Propaganda Program Part of Russian War Machine – World Peace Organization
In the second month of the war unfolding in Ukraine, the narrative divide widens as Russia promulgates disinformation. Information about how the war started, the extent of the conflict, the arrow of causation, and the justifications for the war vary widely among different sources. Evidence of this disparity is apparent in Putin’s skyrocketing popularity among his countrymen. The News with Shepard Smith reports that Putin’s ratings have risen to 83% this month from 63% in November 2021. While this and other evidence testify to the success of Russia’s manipulation of the war to create a wave of pro-nationalist sentiment, the Russian propaganda machine also found external outlets.
Russian diplomats’ Facebook and Twitter accounts are used as platforms for spreading false claims: “The accounts are still active and spreading disinformation and propaganda in almost every country,” reports the Associated Press. “With hundreds of social media accounts on every continent,” the report continues, “the Russian diplomatic corps acts as a global propaganda network, in which the same claims can be recycled and modified for different audiences in different nations.” Diplomats from inside the Kremlin have stepped up to fill loopholes where Russian state media has been increasingly blocked on social media platforms and otherwise censored. “But the same tactics that have supported such propaganda for years collide with a much more complex reality where claims can be instantly and credibly refuted on social media,” the AP concludes. The voice of fact-seeking information capitalism comes, as always, from the same media that incubate volatile disinformation.
“Russian embassies and consulates around the world are prolifically using Facebook, Twitter and other platforms to deflect blame for atrocities while seeking to undermine the international coalition supporting Ukraine,” reads a report from the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Russian state-controlled TV shows accuse the West of spreading false information about the war; interviews with Russian citizens inside the country show resistance to learning the facts and details of Russian atrocities. Claims of how the West intervened include fabricated evidence and staged corpses strewing the streets of bombed Ukrainian cities.
From Channel 5 News with Andrew Callaghan inside Ukraine, reports came back to civilians’ views on the Russian propaganda machine: ‘Russia has enough resources to spread propaganda all over the world’ , says an anonymous Ukrainian from inside a bomb shelter. “And there’s a lot of Western media listening to what Russia is saying.” Meanwhile, Western media are proving essential to Russia’s information strategy. A report of Mother Jones Kremlin memo leaked to Russian media highlights the role of Tucker Carlson and other right-wing figures in amplifying Russian propaganda.
“The Kremlin considers Tucker Carlson essential in its messaging strategy,” relayed an MSNBC presenter. Followers of American right-wing discourse seem to echo the sentiments – and suspicions – of Russian nationals, imagining the war and its victims as the inventions of Russian-phobic Western media. “They can easily fake a war,” proclaims a Channel 5 interviewee at a truck rally.
The control and dissemination of information is an essential element in the continuation of this conflict. Russia’s strategy depends heavily on the support it can garner from Russian nationals, the reactive vitriol it can inspire against Europe and the West, and the confusion it can sow with aggressive disinformation campaigns. .