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 Parliament Leaders Falsely Imply Powerful US Lawmakers Are Immune to Charges of Sexual Abuse

By Polygraph Vyacheslav Volodin Speaker, of Russian Parliament “If such accusations were put forward by the female journalists of Russia Today or Sputnik, for instance, against Senator McCain – then the outcome would be predetermined – in the U.S.A. the Russian female journalists would be blamed.” Source: RBC, March 7, 2018 False In reality, it is in Russia, the victims are shamed and intimidated Three Russian reporters joined the #MeToo

European Commission experts urge ‘Code of principles’ for social-media networks

By Rikard Jozwiak, for RFE/RL The European Commission’s high-level expert group on fake news has called for a “code of principles” that online platforms and social networks should commit to. But the March 12 report does not blacklist specific media companies or identify those responsible for spreading fake news. Speaking in Brussels, where the report was submitted to the commission, the group’s chairman ruled out blacklisting media platforms involved in

British PM: ‘Highly Likely’ Russia Behind Attack on Former Spy

By Jamie Dettmer, for VOA British Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday a “military-grade nerve agent” known to have been developed by Russia was used to poison former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and that her government has concluded it is “highly likely” Moscow was responsible. May told a somber and packed House of Commons there were only two explanations for what happened when Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found slumped unconscious

Fuel hysteria, sow discord, spread confusion. Detailed account on manipulation attempts before US elections

By EU vs Disinfo A more than two year long operation involving dozens of employees, hundreds of thousands of followers and millions of dollars – such is the scale of Russia’s operation aimed at influencing the public opinion on social media before the 2016 US Presidential elections. This is the conclusion from the indictment prepared by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller in February. Thirteen Russian citizens are charged with interfering with

Kremlin Watch Briefing: Lies travel fast

Topics of the Week Social media companies should have national offices in order to better understand local environments and norms. This would prevent their making mistakes while working to avert the spread of disinformation and hate speech on their platforms. A new groundbreaking study about fake news on Twitter reveals that lies spread remarkably faster than truth, reach more people, and penetrate deeper into the social network. Perhaps most notably

Ukraine’s Stolen History, Stolen Culture

By Lesia Kuruts-Tkach, Atlantic Council Until recently, Ukrainian culture was perceived internationally as a subset of Russian culture. Even now, after Ukraine has had almost twenty-seven years of independence and with hundreds of years of history behind it, Ukrainian history is often presented as Russian. Mykola Gogol, Volodymyr the Great, the Kyivan Rus, Anne of Kyiv—all of this is Ukrainian, but has long been skillfully and fraudulently presented as Russian. The

Kremlin Watch Briefing: Russian trolls and U.S. politics

Topics of the Week Twitter is banning the methods used by bots and trolls to spread false stories on the network. Twitter users will no longer be able to post identical messages from multiple accounts or use software to perform other simultaneous actions. A new report by the US Congressional House Science, Space and Technology Committee presents previously undisclosed social media posts showing how Russian trolls sought to inflame tensions

The Kremlin’s ‘Besieged Fortress’ Narrative Criticised in Independent Media

By EU vs Disinfo Russian media received President Putin’s annual address on Thursday with varying degrees enthusiasm. RT, for example, ran headlines such as ‘Listen to us now’: Putin unveils new Russian nuclear arsenal, whereas critical media chose to focus on cases when they found that the audience had been misled in the speech. For example, the independent Russian online outlet The Insider, which has an entire section of its website devoted

Russia probe looms as possible election year issue

Jim Malone, for VOA In recent weeks, the investigation into possible collusion between President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia has intensified, raising the prospect that the probe could become an issue in advance of the November midterm congressional elections. Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort made another appearance in federal court in Washington Wednesday, where he pleaded not guilty to the latest round of charges brought by special counsel

Suspicions of ‘bots’ gow over spikes in ‘dislikes’ of Russian stories ahead of election

By Alan Crosby, for RFE/RL When Zmitser Yahorau saw the number of “dislikes” for a Belsat TV story on YouTube about life in a Russian village, something looked wrong. Once the independent online news station’s deputy editor in chief saw the data behind the numbers, he knew the problem — “bots.” After the story was posted on January 30, it took only two days for the video to receive some 24,000 dislikes,

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