How Russia’s Disinformation Apparatus Ran Aground in Ukraine

Skillful propagandists always leverage people’s pre-conceived notions to steer the conversation away from what is prejudicial to their side’s interests. The tactic works because it often deflects attention towards other injustices that are also real, making it easy to elicit a strong emotional response that blinds the audience to the underlying cynicism. Redfish, for example, was able to exploit genuine resentments over the real mistreatment of black people during the evacuation from Ukraine; or over the EU’s double standards in its treatment of Ukrainian refugees compared to refugees from elsewhere. Few took the time to consider, however, that black people in Ukraine won’t be in this desperate situation if it weren’t for the Russian invasion; or that refugees from Syria and Ukraine won’t be testing Europe’s uncertain generosity if it weren’t for the indiscriminate ordnance of Redfish’s paymaster.

For now, Russia’s propaganda war is faring as poorly as its ground war. It is failing both in its function to persuade at home and obfuscate abroad. —Byline Times

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