The last couple of weeks, we have seen two major campaigns unfold within the pro-Kremlin disinformation machinery: the disinformation surrounding the poisoning of the Skripals, where the number of narratives spread about it from pro-Kremlin sources is now 31 (!); and the massive campaign targeting the latest chemical attack in Syria.

The disinformation campaign focused on the Skripal case has many similarities with the disinformation rolled out immediately following the downing of the civilian flight MH17, whereas the campaign targeting Syria is a predictable repetition of previous campaigns discrediting the suffering of civilians in the country.

We have already written about the actors behind and the narratives and tactics used in these virtual tsunamis of disinformation.

Lately these two campaigns, targeting separated events, have started to merge into one another within the pro-Kremlin disinformation space. For an untrained eye, that might seem surprising. But as the book about modern Russia and the TV landscape by Peter Pomerantsev suggests, when nothing is true, everything is possible.

Whereas previously, the White Helmets have been blamed for staging the chemical attacks in Syria among other things, this week we see that the UK is being accused of instructing them to do so. Russian state TV also claimed that Syria’s chemical weapons were actually created by the Brits, although another state TV program claimed that there are in fact no chemical weapons in Syria.

And, prior to the arrival of the independent investigators from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to Douma, Kremlin representatives and pro-Kremlin outlets have discredited their work in the Skripal-case.

And once more “news shows” on Russian state TV showed how they are very different from news programs that adhere to journalistic standards. In order to “prove” that the White Helmets had staged the chemical attack in Douma, they aired footage from a film set showing just that. But the problem is that the imagery is easily detectable as coming from the (pro-Syrian regime) movie ‘Revolution Man’. Bellingcat has the full story.

This is not the first time that Russian state TV uses images from productions and claim it is reality – we have seen this happen before with images from computer games being presented as ’irrefutable proof’.

So, even though at a first glance the poisoning of an ex-spy in the UK and another chemical weapons attack killing civilians in Syria don’t have so much in common, you just need to follow the disinformation trail to find how it all plays a part in the pro-Kremlin disinformation machinery. And how that machinery is used as a non-military means to reach political goals, as described in several great studies included in our Reading list for example here, here, and here.

See all the disinformation cases reported during past two weeks:


related disinfo cases

16.04.2018
Eurozona @ state-owned Vesti FM radio, 26:03, 32:10
Russia, EU
16.04.2018
Vecher s Vladimirom Solovyovym @Rossiya 1, 22:50
UK, Syria
13.04.2018
TV Zvezda
Syria
13.04.2018
Vesti @Rossiya 1, 00:00
UK, Syria
15.04.2018
Itogi Nedeli @NTV, 20:00
UK, Russia
15.04.2018
Itogi Nedeli @NTV, 12:00
UK, Syria
15.04.2018
Voskresnoye Vremya @Channel One
UK
15.04.2018
Voskreasnoe Vremya @Channel 1, 00:00:34
UK
15.04.2018
Voskresnoye Vremya @Channel One, 18:03
Syria
15.04.2018
Voskresnoye Vremya @Channel 1, 7:50
Russia, Syria
15.04.2018
Vesti Nedeli s Dmitriem Kiselyovym @Rossiya 1, 1:31:50
Russia, Ukraine
15.04.2018
Vesti Nedeli s Dmitriem Kiselyovym @Rossiya 1, 00:00:00, 00:14.00, 1:12.00
UK, Russia, Syria
12.04.2018
Life.ru
UK, Russia
11.04.2018
Rossiiskaya Gazeta, rg.ru
Russia, Finland
13.04.2018
The Russian Defense Ministry in RT
UK, Syria
09.04.2018
Vesti @Rossiya 1
UK, Russia, Syria
14.04.2018
Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in RT
UK, Russia, US, Syria, France
04.04.2018
Georgia and the World
US
14.04.2018
Russia's Foreign Minister in Russia Today
Switzerland, UK, Russia
02.04.2018
Sputnik
Latvia
02.04.2018
TV Zvezda
Latvia
11.04.2018
Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov in TASS
Russia, Syria
10.04.2018
aeronet.cz
UK, Russia
10.04.2018
http://ac24.cz
Russia, Syria