Social alienation is a condition characterised by a low degree of common values and integration and a high degree of distance between individuals or groups of people. That sense of distance between two groups feeds on a sense of doubt about “the other”. In pro-Kremlin disinformation, Europe/the West is that “other”, and thus has to be presented as different in some way – perhaps suspicious, evil or simply weak.
This week in pro-Kremlin disinformation, we learned once again that European countries are “Russophobic”; that they steal children away from their parents without any grounds; and that they are imposing LGBT policies to make Georgian children immoral so that they conduct colour revolutions when they grow up. These are all topics we have seen before – read more here, here and here.
Sweden also made it back to the disinformation headlines this week. We learned that there is apparently an imminent threat of civil war in this country that enjoys one of the world’s highest living standards. Last week in Sweden, so we were told in disinformation outlets, the chief of the National police called for international help since the country is torn to pieces by Muslim immigrants. In reality, he called for increased cooperation between state agencies in vulnerable areas – calling for help on a serious issue, it’s true, but a far cry from civil war.
No jazz for Ukrainians
According to the official TV channel of the Russian Ministry of Defence, TV Zvezda – also known for past disinformation stories such as that Ukrainians steal food from pigeons and that there are zombies fighting in the Ukrainian army – the Lviv jazz festival had to be cancelled this year due to the serious health threat posed by the amount of rubbish in the streets. In fact, the Alfa jazz festival was held according to plan and there were never any plans to cancel it, nor was the question even discussed.
Lenta.ru informed its readers that Kyiv had planned to attack flight MH17, again seeking to sow doubts on the cause of this tragic event, even though the technical report of the Joint Investigative Team has clearly concluded that the missile that shot down MH17 was fired from a Russian vehicle that crossed into Ukraine and then back to Russia again afterwards.
Regular disinformation outlets were active again this week in spreading disinformation about Ukraine, claiming that there is an ongoing poster campaign on the streets of Kyiv projecting the Russian language as a sign of low IQ and equivalent to an infection. This plays into the common but unsubstantiated disinformation narrative that Ukraine is threatening its Russian speakers. But there is just one detail in the poster story that needs to be corrected; the poster – however deplorable, was only one single amateur contribution to an exhibition in 2015, not an ongoing ad campaign on the streets of Kyiv. So, just another part of the ongoing Russian disinformation campaign.
Disinformation cases reported in the previous week