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Russia is using major European events to spread propaganda

06 May, 2024
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Russia is using major European events to spread propaganda

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Russia is attempting to weaken Europe by spreading disinformation and narratives beneficial to it. The goal is to sow internal distrust and block Western support for Ukraine. Russia is and plans to further use any major events in EU countries for spreading its propaganda, reports Yle

Despite disinformation being a constant threat, the period one month before European elections is particularly crucial, experts note. It is likely that Russia will seek to use major events in May, such as the Eurovision Song Contest and the Ice Hockey World Championship, as platforms for its propaganda activities.

Russia will also be interested in the football championship in Germany and the Olympics in France.

An example of Russian propagandists using major events to spread disinformation is the campaign on Latvian social media platforms, which researchers have noticed.

It all started with a group of Latvian hockey players participating in a tournament organized by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kazan. The players' participation sparked widespread condemnation in Latvia, and the Latvian Hockey Federation banned them from playing.

Platform X suddenly became inundated with thousands of bots expressing a different point of view. The bots defended the hockey players and demanded to "separate sports from politics." A common feature among all the bots was their use of weak Latvian language in their messages.

This was the most extensive bot attack in Latvian ever detected, stated Max Arhippainen, Head of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga.

 

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