Putin’s Pawns

Individuals and their fates do not 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 sovereign member of the European family of countries.

Source — EUvsDiSiNFO — November 23, 2023 —

Over the years, EUvsDisinfo has documented countless 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.

Dancing on the graves

The pro-Kremlin disinformation ecosystem has tried to frame Maidan as a coup d’etat in order to delegitimise the protests, the protestors, and the government change that followed. Kremlin disinformation has also attempted to portray 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. Lastly, pro-Kremlin disinformation peddlers continuously refer to post-Maidan Ukraine as a failed state, as they try to challenge Ukraine’s sovereignty and its status as a nation-state.


Thus, it was not a surprise that like a criminal who returns to the crime scene, Kremlin diplomatic channels on X shamelessly continued to spread the same debunked disinformation narratives (see also here and here).


A lack of imagination in the Kremlin’s corridors

It must feel like the winter of 2015 – 2016 all over again in Finland. Like then, Russia has yet again resorted to using bicycling groups of irregular migrants to advance its agenda against neighbouring Finland.

As the Kremlin-engineered flow of irregular migrants started to pick up speed, Finnish authorities quickly closed off the most easily accessible south-eastern border crossing points and concentrated border crossings and asylum seeker processing to more northern crossing points to control the developing situation better.

Together with Kremlin-funnelled migrant flows, pro-Kremlin information manipulation is also picking up speed. According to these disinformation outlets, not surprisingly, it was the United States (see also here) and NATO pulling the strings behind the scenes and preventing Russia and Finland from having a good neighbourly relationship. Some propagandists decided to dig deeper, twist historical facts, and suggest that ungrateful Finland was now paying back for the wars fought between Russia and Finland during the Second World War.

The Kremlin hand that stirs the pot

The cynical instrumentalisation of irregular migration combined with an avalanche of disinformation is not a new phenomenon, as we reported earlier in the case of Belarus.

2023-1123_EUvsDiSiNFO_Chess Pieces
Putin’s Pawns — EUvsDiSiNFO

In the case of Finland, the Kremlin is attempting to use the weaponised flows of migrants to put Finland and wider Western institutions such as the EU and NATO in a position where their actions may be framed as a betrayal of their values and commitments to international treaties. This tactic offers Kremlin disinformers further talking points, which is well understood in Finland.

Moreover, the Russian weaponisation of irregular migrants tests not only the unity of the EU and NATO, but also that of Finland with the more than 90,000 Russian speakers living there. Like elsewhere, Russia’s actions and disinformation are calibrated to attempt to trigger and exacerbate disagreement, name-calling and frictions within Finland. Increased infighting and disunity would only serve the Kremlin’s nefarious agenda and help them to further exploit the developing situation.


Also blinking on EUvsDisinfo’s disinformation radar: