State-controlled Russian TV creates a centralized, easily manageable environment, used by the Kremlin to set and promote informational agenda it deems favorable. In promotion of such agenda, aimed at creating a sense of hostility coming from the West, justification of aggressive Russian policy and glorification of authoritarian rules, a wide set of methods is employed.
We at Hybrid Warfare Analytical Group analyzed 5 of the most popular ones:
– accusations of “Russophobia”;
– promotion of conspiracy theories;
– creating and spreading pure fakes;
– manipulating historical narratives;
– mixing different narratives.
All these methods are typically tailored to fit a specific goal and used in combination for a more powerful effect. For example, to develop and strengthen Kremlin’s stance on the Skripal poisoning case, British government is accused of “Russophobia”, a tremendous amount of mutually exclusive and confusing narratives (138 as estimated by EU vs Disinformation) is promoted, several of which fit the framework of a conspiracy theory, according to which assassination of S.Skripal is actually in the interest of the UK.
Further examples of these methods being instrumental in creating specific agenda beneficial for the government is the fact that mentions of “Russophobia” in Russian media started growing rapidly in 2014 (evidenced by DFRLab). It was an aggressive “defense mechanism” against international reaction to the occupation of Crimea and war in eastern Ukraine. Systematic application of this toolkit further demonstrates the existence of carefully crafted and supervised propaganda machinery, serving distinct political goals set by the Kremlin