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Disinformation Crisis News

12 July 2017

Social Networking Sites to Remove Incendiary Comments or Face Hefty Fines Under New Russian Legal Proposals

A bill has been submitted to the Russian Parliament which would require social networks and messenger services to remove defamatory statements or comments deemed to promote “war or national, racial and religious strife. Read More

11 July 2017

Russian and Georgian Orthodox Churches Mull Restoration of Monarchy

Two branches of the Orthodox Church have ignited debate in Georgia and Russia about the possibility of restoring each country’s royal family. In the middle of a recent sermon, the head of Georgia’s Orthodox church said that a constitutional monarchy would bring “peace” to Georgia, an idea that was soon after echoed by a high-ranking church official in Moscow who said that the Russian Orthodox Church would play an “active role” in any discussion about restoring Russia’s royal family. Read More

6 July 2017

Moscow Times: Russian Pokemon Go Blogger Has Sentence Reduced

22-year-old Russian blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky has had his sentence reduced after being found guilty for offending the religious feelings of believers for posting a video of himself playing Pokemon Go in an Orthodox Cathedral, the Moscow Times reports. Read More

23 June 2017

CBC: Anti-Canada Propaganda Greets Troops in Latvia

As the first wave of Canadian troops leading large-scale NATO exercises in the Baltics arrived in Latvia, Russian-language media warned Latvians that the Canadian military is filled with homosexuals and that Canadians cannot be trusted, reports CBC. Read More

23 June 2017

Russian Artist Arrested for Wearing Virtual Reality Glasses in Public

Russian media and RFE/RL report one of the strangest arrests Russia has ever seen: an artist detained for wearing virtual reality glasses in public. Artist Katrin Nenasheva was detained and taken to a psychiatric hospital after police stopped her from walking around in virtual reality goggles, which coincidentally showed her project about the lives of psychiatric patients in Russia. Read More

22 June 2017

Putin Accidentally Showed Oliver Stone Footage of Americans Fighting in Afghanistan Instead of Russians Attacking Terrorists in Syria

When President Vladimir Putin flaunted military footage on an iPhone in Oliver Stone’s Showtime documentary “The Putin Interviews,” he described the video as Russian “aviation at work” fighting ISIS in Syria. It turns out that the video showed American forces in Afghanistan. Read More

13 June 2017

Hundreds Detained After Anti-Government Protests Sweep Across More Than 100 Russian Cities

Anti-corruption protests erupted in more than 100 cities in Russia on June 12, with close to a thousand protesters detained in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The rally was this year’s second show of seemingly growing popular discontent over corruption in the Russian government. Read More

7 June 2017

CNN: Russian Hackers May Be Behind Planted Fake News that Sparked Qatar Crisis

CNN reports that Russian hackers may have breached Qatar’s state news agency and published a fake news story which attributed false quotations to the nation’s ruler, stirring up the fall out between Qatar and several Gulf states. Read More

5 June 2017

Student Sentenced to Eight and a Half Years for Murder of Gay St. Petersburg Journalist

A court in St Petersburg has sentenced 22-year-old student Sergey Kosyrev to eight-and-a-half years in a penal colony for the murder of Russian journalist Dimitry Tsilikin on the night of March 27, 2016. Read More

4 June 2017

OCCRP: Leaked Intelligence Documents Reveal Russian, Serbian Disinformation Strategy in Macedonia

Russian spies and diplomats ran an organized campaign to provoke political and ethnic discord in Macedonia in an effort to prevent the Balkan country and its neighbors from joining NATO, reported the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP). Leaked Macedonian counterintelligence documents provided the OCCRP with “one of the clearest views yet of Russia’s ongoing efforts to increase influence in the former Yugoslavia and pry the region away from the West.” Read More

1 June 2017

‘Patriotically-Minded’ Russian Hackers May Have Meddled in U.S. Election, Putin Says

President Vladimir Putin said that “patriotically minded” Russian hackers may have been behind the cyberattacks during the 2016 U.S. election, the New York Times reported. While Putin denied any direct involvement from state agencies, his words reverse previous blanket denials that Russia was at all involved in the hacking of the Democratic National Committee or other election meddling. Read More

31 May 2017

Hromadske: Russian Anti-Gay Vigilantes Find New Home in Ukraine

A series of arrests in Ukraine revealed a growing wave of violence against the country’s gay community by anti-gay, and often also far-right, vigilante groups who have links to Russia, reported Hromadske. Russia’s crackdown on its far-right groups which largely acted with impunity before 2014 has led some to resettle in Ukraine and even seek citizenship. Read More

29 May 2017

Director of Moscow’s Ukrainian Library Faces a Suspended Five Year Sentence for Extremism

Russian Librarian Natalya Sharina was arrested in October 2015, at the height of the Russian conflict with Ukraine. The 59-year-old Russian who ran a Ukrainian literature library in Moscow was accused of “inciting hatred” for distributing “extremist” books that are “anti-Russian propaganda,” charges that could lead to up to 10 years in prison. But now, after a two-year house arrest, the prosecution has asked for a suspended five-year sentence. Read More

28 May 2017

RIA Novosti: Head of the Russian Orthodox Church Compared the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage with Nazi-Era Legislation

The head of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill compared same-sex marriage laws adopted by a number of Western countries to Nazi-era legislation in Germany, RIA Novosti reported. In France and other Western European countries, he said, people have protested against these laws just as people did “against fascist legislation and against apartheid legislation, laws that violated morality.” Read More

24 May 2017

New Report Identifies Over 200 Individuals Targeted Internationally by Alleged Russian Phishing Campaign

A report from the University of Toronto’s School of International Affairs identifies over 200 people from 39 countries who were targeted by phishing emails and leaks. This disinformation campaign is “a step forward in Russia’s use of hacking as a weapon of political subversion,” said Mark Galeotti, a senior researcher at the Institute of International Relations in Prague. Read More

24 May 2017

Proposed Legislation Would Ban Anonymous Messenger Services in Russia

A proposed law in Russia would block mobile messenger services which allow users to register anonymously, reported Meduza. The law, if passed, would force messenger apps to verify users through their phone numbers and to also send out compulsory text messages from government agencies on request. This spring the Russian government already banned some messaging services like Zello, Line, Blackberry Messenger and Vchat for not registering with the government’s regulatory body. Read More

16 May 2017

New York Times: Czech President’s Call to Putin to ‘Liquidate’ Journalists Was a Joke, His Office Says

A recording of Czech president Milos Zeman making what appeared to be a joke to Russian President Vladimir Putin about “a need to liquidate” journalists surfaced after a global economics conference this Sunday in Beijing, reported the New York Times. Read More

16 May 2017

Kyiv Post: Ukraine Will Block Access to Popular Russian Social Networks and Search Engine

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko signed a decree blocking access to Russian social networks like Vkontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki as well as to the search engine giant Yandex, reports the Kyiv Post. VK is Ukraine’s most popular social network and Poroshenko has an official account on VK where he posted an announcement of the new law, noting that he will soon be deleting his account. Read More

4 May 2017

‘Homosexuality a Disease’ — St. Petersburg Psychiatric Center Refuses Care to a Gay Patient, Outs Him on Social Media

A St. Petersburg Psychiatric Center refused care to a patient after learning that he was gay and the director of the center Alexander Bronshtein later posted the personal details of the patient on social media with a message that homosexuality is a disease, reported Meduza. Read More

28 April 2017

NewsRU: Russia distributes WWII Victory Ribbons in Damascus

The Kremlin’s media arm Russia Today and local student groups at Damascus University distributed 1,500 orange and black striped ribbons at the university in preparation for the upcoming anniversary of the end of WWII, reports NewsRu. St. George’s Ribbon is Russia’s main symbol of victory over Hitler’s Germany that has more recently also been embraced by “traditional-value” and “anti-Maidan” groups in Russia and by Russian-backed forces in Eastern Ukraine as a symbol of the “Russian World.” Read More

26 April 2017

Moscow Times: Russian TV Passes Off Corrupt Petersburg Entrepreneur as ‘American Journalist’

Russian state television has repeatedly featured a St. Petersburg businessman on programs that falsely portrayed him as an American journalist “Greg Vainer,” reported the Moscow Times. The entrepreneur Gregory Vinnikov was outed by Russian-American journalist Gennady Katsov after he and a fellow Russian reporter recognized Vinnikov on television. Read More

25 April 2017

Novaya Gazeta: Russia’s Chechnya Has at Least Six Secret Prisons for Gays

There are at least six secret prisons in Chechnya used for detaining and torturing men suspected of being gay, according to Russia’s Novaya Gazeta, who broke the story of mass arrests, torture and killings of gay men in the Russian republic. Read More

23 April 2017

Russia Must Resist the Manipulation of WWII History, Says Putin

During an annual session of the Kremlin’s “Victory” committee, Russian President Vladimir Putin cautioned the international community against falsifying and manipulating historical facts, especially concerning World War II. The meeting on Thursday comes three weeks before the seventy-second anniversary of the end of World War II. Read More

17 April 2017

Gays Banned from Shopping at St. Petersburg Store

Gays are banned from shopping at “Water and Salt,” a natural food store opened by German Sterligov, a prominent conservative Orthodox activist in St. Petersburg, Russia. A carved wooden sign that says “Entrance Barred for Faggots” sits at the front of the store, reports Russia’s Afisha. Read More

13 April 2017

Newspaper Staff that Investigated Chechnya’s Vicious Anti-Gay Crackdown Threatened by Russian Republic’s Political Elite, Targeted With Cyber Attack

A cyber attack shut down the website of Russia’s Novaya Gazeta shortly after the independent newspaper announced today that specific journalists and the staff as a whole have been threatened by members of Chechnya’s political elite. Read More

13 April 2017

Foreign Policy: Europe and U.S. Move to Fight Russian Hybrid Warfare

On Tuesday, Finland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, a sign of just how seriously world leaders are taking Moscow’s attempts at destabilizing Europe, reported Foreign Policy. Read More

10 April 2017

A Proposed Law in Russia Would Require All Social Media Users to Register With Their Passports

Russian parliament deputy Vitaly Milonov introduced a new law today that would require all Russian internet users to register with their passport in order to use social media. Read More

6 April 2017

RE:Baltica Investigation Reveals Secret Links Between a Network of Websites and the Kremlin’s Global Propaganda Network

An investigation by Re:Baltica revealed that the Kremlin-funded multimedia conglomerate Rossiya Segodnia (Russia Today) secretly owns several Russian-language sites including Baltnews, which describes itself as an “informative analytical news portal” and has teams in all three Baltic countries. Re:Baltica journalists say that the fact “is obscured by a chain of owners, seemingly designed to make it appear as though Baltnews arose from local organizations.” Read More

5 April 2017

Washington Post: Syria’s Ally Russia Tries to Shift Blame for Devastating Chemical Attack

Russian officials blamed Syrian rebels on Wednesday for a chemical attack which killed scores of people, many of them women and children, and has been widely attributed to the Syrian government, reported the Washington Post. Read More

3 April 2017

Over a Hundred Gay Men Reportedly Rounded Up, In Some Cases Killed, by Police in a Single Region in Russia

Dozens of men suspected of being homosexuals have been rounded up, arrested and in some cases murdered by authorities in the Russian republic of Chechnya, reports the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta and human rights activists. Read More

30 March 2017

UPDATE: Slovakia’s Largest News Agency Withdraws from Partnership with Russia’s Sputnik After Less Than 24-Hours

The Kremlin-funded Sputnik news agency and radio broadcaster signed its first cooperation agreement with Slovakia’s largest news agency TASR. The agencies will exchange English language content as well as develop what Sputnik called “joint projects aiming to strengthen the relations between Russia and Slovakia.” Read More

14 March 2017

Trial Begins for Russian Blogger Who Played Pokemon Go in a Church

The trial of 22-year-old blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky began yesterday in Yekaterinburg. Sokolovsky is accused of extremism and offending religious believers for uploading a video of himself playing Pokemon Go in one of Yekaterinburg’s main cathedrals. Read More

6 March 2017

Young Woman in Russia To Be Released from Prison after Serving Four Months for Sharing a Three-Second Video on Social Media

A court in Russia announced this morning that Evgeniya Chudnovets will be released from prison after serving four months for sharing a three-second video on social media. Read More

27 February 2017

Ukraine Announces an Updated Information Safety Doctrine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed an updated doctrine on information safety on Saturday, defining the government’s main goal as responding to the “destructive informational influence of Russia.” Read More

23 February 2017

Russia Launches a ‘Fake-News Website’ to Combat Inaccurate Coverage from the West

The Russian Foreign Ministry launched a new project aimed at preventing what it calls fake foreign coverage of Russian affairs. The webpage, part of the Foreign Ministry’s website, currently has five screenshot images of articles from several western publications with a superimposed red stamp that reads “FAKE.” Read More

20 February 2017

Snopes Questions Authenticity of Russian Prank Call to Senator McCain and Congresswoman Maxine Waters

A Russian prankster duo known best for impersonating Vladimir Putin on a call to Elton John claimed that they were able to pull a similar trick with two American politicians who are known for their vocal support of Ukraine and condemnation of the Kremlin. Read More

18 January 2017

Court Rules to Extend Arrest of Russian Blogger who Posted Pokemon Go Video

A court in Yekaterinburg today extended the arrest of 22-year-old blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky until February 22. Sokolovsky was arrested on September 3, 2016 after he uploaded a video of himself playing Pokemon Go in a church. He is being prosecuted for extremism and for offending the religious feelings of believers. Read More

12 January 2017

Kremlin Plans to File Complaint with OSCE Over Kiev’s Ban of Liberal Russian TV Channel

Ukrainian authorities have banned the liberal Russian channel TV Rain, one of the few voices of opposition left in Russia’s media. According the Ukraine’s media regulator, the channel repeatedly broadcast maps that show Crimea as part of Russia and are in violation of Ukrainian law. Read More

30 December 2016

Czech Republic to Fight ‘Fake News’ With Specialist Unit

The Czech Republic will open a specialist “anti-fake news” department starting January 1 in an attempt to counter meddling in its upcoming general election next year. A recent report from Czech intelligence services warned that the Kremlin was using an online disinformation campaign to increase division within the country, reduce sympathy for Ukraine and weaken the country’s EU and NATO solidarity, largely by raising fear around the continent’s refugee crisis. Read More

21 December 2016

Russian Teacher Fired Over LGBTQ Rights Posts on Social Media

A 21-year-old music teacher from the Russian city of Krasnoyarsk has been fired after her employer received a complaint regarding her posts about LGBTQ rights on the popular Russian social networking site, VKontakte. Read More

15 December 2016

UN Security Council Cuts Gay Rights from Ban Ki-moon Tribute after Russia Objects

Russian diplomats objected to the draft text of a UN Security Council tribute to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon which praised him for supporting LGBTQ rights. The edited text was read on Wednesday by Spanish Ambassador Roman Oyarzun and excluded any mentions of Ban’s many appeals during his nine years in office to countries that criminalize homosexuality. Read More

12 December 2016

U.S. Defense Bill to Move Control of RFE/RL, VOA to White House

An amendment to an annual defence bill would dissolve the Broadcast Board of Governors (BBG) and place Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and other government-backed media under the control of an executive appointed directly by the president. Read More

7 December 2016

Kremlin Will Spend $19 million on RT’s New French-language Broadcasting Service

The Russian parliament allocated an additional $19 million for its international news network RT in the 2017 budget. The outlet was already set to receive $295 million from the Russian government next year. The additional money will be used to finance new French-language broadcasting. Read More

6 December 2016

Myths are Integral to History According to Russia’s Education Minister

Mythology is a fundamental part of history according to Olga Vassileva, Russia’s Minister of Education. In an interview with the government information agency Interfax, Vassileva defended schools that teach a story of 28 Soviet soldiers who stood to their death as Hitler’s army advanced on Moscow in November 1941. In an interview with the government information agency Interfax, Vassileva defended schools that teach a story of 28 Soviet soldiers who stood to their death as Hitler’s army advanced on Moscow in November 1941. Read More

5 December 2016

Russian MPs Accuse Fifa Video Game of ‘Homosexual Propaganda’

Members of Duma, the Russian Parliament believe that a Fifa video game violates the country’s “gay propaganda” law. The MPs from the ruling United Russia party and Communist Party requested that the state regulatory agency investigate the soccer video game which allows gamers to pick rainbow-colored uniforms and cleat laces for their players as part of a UK-based campaign for LGBTQ rights. Read More

29 November 2016

Russian schools may soon introduce a new subject: Orthodox Culture

In the officially-secular Russia, mixing religion and state education is unconstitutional, but now Russia’s agency in charge of curriculums is proposing introducing Orthodoxy to the classrooms. Read More

23 November 2016

European Parliament and Journalists Divided Over Russian Propaganda

A European Parliament resolution calling for greater resources to be invested in countering propaganda from Russia and Islamist terror groups has drawn criticism from international journalism organisations. Read More

21 November 2016

Russian Patriarch Says LGBTQ Agenda is a ‘Significant Threat for the Existence of the Human Race’

In an exclusive televised interview with RT, a Russian-financed news network, Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, compared LGBTQ legislation in western countries to apartheid and anti-semitic laws in Nazi Germany. Read More