Russian propagandists do not neglect the use of outright lies and speculation to psychologically "process" the audience and are not ashamed to spread absolutely insane theories, but at the same time do not notice that such an obvious and brazen falsity of their messages turns all their efforts into absurdity. Such a conclusion was reached in another weekly review of disinformation directed against the European audience by the authors of EUvsDisinfo, which is published in Brussels under the auspices of the European External Action Service.
"Dealing with disinformation is often psychologically draining – both for its creators as well as for those fighting against it. To be constantly immersed in lies and distortive half-truths, unmoored from reality, takes a toll on us all. This is why it is sometimes refreshing to highlight how absurd, even laughable, pro-Kremlin disinformation can be. Like the claim that Facebook uses Ukrainian Nazis to fight Russia. Or that the US and Ukraine are plotting to bomb Siberia. Or that the US will turn Crimea into a nuclear desert. Let's take a look at some of this week's most outrageous cases," the article reads.
"NATO is an aggressive coronavirus of capitalism"
That pro-Kremlin disinformation consistently portrays NATO as an aggressive project of US imperialism is of course well known – but to describe it as a "militaristic coronavirus of capitalism directed against global progress" is another level of venomous nonsense. Perhaps this is the pro-Kremlin media's way of expressing frustration that NATO's principle of collective defense is highly "infectious", and has an enduring appeal especially to countries that suffered under Soviet imperialism. This is a position the pro-Kremlin media is incapable of acknowledging, and instead chooses to repeat the discredited lie that the West promised Moscow NATO wouldn't expand eastward.
"Kyiv agrees to carry out genocide of Ukrainian citizens in exchange for IMF loans"
According to the article, demonizing Ukraine is one of the most stalwart elements of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign, which has no shame in making egregiously false claims like that Ukrainian government officials agreed with the IMF to reduce the national population to 10 million people. In addition to being genocidal, Kyiv is also portrayed as petty as cruel – allegedly confiscating the apartments and cars of people who do not want to join an attack on Donbas.
"It's hard to fathom that anyone could be persuaded by such blatant fabrications, but the pro-Kremlin media seems to think it's worth investing in such absurd content. Ukraine is supposedly a fake country, a colony of the US Democratic Party, and/or a puppet state fully controlled by George Soros," the review reads.
According to the authors, pro-Kremlin outlets also regularly complain about social media policies designed to curb harmful content and increase transparency, claiming that they amount to censorship and even persecution of Russian users. Facebook's decision to label state-controlled media has not been well received, and the pro-Kremlin media is taking out its anger by claiming that Facebook's moderation and fact-checking efforts are apparently controlled by Soros, "Ukrainian Nazis," "Baltic gays," and other undesirables.
All such assumptions, obviously, are only the fruit of the sick imagination of Russian propagandists themselves, who have fallen into the psychological trap of their own lies.
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