The Pro-Russian Disinformation Campaign in the Czech Republic And Slovakia
Types Of Media Spreading Pro-Russian Propaganda, Their Characteristics And Frequently Used Narratives By Ivana Smoleňová at the Prague Security Studies Institute
A very good bit of content analysis, focused primarily on Kremlin Trolls in their role as subversives within Czech Republic and Slovakia. If we are doing counterintelligence, then on a troll-by-troll basis we would want to look at those trolls who bridge local Czech/Slovak issues and broader anti-NATO, anti-EU, anti-USA activities. Those bridging links will be the genuine agents of the Kremlin. You can be sure they are there - I've done enough looking at the scene in Czech Republic and Slovenia to confirm that. Note for example how aeronet.cz can be traced to Russia.
So don't be a slacker. Actually go and read the report. It's only 18 pages, and you are sure to find something you can apply to your own situation.
Finally, for the slackers, here are the Summary Findings:
- In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the pro- Russian disinformation campaign originates from multiple sources: numerous pro-Russian websites, informal groups and communities on social media, several printed periodicals, radio broadcasts, and non-governmental organizations. Their pro-Kremlin messages are amplified through extensive social media activity, and through the organization of public events and gatherings.
- Common characteristics of the pro-Kremlin media and websites in CR and SR are as follows:
- They claim no allegiance to Kremlin;
- Send very similar messages and use similar arguments;
- Are strongly anti-Western, most frequently targeting the United States, Ukraine and the West in general;
- To lesser extent, are Pro-Kremlin and pro-Putin;
- Heavily use conspiracy theories, combining facts and half-truths;
- Have negative undertones, usually depicting moral, economic, political and social degradation and predicting a bleak future, including the collapse or clash of civilizations;
- Frequently use loaded language and emotionally charged words, stories and pictures;
- re interconnected and supported by various public personalities that give the campaign both credibility and public visibility.
- The advent of the pro-Kremlin media and organizations in these two countries predates 2014, as many were founded in 2013 or earlier, but their rhetoric and activities hardened and intensified with the crises in Ukraine.
- Their motives, origins and organizational and financial structures remain, in most cases, unknown. To date, all efforts by investigative journalists or activists have only resulted in finding dubious links and facts, but no direct proof of Russian involvement. [Note by Weisburd: As seen in the aeronet.cz case, this is not correct. With sufficient resources and capabilities, the links to Russia can and will be seen. More to the point, if in the course of investigating such activity you feel like you're dealing with front companies involved in criminal deception, that is because in many cases you are. Most people don't go to such lengths to deceive and cover their trails.]
- The lack of transparency is one of their strongest assets, as any accusation of ulterior motives is depicted as an attempt to suppress ‘alternative opinions‘ and any challenger is branded ‘America‘s propaganda puppet.‘
- The most important role of these new pro- Kremlin media, and especially their social media channels, is that they facilitate vivid platforms where like-minded criticism and discontent can be shared and, to the Kremlin’s benefit, spread and amplified.
- The goal of the pro-Russian campaign is to shift public opinion against its own democratic institutions and foreshadow a world where the United States intents to overrun the globe, every West-leaning politician is corrupt, all media outlets not of their persuasion are biased and the future is bleak, hopeless and full of conflict. In such a world, Russia emerges as both the savior and moral authority, the guarantor of political stability and peace.