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NATO Targeted With False Narratives About Navalny Protests in Russia

March 27th, 2021 16:45

Debunk EU, a Lithuan­ian think tank spe­cial­iz­ing in dis­in­for­ma­tion, is report­ing that NATO has been tar­get­ed with false nar­ra­tives about protests in Rus­sia relat­ed to the arrest of oppo­si­tion fig­ure Alex­ey Naval­ny. Accord­ing to a Debunk EU report:

March 8, 2021 In Jan­u­ary 2021, Debunk EU reviewed 3124 arti­cles with poten­tial­ly harm­ful con­tent and iden­ti­fied 720 arti­cles with false and mis­lead­ing con­tent. They were dis­trib­uted in 82 media out­lets in the Baltic coun­tries in Eng­lish, Eston­ian, Lat­vian, Lithuan­ian, and Russ­ian lan­guages. The arti­cles had a poten­tial reach of 546 mil­lion contacts. […]

One of the most promi­nent waves of dis­in­for­ma­tion was wit­nessed on Jan­u­ary 23rd, when the mes­sage of NATO coun­tries sup­pos­ed­ly orches­trat­ing the protests in Rus­sia cir­cu­lat­ed among Lithuan­ian Face­book users. In addi­tion, the orig­i­nal post on Face­book was gen­er­at­ed by the same user in mul­ti­ple pub­lic groups & pages and sought to ampli­fy the pro-Krem­lin nar­ra­tives con­cern­ing Russ­ian oppo­si­tion leader Alex­ei Naval­ny, while pre­sent­ing the protests as yet anoth­er man­i­fes­ta­tion of the ‘colour rev­o­lu­tion’, coor­di­nat­ed by the West.

Read the rest here.

The report notes that prob­lem­at­ic infor­ma­tion was most­ly pub­lished in Russ­ian and iden­ti­fied the main dis­trib­u­tors of NATO-relat­ed dis­in­for­ma­tion and mis­in­for­ma­tion in the Baltic coun­tries as the fol­low­ing Russ­ian websites:

  • Technowar.ru
  • Rambler.ru
  • Sputniknews.ru
  • Ria.ru
  • Lenta.ru

Two weeks after the pub­li­ca­tion of the report, Debunk EU pub­lished anoth­er report exam­in­ing Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion in the Baltic coun­tries dur­ing Feb­ru­ary, con­clud­ing that that Feb­ru­ary saw a rise of claims ques­tion­ing the rel­e­vance of NATO:

March 23, 2021 In addi­tion to usu­al mes­sages embed­ded in false and mis­lead­ing con­tent about the NATO, Feb­ru­ary sought a rise of claims ques­tion­ing the rel­e­vance of the Alliance. Asso­ci­a­tions were made that NATO is an unnec­es­sary Cold War relict since the War­saw Pact was dis­man­tled three decades ago. Atten­tion of Krem­lin relat­ed media also fell on state­ments made dur­ing the meet­ing of NATO Min­is­ters of Defence and Munich Secu­ri­ty Con­fer­ence. More­over, alle­ga­tions that nation-wide protests in Rus­sia were coor­di­nat­ed by NATO coun­tries were fur­ther ampli­fied by claims from top Krem­lin officials.

Read the rest here.

In March, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed about the Kremlin’s use of left-wing com­men­ta­tors in Rus­sia and the West in order to under­mine sol­i­dar­i­ty with oppo­si­tion fig­ure Alex­ey Navalny.