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.

NATO Commander: Russia uses Syrian refugees as ‘weapon’ against West

NATO’s top commander in Europe, Philip Breedlove, made the claim about the migration crisis during US Senate testimony. He also warned lawmakers that Russia posed a renewed existential threat to the US and its allies. NATO’s top general accused Russia and Syria of fomenting a mass exodus of refugees as a “weapon” against the West, DW wrote. Philip Breedlove, the supreme allied commander in Europe for the 28-member military alliance,

The Great Manipulator

Dmitry Medvedev recently played a telling little head game. When the Russian prime minister said at the Munich Security Conference that Moscow and the West had “slid into a new Cold War,” he essentially created a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation, Brian Whitmore wrote for RFE-RL. “If the West agrees that it is a new Cold War, then it automatically acknowledges Russia’s global-power status. If it doesn’t — then why the sanctions? —

A pro-Kremlin group’s exhibit exposing the fallout of American ‘lies’ is itself embarrassingly inaccurate

On February 18, in a rented space at Moscow’s Central House of Artists, the pro-Kremlin group “Network” unveiled a new exhibit called “Where a Lie Leads.” The installation exposes 11 cases from the past 100 years when “outright lies by the United States in the name of democracy” led to “destruction, suffering, and murder.” (For good measure, some of the installations also mock Americans’ militarism and consumerism.) Evgeny Feldman, a photojournalist at the

Germany probes Russian media’s role in fuelling migrant fracas

Germany is investigating suspicions that pro-Kremlin media are seeking to fan tensions over Europe’s refugee crisis with a string of phony reports, including claims the Cologne sex assaults were carried out by drug addicts hired by the CIA, Sébastian Seibt wrote for France 24. Berlin’s counter-espionage agency has been tasked with investigating whether Russia’s Vladimir Putin has reverted to Cold War tactics to destabilise Germany, according to German media reports

Debunking Lies and Stopping Fakes: Lessons from the Frontline

For the Kremlin, propaganda has become an integral part of information warfare. Throughout the past decade the Russian propaganda machine has been structured and effectively implemented, reaching a climax during the occupation of Crimea and the subsequent devastating war in Eastern Ukraine. It started in 2005 with the creation of Russia Today (subsequently RT) and every year more “media” outlets are added to this global network. Almost every week another

Why Europe Is Right to Fear Putin’s Useful Idiots

The Kremlin’s support for right-wing parties is no game. It’s trying to subvert the European idea, Alina Polyakova wrote for Foreign Policy. Scholar Scott Radnitz recently authored an article with a provocative title: “Europe’s Extremists Are Not Putin’s Fault.” In this well-thought-out piece, Radnitz argues that the “elite rhetoric focused on Russia’s alleged efforts to infiltrate western politics” by supporting Europe’s far-right parties verges on hysteria. Vladimir Putin is not a

These Digital Sleuths Are Sticking It to ISIS and the Kremlin

Armchair intelligence analysts are debunking propaganda and uncovering war crimes without ever leaving home, Bryan Schatz wrote for Mother Jones. It was late 2014. Pro-Moscow separatists in eastern Ukraine had been attacking government forces, and the Russian military was massing along the border. And though the Kremlin was insisting that it wasn’t operating inside Ukraine, Eliot Higgins was uncovering strong evidence to the contrary—from the comfort of his desk. As

MH17 – Potential Suspects and Witnesses from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade February 23, 2016 By Bellingcat

The report can be downloaded here  This report, MH17: Potential Suspects and Witnesses from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, presents information regarding the Russian brigade that we believe provided, and possibly operated, the Buk-M1 missile launcher that downed Malaysian Airlines Flight 17. In this post, we will summarize the role of the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade and “Buk 3×2” in the downing of MH17 before providing a summary of the report. At the

Polish TV broadcasts Moreira’s “Masks of the Revolution” on Maidan shooting anniversary

On 21 February Polish channel TVN24 broadcasted the scandalous film “Ukraine. Masks of the Revolution” by Paul Moreira. The documentary has been widely criticized for the author’s ignorance of a Russian-backed conflict in Ukraine and distorted portrayal of the tragic fire in the Odesa Trade Union building on 2 May 2014. “Ukraine. Masks of the Revolution” was broadcasted by the “Ewa Ewart recommends: Documentary on TVN24” show. Before the film Ewa Ewart reminded of the second anniversary

Hard Labor for Woman Who Reposted Online Criticism of Russia’s Actions in Ukraine

A Russian district court has sentenced Ekaterina Vologzheninova, a single mother from Yekaterinburg, to 320 hours of labor for reposting materials critical of Russian aggression in Ukraine on social media. This is the latest of a string of prosecutions of Internet users in Russia who have been critical of Russian actions in Ukraine on social networks. A court in Yekaterinburg has found 46-year-old Yekaterina Vologzheninova guilty of “discrediting the political

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