Context

Stories in the ‘Context” section are not fakes. We publish them in order to provide greater insight for our readers about the techniques, methods and practices used by the Russian government in its information war.

Iranian media spreads 9/11 conspiracy theories on eve of attacks’ anniversary

By Polygraph Press TV Iranian State-Owned Media Outlet “In 2009, independent research conducted by a team of international scientists discovered, after analyzing some dust samples from the debris in the area where the skyscrapers collapsed, that they all contained a red layer of active thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology.” Source: Press TV website, September 10, 2019 False The “research,” which includes highly improbable, if not impossible claims, was debunked. On September

Kremlin disinformation this week: Old lies, Jewish bankers, and green dictators

By EU vs Disinfo Se non è vero, è molto ben trovato – “It might be untrue, but it is very well conceived”. The phrase is attributed to the Italian astronomer and philosopher Giordano Bruno, executed in Rome for heresy in 1600. Unfortunately, when it comes to pro-Kremlin disinformation, false claims are rarely elegantly constructed. State-owned Russian mouthpiece Sputnik’s Arabian services are broadcasting crude old lies about a dying British

Greetings from the USSR

By EU vs Disinfo We’re back in 1969. A Soviet sailor drops a message in a bottle from his ship into the Pacific Ocean. Fifty years later, the bottle washes up on the shore of Alaska, where a local man finds it. Russian state TV sets out to see if the author of the message is still alive – and finds him, now a retired officer, in Sevastopol, Crimea. This

One article, many ways to disinform

By EU vs Disinfo The recent purchase of an anti-tank missile system by Estonia resulted in illogical, threatening and ridiculing narratives by pro-Kremlin media. The Estonian Defence Forces are caught in the crosshairs of the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine, covered by outlets that are primarily local – for example Sputnik, Baltnews and Rubaltic. In addition to news pieces that typically consist of the defence forces’ press releases equipped with provocative headlines, there are

Russian Foreign Ministry denies Red Army brought repression to Bulgaria in 1944

By Polygraph Maria Zakharova Spokesperson, Russian Foreign Ministry “By declaring that the Red Army brought so-called repressions, Bulgaria is engaged in rewriting history. This is a dangerous trend, because it is illegal.” Source: TASS False Zakharova is wrong that disputing Moscow’s version of history is illegal in Bulgaria. On September 9, the Russian Embassy in Sofia opened an exhibition to celebrate the 75th anniversary of “the liberation of Eastern Europe

I create “convincing” manipulated images and videos — but quality may not matter much

Bad videos can be persuasive, too. By Christye Sisson, for NiemanLab Lots of people — including Congress — are worried about fake videos and imagery distorting the truth, purporting to show people saying and doing things they never said or did. I’m part of a larger U.S. government project that is working on developing ways to detect images and videos that have been manipulated. My team’s work, though, is to

Putin repeats false narratives on Ukraine at Eastern Economic Forum

By Polygraph Vladimir Putin President of the Russian Federation “We are not responsible for the Ukraine’s crisis. We did not support the unconstitutional coup in Ukraine, and we did not provoke the reaction of part of the country’s population to these actions… …as for Crimea, the Crimean people made a decision, voted. The question is closed as a matter of history, there is no going back to the previous system,

Breaking “News”: The Kremlin discovered that Poland started WWII and the Baltics are not free

By EU vs Disinfo As world leaders gathered in Poland to commemorate 80 years since the start of World War II, Russian officials were outraged that they were not invited. The reason the Russians weren’t invited hasn’t changed since 2014 – as the Poles made clear, it’s thanks to the Kremlin’s habit of arriving uninvited in various countries. Of course, instead of reflecting critically on Russia’s aggressive stance towards its

Kremlin Watch Briefing: The murderer of ethnic Chechen in Berlin has been linked to the GRU

Topics of the Week German government remains silent after the murderer of ethnic Chechen in Berlin has been linked to the GRU. The dangers posed by social networks developed in authoritarian countries remain underestimated. The US Department of Defense seeks software to help with protection against election interference. Good Old Soviet Joke Leonid Brezhnev died in the USSR. I turned on the TV, Brezhnev was there. I turned on the radio, Brezhnev was there.

Political trolling in Hungary

By Péter Krekó, András Rácz and Patrik Szicherle, for DisinfoPortal With the 2019 Hungarian municipal elections approaching, disinformation campaigns and trolling activity will play an increasingly prominent role in Hungarian political life. Pro-government trolls, often working in concert with government-controlled media, are already shaping online discussions. These trolls’ profiles frequently discredit anyone perceived to be in opposition to the current cabinet of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The profiles not only

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