Disinformation and Propaganda: How Russia Reverses Reports of International Media

PeopleDiplomats ♦ Published: February 14, 2022; 22:58 ♦ (Vindobona)

The Russian Foreign Ministry has claimed that Western media is spreading disinformation to unfairly paint Russia as an aggressor towards Ukraine. Read how Russia manipulates Western media sources to create its own narrative.

Russian Foreign Ministry: "In essence, the Western media have been carrying out a political order from their governments." / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Holger.Ellgaard, CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

The Russian Foreign Ministry recently published an article claiming that Western media outlets are spreading disinformation regarding Russian aggression towards Ukraine.

They claim that Western media is publishing “fake news” and unfairly painting Russia as the aggressor in the current situation.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, “In essence, the Western media have been carrying out a political order from their governments. They are disseminating false information in a well-orchestrated effort and taking part in a full-scale information war.”

The article then goes on to misleadingly provide multiple examples of the alleged disinformation by quoting articles from reputable sources out of context and playing on semantics.

One example of this is a quote from a Washington Post article by David Ignatius.

The Russian Foreign Ministry writes,  “In his Washington Post article published on January 25, David Ignatius writes as follows: “Russian missiles and jets will likely strike targets deep inside Ukraine, and Kyiv will respond by trying to kill as many Russian soldiers near the border as it can, as quickly as possible.”

Here, they try to capitalize on his use of the word “likely” to make it seem as though Mr. Ignatius is arguing that an invasion is very probable.

However, if one reads Mr. Ignatius’s article, then they will see that two sentences earlier (the first sentence of the article) he says, “The Ukraine war, if it comes, won’t be short — or cargo-free.”

From the very first sentence of the article, it is entirely clear that Mr. Ignatius is writing about a hypothetical situation, thanks to the phrase “if it comes.”

Another example that the Russian Foreign Ministry uses to try to prove that the Western Media is creating a false narrative is from an article out of the United Kingdom.

The foreign ministry writes, “The UK media frequently churn out ‘invasion’ reports using the same rhetoric as their colleagues in NATO – using words such as imminent (Daily Mirror, February 5, 2022, Dan Warburton: “More than 100 members of Britain’s elite special forces have been sent to Ukraine amid fears a Russian invasion is imminent”).”

While the article’s title does use the word “imminent,” it does not say that an invasion is imminent but rather that there are fears that an invasion is imminent. This is a minor but important distinction.

Additionally, in Mr. Warburton’s article, he cites intelligence reports to provide the reader with the reason why some people fear invasion is imminent.

“Russia has started equipping dozens of military field hospitals close to its border with Ukraine, fuelling fears of an imminent invasion,” he wrote.

The Russian Foreign Ministry’s article goes on to do this to countless sources from the US, the UK, Germany, France, Poland, and various other Western-aligned countries.

Russian Foreign Ministry