Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

EU East StratCom Task Force: Occupying The Information Space – Disinformation Review

22 November 2018


Occupying The Information Space

“Nobody Asked Thou Occupation”, a protest sign says in an image. If you just have a quick look, it is hard to see where and when this photo was taken.

So it was a convenient way for the pro-Kremlin propagandists to illustrate articles about Norwegians allegedly protesting against a recent NATO exercise. The image illustrated stories in Georgian and Russian outlets in November.

But if you zoom in and pay attention to the tiny advertisement in the background, you will see three words in Polish: złoto, srebro, brylantyGold, silver, diamonds.

Myth Detector’s fact-checking and a Google reverse image search show that the same photograph was in fact taken in Poland already in 2016.

From the point of view of the disinformation campaigner, the picture has one advantage: it includes the keyword occupation. The pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign seems to be obsessed with claims about occupational forces. It repeats messages that not just SyriaUkraineGeorgiaCzech Republic or all the Eastern European countries but all of Europe is under either US, NATO or German occupation. At the same time, it appears that Ukraine is also occupied by the EU. See the links to set the record straight.

Clinton, thesis and Lucifer

And talking about far-fetched disinformation lines: the old campaign against Hillary Clinton surfaced in Georgia once again, when one outlet scooped that Clinton dedicated her thesis to Lucifer! When you have stopped laughing, check the facts here.

Ukraine on the frontline

This week, pro-Kremlin outlets have been accusing Ukraine of being a failed Nazi state that’s preparing for a military solution in Donbas whilst being simultaneously the impotent puppet of the US and EU. According to Russian media, all of this is happening because Ukraine is just a victim of the geopolitical and economic interests of the United States.

The unavoidable military escalation between Ukraine and Russia is an often spreadnarrative by the pro-Kremlin outlets but this week they have been more focused on the false claims that the US “splatters blood on Ukraine”. The main idea behind is to show Ukraine has little to say on its own future and foreign policy. Reality-check: Ukraine is a sovereign state recognized by all the UN members, with a legitimate government.

Of course this doesn’t bother pro-Kremlin media as they tend to describe Ukraine as a failed state. This time they have pointed out real problems with supply of hot water and heating  and made it look like the entire country has cold shivers whilst standing on the brink of social unrest.

But enough about politics: isn’t it true that in reality an average Ukrainian is a nice person? Well, not according to Russian media which indicates that people in Ukraine call Russians “non-humans” and are eager to kill them – and ready to announce Adolf Hitler a national hero. If you look at our database, it seems that in reality it is only in the pro-Kremlin disinformation that Hitler is still a main protagonist.

Click here for the FULL COLLECTION of recent stories repeating disinformation.


New York Times sheds light on decades-old tradition of Kremlin disinformation campaign

A three-series multimedia project by the New York Times reveals how current Kremlin disinformation campaigns stem from a long tradition of weaponizing information.

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Seven Commandments of Fake News – New York Times exposes Kremlin’s methods

In the 2nd episode of the “Operation Infektion” series, the New York Times demonstrates how even the most outrageous lie can be turned into a successful fake news story.

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Waiting For the Deep Fakes

While the international expert community is busy discussing what the “deep fakes” will look like, employees at St. Petersburg troll factory still stick to old-fashioned tricks.

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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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