Disinfo: There is no evidence that Russia tried to influence electoral processes in Great Britain

Summary

British officials and media have repeatedly accused Russia of interfering, in recent years, in British electoral processes, alleging that Russian trolls on social media have tried to conduct campaigns of “weaponised information” to influence potential voters. Moscow has repeatedly denied these accusations. Last year, after a lengthy investigation, Facebook concluded that there “is absolutely no evidence” that Russia influenced the 2016 vote on Brexit using this social network and even that Russia tried to interfere “in a significant way”.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to depict accusations of Russian meddling in Western democratic processes as factually unfounded and driven by "Russophobia". The article repeats the disinformation message often spread by pro-Kremlin outlets claiming that there is no solid evidence to support the claim that Russia interfered in the 2016 Brexit referendum. A UK Parliamentary inquiry and serious academic studies have found evidence about Russian state efforts to affect the outcome of the 2016 Brexit vote. One study showed that fake Russian Twitter accounts published at least 45,000 messages about Brexit in the 48 hours before the vote, most of them calling on British voters to reject the European Union. Moreover, according to data released by Twitter, Russian trolls sent thousands of messages with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU on the day of the Brexit referendum. According to another research report, between 1 January 2016 and 23 June 2016 Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik published 261 media articles on the EU Referendum with an anti-EU sentiment. This report also showed that RT and Sputnik had more reach on Twitter for anti-EU content than either Vote Leave or Leave.EU, during the Referendum campaign. There is also evidence that Russia tried to influence the 2019 British general elections by amplifying illicitly acquired sensitive and leaked documents about a planned UK-US free trade agreement. UK Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee report into alleged Russian interference was released in July 2020 and can be read here. Read our article on Russian election meddling in EU countries and in the US here. For more information on Russia's interference in Western democratic processes, see the EUvsDisinfo Elections page. Read a similar case claiming that Twitter did not find evidence of Russian efforts to influence Brexit.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 206
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: election meddling, Russia Today (RT), Brexit, Facebook, Manipulated elections/referendum, Sputnik
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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, attempting to portray it as a civil war.

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Disproof

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Disproof

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