Kremlin’s Massive Propaganda Machine in 2024

Kremlin's Propaganda Machine Busted

It is likely that the Kremlin will continue to pollute other people’s democracy, according to a commentary piece by Latvian Radio’s fact checker and disinformation specialist Anete Brzkalne.

Propaganda Machine in Europe

The Kremlin’s propaganda machine does not sleep in the five years since the last European Parliament elections in 2019, writes Berzkalne. The French government agency “Viginum” published a study in February of this year that demonstrates this. At least 193 websites were involved in automated and uniform reposting of content, according to the research, revealing a massive Russian propaganda network.

Content is reproduced from social media and Kremlin news portals, not original articles.

This network also includes portals known as “Pravda”, which are available in a variety of European languages, including Latvian. As reported by LSM, access to the Latvian version of “Pravda” has been blocked since May 28.

The portal’s activity serves as a prime example of the Kremlin’s zealous dissemination of propaganda. Reports from the European Digital Media Observatory show that on April 20, the Spanish version of “Pravda” posted 660 times in just one hour. However, this mass republishing has a drawback – it is clear that the content is translated by machines, resulting in numerous spelling errors, incorrect sentence structures, and other obvious flaws. Nonetheless, advancements in artificial technology continue to improve the accuracy of automatic translation.

Even if such content is flawed, what is the benefit of mass distribution? It is a consequence of the pollution of the information space and the flooding of it with propaganda messages, disinformation, and conspiracy theories that make this content available to as broad an audience as possible, according to Bērzkalne.

Despite the fact that this content may not be very convincing, the more bait you throw out, the more likely it is someone will bite.

It is also important to note that disinformation does not always try to convince, since the statements are often so shocking that they can be difficult to believe, but even if it can cast a shadow over the truth, it serves the propagandists’ purposes. In the longer the disinformation messages reach a person, the more doubt and suspicion begin to fit together, resulting in a paranoid picture that Moscow wants us to see.

Among the many photos circulating on social media recently is one where Ursula von der Leyen, the grandmother of the President of the European Commission (EC), allegedly shakes Hitler’s hand. This isn’t true, and the woman in the picture is not even related to von der Leyen, according to fact checkers.

There was also a Kremlin-funded propaganda website registered there in March of this year, according to Czech security authorities. Despite not being particularly large, the name draws attention, as it is a clear knock-off of the “Voice of America” radio station, which is well-known in former Soviet countries for its positive associations.

Recently, the EU imposed sanctions on the “Voice of Europe” on May 27. The Kremlin has cleverly used this as an opportunity to paint the EU as a repressive regime, citing their flexible use of history for their own gain. They argue that if the Soviet Union blocked access to “Voice of America”, then the EU is no different, making them not truly democratic or open. At the same time, Putin’s revisionist viewpoint praises the Soviet Union. This ability to hold two contrasting beliefs at once is a common trait in Russian propaganda.

Moreover, propaganda websites republishing the same content artificially inflate the importance of news and enhance its credibility, since if many portals report on something, it must be important, right?

As a result, Europeans are strongly advised to critically evaluate not just what they read, but also where it came from, in the week leading up to the European Parliament elections. The more outlandish the claim, the more likely it is to have Moscow’s fingerprints on it


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