This week, the pro-Kremlin media’s focus on the US shifted from disinformation about the racial injustice protests to fabricated accusations of other American misdeeds around the world.
With the US caught firmly in the global spotlight for the ongoing racial injustice protests sweeping the nation, pro-Kremlin media outlets are cynically using the opportunity to remind audiences about their favourite anti-American disinformation narratives. One of the first principles of disinformation is to latch on to topics and themes that audiences are already primed to accept, thus creating the illusion that the disinformation is grounded in a deeper, more immanent truth or that it is favoured by public opinion. Groupthink, after all, is motivated by power social incentives for in-group belonging.
It is therefore unsurprising that the pro-Kremlin media would choose the present moment to fixate upon the alleged misdeeds and failures of the US, attempting to exacerbate perceptions about the different varieties of America’s “evil” around the world – and of course, in the same breath, to distract from the Kremlin’s own wrongdoings. (Moscow’s illegal annexation of Crimea? Nope – that was a “legal reunification”. The Skripal poisoning by confirmed Russian GRU agents? A “dubious espionage scandal” in which no one apparently knows what happened. Russia’s 2015 hacking of the German Bundestag? No evidence!)
Let’s take a brief tour through this week’s attacks against the US.
On the protests…
These cases were mostly a reiteration of last week’s. American society is experiencing a “systemic collapse”, which has been underway for a long time but now made obvious thanks to the demonstrations. Pre-deliveries of bricks for use as “weapons of destruction” are taking place across US cities. The protests will end for the US just as Euromaidan did for Ukraine: in corruption, Nazism, and separatism. After all, they are no more than a “colour revolution” of the same sort that the US has supported around the world – only this time promoted by the Democratic Party, Bill Gates, and George Soros. Washington is finally getting a taste of its own medicine – an attempt at regime change to oust President Trump!
Facebook’s decision to label state-sponsored media outlets ahead of the 2020 US presidential election predictably drew the ire of the pro-Kremlin media. The decision was derided as an “anachronistic propaganda tool”, followed by accusations of censorship and Facebook being controlled by the CIA. Ironically, at the same time, Radio Liberty and Voice of America also faced pro-Kremlin disinformation attacks, accused of being “pathetic propagandists” and having nothing at all to do with media.
On destabilising Russia, its neighbours, and Europe…
This is arguably the pro-Kremlin media’s favourite line of attack against the US: Washington is an agent of malign influence all over the world, provoking tensions between Russia and its neighbours, occupying Europe, financing protests in Hong Kong in order to destabilise China, and so on. A recurring theme is alleged US funding of biological laboratories in Eastern Europe – a source of leaked viruses and secret experiments. For example, NewsFront tells us that the Pentagon is supposedly carrying out experiments in Ukraine that it does not dare perform on US soil due to the extreme threat level. Moreover, US biolabs in Ukraine threaten Russia because US experts there are collecting dangerous disease strains. The Lugar Lab in Georgia (a particularly frequent target of pro-Kremlin disinformation) is developing bioweapons to target the South Ossetian population.
Meanwhile, the omnipotent US is feeding the imperialistic ambitions of Poland, Austria, and Hungary, and simultaneously controlling Ukraine through the pretense of fighting corruption. The global deep state (which presumably involves the US as well as other powerful, evil elites) has turned Eastern Europe into a territory of “plunder and devastation”. But it is Russia that is always at the heart of America’s supposedly malevolent intentions: from disingenuously promising Gorbachev that NATO wouldn’t expand eastward, to demonising Russia and Putin, to sending jihadists to Russia in order to destabilise the country. Egocentric “Russophobia” is where the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine always ends up, regular as clockwork.