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
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Russia, Europe, EU
02.12.2019
Russia Insider
Russia, US, UK
16.12.2019
New Eastern Outlook
United States, Ukraine
06.12.2019
Stoletie Brianskiye Novosti
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16.12.2019
RT Deutsch
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15.12.2019
Geopolitica.ru
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13.12.2019
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12.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
Syria
15.12.2019
Bolshaya Igra @Pervyi Kanal (44:30-44:45), Ria.ru, Moskovskyi Komsomolets, Sputnik Lithuania, Life.ru, Izvestiya, Lenta.ru
Russia, US
12.12.2019
Sputnik News, RT Russian, RIA, TV Zvezda
Russia, Syria
10.12.2019
RT
Ukraine, EU
11.12.2019
RT News @RT, time 15:20-15:49
Russia, US
13.12.2019
Sputnik web Arabic, ahfad, akhbarak, elbayan-news, emeknes, elssayda, sabq-sa, news-araby, news.akhbarten, albidda, bbcnews1, abudhabi-news, masr20, miralnews, saadaonline, uk-arabicnews, araby7
Russia, Ukraine
14.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia
Russia, United States
09.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
Russia, Ukraine
11.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
Russia, USSR
11.12.2019
Stoletie
Hong Kong, US, Vatican, UK, Ukraine
13.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia
Russia, The Netherlands
12.12.2019
Riafan.ru
Ukraine
12.12.2019
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Poland, Ukraine, EU
11.12.2019
Stoletie
Russia, The West
10.12.2019
Sputnik Ossetia time 00:01 - 00:13, 00:27 - 00:29, 1:22 - 1:36, nurtv.kz, Izvestia, Tass
Ukraine
10.12.2019
Materik.ru Teleskop-by.org
Russia, Vatican, The West, Belarus
13.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic, saadaonline, urdupoint, alghadpress, elmarada, dostor, shamra, alsudanlyom, bbcnews1, emeknes, 24.com.eg, innlebanon, elbayan-news, abudhabi-news, masr20, sabq-sa, akhbarten, uk-arabicnews, miralnews, albidda, akherkhabartoday, news-araby, nafeza2world, lomazoma, akhbarlibya
Russia, Ukraine
11.12.2019
RT web Arabic, Syria friends, Arabi today, Akhbarak, Rt Arab, emeknes, bbcnews1, elbayan-news, sabq-sa, akhbarten, miralnews, abudhabi-news, nafeza2world, saadaonline, news-araby, albidda, akhbarlibya, uk-arabicnews, dmcnews, belbalady
Russia, United States, Russia
10.12.2019
60 Minut @Rossiya 1 (0:40-0:55)
Ukraine
06.12.2019
RT en español, Sputnik Mundo
Mexico, United States
12.12.2019
Russia Insider
United States
12.12.2019
One World
United States, Ukraine
03.12.2019
Sputnik Mundo
Estonia
03.12.2019
NewsFront Spanish, The Saker
United States, China, Ukraine
11.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic, Ria.ru, Fars News, Elfagr.com, Awajelpress.com, Bbcnews1.com, Dmcnews.org, Wikimsrweb.com
Syria
11.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic, elnashra.com, alqraralaraby.com, ar.farsnews.com, almanar.com.lb
United States, EU, Syria
11.12.2019
One World
Hong Kong, Russia, Brazil, Australia, Denmark, UK, The West, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, France
03.12.2019
RT Arabic
Russia
05.12.2019
RT Arabic
Russia, International, Middle East
09.12.2019
Vmeste s Rossiyey
Russia, US, The West
22.11.2019
Verelq.am
Armenia, Ukraine, Georgia
27.11.2019
Sputnik Belarus, Sputnik Latvia, Sputnik Estonia, Sputnik Georgia, Sputnik Moldova
Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania
03.12.2019
RT Arabic
Poland, United States
04.12.2019
Sputnik News
Russia, The West, Ukraine
06.12.2019
livenews.am
United States, Ukraine
09.12.2019
Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym @Rossiya 1 (2:49:40-2:50:13)
Ukraine
07.12.2019
Fond Strategicheskoy Kultury, Tehnowar, Naspravdi.info
Russia, Germany, France
02.12.2019
golosarmenii.am
Armenia
09.12.2019
Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym @ Rossiya 1 time 54:10-54:15
Ukraine
05.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
Eastern Europe
05.12.2019
RT Arabic
Ukraine
02.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic
Russia, Ukraine
05.12.2019
Utro.ru, Nahnews.org, Crimea.mk.ru
Russia, Hungary, Ukraine
05.12.2019
RT Russian
Russia, Ukraine
30.11.2019
RT France time 01:30-02:10, 04:18-05:08
Russia, US, UK
08.12.2019
Vremya pokazhet @ Pervyi kanal time 38:00 - 38:26
Russia, Ukraine
01.12.2019
RT France @ 00:00 - 01:47
West, Syria
09.12.2019
RT web Arabic
Syria
22.11.2019
Sputnik Mundo Radio time 03:20-04:15
Chile
03.12.2019
Vremya Pokazhet @ Channel One TV time 20:43-20:49
US
03.12.2019
Kp.md, Enews.md, Aif.md, Point.md
Moldova