Russia is waging a disinformation campaign in the Middle East, spreading false news reports and using social media to warp public perception, according to Politico.
The Arabic-speaking world has not received the same attention as the West in countering Russian propaganda, allowing Russia to have a significant online presence and feed pro-Kremlin propaganda directly to younger generations in the Arabic-speaking world. Russian state-funded and supported broadcasters, such as Sputnik and RT Arabic, are behind many of the false claims being spread across social media. Soft-sympathizers in the region also parrot pro-Kremlin talking points, situating Russia’s moves as bulwarks against Western designs in the region. This misguided justification is finding fertile ground in the Arabic-speaking world, where many are disillusioned by Western foreign policy.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union took quick and decisive action to ban Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik from the airwaves and block their YouTube channels. However, these efforts have not been replicated in the Arab world.