Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Russian Crisis Media Strategy Summarized

I have been saying exactly this for years, now it has finally hit the mainstream media and was neatly summarized in this USA Today article.

Russian authorities have repeatedly denied any involvement in the poisoning case, questioning the evidence, demanding access to inspect the Skripals in the hospital, and demanding that Britain include investigators from Russia and other countries in its probe of the crime.

Russia’s response to this case is similar to its responses to the downing of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in 2014, which resulted in the deaths of 298 passengers and crew, its seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in March, 2014, and the Olympic doping scandal at the Sochi Olympics in 2014, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius told USA TODAY in an interview this week.

Dutch authorities concluded that the airliner was shot down by anti-aircraft missile that was provided by Russia and later returned to the country. Russia rejected those conclusions. Russia denied seizing Crimea until Putin later said his forces were involved. And Russia denied involvement in the doping scandal.

Linkevičius summed up the strategy with three words: “Deny, deny, deny.”


The first paragraph defines Russian obfuscation tactics when accused.

  1. Deny, deny, deny
  2. Question evidence (undermine accuracy)
  3. Demand access (which they will only receive reports)
  4. Demand inclusion (which they will not receive)

These tactics were used, repeatedly in the second paragraph, in this short history of Russian histrionics.

  1. Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 shootdown
  2. Russia illegal seizure of Crimea from Ukraine
  3. Olympic doping scandal
  4. Skripal poisoning

Now add in “Russia’s ambassador to Britain: Russia ‘never produced Novichok‘”

And, of course, deny, deny, deny.


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