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.
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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:
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.
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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.