Disinformation fight goes beyond Ukraine and its allies
Failing to tackle Russia’s information offensive threatens international resolve against the Kremlin’s affront to democracy, human rights, and peace.
Although Russia’s war in Ukraine has yet to deliver any significant military victories, and its economy is wobbling towards the worst recession since the fall of the Soviet Union, Moscow’s fight in the information space is proving tougher to defeat.
Malign information is a key aspect of Russia’s war strategy as it uses the information environment to justify its war, both domestically and abroad, and to coerce audiences into unwittingly supporting its actions.
It uses narratives that play on the broad themes of anti-colonialism and Western imperialism, with recurring lies including the protection of ethnic Russians in Donbas from supposed genocide, ‘de-nazifying’ Ukraine, and blaming the invasion on NATO aggression.
Ahead of its invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin pre-emptively allocated substantial budget for these practices, with government spending on ‘mass media’ between February and March 2022 increasing by 433 per cent to reach 17.4 billion roubles (around 215 million euros).
Click here to continue reading the full version of this Expert Comment on the Chatham House website.
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