2023-1221_EUvsDiSiNFO_Putin Billboard

Everybody Else to Blame

This week, pro-Kremlin pundits had a go at European Union’s decision to start accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. Amid all the ongoing wars and crises in the world, last Thursday, 14 December 2023 will go down as a good day, bringing much-needed hope to people not just in Ukraine and Moldova, but in Europe more broadly. The reason: EU leaders decided to open well-deserved accession negotiations with both of these Eastern Partnership countries. In addition, the European Council granted candidate status to Georgia. The Kremlin’s voices and Moscow’s pundits did not let the opportunity slip. Before the decision was made, most pro-Kremlin outlets focused on exacerbating the perception of divisions within the EU and trying to portray the EU as weak, ineffectual, non-democratic and ready to abandon support to Ukraine. […]


The Belarus KGB’s ill-conceived Creativity

KGB and Belarusian state TV use new means to sow fear among Belarusians when a security seminar in Warsaw for members of the Belarusian diaspora ended with a Belarusian KGB officer’s online appearance. On 18 November 2023, a seminar titled, ‘Secure Belarus: the forms and methods of public safety’, gathered around 20 participants on the premises of the Belarusian Youth Hub. The Hub is a well-known pro-democracy organisation among the Belarusian diaspora in Warsaw. Attendees expected to learn about digital, financial, and physical security from recognised experts. At some point during the seminar, a bearded ‘EU representative’ using the (made-up) name Fabio Zimmer appeared on a big screen via Zoom. He briefly addressed the audience in the Russian language and gave the floor to the ‘seminar organiser and sponsor’ who was sitting next to him. To the surprise of the seminar participants and hosts, there appeared on the screen… […]

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The Next in Line

The Kremlin liar-in-chief announces his regime will continue and his stooges find US biolabs wherever they look. At a staged event, Putin mumbled out an announcement to veterans and the wider public that his regime would continue to rule over Russia after an orchestrated ritual not to be confused with an event known as an ‘election’ in the free world. Following this non-event, the pro-Kremlin information manipulation ecosystem went into overdrive in pushing out ‘evidence’ of the gifts the Kremlin master strategist’s enlightened rule has presented to Mother Russia. According to pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets, among other things, not only is Russia with Putin at the helm creating a truly democratic world, but it is becoming a new global growth centre as well. The war in Ukraine is also about to end in Russia’s inevitable victory, if Peskov is to be believed. All being this fine and dandy, no wonder ordinary Russians are preparing for the coming celebrations by queueing, Soviet-style, for eggs that have skyrocketed in price, and some being forced to hand over their passports for foreign travel. […]

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Decoding FIMI Targeting LGBTIQ+ People

EEAS report on FIMI targeting LGBTIQ+ people uncovers how foreign disinformation campaigns are designed to exploit vulnerabilities, polarise societies and sow divisions, particularly those targeting the LGBTIQ+ community. Russia’s Supreme Court recently upheld a claim by the Ministry of Justice, branding the “international LGBT public movement” “extremist,” and banning its activities in the country. It is far from clear what the Russian authorities mean exactly by the ‘’international LGBT movement’’, but it is regrettably certain that this move, which has been condemned by the EU, is an extension of the ongoing crackdown on LGBTIQ+ rights under Vladimir Putin, and will further stifle civil society and human rights defenders in Russia. It also makes it practically impossible to stage any actions in support of the LGBTIQ+ community, preventing members of that community from exercising their civil and political rights. […]

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Crocodile Tears, Deflection, and Projection

The Kremlin’s disinformation pundits seek the spotlight to recycle old narratives about the West threatening global security and stability in a classic case of deflection and projection of Russian wrongdoings onto others. Every so often, the pro-Kremlin information manipulation and disinformation ecosystem needs to receive an infusion of fresh disinformation narratives to fuel the never-ending verbal outpouring of the Kremlin’s propagandists. Well, if not exactly new narratives, they need at least a nod of approval from the top brass to keep recycling the same old lies. For this purpose, there is nothing quite like a well-placed, preferably international, public speech by the Kremlin’s master or his top lackeys to lay down the markers and reinforce known disinformation tropes, lining them up for amplification by the pro-Kremlin information manipulation apparatus. […]


Elections in Poland Through the Prism of Lukashenka Regime’s Propaganda

A highly corrupt, undemocratic, and non-sovereign country with no freedom of speech, flawed elections, and enormous socio-economic problems – this is how Poland was unfailingly portrayed in Belarusian state media in the lead-up to and aftermath of the October 2023 parliamentary election. Lately, the state propaganda apparatus in Belarus has been making more active efforts to reach Polish audiences. “As of now, everything that is happening in Belarus is available in the Polish language on an hourly basis! A premiere on Radio Belarus!” announced Belarus 1 TV on November 1, 2023. Polish residents in the areas bordering Belarus can access analytics, talk shows, and “objective facts” in Polish for 12 hours a day on Radio Belarus frequencies, the report continued. It featured Anton Vasiukevich, the General Producer of Radio Belarus, who described the demand for Belarusian information content among Polish listeners as “colossal.” […]


Selective Toughness: the Kremlin’s Rhetoric Around Nagorno-Karabakh

Moscow, confronted with several dilemmas in relations with Armenia and its role around Nagorno-Karabakh developments, has resorted to its usual tactics: blame others. For a long time Russia has portrayed itself as Armenia’s main security guarantor, with thousands of servicemen deployed there through its 102nd military base and FSB border guards watching over guarding Armenia’s borders with Iran and Türkiye on the basis of bilateral agreements from 1992 and 1995. However, when developments in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh became less manageable for Russia, the Kremlin tried to compensate with a disinformation campaign targeting, above all, Armenia’s political leadership and the so-called ‘collective West’. […]

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Prepare for Winter

As winter makes life harder, the Kremlin steps up its atrocious attacks on civilians while running campaigns to undermine public morale in Ukraine and across Europe. To be prepared, we look back on the two earlier cold seasons. Winter has come to Ukraine. As Russia’s full-scale war enters the third cold period since February 2022, last weekend saw perhaps the most intense Russian drone attacks on civilian targets across Ukraine. What is the usual Kremlin cocktail when it gets cold? A closer look at the previous cold seasons in 2022 and 2023 can serve as a warning of what to expect. After more than 21 months of high-intensity war and wanton destruction across all sectors of Ukraine, the Kremlin’s disinformation does not even try to hide it: Moscow’s aim is the destruction of the modern Ukrainian state. Ukraine is denied statehood and identity. Putin and every pundit repeat that Russia cannot accept a neighbour which seeks its future outside Moscow’s control. It has become almost a law of nature for the Kremlin that the world must be structured this way. […]


The Deep Winter Freeze That Wasn’t

Kremlin narratives and hard realities rarely meet. In one of many examples, pro-Kremlin and Russian state-controlled disinformation outlets have cease-lessly declared since the February 2022 full-scale invasion that the ‘special military operation’ is going well, despite the fact that Ukraine has retaken at least half of territory that Russia initially occupied. But of all these feats of wishful thinking, perhaps the most striking was the Kremlin’s determination to believe that, without imported Russian gas, Europe would freeze to death. Rarely have disinformation narratives arisen with such a dramatic clamour of impending doom, only to disappear relatively quickly into a defeated and ignominious silence. However, the Kremlin’s core disinformation narratives never die. Instead, they withdraw from sunshine, perhaps to re-emerge with the coming of night. And versions of the ‘freezing Europe’ narrative, including this one alleging that the loss of cheap Russian gas is causing Germa-ny’s ‘de-industrialisation’, occasionally reappear into the light of public discourse. […]

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Putin’s Pawns

Individuals and their fates don’t interest the Kremlin, which just exploits them as disposable pawns in the Kremlin’s losing game. Last Tuesday 21 November, we commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Revolution of Dignity, also known as Euromaidan. We remembered those who lost their lives protecting Ukraine’s right to choose its own future as a sove-reign member of the European family of countries. Over the years, EUvsDisinfo has documented count-less lies that Russian disinformers have spread as they have tried to tarnish the legacy of the watershed moment that unfolded on the streets of Kyiv 10 years ago. Maidan as orchestrated by foreign powers, a lie that aims at denying the genuine agency of Ukrainians who bravely took to the streets and opposed Kremlin-aligned forces. The pro-Kremlin disinformation ecosystem has tried to frame Maidan as a coup d’etat in order to delegitimise the protests Lastly, pro-Kremlin disinformation peddlers continu-ously refer to post-Maidan Ukraine as a failed state, as they try to challenge Ukraine’s sovereignty and its status as a nation-state. […]