New #DisinfoReview from the EU East StratCom Task Force
12 January 2017
The East StratCom Task Force welcomes you into 2017 and presents some changes: From now on, we will send you just one newsletter per week, on Thursdays. The Disinformation Review will bring you an analysis of the latest disinformation trends, accompanied by the table collecting all the latest disinformation. But instead of the Disinformation Digest, we will now be publishing our news and analysis throughout the week on our new website and collating these each week in the Disinformation Review too. The new website is still being developed and will be fully live in April, at which point it will also include a fully searchable online database of disinformation. We hope these changes will provide a more responsive, interactive and up-to-date service. Your feedback is welcome.


Disinformation back in Germany

As we have noted on our Twitter account, the German authorities have recently warned of the risks of the disinformation campaign targeting Germany. Disinformation we have collated since our last review would appear to corroborate this concern.

Late last year, Russian state-media RIA Novosti ran with a story that 700,000 Germans had had to flee Germany because of Chancellor Merkel's policies ( - despite no credible source confirming such information. In fact, according to the German statistical office, around 140-150,000 Germans leave the country every year (

Given last year’s events, it comes as no surprise that disinformation oriented outlets picked New Year’s Eve in German cities as a subject of their reporting. The English speaking outlet Breitbart, which focused on pro-Kremlin messaging during the recent US elections, published a story about 1,000 Muslims in Dortmund setting on fire the oldest church in Germany: To justify its claims, the American outlet referenced reporting by local Dortmund news site Ruhr Nachrichten - which however quickly debunked and condemned the story for using “our online reports for fake news, hate and propaganda.” As Ruhr Nachrichten documented, the disinformation was further used by other media and by social media users, many of them using neo-Nazi vocabulary ( All this despite the fact that German police in fact reported that given the date, it was actually a quiet night (
In a similar vein, a Czech pro-Kremlin outlet invented a story about repeat sexual harassment during New Year’s Eve in Cologne ( - again, despite the fact that, in truth, no such incidents were reported:

All this comes less than a year after the now infamous  “test-case” of how a disinformation campaign would work in Germany: the Lisa case, in which pro-Kremlin media falsely reported that a thirteen-year-old girl had been raped by migrants. In all cases, the disinformation tries to fuel the most negative emotions of the general public towards refugees, something which has proved to be a favourite strategy of pro-Kremlin media across Europe over the past year.

Talking about facts is an attack on our freedom!

The pro-Kremlin campaign against institutions fighting disinformation that we reported about already last year continued in the beginning of 2017.

Most originated in Czech disinformation-oriented outlets, and were clearly reacting to the establishment of the new government unit for countering terrorism and hybrid threats (including disinformation). In the table you will find multiple claims such as that the new centre will prosecute people who do not have the “right” opinion, that it will “create truth”, and that it is an attack on freedom of speech.

So just to make it clear again: the new Czech centre will only highlight and warn against dangerous disinformation. Setting the record straight is not a violation of the freedom of speech. And intentionally misleading and lying is not an “opinion”. It is simply misleading and lying.

Click here for the FULL TABLE (.pdf) of disinformation pieces collected for the Disinformation Review issue No 53.


The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.

The Christmas holiday saw a campaign alleging the death of Queen Elizabeth and a media conspiracy to hide that. Who is to blame?
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Demand for propaganda

Fresh ratings indicate rising popularity for the Rossiya-1 television network, which broadcasts some of the most notorious disinformation programmes. Our analysis shows why.
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A l'action!

Last week saw warnings that the upcoming French presidential election could be subject to similar interference as the vote for the US President in late 2016. But action is also shaping up to combat disinformation.
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From Syria with love

Using calendars for political purposes is not new in Russia. But Syrian models were not happy with how they featured in a calendar for Russian troops.
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The confession

“A ten year old girl has been killed by Ukrainian government forces in Eastern Ukraine,” is one of the most notorious pieces of disinformation about Ukraine. There were, however, two problems with this story: there was no killing, and there was no girl.
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Propaganda – then and now

Our favourite Russian cartoonist Sergey Elkin has nailed it again. In the past, disinformation has been focussed on holding out carrots. These days, tough, pro-Kremlin disinformation in Russia concentrates on scaring the audience and creating division and aggression (the image held in front of the donkey says "ugly donkey").
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Every Thursday, the Disinformation Review brings you the latest cases of pro-Kremlin disinformation as well as news and analysis on the topic. It features a compilation of disinformation cases from the East StratCom Task Force's wide network of contributors and therefore cannot be considered an official EU position. Likewise, the news articles are based on the analysis of the East StratCom Task Force, therefore information and opinions expressed there cannot be considered an official EU position.
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