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.

Russian Police Say the Election Day Was ‘Calmest,’ After Clamping Down on Country-wide Protests

By Polygraph Ministry of Internal Affairs (Police), Russia “In general, the situation during the united Election Day remained calm.” Source: RIA-Novosti, September 9, 2018 FALSE Scores detained during the nationwide protests Russia held a “united Election Day” on Sunday, September 9. In 22 regions, including the capital, Moscow, people voted for local governors and mayors. Local lawmakers were elected in 16 legislatures and thousands of municipal councils. The state media reported

Russian Humor or Honest Confession? RT Admits it is Kremlin’s Propaganda Bullhorn

By Polygraph RT Russian information agency “The president of France slanders us because we slander him.”… “The longer you watch, the more upset Hillary Clinton becomes.” Source: RT airport advertisements MISLEADING RT misinforms airport visitors with quasi-political and anti-Western messages RT, formerly known as Russia Today, functions as “just one brick in a pyramid, at the top of which sits the Russian government,” as reported in November 2017. The global information

“Not the murderer, but the murdered is guilty!”

By EU vs Disinfo As our favourite parody account Darth Putin frequently reminds us, one of the most repeated disinformation tactics is to accuse your counterpart precisely of what you are doing yourself. The aggressor presents himself as the victim and thus strengthens his core internal audience. External audiences that want to defend the aggressor get the “line to take” they can repeat in their local media, discussion forums and other

What approaches are in play for fighting misinformation? Let us count the ways

By Nancy Watzman, Katie Donnelly, And Jessica Clark, for NiemanLab In March 2017, the Knight Foundation, Democracy Fund, and the Rita Allen Foundation hosted a prototype open call for ideas on countering misinformation, which attracted 830 submissions. As described by the Democracy Fund’s Joshua Stearns, “These open calls are a way for foundations to catalyze energy and surface new ideas, bringing new people and sectors together to tackle the complex challenges related to misinformation.”

Kremlin Watch Briefing: Russia created fake independent news sites in the Baltics

Topics of the Week State-owned Russian news agency financed three seemingly-independent news sites in the Baltic countries that were instructed to produce pro-Kremlin content. Michael Carpenter: “Russia’s manipulation of fringe far-right groups is part of a deliberate strategy to undermine Western democratic institutions.” he Kremlin disinformation machine is churning at full speed to justify Russian advances into Syria’s Idlib region. Read about a new Swedish report on countering information influence activities in preparation of the upcoming

UK’s Skripal evidence obliterates hollow Russian propaganda

By Sarah Hurst (@XSovietNews), for StopFake The morning after the OPCW confirmed that Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley had been poisoned by novichok in the aftermath of the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal, Britain’s Metropolitan Police issued a bombshell statement with the first details about the two Russian suspects in the case, who went by the pseudonyms Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. The Crown Prosecution Service said it has

Potemkin Videos

By EU vs Disinfo The story about Russia’s 18th Century “Potemkin villages” is well known also outside Russia. When Catherine the Great travelled with foreign dignitaries to inspect the Russian Empire’s newly conquered southern territories, governor and military commander Grigory Potemkin allegedly built fake mobile villages, inhabited with officials dressed up as villagers, to make the region look more prosperous. When President Putin last week travelled to the city of Omsk in Siberia,

Russian State TV Channel Airs New Program Devoted to Putin

By VOANews MOSCOW — A Russian state-owned television channel has a new weekly current affairs program devoted to President Vladimir Putin. The first episode of “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.” aired on Sunday night, stressing the Russian president’s work to address various crises and stay in touch with ordinary Russians. The Kremlin has consolidated its control over television stations since Putin came into office in 2000, and Putin’s activities traditionally receive wide coverage

Non-Google search engine launches a news module based on “diverse, quality sources”

By Laura Hazard-Owen, for NiemanLab Look, it’s completely understandable that you might feel like skipping a story about Bing, the Microsoft-owned search engine that has a market share of just around 7 percent in the U.S. (though Bing says it’s higher), but this is actually kind of interesting: Bing this week launched an AI-driven news feature, “Spotlight,” that “provides overviews of news topics that you can see right in the Bing search results when you

Disinformation and Paranoia

By EU vs Disinfo Do Russians actually believe the disinformation they see on the national TV channels? Or do they rather take it with a grain of salt? Answers provided in fresh polling from the state-controlled Russian pollster, VTsIOM, and presented in English by The Moscow Times, are absolutely clear. 66% of the respondents agreed with the statement that “there is a group of people who seek to rewrite Russian history and replace

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