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A  G U I D E

T O  R U S S I A N


The Russian propaganda machine produces endless streams of fakes and manipulative stories. While at times they may seem outrageous or silly, they are far from being random. Russian propaganda for both domestic and foreign audiences follows techniques that stem from Goebbel’s times. Ultimately, it is a weapon of war. In our series A guide to Russian propaganda, we examine how propaganda works, and how one can avoid falling for it.


Part 1: Propaganda prepares Russia for war

Russian propaganda for Russians differs greatly from the propaganda served for foreigners. Outside the country, propaganda is mainly a tool of division, lobbying for Russian foreign interests, or muddying the waters. But inside Russia, its rulers use propaganda to direct their populace, squash dissent, and instruct them in the core political beliefs that they find most useful. One of most useful ideas for this is a particular Russian form of anti-Americanism.  Read more >>>


Part 2: Whataboutism

Whataboutism, arguably Russian propaganda's most effective tactic, uses the emotions of shame or anger to derail an argument. Shame is triggered by accusations of hypocrisy, whereas anger is sparked when the counter-accusation the propagandist uses is absolutely ridiculous, and the conversation is diverted away from an important matter at hand into a constant back-and-forth about some irrelevant piece of history. Read more>>>

rapid fire

Part 3: Rapid fire conspiracy theories

When Russia wants to, it can create high-quality fakes and sophisticated deceptions with brilliant intricacy. But when something goes wrong in Russia’s wars abroad, there’s no time. Quick and dirty conspiracy theories and disinformation slow down analysis and distract people in the early stages of a news story. Russia used this technique in the bombing of a UN aid convoy in Syria in September 2016, and when it shot down MH17 above Ukraine in 2014.  Read more >>>


Part 4: Russian propaganda operates by law of war

Why does Russia show the USA shown both as an aggressive superpower and a failing state? Russian propaganda can be confusing. It's easier understanding how it works if you understand the main principles of war propaganda and how Russia uses it in its current propaganda narratives against Ukraine, the EU, and the USA. Read more>>>

reflexive control

Part 5: Reflexive Control

While fake news and disinformation receive all the attention of western societies, they are only part of Russia’s hybrid war, which is based on a Soviet secret technique of reflexive control. The virtual reality Russia creates has the aim of altering its victims’ vision of reality. Wearing Russian-made glasses, they make the political decisions Russia wants without suspecting a thing.  Read more >>>



Part 6: Spetspropaganda, the secret Soviet art of brainwashing

Researchers of disinformation know that facts don’t change beliefs. But how are the beliefs shaped? Soviet techniques of spetspropaganda, or the art of sowing discord in the enemy’s ranks, may have the answers. And they are being employed by the Russian propaganda machine en masse - against the Russians themselves, to keep Putin in power, and in its foreign influence operations. Read more>>>

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