How to resist the information war, on which Russia spends $ 1 billion per year
Russia spends about a billion dollars annually on propaganda and information warfare.
For example, in 2016, the Russian media - both state and private - received almost 61 billion rubles ($ 904 million) from the budget, in 2015 this amount was about 72 billion rubles ($ 1,08 billion), writes Forbes.
The largest recipient of state money was VGTRK holding, wholly owned by the Russian government, it received 22,5 billion rubles ($ 339 million).
The spending on the Russia Today TV channel has decreased: in 2016, the non-profit organization TV-Novosti (the owner of the Russia Today brand) received 17,5 billion rubles ($ 264 million), in 2015 the subsidy was 20,8 billion rubles.
The third place is taken by the agency "Russia Today" (in the past - "RIA Novosti"). The holding under the leadership of the notorious journalist Dmitry Kiselev cost the Russian budget a little more than 6 billion rubles ($ 90 million).
The state spent just over a billion rubles ($ 15 million) on media outlets that lack political broadcasting (Kultura, Karusel, Match-TV, Radio Orpheus).
This whole system works on propaganda: external and internal.
The Center for European Policy Analysis in Washington (CEPA) has published the results of the study "How to Win the Information War", dedicated to the strategy of countering Russian propaganda in Central and Eastern Europe.
A report prepared by a group of American and European analysts comprising SULFUR and the British Legatum Institute, note that "the Russian government uses disinformation, incitement to violence and incitement to hatred in an effort to destroy trust, undermine morality, worsen the information space, split public discourse and increase bias."
Information warfare: goals and means
The use of misinformation by the Russian authorities differs from the traditional forms of propaganda in that its goal is not to persuade, but to undermine. Instead of calling for action, it seeks to distract the audience, to bring it into a passive and paranoid state.
The report notes that Russian misinformation spreads openly - through television broadcasting in foreign languages, in particular, through the multilingual Russia Today TV channel and Sputnik International, but also secretly. In this case, nominally independent journalists, experts, commentators and Internet trolls will be involved.
The main message of Russian disinformation is simple: "The US is waging a selfish, ruthless struggle for world domination," therefore, "everything that Russia or any other country can do to counter it is commendable and justified."
Recommendations for countering disinformation in the United States
- conducting on a regular basis a systematic analysis of the impact of Russian propaganda, its environment and trends;
- the creation of an international commission under the auspices of the Council of Europe with advisory functions, also called upon to determine the quality of the work of broadcasters;
- the creation of a “blogger charter” to which adherence would mean compliance with ethical standards;
- the creation of a number of structures in the United States and the European Union, which would deal with strategic communications.
The report also mentions the work of the Dutch organization Free Press Unlimited to create an independent regional Russian-language news agency. In addition, the BBC, at the request of the UK Foreign Office, will develop a “content factory” to help the Baltic states and the EU create new entertainment programs in Russian that can compete with a similar Russian product.
- the creation of a working group - a "factory of ideas", which develops approaches to topics perceived in some cases as historical and psychological trauma. As an illustration, the Kremlin's propaganda exploits the history of World War II, when, according to the Kremlin's logic, “anyone who opposes Russia is a fascist”;
- carrying out work on educating the audience to recognize disinformation;
- an advertising boycott that would stop funding by Western companies for channels that propagate hatred and demonize the LGBT community, and also force Western companies to stop providing them with entertainment content.
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