Information operations · Information Warfare

Passive Information Warfare, A Prime Example


Unian. Gather 11 people, give one a picture of Putin, another a cheap Russian flag, get one to hold her mouth open, and make the caption something like “hundreds gather”…

I read the below Censor.net.ua article and was rocked, shaken to my core. 

1/3 of Russians believe Russia can fight with a neighboring country, I interpret that to mean Ukraine. 1/5 believe Russia is ready to fight the US or NATO.  

I am fairly hawkish, which actually isn’t that much, but this is practically the polar opposite to my thinking. I re-read the report and paid attention to the actual words “can” and “ready”.  Then I realized the words were taken out of context and the implication is “want”. Censor.net.ua is implying that the Russian people “want” to go to war, and this is just not the case.

I believe the United States is ready for a war with anyone.  Ready and willing, however, are two opposing options.  I do not know anyone, not one single person, who wants a war with Russia. No matter how bad Russia is, how much of a rogue state, how aggressive, how provocative… nobody wants a war.  With anybody. 

I went looking for the Levada poll. It is only available in the Russian language portion of their website. 

Here is Levada’s actual synopsis, I pasted the entire report, translated into English, at the very bottom. 

EXPECTATIONS FROM 2019

Practically two-thirds of the inhabitants of Russia (64%) look in the coming year with “hope”. However, 62% of respondents do not exclude the possibility of corruption scandals and resignations; 57% – of the economic crisis; 44% – mass unrest. Least of all, the population expects in 2019, the coup d’etat (15%), the war with the United States (19%), and ethnic clashes (23%).

That is fairly neutral, not at all warlike.

If you read the entire poll you will see the Censor.net.ua article (second article, below) are highlighting the very end of the poll.  The whole poll is about expectations, corruption, the economy, catastrophes, etc, and their expectations for 2019.  It is overly-sensational by censor.net.ua to say Russia is ready to or can fight a war and not include at least a qualifying statement. Censor.net.ua should have added, ‘this does not mean Russians want a war with Ukraine’.   

In my humble opinion, the Levada survey has been taken out of context by the Censor.net.ua article and misinterpreted.  I do not believe Russians are as inclined towards war as the raw figures, taken out of context, suggest.  

I believe this is a good example of passive information warfare.  Present facts which can easily be misinterpreted.  Censor.net.ua did a good job presenting the facts, but taken out of context, they imply Russians want war, and that just isn’t true.

Ready and willing are two opposing options. 

</end editorial>



Censor.net.ua (https://censor.net.ua/news/3103964/kajdyyi_tretiyi_jitel_rf_schitaet_chto_v_2019_godu_rossiya_mojet_voevat_s_sosedneyi_stranoyi_kajdyyi)

Every third resident of the Russian Federation believes that in 2019 Russia can fight with a neighboring country, every fifth is ready for war with the United States or NATO countries – a poll

Every third resident of the Russian Federation believes that in 2019, Russia can fight with a neighboring country, one in five is ready to go to war with the United States or NATO, a poll

57% of Russians surveyed are ready for economic crisis, 44% – to mass protests, 13% – to the state revolution.

More than a third of Russians consider it possible next year’s armed conflict with some of the neighboring countries.

This is evidenced by the results of a poll conducted by the Levada Center, reports Tsensor.NET with reference toUNIAN .

In particular, responding to the question of whether next year’s armed conflict with neighboring countries is possible, 34% answered affirmatively (4% – definitely, 30% – more so); The opposite opinion is followed by 54% (38% – rather, 16% – definitely not). The answer was 13% of respondents.

19% of respondents agree that the war with the US or NATO will take place next year; 68% – hold the opposite opinion; 13% – not determined with the answer.

At the same time, 57% of respondents consider the possible economic crisis in Russia in 2019 (14% – certainly, 43% – more so); 32% agree with the opposite opinion (26% – rather, 6% – definitely not).Weighed in with a response of 10%.

44% of respondents consider it possible to rage in massive riots and protests in the Russian Federation (8% – certainly, yes, 36% – more so); the opposite opinion is followed by 48% (32% – rather, 16% – definitely not). Replied with 8% of respondents.

At the same time, 13% of respondents assume the possibility of carrying out a state coup in Russia next year; 75% – reject such an opportunity.11% – hesitated with the answer.

Source: https://censor.net.ua/news/3103964/kajdyyi_tretiyi_jitel_rf_schitaet_chto_v_2019_godu_rossiya_mojet_voevat_s_sosedneyi_stranoyi_kajdyyi



(https://www.levada.ru/2018/12/24/ozhidaniya-ot-2019-go-goda/)

The Levada Center conducted a poll on December 13-19, 2018, in a representative all-Russian sample of urban and rural population in the amount of 1.6 thousand people aged 18 and older in 136 settlements, 52 subjects of the Russian Federation.Джерело: https://censor.net.ua/ua/n3103964

EXPECTATIONS FROM 2019

The survey was conducted on December 13–19, 2018 for a representative all-Russian sample of urban and rural population of 1600 people aged 18 years and older in 136 localities, 52 regions of the Russian Federation. The study is conducted at the respondent’s home using a personal interview method. Distribution of answers is given as a percentage of the total number of respondents, together with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error in the sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators close to 50% 
2.9% for indicators close to 25% / 75% 
2.0% for indicators close to 10% / 90% 
1.5% for indicators close to 5% / 95%

WHAT FOR YOU WILL BE A COMING YEAR IN COMPARISON WITH THE PASSENGER? (indicated year of assessment)

Certainly better I really hope that it will be better I think it will be no worse Hardly anything will change Perhaps the new year will be worse than the outgoing Difficult to answer
2019 eight 50 17 17 five four
2018 6 49 22 14 3 6
2017 7 46 20 18 four five
2016 five 41 22 nineteen eight five
2015 6 40 22 17 ten four
2014 five 48 22 sixteen 3 6
2013 6 50 21 sixteen 2 five
2012 6 50 21 17 3 four
2011 9 49 20 12 four 6
2010 9 48 nineteen 13 four 7
2009 6 43 20 15 eleven 6
2008 eleven 45 17 18 6 3
2007 eight 41 17 25 five four
2006 6 46 18 nineteen 7 four
2005 eight 38 13 26 12 3
2004 7 47 21 nineteen 3 four
2003 five 45 24 nineteen four 3
2002 7 42 22 20 five four
2001 6 51 18 17 four four
2000 6 46 17 18 6 7
1999 2 27 14 27 23 eight
1998 four 31 20 25 9 eleven
1997 five 28 12 thirty nineteen 7
1996 four 33 nineteen 25 12 7
1995 6 36 15 20 15 9
1994 6 42 eleven 23 eleven 7
1993 four 34 12 nineteen 24 7
1992 2 23 7 18 44 7
1991 one 25 five nineteen 37 12
1990 four 40 12 22 13 9

DO YOU LOOK INTO AN UPDATING 2019 YEAR WITH HOPE, WITH CONFIDENCE OR WITH ALARM?

Jan.03 Jan.13 Jan.14 Jan.15 Jan.16 Jan.17 Jan.18 Dec 18
With hope 50 51 51 47 43 57 62 64
With uncertainty 21 24 25 24 26 23 18 14
With anxiety 25 20 nineteen 25 28 17 sixteen 20
Difficult to answer four five five four four 3 four 2

HOW DO YOU THINK, IS A COMING 2019 YEAR WILL BE QUIET OR STRESSED FOR YOUR FAMILY FOR YOU PERSONALLY? (indicated year of assessment)

2006 2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2018 2019
Definitely calm 12 13 13 7 eleven 9 7 four ten 14
Rather calm 48 46 51 48 54 55 41 33 48 46
Rather tense 22 17 15 29 15 17 35 41 29 28
Definitely stressful five 2 four 2 2 one five eleven four 6
I do not know 14 22 18 14 nineteen 18 12 eleven 9 7

HOW DO YOU THINK, IS A COMING 2019 YEAR WILL BE QUIET OR POWERFUL FOR RUSSIAN ECONOMY? (indicated year of assessment)

2006 2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2018 2019
Definitely calm 6 9 6 2 7 7 3 one 6 four
Rather calm 37 37 40 24 39 41 17 ten 25 21
Rather tense 34 24 25 48 29 28 52 52 49 46
Definitely stressful 7 five five 7 3 2 nineteen 29 ten nineteen
I do not know 17 26 25 18 22 22 9 eight ten ten

HOW DO YOU THINK, IS A COMING 2019 YEAR WILL BE QUIET OR STRESSED FOR POLITICAL LIFE IN RUSSIA? (indicated year of assessment)

2006 2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2018 2019
Definitely calm five eight 7 2 7 five four 3 five four
Rather calm 34 34 36 20 38 42 18 14 25 22
Rather tense 32 24 27 47 27 27 47 45 44 43
Definitely stressful 7 6 five 14 five 2 nineteen 26 14 20
I do not know 22 28 25 17 24 25 12 13 12 12

IS IT POSSIBLE IN THE FUTURE YEAR IN RUSSIA … (the year of assessment is indicated)

…ECONOMIC CRISIS?

2006 2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2018 2019
Definitely yes five 3 7 2 6 6 20 eleven 12 14
Rather yes 24 18 28 37 33 32 42 36 38 43
Probably not 45 44 40 34 37 40 20 27 29 26
Definitely not 13 12 7 7 eight five five 6 five 6
I do not know 12 22 nineteen nineteen sixteen 17 13 20 sixteen ten

… MAJOR TECHNICAL CATASTROPHES?

2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Definitely yes 7 7 five eight 6 five 6 four 6 five
Rather yes 34 36 46 43 38 28 31 23 thirty 26
Probably not 28 32 26 26 33 38 33 38 36 42
Definitely not eight five 6 6 five eight ten 15 9 eleven
I do not know 24 20 18 sixteen nineteen 21 20 21 20 17

… MASS EPIDEMIC?

2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Definitely yes four 6 3 four four four four four five 3
Rather yes 26 28 33 27 24 nineteen 18 22 25 nineteen
Probably not 37 39 36 37 44 46 43 42 41 45
Definitely not ten eight 9 12 9 15 17 15 13 nineteen
I do not know 23 20 nineteen 20 nineteen 15 nineteen 17 sixteen 15

… LOUD CORRUPTION SCANDALS AND MINISTER RETURNS?

2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Definitely yes 14 13 ten sixteen 17 9 ten 14 sixteen 14
Rather yes 46 47 50 55 48 42 43 46 47 48
Probably not sixteen 18 21 15 17 26 21 nineteen 20 18
Definitely not five four four four 3 7 9 7 6 five
I do not know nineteen nineteen 14 eleven sixteen sixteen sixteen 14 eleven 14

… STATE COURSE? *

1999 2006 2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Definitely yes eleven one one 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 3 3
Rather yes 35 9 eleven 14 17 sixteen ten ten eight 7 12 12
Probably not 26 44 39 40 45 43 51 36 36 42 46 41
Definitely not sixteen 36 31 25 20 24 26 40 40 38 28 34
I do not know 12 9 nineteen 18 15 15 12 12 15 12 12 eleven

… MASS RELATIONS AND POPULATION PROTESTS?

2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Definitely yes five 6 6 five 6 four four 2 five eight
Rather yes 27 40 50 45 37 28 27 nineteen thirty 36
Probably not 36 28 25 31 35 38 37 42 40 32
Definitely not 13 eight 6 eight eight sixteen 18 25 13 sixteen
I do not know nineteen 18 13 12 15 14 15 13 12 eight

… MASS COLLISIONS ON NATIONAL SOIL?

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Definitely yes 6 four four 2 four 3
Rather yes 42 26 26 15 25 20
Probably not thirty 41 38 45 44 45
Definitely not 6 15 17 24 14 22
I do not know 15 13 15 14 13 eleven

… ARMED CONFLICT WITH SOME OF NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES?

2006 2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Definitely yes 2 2 four one 3 2 6 four 3 four four
Rather yes 18 23 nineteen 22 21 18 21 25 18 nineteen thirty
Probably not 44 38 38 42 40 44 39 34 43 48 38
Definitely not 22 sixteen 18 17 18 15 nineteen sixteen 20 13 sixteen
I do not know 14 22 21 nineteen 18 20 15 21 17 15 13

… A WAR WITH US / NATO?

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Definitely yes five 2 2 four 2
Rather yes eleven eleven eight nineteen 17
Probably not 41 40 46 47 42
Definitely not 27 27 31 15 26
I do not know sixteen 21 14 sixteen 13

… The aggravation of the situation in the North Caucasus? **

2006 2007 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Definitely yes eight four 6 3 five 6 7 five 2 five 2
Rather yes 41 29 32 thirty 35 36 22 23 20 24 18
Probably not 27 36 28 34 thirty thirty 38 37 41 46 45
Definitely not 9 6 eight eight 9 five 13 12 17 eight 17
I do not know 17 24 26 25 22 23 20 24 20 17 18

* In 1998, the question was asked in the following wording: “HOW DO YOU THINK, WHAT IS THE PROBABLE THAT IN THE NEXT YEAR-TWO A GOVERNMENTAL TURN WILL HAPPEN IN RUSSIA?”

** In 2005, the question was asked in the following wording: “IS A NEW ARMED CONFLICT IN THE CAUCASUS POSSIBLE IN THE FUTURE YEAR IN RUSSIA?”

ANO “Levada Center” is entered in the register of non-profit organizations that perform the functions of a foreign agent. The statement of the director of the Levada Center, who does not agree with this decision, see here .