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.

EU Launches First Step in Spreading Word Against Russian ‘Disinformation’

The European Union is set to launch a first operation in a new propaganda war with Russia within days of EU leaders giving formal approval to the campaign at a summit on Thursday. Officials said a dozen public relations and communications experts would start work by the end of March in Brussels with a brief to counter what the EU says is deliberate misinformation coordinated by the Kremlin over Moscow’s role and aims in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe. It is the first stage of a plan that leaders want EU foreign policy

Russian Imperialism’s Internet Triumph

With nearly 5 million views in less than two weeks, the YouTube video I’m a Russian Occupant is a bonafide sensation. Just under three minutes long and packed full of twirling, burning, zooming images, the movie is an uncompromising defense of Russian imperialism, and boasts impressive production values, as well as subtitles in ten languages. Because the video looks like it was made by a major computer game company, there’s

Ketchum calls it quits on Russia work

Ketchum has ended the bulk of its work for the Russian Federation in the US and Europe amid continuing tensions between the country and Western governments. The Omnicom Group firm represented the Kremlin through its hosting of the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year but also as its relationship with the West strained over the country’s role in the conflict in Ukraine. “Ketchum no longer represents the Russian Federation in

Inside Putin’s on-air machine

The global news network RT is the Russian government’s main weapon in an intensifying information war with the West—and its top editor has a direct phone line to the Kremlin. It was just past midnight on Feb. 28 in the Moscow studios of RT, Russia’s state-funded international tele­vision news network, when word of the assassination reached the staff: Boris Nemtsov, a leading figure in the fractious opposition to President Vladimir

London publishes photos of Russian Pantsir-S1 systems in Ukraine

The UK Foreign Office has published photos of the latest Russian Pantsir-S1 air defense systems, which have been sighted in Ukraine, BBC Ukraine reported. The photos were taken in the east of Ukraine and published in an info-graphic entitled “How to recognize Russia’s Pantsir-S1 (or SA-22), which is not operated by Ukrainian forces.” According to the ministry, these photos were taken in the last few weeks – on January 24,

Why Putin Says ‘Glory to Ukraine’ – and Other Russian Anecdotes

Few nations in the world are more given to and gifted in the use of anecdotes about many things including their leaders, than the Russians. Sometimes that is because anecdotes say more in a few words than articles can say in hundreds, and sometimes it is because anecdotes have a deniability factor, always useful in repressive conditions. Russians have been coming up with anecdotes about Vladimir Putin since the very

Clone Twitter Accounts Target RFE/RL

Imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. But it can also be an insidious form of disinformation. On February 9, a clone account appeared on Twitter that mimics the account of RFE/RL’s Russian-language service Radio Svoboda, using nearly identical graphics and a very similar account name. The account name misspells the Russian word “svoboda” as “svoboba.” The profile box of the fake account reads, in Russian, “Free news

Fake Photos? Ukrainian Deputy Rejects U.S. Senator’s Claims Of Misinformation

Ukrainian deputy is denying claims that he provided U.S. Senate staff with photos of Russian convoys from 2008 and portrayed them as part of an incursion into Ukraine. Yuriy Bereza, a parliament deputy who also leads the pro-Kyiv Dnipro Battalion in eastern Ukraine, says that when he and a Ukrainian delegation met with Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe’s staff in November 2014, he provided them only with photos taken by his

The Ukraine Plan

Following is a rough but semantically correct translation of the full text of the “Ukraine Strategy Document”, dated somewhere after February 4th 2014 and prior to February 15th 2014, leaked today by Novaya Gazeta: In assessing the political situation in Ukraine one must recognize, firstly, the bankruptcy of President Viktor Yanukovych and the fact that his ruling “family” is rapidly losing control of the political process;Secondly, the paralysis of the

Why did Facebook block a Russian Propaganda Watchdog?

The near closure of an important Polish initiative countering pro-Russian propaganda this week should serve as a salutary lesson, not least for Facebook, whose complaints system proved unprepared for a well-coordinated attempt to remove a social network resource exposing inconvenient truths. The public Facebook page Russian V Column in Poland [R5KP, or in Polish, Rosyjską V kolumna w Polsce] was created to shed light on pro-Kremlin propaganda in the media,

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