European elections

Election meddling and pro-Kremlin disinformation: What you need to know

There is now a robust body of publicly available evidence that the Kremlin has attempted to interfere in numerous electoral processes around the world in recent years. Russia’s disinformation campaigns go beyond the election periods. They are well-organised and well-funded. The Kremlin uses a variety of methods and narratives to try to influence your vote. Sometimes it’s about playing on our emotions, while other times it’s about manipulating our thinking by distorting facts. These are just a few of the many examples.

Ahead of the European elections 2019, we have compiled the evidence of Kremlin’s meddling attempts on this page. Below you will find stories divided into three categories: 1.)  How does Russia’s meddling and pro-Kremlin disinformation work? 2.) How has it been done in different countries? and 3) What can citizens themselves do?

Want to resist manipulation and make informed choices? Read on! Or download a concise overview of the findings in pdf.

EU Elections Update: Reaping What Was Sown

Russia’s seeds of subversion, carefully planted and cultivated for over half a decade, have successfully taken root and are now thriving independently.

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Methods of Foreign Electoral Interference

Russia’s election meddling toolkit consists of ten key methods.

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5 Common Pro-Kremlin Disinformation Narratives

Waffen-EU and Europe collapsing: Pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives date back to 19th century.

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Information Manipulation in Elections and Referenda: Pro-Kremlin Disinformation in Figures

Plant disinformation and amplify it – pro-Kremlin social media exploitation in figures.

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The St. Petersburg Troll Factory Targets Elections from Germany to the United States

The trolls have gained six years of experience in election interference. Now they are 10 million tweets wiser.

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Tackling Disinformation à la Française

Meddling in the 2017 French elections is a showcase of methods in the Kremlin playbook.

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What Can You Do? – Watch Out for These Warning Signs

Nobody is immune to disinformation, but even though there are no vaccines, there are ways to become more aware and resilient.

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“Ukraine will turn into a banana republic”: Ukrainian Elections on Russian TV

Read how pro-Kremlin disinformation targeted Ukrainian elections 2019.

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How does it work?

Methods of Foreign Electoral Interference

Russia’s election meddling toolkit consists of different methods, from information manipulation to hacking. These methods often overlap and complement each other, and are tailored to individual countries based on the Kremlin’s objectives. Here‘s how it works.

5 Common Pro-Kremlin Disinformation Narratives

Narratives are at the heart of the Kremlin’s disinformation and influence efforts. Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets use a standard set of narratives that work as templates for stories and are adapted for different audiences. Here are five of the most widely used ones.

How has it been done?

Information Manipulation in Elections and Referenda: Examples of Pro-Kremlin Disinformation in Figures

Russian electoral interference has taken many different forms around the world. Here are some numbers from recent elections and referenda that illustrate the magnitude of the threat.

How the St. Petersburg Troll Factory Targets Elections from Germany to the United States

The St. Petersburg “troll factory”, also known as the Internet Research Agency (IRA), has become a central part of the Kremlin’s electoral interference playbook. Here‘s what you need to know about its tactics in numerous elections and referenda.

Tackling Disinformation à la Française

The 2017 French elections are a case study of the Kremlin’s influence methods. But they also show how a quick and transparent reaction to meddling, combined with broad cooperation across different sectors, can help control the damage. Here‘s how it happened.

“Ukraine will turn into a banana republic”: Ukrainian Elections on Russian TV

The Kremlin uses Ukraine as a testing ground for its disinformation operations, refining techniques that it will later apply in Europe and the US. Read how pro-Kremlin disinformation targeted Ukrainian elections 2019. Read more here.

What can you do?

Toolbox: Watch Out for These Warning Signs

Disinformation is a complex phenomenon with many tricks up its sleeve. Nobody is immune to it – but there are ways to become more aware and resilient. Check them out here.

Further reading

Figure of the week: 14

Ahead of the Slovak presidential elections, 14 disinformation pages on Facebook shared pro-Kremlin narratives seeking to delegitimise the democratic process.

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Figure of the Week: 104

Hackers linked to Russian military intelligence have conducted cyberattacks against several European NGOs, targeting 104 employee accounts.

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Figure of the Week: 2020

The United States’ Intelligence chief has warned that Russia is likely to target the 2020 presidential elections with new, enhanced tactics.

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Fake news and elections in Bulgaria

There has been a lot of talk about attempted Russian influence in the US elections. There have been multiple warnings against information operations before the upcoming French Presidential elections (where Emmanuel Macron seems to be the main target), or the German...

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