Context

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.

‘Cold as Ice’: Canada’s Election, as Told Through Russian Propaganda

Sputnik News, dubbed the “Buzzfeed of propaganda,” has been paying particular attention to the current Canadian federal election. And it is bizarre. The news agency’s headlines paint a bleak, and unfailingly pro-Kremlin, view of the Canadian campaign, employing headlines such as “Cold as Ice: All Three Major Canadian Parties Vow to be ‘Tough on Russia,’” “Meet Canada’s Parliament Candidate Who Had No Idea About Auschwitz,” and “Are Canada’s Elections at

When Online Kremlin Propaganda Leaves the Web, It Looks Like This

In previous investigative pieces for RuNet Echo, Lawrence Alexander has exposed a large network of pro-Kremlin websites, and (together with Aric Toler) provided an in-depth look at some of these resources. In this installment of his network saga, Alexander follows an offline lead from the tangled online web of sites rooting for the Kremlin agenda. “Material Evidence” is one of few pro-Putin Internet projects connected to Russia’s “troll factories” with a

Fact-checking Vladimir Putin’s speech at the UN

On September 28, 2015 Russian President Vladimir Putin took the stage at the UN General Assembly for the first time in a decade. “Putin Speech Bingo” successfully predicted many of the Russian leader’s talking points. As expected, the speech was replete with innuendos, historical references and outright falsehoods. Putin claimed that the original purpose of the UN has been violated by “those that found themselves at the top of the

To combat Kremlin’s message, West gets into Russian broadcasting biz

Jelena Solomina, a petite blond, and Dmitri Pastuhhov, whose wavy mane of hair is pulled back with sunglasses, pace across their unfinished television studio in central Tallinn. As hosts of the new “morning show” on Estonian’s first public television station in Russian, which launches Monday, they face a formidable to-do list: everything from deciding when their working day starts to the design of the on-air kitchen where they’ll make their

Cross-pollination among problematic social networks

Having followed with some interest the work @GCINEWS has been doing to expose the leftwing UK allies of Putin’s Russia, I decided to take a first look at networks of Stop The War Coalition activists to see how and to what extent they cross with known Kremlin Troll networks. The middle five seed accounts (graph below) were derived from information @GCINEWS helpfully provided about STWC, while the network of Russian

Kremlin Mouthpiece Sets Up UK Base in Edinburgh

IT is the voice of the Kremlin and it is to bellow from Edinburgh’s West End. Sputnik News – a state mouthpiece of Vladimir Putin’s increasingly uncompromising Russian regime – has announced it is to open its first British hub in the Scottish capital next year. The brainchild of the Russian government’s propaganda chief, Dmitri Kiselyov, Sputnik says its aim is to challenge what it regards as the news orthodoxies

Activists Leak Russian Government’s Plans to Create a ‘National Internet’

The data-leaking blog Anonymous International, also known as Shaltai-Boltai (Humpty Dumpty), has published the Russian government’s project proposal for creating a “national information platform,” which would serve as an alternative Russian Internet. According to Anonymous International, the project was drawn up by Russia’s Foreign Trade Bank cluster analysis and spatial development director Sergey Ganzya, the IT director of the hydroelectricity company RusHydro, Garald Bandurin, and several other people. The leaked

Russia Has Weaponized Its National Trauma

The Kremlin’s drive to weaponize information for the sake of rallying an already traumatized population behind an unrecognized, unjust war is leaving deep-seated scars that will last long after the dust has settled in East Ukraine. 
 In his penetrating travelogue cum historical drama ‘The Last Man in Russia,’ Oliver Bullough pins down the deep-seated despair of a nation by tracing the rise and fall of Orthodox priest Father Dmitry

UK Regulator Ofcom Backs BBC in Russian TV Case

The BBC has won a case against Russian TV channel RT, which claimed the corporation faked a report on Syria. The station said the BBC had “staged” a chemical weapons attack for a news report, and digitally altered the words spoken by an interviewee. The BBC complained to Ofcom, saying the “incredibly serious” allegations struck “at the heart” of its obligations to accuracy and impartiality. Ofcom ruled that elements of

Putin’s Information Warfare in Ukraine: Soviet Origins of Russia’s Hybrid Warfare

Russia has been using an advanced form of hybrid warfare in Ukraine since early 2014 that relies heavily on an element of information warfare that the Russians call “reflexive control.” Reflexive control causes a stronger adversary voluntarily to choose the actions most advantageous to Russian objectives by shaping the adversary’s perceptions of the situation decisively. Moscow has used this technique skillfully to persuade the U.S. and its European allies to

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