In fairy tales, things have to be black and white and easy to understand. The villain is always cruel, horrible and insidious; the hero is pure, fair, and honest. A look at the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign shows us a similar picture.
Once again this week, we saw the well worn narratives of Good Russia and the Evil West. Some outlets shared the assumption that the goal of the US is to conquer Russia; others propagated the well-known disinformation narrative that NATO enlargement means aggression towards Russia, something that we have debunked before and that is also thoroughly disproven by NATO. The accession to NATO of Montenegro was presented as a Western plot to reduce Russian influence in the Balkans, ignoring the fact that Montenegro itself took the decision to apply to join NATO. The illegal annexation of Crimea was blamed on NATO enlargement too, disregarding the fact that it was Russia which took control of the peninsula and that this violation of international law had nothing to do with NATO. The concept of Russophobia is central to this view of the world, and we saw once again this week the false notion presented that “the West” has designed a plot to deprive Russia of all its resources.
The presence of NATO soldiers in the Baltic states was identified as “identical” to the attack of Nazi Germany on the Soviet Union in 1941 and Angela Merkel was described as a “Führer of the Fourth Reich” in another pro-Kremlin outlet – to compare current Germany and especially Angela Merkel with Nazi Germany is another recurring tendency in pro-Kremlin disinformation. NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in the Baltic states is in fact part of its strengthened deterrence and defence posture, as agreed at the 2016 Summit in Warsaw.
Manipulating terrorism and drug abuse
In the wake of recent terror attacks, we have sadly seen the disinformation campaign exploiting these tragic events for its own purposes, something we have described previously. In pro-Kremlin outlets this week, we learnt that the West supposedly doesn’t want to fight terror; that it is to blame for the latest London attack; and that the US secret services are the creators of Islamic fundamentalism. We also learned that the London attack was staged (the idea of false flag operations is re-occurring myth) and that the CNN staged a Muslim condemnation of the attack – rumours that CNN addressed and denied in a statement.
The “proof” that the London attack was staged, according to pro-Kremlin outlets.
Pro-Kremlin disinformation can’t leave Ukraine alone for a week. This time drugs were in the disinformation limelight. We learned that the Ukrainian secret services are supposedly using drug addicts for espionage in the East of Ukraine – there is nothing substantiating this claim (and one can wonder if relying on drug addicts is really an effective way of collecting information). We also learned, from the same pro-Kremlin disinformation outlet, that the Ukrainian Government is trying to increase the number of drug addicted people in the same area. The official TV channel of the Russian Ministry of Defence, TV Zvezda, reported that the Ukrainian secret service is planning to smuggle over 200 kg of cocaine into Donbas in order to destroy and “narcotise” its nation. As usual, no evidence is given.
Disinformation cases reported in the previous week