The Kremlin and the disinformation ecosystem

Breaking Down The Disinformation Ecosystem Around Coronavirus

State Department report: &# 171; denigration of Russia or statement of fact?

The report of the US State Department on the main elements of the Russian ecosystem of disinformation and propaganda, released the day before, provoked a negative reaction from Moscow.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation called the document an example of defamation of Russia, reported on Thursday, August 6, the media with reference to the statement of the deputy director of the department of information and press of the department Alexei Zaitsev.

«Even with a cursory acquaintance with this text, it becomes obvious that this is a vivid example of the political course pursued by the American authorities to denigrate Russia.», – he said at a briefing (quoted by TASS).

According to Zaitsev, Washington criticizes any sources of information that disseminate alternative points of view..

In turn, the Russian embassy in Washington said that the publication of the report was dictated by the desire to prevent the resumption of cooperation between the United States and Russia in the field of security..

Recall that the 76-page document prepared by the Global Engagement Center contains many specific examples, graphics and links to publications on the Internet, indicating the scale of steps taken by Russia in the information war with the United States and the West in general..

The document notes that Russia’s actions pose the main threat in this area. The purpose of the report, as reported by its authors – raising awareness of the threat of disinformation and further developing cooperation among countries, organizations and people who are committed to fighting these malicious efforts.

The Russian ecosystem of disinformation and propaganda, the report says, is a set of official, mediated («proxy») and communication channels and platforms that do not have a specific affiliation, which 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», – indicated in document.

According to the authors of the report, the Kremlin is directly responsible for the development of these tactics and platforms as part of its approach to using information as a weapon..

Sociologist and publicist, former secretary general of the Union of Journalists of Russia Igor Yakovenko believes that the State Department report deserves criticism, but not for «vilification», but, on the contrary, for insufficient rigidity and full volume «those crimes in the information sphere that Russia commits». In his opinion, the report «unnecessarily complementary» in relation to what the information troops are doing both in Russia itself and abroad.

«As for why the Russian media, hackers and other information saboteurs are trying so hard, this is a matter of discussion., – he added in an interview with the Russian service «Voices of America». – I believe that this is primarily the result of the Kremlin’s policies. They sleep there, and they dream that Russia – still a great power, the successor of the Soviet Union. And since the real volume of the economy and political influence of the modern Russian Federation is completely incomparable with what it was before, the only opportunity to somehow demonstrate its great power – it is in many ways to create trouble for others around the world».

The Kremlin and the disinformation ecosystem

It is easiest to create troubles in the information sphere, it is cheaper, and this is where everything comes from, stated Igor Yakovenko. In general, the report of the State Department reflects the real picture of what is happening, although, in my opinion, not fully, he concluded.

In turn, Roman Dobrokhotov, editor-in-chief of the online edition Insider, thinks that the United States does not want to exaggerate, since a specific relationship has been built between Trump and Putin. As he sees it, Russian propaganda does not outragedly criticize Trump, and Trump is neutral towards Putin..

«I believe that if Biden wins (in the presidential election), such a report will be much more frank, and things will be called by their proper names., – he emphasized in the comment «Voice of America». – But in principle, all the main provisions are voiced in this document. Although much, of course, was proven even before the report – in particular, during the investigation of (special prosecutor) Müller».

In principle, one cannot say that any of the plots was ignored, that no political assessments were given. But we see that after the facts are stated, little happens. Since Trump does not want to aggravate relations with Putin.

Everything now seems to be frozen in anticipation of what will happen after the election of the new president of the United States, Roman Dobrokhotov believes..

«Although we see that the US policy in relation to the unspoken Kremlin plenipotentiaries and professional disinformers is still tightening, – he noted. – We will soon publish our investigation into Prigozhin and his team. If three years ago, they calmly traveled to the United States and did what they wanted there, now many of them are on the sanctions lists, a barrier has been set for them. At the same time, they continue to travel around Europe».

According to Insider’s editor-in-chief, the United States behaves in this sense more harshly than most European countries. It is necessary to pay attention not so much to the words in the report as to the real actions of the Trump administration, he summed up.