The Menace of Unreality: How the Kremlin Weaponizes Information, Culture and Money

Pomerantsev, Peter; Weiss, Michael

• The Kremlin exploits the idea of freedom of information to inject disinformation into society. The effect is not to persuade (as in classic public diplomacy) or earn credibility but to sow confusion via conspiracy theories and proliferate falsehoods.
• The Kremlin is increasing its “information war” budget. RT, which includes multilingual rolling news, a wire service and radio channels, has an estimated budget of over $300 million, set to increase by 41% to include German- and Frenchlanguage channels. There is increasing use of social media to spread disinformation and trolls to attack publications and personalities.
• Unlike in the Cold War, when Soviets largely supported leftist groups, a fluid approach to ideology now allows the Kremlin to simultaneously back far-left and far-right movements, greens, anti-globalists and financial elites. The aim is to exacerbate divides and create an echo chamber of Kremlin support. • The Kremlin exploits the openness of liberal democracies to use the Orthodox Church and expatriate NGOs to further aggressive foreign policy goals.