Russia sets up military unit for propaganda warfare

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu (left) with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (right). (Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP/The Canadian Press)
“Propaganda should be smart, competent and effective,” Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu says.

It was during a speech in the State Duma Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu on Wednesday admitted that the military has created a special unit tasked for “information operations.” Information agency RosBusinessConsulting (RBK) reports.

“Propaganda must be smart, competent and effective,” Shoigu said.

First Deputy Chairman of the Defense Committee, Franz Klintsevich, told RBC that the troops for information operation recently are established and information about them are secret.

“There are experts who expose foreign sabotage in electronic, print and TV media,” he says.

Cyber attacks and fake news

Western intelligence agencies have accused Russia of seeking to destabilize governments in other countries with cyber attacks and fake news. Last month, Norway’s intelligence pointed to increased threat from Russian propaganda. Well known is also U.S. intelligence reports accusing Moscow of influence operations discrediting Hillary Clinton aimed at helping Donald Trump win the presidential election.

In Europe, EU is supporting counter measures aimed at responding to Russian disinformation. In 2015, an operative working group was created to work on strategic communication, including disclosing fake news.

Earlier this week, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched a dedicated website where fake news by foreign media will be disclosed and displayed.

At the site, the Ministry says it will debunk articles containing false information, marking them with a line below reading “This article puts forward information that does not correspond to reality.” By Thursday morning, five articles are listed on the site.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: U.S. Arctic strategy puts Canada and Russia on notice, Radio Canada International

Denmark:  Nordics to step up security cooperation on perceived Russian threat, Yle News

Finland: Finland confirms 6th Russian airspace violation in just over a year, Yle News

Norway:  Russia is more confident and unpredictable: Norwegian Intelligence Service, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  New Russian spy ship to keep tabs on Norway, Barents Observer

Sweden:  New security landscape in the Arctic, Radio Sweden

United States: U.S. general says Alaska military cuts not final without Arctic plan, Alaska Public Radio Network

Thomas Nilsen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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