Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

EU East StratCom Task Force: Russophobia, dependence, and the Belarussian gay-opposition – Disinformation Review


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The Disinformation Review will take a break next week due to a holiday. We will be back on July 25, meanwhile stay tuned for EUvsDisinfo, Twitter and Facebook!
11 July 2019

*TRENDS OF THE WEEK*

Rule, Britannia! A Round Table without King Arthur

In 1909, a group of British colonialists took the initiative to create a group, called the Society of the Round Table. Since then, the group has managed to take over decision making in the United States, turning the US into a dumb giant, executing the orders of the British rulers. This, according to pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets. For the rest of us, the stories about The Round Table end with King Arthur.

Generally, in the view of pro-Kremlin disinformation operatives, everything is ruled by someone else. Ukraine is under external control;  Poland is kept on a short leash by the US; Romania is marred by street protests, sponsored by George Soros and the West is engineering the anti-Russian protests in Georgia. Nothing in the world ever happens, unless someone in the shadows makes it happen. Strings are carefully attached to the Western leaders, strings pulled skilfully by Puppet Masters.

The Obsolete Liberalism

Recently, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia, granted Financial Times an interview in the Moscow Kremlin. Mr. Putin followed the Kremlin talking points on most of the usual topics, but at one point, Mr. Putin expressed a surprisingly blunt view on the liberal democracy:

Liberal democracy is based on the idea of citizens’ active participation in the governance of the society. The society is subject to the choice of the citizens, as expressed in elections, through the freedom of expression, through free media.  Putin’s statement on the end of liberalism, echoes an article, published in February 2019 by a Kremlin aide, Vladislav Surkov. Mr. Surkov describes the advantage of Putin as an enlightened ruler, before democracy – or “the battle of bastards” as Mr. Surkov has it:

[Putin’s] ability to hear and understand the people, see it right to its depths and act accordingly – this is the unique and most important characteristic of the State of Putin. This corresponds with the people and is in line with its ambitions and is not subject to any of history’s counter currents. This is efficient and lasting.

We see how pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets are busy describing any expression of popular discontent as staged protests, results of the scheming of the shadow rulers. Sometimes NATO is the culprit, at other occasions, George Soros is to blame. Of course it can also be the West in general, that ignites protests, or Global Influence Groups. The Society of the Round Table is just a fresh addition to the selection of Puppet Masters, featured in pro-Kremlin media.

Old Lies

Conspiracies are all about disempowering the citizens. “There’s no point in voting; there’s no point in protesting, the Deep State, the Corporations, George Soros, the Lobbyists control it all”. Well, better to have it the Surkov way, with a benevolent ruler, only working for the good of his people.

But the disinformation operatives do not really dare to rely entirely on complicated and intriguing conspiracy theories. Common, straight-forward lying is still employed. Using screen shots from five year old videos is one way to spice up the news in the absence of facts. Or pretending an interview from 2014 with a US intelligence official is about current events in Georgia. Distorted statements by officials, persistent repeating old, refuted, lies… The entire disinformation toolbox is put at work.

The European Council President, Donald Tusk, commented on Mr. Putin’s views on the liberal democracy:

It is obvious that the Kremlin is genuinely afraid of the concept of democracy, transparency, pluralism, rule of law and human rights. When you are afraid, fairy tales, like the stories about The Round Table, is comforting.
Click here for the FULL COLLECTION of recent stories repeating disinformation.

*LATEST ANALYSES*

Operation Secondary Infektion: The DFRLab Exposes a New Russian Influence Campaign

Allegations of planned political assassinations, lurid forgeries, false flag attacks, brazen online impersonations… the universe of Russian disinformation grows ever more grotesque.

Read more

Figures of the Week: 3-10

It took 3 to 10 days for the Russian Internet Research Agency to increase polarization of the #BlackLivesMatter debate on Twitter.

Read more

*LAST, BUT NOT LEAST*

The Naked Eye in the Sky

Russian cosmonaut and MP: “From the International Space Station, I saw with the naked eye bombs and shells exploding in Donbas and Luhansk. And they were flying from the position of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.”

Read more
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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 disinforeview@euvsdisinfo.eu.
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