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Kremlin Watch Monitor October 17, 2016

Weekly monitor of pro-Kremlin disinformation effort in Europe. We follow best European analysts, best counter-measures and trends.

European Parliament against disinformation

The foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the “EU strategic communication.” It stresses the threat of propaganda and disinformation coming from the Kremlin and the Islamic State. It suggests that these efforts should be countered with “positive messaging, awareness raising and education to increase information literacy in EU and to empower citizens to analyse media content critically”, but not with more propaganda. Among other things, the resolution also calls for deeper cooperation with NATO concerning the strategic communication and for reinforcing the EU Strategic Communication Task Forceby providing it a bigger budget and more staff. According to DW, Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of the Russian channel RT, responded by criticising the resolution for targeting free speech.

Euroatlantic experts on disinformation warfare

The Graduate Institute Geneva published a report examining the effects of Russian sanctions on European states and suggests that the critics who speak out against the sanctions the loudest are often those who are hit by them the least.

James Creedon comments for the France21 TV Channel on the controversies around the opening of the new Russian Orthodox cathedral in Paris.

Putinversteher of the Week

We use this weekly opportunity to award the Putinversteher of the Week to highlight the most obvious attempts, intentional or not, to go on Kremlin’s hand and assist it with spreading its view all over Europe. We believe it is necessary to appreciate in this ceremonial way that without these little helpers, Russian disinformation campaign could never reach its present lengths.

The first Putinversteher of the Week chosen by the readers of the Kremlin Watch Monitor is the former German Airforce General and an ex-Chair of the NATO Military Committee Harald Kujat.

He appeared in a talk-show broadcasted by the ARD TV channel, where he was supposed to comment on the situation in Syria. He vigorously supported the idea that The United States is responsible for the escalation of violence in the region and that Russian Federation together with Syrian government show a significant effort to prevent it.

It is not his first public defence of the Kremlin’s foreign policy, including earlier appearances on Russian state channels. Since July 2016, he is also a board member of the Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute, a pro-Russian think-tank led by Vladimir Putin’s friend and a former high-ranked KGB official: Vladimir Yakunin.

Kremlin Watch reading suggestion

Kremlin Propaganda: Soviet Active Measures by Other Means; by Yevhen Fedchenko from StopFake.org

As we look back to the times of the Soviet Union, we can find substantial similarities between the Cold war propaganda and the current disinformation campaign of the Kremlin. Media manipulation, deliberate lies, and half-truths are still in the core and these phenomena are still covered by soft and hard diplomacy. Even though the Cold War is long over, another resemblance can be seen in the efforts of centralization of the whole disinformation and propaganda-making process by the Russian garniture. On the other hand, there is a need to mention one fundamental difference: today’s propaganda is justified as an alternative point of view, countering the Western world and its liberal values. This fact and its consequences: freedom of speech provides a protection for the Kremlin, and it can be used as a shield for future disinformation and propaganda spreading in combination with skilful usage of the new media such as Facebook, Vkontakte, and others.

Czech Disinformation Corner

US presidential elections: Pro-Kremlin websites reacted to the presidential debates. According to them, the clear winner was Donald Trump. Several disinformation stories appeared:

  • Hillary Clinton is under the influence of strongsedatives
  • She participates on smugglingcocaine
  • She was supposed to plan themurder of Julian Assange
  • The whole elections will bemanipulated in behalf of Ms Clinton
  • Mainstream mediaconspire against Donald Trump¨

European Union and the migration crisis: The dominating narrative states that the EU leaders are bringing the European nations towards a catastrophe and upheaval of our way of life. Islam is presented as an expansionist violent religion, compared for example with Nazism.

Germany: Pro-Kremlin websites invest significant resources into belittling the German politics and government:

  • German political opposition (AfD) is persecuted andterrorized by organized pro-government militias
  • Securitybasically does not exist in Germany due to the migration crisis

Russia: Disinformation websites are trying to make an impression of a fight of the United States against the Russian federation.

  • CIA prepares for anassassination of Vladimir Putin
  • Any result of the US presidential elections will be avictory of “neocons” who intend to wage war with Russia
  • Video: The US sends its army into Ukraine
  • Within a month there will be third world war

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