Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Compass for the jungle of conspiracies – Disinformation Review

21 September 2017
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A compass for the jungle of conspiracies

To navigate through the rampant rainforest of pro-Kremlin disinformation, a special compass comes in handy. But in the disinformation world, instead of pointing to the Earth’s magnetic north pole, the needle points judgmentally to the West.

Thus, with the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea approaching, sport comes high on the propagandists’ agenda.  The new message is that international sports organisations have been captured by the “Anglo-Saxon sports mafia”.

Russia, the logic goes, with its doping scandals serves as a scapegoat for the Western powers who “turn a blind eye to their own doping terminators”.  Here, we hear an echo of the more than a year-old disinformation campaign accusing the West of conspiring against Russia and using a doping agency for that.

The story travelled from the English language page of to the Czech disinformation outlet The President of the supervisory board of Katehon is Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeev, who is on both the EU and US sanctions lists for supporting and funding the separatists in Eastern Ukraine.

Malofeev is also the founder of the pro-Kremlin media group Tsargrad that promotes “Orthodox values” and frequently spreads disinformation. Its previous masterpieces include a report of the CIA planning the “physical elimination” of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Katehon, for its part, ran a scoop in July that there was a coup in the US and that the US Congress had declared an economic war both on Russia and the EU.

Haven’t heard about it? Neither have we.

Russian state Channel One used Mikheil Saakashvili’s Facebook page as a “proof” that he is a US puppet.
Along with the Olympics, Russia’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup also comes closer, so disinformation concerning sport is really flourishing. One of this week’s pieces managed to bring together no less than three beloved components of pro-Kremlin conspiracies: 1. Former Odessa Governor Mikheil Saakashvili as a US puppet 2. Saakashvili [crossing the border to Ukraine] fulfils a secret CIA plan 3. The aim of the plan is to disrupt both the football World Cup in Russia and the Presidential elections.
Some old storylines also made a comeback this week, including 9/11 being supposedly plotted by the US authorities as well as the claim of biological weapons being created by American laboratories in Georgia. See here and here our collection of these myths and how they have been spread during the last two years.
Click here for the FULL COLLECTION of recent stories repeating disinformation.


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Every Thursday, the Disinformation Review brings you the latest cases of news articles carrying key examples of how pro-Kremlin disinformation finds its way in international media, as well as news and analysis on the topic. The review focuses on key messages carried in international media which have been identified as providing a partial, distorted or false view or interpretation and/or spreading key pro-Kremlin messaging. It does not necessarily imply however that the outlet concerned is linked to the Kremlin or that it is pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. The Review is a compilation of cases from the East Stratcom Task Force’s wide network of contributors and therefore cannot be considered an official EU position. Likewise, the news articles are based on the analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force, so information and opinions expressed there cannot be considered an official EU position. Any errors or misrepresentations should be reported to the East Stratcom Task Force for correction at
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