Russia doubled its propaganda efforts in the EU: which countries are targeted?

VoxCheck, a Ukraine-based fact-checking project of the independent analytical platform, presented a new study on the spread of Russian disinformation in Europe.

The trend of the Russian propaganda machine in 2023 is that the number of fakes, manipulations and disinformation doubled in some countries, according to the analysis. The primary “trend” is to increase the number of information attacks on the EU and the West on Ukraine.

According to the analysis, the Kremlin is now spreading propaganda mainly in three countries – France, Germany and Italy. Leading states of the European Union are Russia’s primary targets.

“These are the main countries where such battles will unfold. They will direct their main resources here, which shows the importance of these countries in the EU. We predict that the next such stages and propaganda narratives will be the situation with the church in Ukraine and Ukraine’s progress in European integration. The Russians will start talking about the oppression of the church in Ukraine and the fact that Ukraine does not meet the criteria for EU accession,” Ihor Solovey, Head of Ukraine’s Center for Strategic Communications and Information Warfare, in an interview with Espreso TV.

He identified several top Russian narratives from the VoxCheck study.

“The first narrative is that the West controls Ukraine and uses it for its purposes. The second one concerns the Russian attack; in particular, the occupiers spread propaganda that the actions of Ukraine and the West forced Russia to start the war. Another narrative is that supporting Ukraine will hurt the West more than Russia,” Solovey said.

The goal of all these propaganda attacks is to minimize or eliminate any support for Ukraine from the West, especially military support, the expert said.

“We see that the Ukrainian issue has become a factor that can change the electoral picture in the EU countries, and we predict that the Kremlin will continue to do so in the future,” he summarized.

VoxCheck presented its research on the spread of Russian disinformation in Europe on November 6. This year, Russian propagandists attacked Poland and Slovakia with fakes about Ukraine the most, as both eastern European countries have had elections this fall. In addition to Poland and Slovakia, VoxCheck fact-checkers also monitor Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.

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