The authors of the report pay special attention to the proxy structures used by the Kremlin
The US State Department’s Global Engagement Center has prepared a report on the main elements of the Russian disinformation and propaganda ecosystem. The voluminous 76-page document contains many specific examples, graphics and links to publications on the Internet, testifying to the scale of steps taken by Russia in the information war with the United States and the West in general..
The Center for Global Engagement, which is responsible for countering foreign disinformation and propaganda campaigns, notes in this document that Russia’s actions represent the main threat in this area. The purpose of the report, according to its authors, is to raise awareness of the threat of disinformation and further develop cooperation among countries, organizations and people who are committed to combating these malicious efforts..
The Russian ecosystem of disinformation and propaganda, the report says, is a set of official, mediated (“proxy”) and unrelated communication channels and platforms that Russia uses to create and promote false information and ideological attitudes..
“The ecosystem is built on five main pillars: official government communications, government-funded international channels of information dissemination, the cultivation of proxy structures, the use of social media as a weapon, and cyber disinformation. The Kremlin is directly responsible for developing these tactics and platforms as part of its approach to using information as a weapon, ”the authors of the report say..
Disinformation and propaganda through “proxy structures”
The document pays special attention to the tactics of using proxy structures that promote pro-Kremlin disinformation and propaganda. Researchers have compiled a selection of such organizations. Some individuals and institutions behind these structures benefit greatly from explicit ties to the Kremlin, while others seek to maintain a semblance of independence from the Russian authorities, the report says. However, as the analysis carried out by the Center shows, in fact, they have no other goal than to promote pro-Kremlin content..
Among the proxy structures are mentioned: the multilingual electronic publication “Strategic Culture Fund”, controlled by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service; pseudo-academic resource of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences “New Eastern Review”, focused mainly on the Middle East, Asia and Africa; Canadian site Global Research; the Crimea-based news agency NewsFront, which calls itself an “alternative source of information” for Western audiences; the multilingual military resource SouthFront; the ultra-nationalist portal Geopolitika.ru and the quasi-analytical center Katehon, which disseminates anti-Western propaganda in five languages.
Lea Gabriel: Russia has been spreading health misinformation for a long time
Lea Gabriel, coordinator of the Center for Global Engagement, presented a report to reporters during a telephone briefing on Wednesday, noted an increase in Russian and Chinese disinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Answering a question from the Russian service of the Voice of America, Lea Gabriel stressed that the actions of the Russian authorities to spread disinformation related to health and science have a long history:
“You can recall that Russia did this in connection with the Ebola fever, the Zika virus and the 5G communication format. The Russian disinformation ecosystem exploits fears and doubts to create frightening and confusing claims about COVID-19, spreading them and making them loud. The State Department and our center have been detecting this disinformation since at least the beginning of February. ”
The head of the Center for Global Engagement believes that based on previous experience, Russia can be expected to try to undermine confidence in the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available. Also, she said, Russia and China sometimes use similar misleading statements..
“Our center is closely monitoring this, we are monitoring the misinformation that is spreading in connection with COVID-19. Specifically, we see the CCP pushing forward that China has the potential to develop a vaccine and distribute it globally, while the US will hold back its vaccine when it comes out. We have seen the official Chinese media say this, claiming that the US will prevent other countries from developing a vaccine. We and our partners are working on how to counter such narratives, “Lea Gabriel said in response to a Voice of America question..
Commenting at the request of VOA on Russian disinformation related to World War II and spread in late spring and early summer this year, Lea Gabriel said: “We believe it is very important to confront Russian historical revisionism about that war. In fact, we worked with several European partners to promote descriptions that fit the facts and fill the information space with them, as opposed to the false narratives promoted by Russia on issues related to WWII. “.
Reporter for the Russian Voice of America Service in Moscow. Collaborates with Voice of America since 2012. For a long time he worked as a correspondent and host of programs for the BBC Russian Service and Radio Liberty. Specialization – international relations, politics and legislation, human rights.
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