The Russian smokescreen misinformation strategy of producing multiple conspiracies behind the Skripal poisoning case seems to be working. Only 3% of Russians believe that Russian intelligence services were those who attempted to assassinate ex-spy Skripal with a military-grade nerve agent on the British soil. The rest of Russians believe or at least just say they believe that Britain did it or “anyone” could do it.
Britain has charged two Russian military intelligence officers with poisoning former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, but only a fraction of Russians pin the blame on their country’s secret services.
Another 56 percent of respondents said “it could have been anyone,” and 13 percent were unable to answer the question.
Sergei Skripal was found unconscious on a bench in the British city of Salisbury in March along with his daughter Yulia.
Skripal moved to Britain in 2010 after being released by Russia in the biggest spy swap since the end of the Cold War. He had been serving a 13-year prison sentence for spying for Britain.
In September, British prosecutors charged two Russian men with the attempted murder of Skripal and his daughter using Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the pair, believed to be officers in Russia’s GRU military intelligence service, had “almost certainly” acted with approval from “a senior level of the Russian state.”
Traces of Novichok were found in a London hotel room they stayed in before traveling to Salisbury.
Moscow has denied involvement and dismissed the case as an act of provocation against Russia.
And as demonstrated by the Levada poll, this narrative appears to have gained traction in Russia.
Russian media and officials have put forward a multitude of different narratives about the Skripal case, a well-honed disinformation tactic designed to confuse audiences.
Here you can find EUvsDisinfo’s timeline of the Russian disinformation campaign:
RFE/RL has also published a list of Russia’s “hodgepodge of theories, evasions, and refutations” on the case.
- Moscow attacked Skripal for betraying Russian oligarchs, highlighting mafia nature of Putin regime, Portnikov says
- Skripal and the disinformation swamp
- Russian media have published 20 different narratives on Skripal poisoning
- Disinformation on Russian TV: Reported Chemical Attack in Syria and Skripal Poisoning “Western provocation”
- Russian Spec Ops failures result of GRU’s total degradation – journalist who helped pin down Skripal killers
- Defensive disinformation as decoy flare: Skripal and Flight MH17
- How Russia produces conspiracies on bio weapons to befog Skripal case
- Salisbury, Starving Children and Soviet Soldiers: Disinformation Pollution in Action
- Three important lessons of the Skripal Case the West has yet to learn
- Novichok Returns and So Does Disinformation
- In Skripal case, Kremlin following procedures it used for earlier political murders, Pastukhov says
- “Novichok” and robots in social media
- Also in Russia a Russian hand is seen behind the nerve-gas attack in Salisbury
- The bold assassination attempt on ex-Russian spy Sergey Skripal in Salisbury, England
- A Killing Epidemic: The Culling of Russia’s Opposition Journalists
- There is no place in Putin’s world for the non-aligned, Portnikov says