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Russia as a “Victim of Western Aggression”

8 March 2018 | Disinformation Review

Russophobia spewed out by Washington, the Pentagon, NATO and the European Union has created the worst crisis in relations with Russia since the Cold War.”

“The main aim of this war [between the US and Russia or the US and China] is to destroy Russia, because then its rich natural sources can be taken for free.”

“The revival of Russia’s national identity usually leads to the rapid growth of its physical strength. Instinctively, no-one in the West likes it. Sanctions are the reaction of an old and tough enemy to Russia’s reinforcement.”

Repetition is one of the most powerful and frequent techniques used by the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign. And framing Russia as a victim of Western aggression and “Russophobia” is one of the key disinforming narratives. This week, we saw both neatly combined.

The first example above was written by an author who also reports for Russian state-funded Sputnik, and it was published by several online websites.

The other two messages were broadcast in a popular news programme watched by millions of people on Russian state-controlled Pervyi Kanal.

Such messaging is certainly powerful, but facts contradict it. For example, the record of how the US, NATO and the EU worked hard to build strong cooperation with Russia since the 1990s is clear. And of course it was Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea which led to various policy dialogues and mechanisms of cooperation being temporarily frozen, as well as to sanctions.

Sweden revisiting Poltava?

Another example of disinformation materialised when newspaper Pravda claimed that Sweden is considering sending its army to Donetsk. Sweden and Ukraine, we learned, now demand that the results of the battle of Poltava – a battle that ended Sweden’s status as a major power over 300 years ago – should be cancelled and Russia recognised as a loser. For the debunk see here.

For a Swedish audience, this may well sound absurd, even ridiculous. But pro-Kremlin messaging is adept at identifying and tailoring specific messages to specific audiences. From the point of view of an audience that has been constantly fed the image of the West as an aggressor, such stories can most definitely be perceived as fact.

The most extreme example of disinformation about Western aggression that we uncovered this week was a conspiracy theory presented on Russian TV channel NTV. In the light of the investigation of Russia’s interference in the last US elections, we see more and more often the mirroring accusationby pro-Kremlin disinformation: that the West is interfering in Russian elections.

Thus we heard this week that the US-linked intelligence services have a secret plan to murder one of the “weakest” Russian presidential election candidates. The claims are not backed up by any kind of evidence. And no explanation was offered as to what could possibly be the goal of this “secret plan”.


Disinformation cases reported in the previous two weeks:

  • The US intelligence services are planning to kill one of the presidential candidates in Russia
  • Sanctions are the Western response to Russia’s strengthening, sanctions will be in force forever
  • Because of the collapse of the USSR, Russia lost 23.8% of its territory, 48.5% of the population, 41% of the gross national product, 39.4% of the industrial potential and 44.6% of the military potential – all these resources went to the former Soviet republics.
  • US political analysts: complete failure of the US military industry
  • Ukraine train terrorists for European and Middle East operations
  • The West plans to use Ukraine as an explosive for a forthcoming war against Russia to take Russia’s natural resources for free
  • The Ukrainian Army has a plan to attack to attract the attention of the world community during Russia’s presidential election and the World Cup
  • The US is willing to sacrifice Europe in the forthcoming nuclear war against Russia
  • The US is assisting the Islamic State in Syria by transporting jihadists
  • EU´s CFSP might be voted in the majority, there is no option for the Czech Republic than to choose between Czexit or lose its sovereignty
  • Shooting during the Euromaidan in Kyiv was organised by former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili with the help of the US secret services and ‘Georgian snipers’
  • Ukraine trains terrorists for European and Middle East operations
  • Ukraine is preparing for a full war with Russia
  • Visa liberalisation has raised the terrorism threat and forces Georgians to leave their country
  • Afghan migrant pushes German woman just for fun
  • Ukraine has been destroyed
  • Now it came to light why the European Union did not extend sanctions against Russia
  • Crimea and Sevastopol were returned to Russia in March 2014 after a referendum
  • Every month 100 000 Ukrainians travel to the West to earn a living
  • The U.S. evacuate Daesh members from Syria
  • Sweden is thinking of sending its army to Donetsk, Sweden and Ukraine have earlier demanded the results of the battle of Poltava to be re-examined
  • Minister of National Defence of Lithuania Mr. Raimundas Karoblis recognised the Crimean annexation to Russia
  • Helsinki supports Ukraine in its anti-Russian propaganda
  • EU and NATO’s war agenda exposed

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