Copyright © 2021

The work of Euromaidan Press is supported by the International Renaissance Foundation

When referencing our materials, please include an active hyperlink to the Euromaidan Press material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. To reprint anything longer, written permission must be acquired from [email protected].

Privacy and Cookie Policies.

Wishful thinking as a manipulation tool in Russian propaganda

Wishful thinking as manipulation tool in Russia propaganda
Wishful thinking as a manipulation tool in Russian propaganda
A Kremlin outlet RT is trusted outside Russia – say two other Kremlin outlets. All three have the same editor-in-chief.

Like the devil reads the Bible

“Danish scholars conclude that RT has ‘exceptional influence’ in social media.”

This was the title of a recent story published by the Russian state-controlled news agency RIA Novosti. A similar story was run by Sputnik, also in Russian.

The sensational headline about the “exceptional influence” looks like a pat on RT’s back; however, it’s a piece wishful thinking.

Read also: Three things you should know about RT and Sputnik

What researchers at the University of Copenhagen had in fact detected was that RT is popular among a very special and narrow group of social media users, namely people who are likely share disinformation.

“We found RT to be the most important profile among the top 50 profiles […] in the disinformation network,” the researchers stated in the abstract of their study, which was published in International Affairs.

Illusion of RT popularity for domestic audience

Disinformation is used for many different purposes. Sometimes, as in this case, the aim is to create the illusion among Russian domestic audiences that costly Kremlin propaganda outlets like RT (Russia Today), are able to enjoy broad acceptance outside Russia as a trustworthy news source. In reality, RT’s viewership is rather modest.

RIA NovostiSputnik and RT all have the same editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan.

RIA’s manipulation of the Danish study was also analyzed by Ukrainian counter propaganda media outlet Stopfake.


Read more:

You could close this page. Or you could join our community and help us produce more materials like this.  We keep our reporting open and accessible to everyone because we believe in the power of free information. This is why our small, cost-effective team depends on the support of readers like you to bring deliver timely news, quality analysis, and on-the-ground reports about Russia's war against Ukraine and Ukraine's struggle to build a democratic society. A little bit goes a long way: for as little as the cost of one cup of coffee a month, you can help build bridges between Ukraine and the rest of the world, plus become a co-creator and vote for topics we should cover next. Become a patron or see other ways to support. Become a Patron!

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here

You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Please leave your suggestions or corrections here

    Related Posts