Russian disinformation campaign, state policy, military tool against Europe, covert network, Kremlin, pro-Russian outlets, social media presence, Russia's hybrid war, threat of Europe and NATO, European Union, Moscow, Russian foreign policy, Russian media space, fake news, Russian Federation, WTO World Trade Organization, NSS Russian National Security Strategy, propaganda, Ukrainian conflict, Pro-Kremlin Mass Media
About two decades ago, it was impossible to imagine that foreign disinformation could actually affect the policy decision making or disturb social cohesion and solidarity in European countries. Back then, media outlets such as television, radio stations and newspapers enjoyed munificent funding and exercised their monopolistic power over global audience. But gradually, Western journalism started being seriously under-resourced. This development, together with the multiplication of information blocked the expanding global reach of Western mass media. The diversity of information began confusing the audience which in most cases failed to judge the accuracy of the incoming messages. The Kremlin took advantage of this state of weakness having found the chance to promote its territorial and geopolitical objectives to the detriment of European countries. It did so by investing heavily on the spread of misleading information, fake news and the production of alternative stories. Disinformation has become an integral and essential part of the Russian doctrine of military deception which has evolved with time.
[...] Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko's rhetoric was traditionally, as a rule, pro- Russian and anti-Western, but in 2015, he turned, refuting the notion that Belarus belongs to the Russian World. In the light of the elections in September 2016, Lukashenko successfully introduced preconditions for candidacy procedures that precluded active devotees of the Russian World from entering the parliament. Additionally, he denied Russian air force to base in Belarus and further reinforcing of economic bonds. From the Euro-Atlantic security viewpoint, the “Russian question” in Estonia and Latvia is of utmost significance. [...]
[...] Fomenting local and regional tensions and crises in targeted locations result in the increase of energy and other commodities price in the world markets, mainly in the Middle East and in Central Asia (Sivitsky p.7). As far as it concerns Russia's post-soviet periphery, Moscow is determined to transform the neighboring states situated there into protectorates whose governing coalitions and foreign policies will be deeply dependent to its policy (Akin para. 10). In the pursuance of that goal, Russia forwards its defense line along its borders through the western borders of the Kaliningrad region, Belarus, Ukraine, Transnistria, in Eastern Europe through the southern borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia and in Central Asia through the eastern and southern borders of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. [...]
[...] Kremlin-driven propaganda via steady circulation of deceptive stories and outright false information on social media has proven effective having managed to steer Russian public opinion against the EU and confuse public perceptions of the issue within the EU States. The anti-EU propaganda initiated in February 2014 reached its apogee over the subsequent two months when President Yanukovich was ousted, Crimea annexed and Donbas was under separatist rebellion. Within this time, pro-Kremlin TV outlets and journalists provided their audience a specific angle of news coverage through news programs that had extended in duration constantly displaying Ukraine in their headlines. [...]
[...] These claims are the elements of a narrative that regards Ukraine as segment of the Russian world (Russkii Mir) within which Russians and Ukrainians are acknowledged as compatriots who share common language, history and traditions. This notion was officially made known by President Putin who said in a speech on March that Russia and Ukraine form one nation (Pynnöniemi pp.91-93). Expressing key ideological principles of the communist rhetoric, such as, Lenin's ‘new forms of struggle, unknown to participants of the given period', Chief of the General Staff Valery Geramisov's outlined, on January 2013, at the yearly gathering of the Russian Academy of Military Sciences, the new doctrine of 21st century warfare. [...]
[...] The term ‘banderovtsy' is also a code word originating from the Ukrainian combatant Stepan Bandera who battled the Soviets during the Second World War. During the Maidan Uprising, contemporary Russia started calling ‘banderovtsy' all the Ukrainians in general but the word targeted specifically pro-Ukrainian activists. The head of the Federation Council's International Relations Committee Mihail Margelov had stated that “Maidan” does not actually represent the mainstream opinion in Ukraine, as it is just an assembly of militant banderovtsy (Pynnöniemi p.73). [...]
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