April 12, 2024 | ARD-faktenfinder

Pro-Kremlin disinformation actors laundering information through fake journalists ahead of European elections

ISD Senior Analyst, Julia Smirnova, spoke to German public broadcaster ARD about recent tactics utilised by pro-Kremlin disinformation actors ahead of the European elections, including putting information out through fake journalists and amplifying polarising topics. “The most important goal of Russian influence campaigns is to undermine support for Ukraine in Western countries,” Julia said.

One of the tactics used to discredit Ukraine is laundering information through fictitious journalist personas. “In recent months, it has become more common for fictitious journalists to write about supposedly explosive research on social media, with claims being picked up by pro-Russian websites and channels,” she said, noting the example of the claim of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky was buying luxury yachts with aid money.

Russia has also been working to amplify polarising topics in European countries in order to destabilise democratic institutions ahead of the elections to the European Parliament. “New tactics are being tried out time and again, including with the help of artificial intelligence,” Julia said.