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.

New U.S. sanctions target Russian intelligence, companies for election meddling, cyberattacks

By Mike Eckel, for RFE\RL U.S. authorities announced new financial sanctions against Russia’s top intelligence agencies, more than a dozen Russian citizens, and the company known as the Russian “troll factory” in the latest U.S. push to punish Moscow. The measures, announced by the White House and the Treasury Department on March 15, were specifically in response to Russian efforts to interfere with U.S. elections systems, including the 2016 presidential

Understanding the “russophobic” card

By Urve Eslas, for CEPA Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in a 17 February speech at the Munich Security Conference, described as “Russophobic” neighboring countries that oppose Russia’s core interests. The media’s use of this term has increased remarkably since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. The Kremlin’s weaponization of the word has also been applied in recent years to Estonia. Unfortunately Estonia itself seems to have adopted this label as well. On 8

UK behind Salisbury attack: Russian narrative is spreading on Twitter

Collected by EU DisinfoLab To complement @DFRLab @benimmo‘s work, our study on narratives suggesting #Salisbury #Skripal #Novichok attack was carried out by UK /#MI6. Here’s what we found: THREAD 1) by 10pm, out of ~300k tweets, 2236 accounts tweeted 3254 tweets/rts of narrative, No1 was @RussianEmbassy — EU DisinfoLab🇪🇺 (@DisinfoEU) 14 марта 2018 г. THREAD 2) Top tweets within the “UK behind poisoning” narrative (ordered), growth pattern, top hashtags

Ukraine’s Maidan Revolution Was Not a ‘Coup’

By Polygraph Vladimir Putin President of Russian Federation The U.S. used Russia to prevent Ukrainian leader Viktor Yanukovich from using his military against rioters in Kiev, and then ‘cheated’ Moscow by supporting an armed coup, President Vladimir Putin said. Source: RT, March 8, 2018 FALSE Maidan was not an armed coup. Former President Yanukovych left on his own volition because his allies deserted him. On March 8, the Russian government-funded

Just desserts for a traitor; Ukrainian involvement; Britain did it! Russian Media Narratives on the Skripal Poisoning

After the former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned on March 4 in Salisbury, England, British Prime Minister Teresa May addressed parliament to announce the substance used was highly likely a military grade nerve agent of the Novichok type manufactured in Russia. As Moscow rejected a British deadline for Russia to explain itself over the attack, the UK moved to suspend all high level

Russian Population’s Reaction to Skripal Case More Disturbing than a First Glance Suggests, Psychologist Says

By Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia Many people have been put off by the bombastic comments of Russians on the street and in the Internet in reaction to the Skripal case, with some suggesting that it shows what Moscow can do when it wants to and even saying that the FSB can and even should do such things in the future. But beneath that appalling show of “infantilism” and “lunacy,”

UPDATED: Russia Falsely Denies Connection to the ‘Deadliest’ Poison Ever Made

By Polygraph Sergey Lavrov Russian Foreign Minister “We have already made a statement that this is all nonsense, we have nothing to do with this” Source: TASS, March 13, 2018 False The nerve agent is developed by Russia The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the British Ambassador to Russia, Laurie Bristow, on March 13 to convey a “strong protest” against London’s accusation that Moscow was involved in the attempted assassination of

Catch Carlos If You Can

By Carl Schreck and Ana Poenariu, for RFE/RL A mysterious Twitter persona launched one of the most enduring Moscow-friendly hoaxes of the MH17 airline tragedy. We found the ex-convict behind the lie. In early May 2014, as Ukraine’s conflict with Russia-backed separatists in the east was exploding into all-out war, the Spanish-language channel of Russia’s state-funded RT network brought on a guest to discuss the crisis. Seemingly in his 30s

Russian state workers receive an election season raise, promised nearly six years ago

By Polygraph Maxim Topilin Russian Minister of Labor and Social Protection “In January-February, the most significant increase occurred in these categories, because they went up by 200% from 163-165%. There is nothing surprising here.” Source: Interfax Unclear The sudden pay hikes came as Putin runs for reelection as president. Russian state workers such as teachers, medical professionals, and research scientists, recently noticed unexpected threefold increases in their salaries. The Russian

Russian propaganda playbook on full display in Russian embassy tweets on poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal

By Paula Chertok. for East West blog The Russian Embassy’s twitter account is often a display of old and new Russian propaganda. The “old” propaganda we became accustomed to touts Russia’s natural beauty, grain harvests, birthdays and anniversaries of heroes and heroic events in Russian and Soviet history. By “new” propaganda, I mean the sort of thing we’ve seen in the last few years better described as disinformation–purposely misleading and

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