The German newspaper Die Welt has reported about the presence of Cheka-style propaganda in the West in its article “Cyberwar: anatomy of the Russian informational war in the networks” (Anatomie des russischen Infokriegs in Netzwerken). The newspaper writes:
In the Ukrainian conflict Putin’s secret services are implementing new methods. Cyber warriors, who are controlled by the Kremlin, are infiltrating the social networks and are forming propaganda alliances with left-wing and right-wing radicals.
They flock together and arrive under cover. They mob the Deutsche Welle, as well as Facebook. Soon you will be able to see them as guests in almost every major Western newspaper [almost no one reads the guest comments there – Kavkaz Center].
Putin’s info warriors are a legion, and they express their opinions in the spirit of their commander. They form alliances with everyone they meet on their way and who fits the profile. This includes left-wing and right-wing radicals of all European countries, as well as Kremlin-friendly economic lobbyists.
Since the Russian occupation of Crimea, a completely near type of war for to win over public opinion is being waged in the German-speaking internet media, primarily in the social networks. For many the internet media represent a shift from the conventional media and thus contribute to forming opinion. And that is why this is a preferred platform for the new Russian methods of propaganda.
It is well-known that Secret Services practically govern inside of Russia. But the novelty is their similar activity in the Western media.
Tens of thousands of comments from “readers” per day.
The American journal Forbes and the British Guardian are also targeted by the campaigns of a few thousands of special “readers” per day [none such thing exists anywhere else – Kavkaz Center]. Jolanta Darczewska, director of The Centre for East European Studies in Warsaw, has ascertained that these are in no way isolated cases, but are rather the evidence of a systematic informational war.
Further on the newspaper reports:
Jolanta Darczewska has published a research article entitled “The Anatomy of the Russian informational war” on this issue, in which she analysed the propaganda attack following the annexation of Crimea. Darczewska writes that the methods used in the contemporary informational war go beyond the usual scope of propaganda – for instance, the falsifications in the Russian state media.
The basis for this type of a war was established back in 2000, when special propaganda, developed under Stalin and forgoetten in the 1990s, was reinstated as a weapon. In her research Darczewska notes that the doctrine of Russian information warfare includes the following points:
– controlling public opinion,
– manipulation of information,
Jarno Limnell, the Doctor of Military Sciences and a specialist in cyber security points out that the informational war in the Internet, especially in the social networks, became an integral part of the Russian military doctrine. Throughout the Ukrainian crisis, the use of highly professional campaigns developed to secretly manipulate the public opinion in Europe with the help of comments, was identified.
“Moreover, argumentative templates typical of left and right-wing extremists in Western countries were apparent”, – added Limnell in his interview for Die Welt. According to him, the West hasn’t yet come up with the means of reacting to this new type of propaganda. “We are at the beginning of this, so to speak, new breakthrough in the era of information warfare”, – warned the expert.
The scope of the audience catches your eye: from right-wing populists with pro-Russian views and right-wing radical conspiracy theorists to pro-Kremlin business lobbyists and left-wingers. “The objective of the Russian informational campaigns is to manipulate everyone, and for example, to sow discord amongst NATO countries”.
There is plenty of evidence about the Kremlin’s hidden propaganda: Russian e-mail addresses, specified by commentators, as well as the numerous uniform comments. And should someone in the social network anger the Kremlin, he will not get away with it. This is how, for example, the Facebook page belonging to a historian and expert on Ukraine, Andreas Umland, who criticised Russian politics, was blocked.
A co-owner of Facebook, Yuri Milner, an entrepreneur from Moscow with close ties to the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation) and the Kremlin, is behind these cases [it isn’t surprising that all the Facebook accounts of the Kavkaz Center are immediately blocked – Kavkaz center].
Putin’s information war can in the future pose a substantial problem to the German media. Arne Shenbom, the head of the Cyber Security Council in Germany, stated:
“For a long time, it has been a practice of the Russian special services of creating seemingly serious forums by political experts on the web, which are taken seriously by the press and are often quoted”.
According to him, in critical situations these forums become an instrument of the informational war and propaganda, which, thereby, makes its way into the unsuspecting Western press”.
For its part, the monitoring division of the Kavkaz Center notes – a crow will never pick the eye of another crow (Comix cornici nunquam confodit oculum). Just like in Russia, most Western citizens draw information and form their opinion based on what they see on television – the place where the hardened cyber warriors of the universal Western-style democracy reside.
On top of that, the option of leaving a comment as guest doesn’t exist in the majority of Western publications, just like in the majority of Russian-Cheka publications in Russia. And where it does exist, administrators calmly delete everything they don’t like, just like in Russia.
For example, they delete all of the links and mentions of the Kavkaz Center, which our readers attempt to leave. All the posts are deleted if the administrators have even the slightest suspicions about the author who is posting.
Monitoring Division of the Kavkaz Center
Translated by Dasha Darchuk, edited by Myron Spolsky
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