Feature image source: MV-lehti

Imagine someone whispering in your ear non-stop: “Why would you bother, you will never find out the truth.”

Sometimes the voice could grow to an unbearable scream. One of the basic tools of pro-Kremlin disinformation is to fill the information space with constant noise to confuse the audience – or to at least force it to stop paying attention.

A recent target of this method has been The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats (Hybrid CoE), hosted by Finland. This week, pro-Kremlin attempts to obscure the public discussion around the centre grew in both quantity and absurdity.

Finnish MV-lehti published an article claiming that the “NATO hybrid centre has a license to kill”. Actually the Hybrid CoE is not a NATO centre, but an instrument of its participating countries: Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden, the UK and the USA. More fundamentally, the centre obviously doesn’t have a license to kill, as no one has in Finland.

But the orchestrated disinformation campaign does not end up with one article. What we also saw was the setting up an organisation with a similar name that calls NATO and the EU a threat for democracy in Europe. And in order to further confuse the public, a website was launched – http://hybridcoe.ru/ – [note the Russian domain] – that copies the design of the real centre.

Fake Twitter accounts resembling the Hybrid CoE logo have been circulating since autumn 2016, and some of them got activated again in September. This account has been spreading message that Finnish citizens would be unhappy with the new Hybrid Centre – referring to comments on other disinforming outlets.

Just so you know, these are the actual webpage and the Twitter account of the Hybrid CoE.

Blame the victim!

One of the aims of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign is to twist the narrative of WWII. This time, weekly Russian news show Vesti Nedeli accused Poland of initiating the second world war.

We’ll leave it to more reliable sources than Vesti Nedeli to set the record straight on this. But the Russian audience is constantly exposed to this parallel reality. And the results of this disinformation campaign are clearly visible for example in a Levada centre poll on the Molotov-Ribbentrop secret protocols, which reveal that 40% of Russians think it’s true, 17% think it’s false, and 44% are not aware or unsure that the protocols existed.

This week’s disinformation cocktail also included some favourite disinformation themes. We read that Europe’s excessive tolerance towards other religions results in punishing “true” Europeans, and in discriminating against orthodox values.

So disinformation outlets reported about a man being fined for eating bacon in front of Muslims in Sweden and about a Georgian judoka who suffered defeat during the course of the World Championship for wearing a cross around her neck. Visit our table to set the record straight on these two entertaining stories.

And the favourite narrative about EU orchestrating colour revolutions was revived once again. Thus, in a Moldovan disinformation-oriented outlet, the readers were convinced that if the country refuses to join the EU, Brussels will punish it with a Maidan. We are sorry to disappoint, but it is not in EU’s capabilities to instigate a nation-wide revolution.

Disinformation cases reported in the previous week


related disinfo cases

01.09.2017
infowars.com
Sweden
06.09.2017
moscow-baku.ru
Azerbaijan
10.09.2017
Vesti nedeli @Rossiya 1
Russia, Poland
11.09.2017
dni.ru
Russia, Ukraine, Germany
12.09.2017
Socialistii.md [Socialist party of the Republic of Moldova]
Moldova
10.09.2017
Svobodnaya Pressa
Ukraine, US
09.09.2017
Sputnik Moldova
Moldova
10.09.2017
MV-lehti
US, Finland
07.09.2017
Mesto vstrechi @NTV, 2:10:53
Ukraine
06.09.2017
Mesto vstrechi @NTV, 1:13:56
North Korea, Russia, Ukraine, US, Germany
04.09.2017
tvzvezda.ru
Ukraine, US
28.08.2017
Russia Today (RT)
Russia, Ukraine, US
01.09.2017
Ipress.ge, Imedinews.ge
Georgia
31.08.2017
riafan.ru
Ukraine
22.08.2017
mk.ru
Russia, Ukraine, US
27.08.2017
РЕН ТВ, Московский комсомолец, Политнавигатор, Русская весна
Ukraine
27.08.2017
Gazeta UA. YouTube-channel
Ukraine
01.09.2017
Pravda.ru, Interfax, Izvestiya, tvzezda.ru
Sweden
04.09.2017
NTV
Russia
06.09.2017
RT.com (Russia Today)
Russia
04.09.2017
aif.md
Moldova, Russia, US
03.09.2017
Facebook-page
Germany
06.09.2017
Online edition of the newspaper "Argumenty i Fakty v Moldove"
Hungary, Cyprus, Greece, Moldova, Ukraine, Poland
05.09.2017
TV channel "Accent TV"
Moldova, EU