The web has been circulating thousands of false claims as the war in Ukraine continues. Staged attacks, old pictures, and manipulated videos surfaced. There was a great deal of expectation that Russia would have beaten Ukraine early on due to its experience in propaganda.
The influence of Russian deceptive operations has been global for a long time. You could recall the Russian propagandist role to convey nationalistic, as well as pro-Assad messages during the Syrian Civil War, the troll farms that favoured Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential election in the US.
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What about the Russian state-owned media, Sputnik, a news agency which published manipulated satellite images of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 downing, released by the Russian Ministry of Defence.
Russia has intensified international propaganda efforts targeting Africa, Asia, and the Arab world during the invasion of Ukraine. Several international media have debunked some misinformation and disinformation about the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Interestingly, Russia has consistently censored media to maintain the fiction of a “special military operation” rather than an invasion, projecting the narrative as ridding Ukraine of Nazis and fascists.
In the information ecosystem, Russia has operationalized the concept of a perpetual adversarial competition by fostering a disinformation and propaganda ecosystem to strategically to advance its Kremlin’s policy goals.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s western efforts also extend to NATO countries (particularly Germany) to deceits from patronizing Putin’s oil and gas. This bid is to get the West to declare total economic war on Russia.
With the power of Zelensky’s persuasive speeches, the revenue generated from oil and gas represents a large tranche of Russian GDP. This means an embargo could force Russia to cease fire within months, as it loses the resources needed to finance its war effort.
By using information warfare to fight a war of necessity, Ukraine is demonstrating a sense of moral authority while Kremlin, however, aims to rebuild the Soviet empire that was shattered after the cold war.
Kabir Abdulsalam writes from Abuja