain
Chile