🎧 Where is Russian Disinformation Headed? (Season 5, Episode 4)
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🎧 Where is Russian Disinformation Headed? (Season 5, Episode 4)

Eva & Daiva @ The Inoculation

Where is Russian Disinformation Headed?
In this episode, we talked to Christiern Santos Rasmussen about the possible future of Russian disinformation tactics. Together with his team he researched how disinformation actors tweak their message for the countries they operate in. For example, in Poland, claiming that Russia only wants peace w…

In this episode, we talked to Christiern Santos Rasmussen about the possible future of Russian disinformation tactics. Together with his team he researched how disinformation actors tweak their message for the countries they operate in. For example, in Poland, claiming that Russia only wants peace would be a hard sell, so these actors double down on anti-EU propaganda.

You can read more about Seymour Hersh’s allegations on the Nordstream sabotage, mentioned in the episode, in Coda Story’s article: https://www.codastory.com/newsletters/seymour-hersh-nord-stream/

Please subscribe to this show on Apple Podcasts, Audible, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or another platform of your choice. Follow us on Facebook as @theinoculation, on Twitter as @TInoculation, and on Instagram as @the_inoculation.


Christiern Santos Rasmussen  0:00
Russian stories about you know, "Russia is innocent, Russia is the good guy, Russia just wants peace"

Eva Schaper  0:27
My name is Eva von Schaper.

Daiva Repeckaite  0:31
And I am Daiva Repeckaite, joining you from Florence.

Eva Schaper  0:35
So who did we just hear?

Daiva Repeckaite  0:37
This week we're talking to Christian Santos Rasmussen, who is a PhD candidate at the European University Institute of Florence. His research is about Russian disinformation. And the way this information actors adapt their messages to different audiences depending on their language history. His focus is on Germany, Poland, and disinformation actors' global outreach in English.

Eva Schaper  1:06
What I also thought was interesting in this interview was that he also talked about Seymour Hersh, the American journalist, calling him I believe, a useful idiot?

Daiva Repeckaite  1:18
It is a term that is being applied to people who are not directly influenced or probably not paid by the information actors, but actually, in their own will, and following their own beliefs, take these talking points, spread them further.

Eva Schaper  1:36
And we talked a bit about disinformation around NordStream, and how he sees disinformation developing in the coming years. At the end of the interview, so basically towards the end of the podcast, he will talk about how he thinks disinformation can be stopped.

Daiva Repeckaite  1:58
If you're interested in how anti vaccine and energy disinformation overlaps, we have an episode and this will link to it in the description.

Eva Schaper  2:06
Okay, excellent. So let's start listening to our interview.

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  2:10
Hi, my name is Christiern Santos Rasmussen. I'm a PhD researcher at the European University Institute where I work on the disinformation and specifically Russian disinformation campaigns. I also do a little bit of Chinese, but Russian disinformation campaigns. So by topics fall into three categories, it's looking at the spread of disinformation, looking at the shapes of information, narratives of strategic narratives that are being pushed, how do they differ between audiences? And then look at, can these be actually countered? We've been looking at how fringe communities consume a lot of Russian disinformation, and how we can try to intervene in those communities and inform them about the quality of the information that they're receiving, and see if that actually changes.

Eva Schaper  2:55
Is this an interest that you've had for a long time? I mean, what brought you to Russian disinformation.

Unknown Speaker  3:00
So I did a internship at a research centre, which was looking at attention economics. So how, you know, talking about for example, you know, the Will Smith slap at the Oscars takes attention away from perhaps more important stuff, such as you could say that the war in Ukraine or a domestic policy is instead of, you know, celebrities fighting on national stage, so that that kind of like interest started pretty early on. And then I started looking at how was Russia actually using this kind of attention strategies to kind of absorb attention from from Western users. So I started like, lingering a little bit into the that got me into it. And then I finished my master's thesis on Russian disinformation campaigns in Eastern Europe and been working on Russian disinformation in for the Danish context to kind of see evaluate Danish policies on it.

Eva Schaper  3:48
If we're talking about Russian disinformation campaigns. I wonder if you could just give our listeners an idea of what a disinformation campaign looks like.

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  3:58
So disinformation, comes out of a, you can say, like a long theoretical tradition within the Russian security apparatus of using information in an offensive way. So I'll keep calling weaponizing information. I don't know if that's necessarily that useful to think about it in that term. But it is about managing information spaces and the information available to specific audiences to influence their decisions in a way that is favourable to you. And overall, it's an effort to kind of manipulate what kind of information is available so that we the audience, are not no longer making informed decision, but perhaps misinformed decision or being misguided. So it is about manipulation. But what does manipulation actually mean? Does it mean that I suddenly believe tomorrow that, you know, Ukraine was attacking Russia, and this is therefore the reason why the whole war started? No, it means because a lot of Russian disinformation content actually does this is trying to kind of push at existing I doubt that I have. So for example, like Ukraine being a "Nazi state". So the Azov battalion was affiliated with Nazism. So that kind of like already exists within my knowledge. And by pushing that button on and on and on, and I suddenly start to believe that I started to or you can say, like, my inclinations are being enforced.

Eva Schaper  5:24
So if I were to think about a disinformation campaign, is it fair to say there's somebody somewhere in Russia sitting in a room? Thinking about stories? And what are the outlets that they use, let's say, in Europe, and all over the world?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  5:41
You can think of it like different tranches of actors, you can have someone who was very connected to, to the Kremlin. So for example, Kremlin came out, I think it's two days ago, now saying, "Oh, we found an antenna close to the NordStream to pipeline blow-up. And this confirms the Seymour Hersh story about that it was the US behind. So that came from such high top that it kind of it kind of looks like this was this, is this some information that comes from or is curated from the Kremlin. So that's a bit closer, then you can think of it like so you have those who are connected directly to the Kremlin. So that would be you know, whatever the press office from there saying, there is some research, who indicates that the Kremlin has regular meetings with media outlets in both in Russia, but also outside of our, So Russia today and Sputnik, for example, where are they being given, "So this is kind of what we want you guys to talk about." Then we start to look into, like, people who are affiliated, but not directly, like, necessarily controlled by Russia. So this would be reporters who present themselves as independent, but have a very, very pro-Russian bias. And they know more or less what they're doing. And then you can go into and call them what used to be called the useful idiots. One could argue that Seymour Hersh has played that role with his analysis on the NordStream, too, because he claimed that this is this is the US, however, his story of how this was actually how this actually happened is full of holes, there's a lot of like errors in it, whether he's aware that he's eating Russian disinformation, we don't know. But he is, and he is being used a lot in Russian media. So you can kind of think of it like the Kremlin at the centre, and then you have more and more tranches down towards people born have no idea what they're doing. So yeah, you can say there's someone in Russia who's sitting and cooking up all of these stories, but I think it would be a very simplified description of it.

Eva Schaper  7:36
So if we look at Seymour Hersh, what we would say he's just been reporting and I actually find Seymour Hersh really shocking, because he was a journalistic hero to so many people. So is he just not doing his reporting? Is he being fed information? Do we have any idea of what the exact mechanics are?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  7:56
We have no idea what kind of information he is being fed. When we look at other reporters, there's a guy called Patrick Lancaster and a guy called Philip Grahams who are a UK and a US citizen, they give them a lot of access to eastern Ukraine. And it's heavily curated. So when they they go, and they talk to a Russian soldiers who are very, very clear about what they're about the message that they're given. Philip Grahams was allowed to interview one of the prisoners of war who, a UK prisoner that the Russians caught in Azovstal, he's given, you know, very, very exclusive access. And when you look at the content, it's very, very well polished. So you can say there is a feeding of the information going on. Whether Seymour Hersh has been been fed information or simply has just miss misunderstood or like for all, because we still don't know what happened at NordStream two, he might have been been been right. We don't know. But there's just a lot of errors in his story, which indicates that he's not. So there's differences in like, we can't say that Seymour Hersh is, is a Russian stooge. But we can say he aids a narrative. And he helps with that narrative of, of Russia being innocent and all of this.

Daiva Repeckaite  9:08
So we know already that there are strategic narratives that Russia or Russian actors that are pushing. And then we also know that there's a kind of curation, as you were saying, giving some people access and maybe showing them look, there's a whistleblower who wants to give you some important information. But what what you mentioned before that, I think is important as some kind of strategic distraction. And maybe you could talk a bit more about it.

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  9:39
Yeah, sure. Attention Economy. This is about driving attention away from from different stuff. One example could be, but it's not a great example. But one example could be before the invasion of Ukraine. Russia was continuously denying that it had any soldiers near the Ukrainian border. Instead, they very aggressively pushed stories of Ukraine bombing civilian targets. So there was a, for example, like kindergarten in Donbass, who was, was constantly referred to, and it was, it was being pushed on all of the major. So we had to put, you had RT, you had South Front, Strategic Culture who shared this story. And there was an attempt to divert our attention away from Russian soldiers at Ukrainian border to Ukraine, attacking civilians. That story, however, it turned out not to be true.

Eva Schaper  10:31
And if we take a look at the paper, I think, or the talk that you held recently, could you sum that up?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  10:37
So the paper tries to look at what kind of narratives are being pushed in Germany, Poland, and in English. And we did find a difference between them. So what we did was we looked on an aggregate level of what kind of stories were being pushed, like, overall. And then we went in depth on a NordStream two to see how was that being portrayed. And interestingly enough, then you can talk again about these because attention dynamics, what we found works for Sputnik. Sputnik didn't have an article in German on NordStream to until around 2000-, I think it's 20. So that's where the external diplomatic pressure from both the US and from some Eastern European countries, such as Poland, for example, became too big. And Ukraine, of course, became became so big that they could no longer ignore it. But there was an interest in keeping it absolutely out of the agenda. Until up until that, whereas in the early, early 2015, you had a lot of them in English. And you also had already back in 2014, in Polish, there was an attempt to shape a narrative earlier in Poland, and in Global English speaking narrative or audience, when there wasn't Germany, you can see some kind of a difference in initial focus, we ended up finding that there were some differences in what kind of narratives were being pushed overall. So for example, in Poland, because of Polish, you could call it, historical trauma of Soviet occupation. Also, the history of the outbreak of World War Two, there's the hostility and Polish we'd get cold audiences towards Russian and Russian narratives. They had to deal with that. So they would be focusing on historic revisionism telling you that, you know, this whole deal is fictitious, it's lies and Polish government is conducting a war on history against against Russia, in Germany, there wasn't there isn't that hostility to it, instead, there would be a much more emphasis on, you know, Russia is just being bullied and being attacked vigorously by by the West, all of these accusations are lies. There were a few differences. They're looking at NordStream two, it was kind of interesting to see how, for example, like the EU would play different roles. In the in the English narrative, which is targeting like global audience, primarily an American and a UK audience. It was all about like, the EU was a victim of us aggression, because the US wants to stop NordStream two. So all the sanctions against NordStream two were described as a, you know, as a violation of European sovereignty.

Eva Schaper  13:13
I clearly remember that, I clearly remember that. And I can't even say that I thought it was that wrong.

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  13:18
So probably the problem of thinking of disinformation as either true or wrong, is it it doesn't really, it gives a lot of ground to you could say the disinformation actors because there's a grey... so there's always something that is more true than something else. There's something that is kind of an interpretation, some of this just, you know, partial facts, partial truth. So when it comes to, came to the NordStream two, there was a lot of like, it was kind of easy to make this claim of the US, like bulldozing Europe, in in the in the Polish narrative, there wasn't really that much attention to the EU. And in the German, it completely flipped and the EU was in cahoots with the US it was an anti-Russian actor who's trying to disrupt the whole process and was actually also kind of like, you know, infringing on German sovereignty. There's an interesting, like, how that actor played different roles in the narrative to kind of like spread and the reason why the EU was portrayed as an as an, you know, an antagonist was during the couple of years of NordStream two, the was debate whether NordStream two was actually in violation of EU monopoly laws because Gazprom owns NordStream to also owns the gas that that goes through the pipeline and the pipeline itself. So that was in violation with whose anti-monopoly law so there was a, there was a they had to recertify their their operation. And that whole process was in the German narrative that splitting was pushing being interpreted as an attack from Brussels. So that kind of shows you that little bit of the difference.

Eva Schaper  15:01
Do you do you, do you think that there is just a reservoir, I'm gonna say, of pro-Russian sentiment in Germany?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  15:09
I think there is. Okay, so first of all, there has been a growing, like, increase in, in fringe communities in Germany, it's so we did another study on fringe communities in Western Europe, Germany has quite a lot of so already their fringe communities are people who usually consume a lot of misinformation, who believe a lot of conspiracy theories, Germany is a big country. So there, there was a big, there was a big audience who would be kind of accepting of these narratives of conspiracy theories to targeting the US. So that might be one thing, I also think that there is a historic difference in that the German the German interpretation, or the German story of World War Two is one of accepting total responsibility of, of the war, which also means that everyone who were fighting you was basically a good guy. So with with the Russian army, the Russian army is seen as liberators in the Germans', in a German narrative. In the Polish narrative, they're not, they're just seen as you know, a new occupy, occupier. So there you have two very, very different approaches to Russia to to Russian narratives, pro-Russian narrative, Russian stories about you know, Russia is innocent Russia, is the good guy, Russia just wants peace. It's a hard sell in Poland, it's an easier sell in Germany for that reason. I also think, especially now, during the war in Ukraine, there is a culture of pacifism. And, and a culture of, of not of anti-war in, in Germany, that has been very, very beneficial. So again, it's not necessarily about convincing you as an audience of a message, it's making you flip your opinion completely. But it's also about, you know, pushing the right buttons. And there you have it, you have a lot more buttons to press in Germany than you have in Poland.

Daiva Repeckaite  17:12
Now, I was also thinking about what you said in the talk with that, in a way Sputnik and other pro-Russian outlets, or Russia-linked outlets, take a stance on each country's elites. And they try to promote a certain position thinking they are speaking to certain audiences that are already unhappy. So maybe you could expand on that what kind of image are these disinformation outlets portraying?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  17:43
The problems for a lot of Russian disinformation is that not every elite Europe is interested in buying into their narratives. So they tend to go after or tend to have kept connections, both like financially supporting parties, but also just giving more airtime to populist and far-right parties, because they're in opposition to the established parties who are more pro-American than they are pro-Russian. So that's why they have to go to you can say, like, people on the extremes or on the fringes of the political spectrum, where this is kind of obvious is during the last German Bundestag election  for parliament, Russia Today, and Sputnik would give a lot of airtime to Alternative für Deutschland, the far far right party in Germany would be very, very, like, talk a lot about their politics also talk about issues related to their politics. So for example, very much on immigration, they would push a lot on, on anti immigration stories, and they would be very critical towards the Green Party, because the Green Party has been opposing very adamantly NordStream two, but it also took a much more anti or yet anti-Russian political stance when they came into government in that sense, they are according to a some some domestic elites, but but a problem is, you know, we have, especially in Western Europe, a very pro-, pro-American view, in general. And that's seen as, you know, a direct threat by Russia, because it still operates in this, you know, anti big basically a cold war mentality of if you're again, if you're not with us, you're you're you're against us.

Eva Schaper  19:27
And if we if we're looking at the fringe groups that you're talking about, if we look at Germany, for example, is there anyone on the left?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  19:34
So interestingly, just before before this, this podcast, I was looking at how often Tino Chrupalla, like, the leader of AfD, would pop up on interviews on RT and Sputnik. And he gives a lot of interviews to RT and Sputnik, which is kind of interesting because both of those platforms had been banned in Europe, so his primary audience in Germany isn't necessary, didn't have access to it unless they use you know, VPN or other kind of like points of access. So that's kind of interesting. He's been pushing a lot of that then I do the same to look at you know, Die Linke and you know, Sahra Wahenknecht, she doesn't appear that often but her rally for for peace, I think was couple weeks ago, does appear and it comes up and there you have, like so they up there you take, or they – Sputnik and RT – will take, you know, snippets of interview she gave to other newspapers and kind of like insert and use, use them to kind of like, you know, fill out, fill out an article, so there isn't that much of attention to, you know, Die Linke as one might believe. However, when you look at, you know, previous disinformation campaigns in Eastern Europe there has been a tendency of drawing on, you know, former communist network. So the successors of the Communist Party in Eastern Europe have been, you know, very, very helpful. So there you have some kind of connections. I think, I think it's, there's been a lot of focus on on the far right, in the literature in general, but also like in journalists' investigation, and, you know, independent research, non-academic research, if we can call it that, not that, you know, it belittles it or anything, but there's been a lot of focus on the far, far right. And I think one of the reasons is that the far right has co-opted a lot of, again, conspiracies and, and stories that are that make them more vulnerable to believe a new conspiracy. But, again, it's, you can use it, you can press on a lot of buttons, you can also press on a lot of button buttons on the left. One example is during the 2016, US parliamentarian presidential election and the last one here in 2022, Russian disinformation campaigns and like botnets, and media outlets would actually target the Black Lives Matter movement, and by, like, pushing stories of saying, "oh, you know, all, every police officer is a racist, and this is an inherently racist country. Why? Why should you vote? This is just, you know, ridiculous, they're never going to be with you." It was also like, tapping into frustrations that are, you know, inherently legitimate. In the US, just as easy as you can tap into a frustration of being disenfranchised and having lost, you know, a, lost in in the globalism race, since you can still like tap into frustration, just like doing that. And there's frustrations all across the board.

Daiva Repeckaite  22:34
But are the left-wing actors responding as enthusiastically to this? In short, are they amplifying? Are they giving interviews at all?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  22:43
So, so we have to look at like, every campaign by itself, right? So there's been a study on the MH 17 downing the MH17, which has ended up being proven that they were it was a Russian separatists in in the Donbass who shut it down. And Russia's, like sent a lot of stories out saying this is absolutely a lie. It was the, it was the Ukrainians who shut them down. It's it it wasn't us. Those stories trended more among conservative users on Twitter. So the conservative users would engage more with it. But that's just one story. When you look at the right now, for example, the entire peace movement, there's a lot on the left, that we haven't there hasn't been any, as far as I know, an in-depth study of it. But I believe that there's definitely going to be a just as big a resonance in the far, in the far left, than there is going to be on the far right, because it speaks into narrative, which has been part of the left for a very long time – anti war, peace movement, also a tendency of anti-Americanism in in the far left.

Eva Schaper  23:53
Do you have any indication of how this is going to continue to develop? And I think one thing that you mentioned in the beginning was, what can we actually do? How can we actually not necessarily stop, but how can we reach these fringe groups and alert them to the dangers of disinformation?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  24:14
So those are two very big questions. So in terms of what's going to happen, like so there's different things that can happen like, so when you talk about disinformation campaigns, you can talk about, you know, the content that has been created, and then you know, how it's being being shared, and how, you know, whether it actually works. I think when it comes to the content, it's, it's going to be of the same playbook because it's not really that new and revolutionary, the distribution is, I think that's where it's going to be more interesting. So the EU banned Russia Today and Sputnik, Russia Today and Sputnik were core platforms in Russian disinformation campaigns. They they would be amplified by other platforms, by other platforms, they would be you know, redirected to where to get all the reference to doing that. Russia had to readjust its campaigns. And I think it's going to readjust in a way that's probably going to be more lasting. First, first of all, they, they, they admitted that, you know, it's not going to be that easy to reach audiences. So I think they focused on which audiences were more interesting. They had to shut down a lot of editorial offices all over Europe. However, they maintained a German and Italian and French version, which I think speaks to what is being prioritised. So that there's one thing about, like, focusing on the audience is actually count on a more global scale, but also meant saying, "okay, Europe is not our primary market, our primary market is Africa, South America, and Asia." So one interesting example is that Sputnik just created a new platform on India, focusing on Indian domestic politics, they've had a presence in Asia and Central Asia for a very, very long time. But they really started to promote, and they have like a Telegram for India only, which is kind of interesting as well. And even though like, because they... for a while, the entire system collapsed. But it is so slowly started to rebuild. And it's been rebuilding in different ways. So one way is to shift traffic from Russia Today's Facebook account to host, to hosts, their radio shows and TV shows. So a lot of the TV shows on Russia Today and some of the radio shows from Sputnik still have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. And you can use their their accounts to kind of spread the same content, a lot of those will also have, you know, pinned at the top, "please go to these platforms" where the Russia Today is still active and kind of redirect the traffic to that. Another thing in terms of distributing is starting to use more, you can say, modern platforms. As you know, Russia today and Sputnik were kind of emulating the CNN and BBC as a 24-hour news networks, both Russia and China have been using a lot more influencers lately, in Germany, you have Alina Lipp, who is an Instagramer influencer, who, you know, mixes up nice photos of a beautiful Russian landscape with her being in Donbass and saying, "Oh, look at how terrible the Ukrainians are treating the civilians. And this is, you know, this is a bombed out house." So they're your kind of like adapting and taking a more modern take, because it's more younger viewers who follow that. So taking on more, you know, more modern and more like less traditional media personalities and trying to use them. So they're, I think there's a shift towards instead of, you know, broadcasting going into micro casting and like focusing on influencers with, you know, a more interesting audience. Another thing in terms of redistributing is, after the, or during COVID, because we censored so vigorously on on traditional social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. There was a there was an audience who had to move over to alternatives and those alternative platforms suddenly got a much bigger user base. So Rumble, Bitchute, Odyssey, those platforms that grew out of a lot of glory grew up, grew out of the COVID pandemic, have kind of started to be co opted by Russian disinformation actors. So Russian disinformation actors would usually have a presence on Twitter, but also on Rumble, on Odyssey. Russia Today keeps an active profile on both, Rumble and Odyssey and redirect all their traffic towards that because they know they there it's accessible to two countries or audiences in Europe. One platform which would war has become absolute central is Telegram and in research, especially academic research, we've had an extreme focus on Twitter. If that's not really your primary audience, why why invest in Twitter looking into these other platforms is going to be much more important because they are going to be the new platforms that are that are interesting. Gor China, this is all about TikTok. There are some Russian like disinformation actors who who are active on TikTok but it's it's they've been more focused on, you know, Instagram, they're more focused on Telegram, Telegram is huge.

Eva Schaper  29:32
How can let's just say European or other global democracies, what can we do? Is there some kind of solution or is it just, you know, it's only going to get worse from here?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  29:45
I think there are two ways to go about this. One of them is censorship and the other is counter speech, counter narrative. And you can do both of them badly and could do both of them in a more like intelligent way. I think the the censorship, the effort to censor Russian disinformation on large social media platforms is going to backfire in the long run, it's gonna give, you know, in the short run some benefits, because you know that the broad audience who were not active on these fringe – because they're still fringe platforms like they it's not normal to have an Odyssey account, it's not normal to have a Rumble account, it's starting to be a little bit more, you know, normal to have a Telegram account. And I think I think it's like, especially in Eastern Europe, it was always like kind of a thing to use Telegram, but but shutting down on these platforms is going to move, you're just gonna move it towards another platform where that platform is going to have a user base, which is more vulnerable, more susceptible to these narratives. I think one of the more interesting things from from this war has been Ukrainian communication. The Ukrainians are also like pushing something propaganda. They're also like, you know, what do you call it? I wouldn't call it disinformation, because I think there's actually a lot of truth in what they're saying. But it is sometimes cherry-picking of reality, right? But it's counter-speech. And we've seen like Ukraine's has actually been very, very effective in pushing back on Russian narratives. And I think that is probably a strategy that Europe could go forward with. This is not to say, I'm not advocating to start revamp the propaganda departments from the Cold War, but acknowledging that, you know, providing, providing a narrative, a counter narrative to Russia is very, very important. And it's very important to keep, to make sure that, you know, the stories and, and facts that don't really fit into Russia, Russia's narrative actually come up. So we need to create, or we need to be better at providing narratives, which are, first of all, factual. And it's factual, because it's easier to you know, to tell tell the truth than maintain a lie, because then you have to keep, like making up lies. And you have to be extremely detailed, instead of like, telling the truth, which everyone else can verify. And this is one of the things that I think the Ukrainians have been doing really pretty well is that, you know, when they say, this attack happened here, you have an entire community of open source intelligence analysts who can actually find the videos and verify that this actually happened. And I think that is probably a way to, to counter it. So one of the things we did in an experiment was to see what happens if we tell fringe communities, that that that what they're consuming here is, you know, is problematic for these reasons. So we debunked some of their claims. And they actually worked, and people would actually listen to it and stop consuming that that source of disinformation. So counter speech can work. And I think we should probably acknowledge that a bit more, and vamp up our, you know, communication strategies, both both domestically and abroad, I think domestically have been quite effective. We still have in Europe, at least a, you know, growing, or not growing, but we had maintained a quite large support for, for Ukraine, which kind of indicates that, you know, public communication from governments have been effective in doing that.

Daiva Repeckaite  33:19
And just one quick, kind of bonus question. So you you were doing the research for a number of years, have you yourself personally been on the radar of Russian disinformation actors or botnets?

Christiern Santos Rasmussen  33:32
I think I'm too I'm too too small fish for having, you know, experience the big things like Aro from Finland has, like, you know, harrowing tales of her being persecuted by by by Russia and disinformation, actors. And you know, botnets, there's very, it's, like, haven't experienced any of that.

Eva Schaper  33:49
So that was their interview. And what did you think now listening to it again, what did you think was the most interesting thing?

Daiva Repeckaite  33:59
I thought that was very interesting. But he shows how there's this kind of murky zone, in which a lot of different actors are swimming. And then there's a kind of, there's a, and there's a network of actors with different levels of proximity to the Kremlin. And we don't have to see them as having equal power. But actually, they do have a lot of power over their audiences. What I think I would definitely want to follow is the use of filth where it says and the use of this kind of very, very diffused very decentralised media landscape.

Eva Schaper  34:39
Yeah, I agree. I agree. I thought that was interesting. And I have to say, I'm still shocked by the fact that Seymour Hersh, who's a journalistic hero, or one of my journalistic heroes is supposed to be a useful idiot.

Daiva Repeckaite  34:53
Yeah, so as we are recording this, we're there are still no conclusions on on the NordStream sabotage. And so I think that's something to keep in mind for those who are listening to this later and we will see what emerges.

Eva Schaper  35:11
Exactly. And if anything does, you know, if anything does change, of course, we'll add the links to the show note and a transcript will be on our website. And thank you again for listening. And we'll be back with a new episode in two weeks.

Daiva Repeckaite  35:26
In the meantime, you can find this on social media, not on Telegram, but on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. See you in two weeks. Bye for now. Bye

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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