The dissemination of disinformation is one Russia’s most important and frequently used weapons. It is an easy, inexpensive way to destabilize governments and sow doubts within a population. The Government of Russia has developed a disinformation and propaganda ecosystem that creates and spreads false narratives in support of the Kremlin’s goals. Any and every event or policy around the globe may be weaponized through lies and distortion.
Lately, this has particularly been true of Ukraine. The attacks reached a crescendo in late 2021 and early 2022, as Russia prepared to invade Ukraine. “We [saw] a significant effort to push propaganda against Ukraine, NATO, and the United States,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“That includes malign social media operations, the use of overt and covert online proxy media outlets, the infection of disinformation into TV and radio programming, hosting conferences designed to influence attendees into falsely believing that Ukraine – not Russia – is at fault for heightened tensions in the region, and the leveraging of cyber operations to deface media outlets and conduct ‘hack and release’ operations – that is, hacking, and then releasing private data and communications.”
The only way we can counter act disinformation, propaganda and distortion of facts is by telling the truth: refuting disinformation claims before they can take hold, correcting misperceptions after they have become established, and exposing agents and proxies of disinformation to discredit their false claims.
This is what the United States and our allies have done to counter Russia’s propaganda against Ukraine. “We saw a staged political theater in Moscow — outlandish and baseless claims that Ukraine was about to invade and launch a war against Russia, that Ukraine was prepared to use chemical weapons, that Ukraine committed a genocide — without any evidence,” said President Joe Biden. So, “We’ve been transparent with the world.”
“ We’ve shared declassified evidence about Russia’s plans and cyberattacks and false pretexts so that there can be no confusion or cover-up about what Putin was doing.”
The declassification and release to the public of intelligence about Russia’s plans was an unprecedented move that blunted Vladimir Putin’s attempts to establish a misleading pretext for his premeditated, unprovoked, and unjustified war against Ukraine.
“There is truth and there are lies. Lies told for power and for profit,” said President Biden. “And each of us has a duty and responsibility, … to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.”