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Russian Anti-Vaccine Disinformation Campaign Backfires; Russians Not Getting Jabbed

November 29th, 2021 15:09

US media is report­ing that Russia’s anti-vac­cine dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign has spilled over to Rus­sia and is part­ly respon­si­ble for the high lev­el of vac­cine hes­i­tan­cy among Rus­sians. Accord­ing to a Voice of Amer­i­ca report:

Novem­ber 18, 2021 For more than a year, Russ­ian-aligned troll fac­to­ries over­see­ing thou­sands of social media accounts have been accused by West­ern coun­tries and dis­in­for­ma­tion experts of spread­ing anti-vac­cine mes­sages in an aggres­sive cam­paign to spread con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and cast doubt on West­ern coro­n­avirus vac­cines.  But the year-long offen­sive appears to have back­fired.  Russ­ian offi­cials now wor­ry that the anti-vac­cine skep­ti­cism encour­aged by the troll fac­to­ries has spilled over and is part­ly respon­si­ble for the high lev­el of vac­cine hes­i­tan­cy among Rus­sians. Only 35% of the country’s pop­u­la­tion is ful­ly vac­ci­nat­ed, despite the wide avail­abil­i­ty of the country’s home-grown Sput­nik vac­cine. Despite surg­ing cas­es the uptake remains slug­gish. Social net­work analy­sis com­pa­ny Graphi­ka report­ed last month how Rus­sia-aligned troll fac­to­ries have recent­ly been focus­ing on manda­to­ry vac­ci­na­tion cam­paigns in the West seek­ing to under­mine the effort to cajole more peo­ple to get jabbed. The U.S. Depart­ment of State last year start­ed to warn that Rus­sia-based pro­pa­gan­dists were using social media plat­forms to spread con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries and to pro­mote doubts around vac­ci­na­tions.  But anti-vac­ci­na­tion videos and post­ings on the Inter­net are attract­ing high traf­fic in Rus­sia, too, with tens of thou­sands of views.

Read the rest here.

The GIOR has exten­sive­ly cov­ered Russia’s anti-vac­cine dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign in the West, including:

  • Claims that Covid-19 vac­cines turn peo­ple into chim­panzees and oth­er con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries on vac­cines’ efficacy.
  • Attempts by Rus­sia-linked PR agen­cies to pay Euro­pean social media influ­encers to spread Covid-19 vac­cine disinformation.