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Russia’s Top five persistent disinformation narratives


Russia is the eternal victim, the West is hurtling towards the abyss and Ukraine is an artificial state. The US State Department has published five major narratives around which the Kremlin's propaganda army is building its campaign. Media Loft author Arthur Levin dissects and comments.

In recent years, Russia has fabricated a whole set of false narratives that propaganda has been persistently and, it must be said, quite talented at injecting into the global information environment.  


Russian officials falsely portray Russia as an eternal victim and its aggressive actions as a forced response to the actions of the collective West.

To support these claims, Russia resorts to one of its favourite techniques.  This label, which is essentially the answer to all questions, bears the proud name "Russophobia".  After the 2014 invasion of Ukraine, the Russian government and state-controlled disinformation media began accusing anyone who questioned Russia's actions of xenophobia and Russophobia. 

According to Kremlin storytellers, the negative reaction of the international community to the invasion of an independent country was only because "people were afraid and hated Russia".  

I am sure that soon the notorious "rabid printer" will work at full speed and enshrine this vague term at the legislative level.  Russophobia will be firmly anchored in the Criminal Code somewhere between murder with particular cruelty and defilement of minors. Only the terms will be longer.


When history does not serve the Kremlin's political purposes, Russian propagandists attempt to deny or distort historical events in an attempt to portray Russia in a more favourable light. This serves both domestic and geopolitical agendas perfectly, inexpensively and efficiently. 

A perfect example: the 1939 non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), which helped start World War II, is politically inconvenient for the Putin regime. 

Back in 2020, in an attempt to minimise and rationalise Stalin's decision to ally with Hitler, Putin published a twisted version of the start of World War II, downplaying the Soviet Union's role and shifting the blame for the war to other countries.  

The result is evident. In May 2022, Media Loft published the memoirs of a French veteran about his experiences of the occupation as a child and seeing Resistance heroes and soldiers going to the Normandy front. In response, several indignant readers wrote to us in private messages that the Normandy Front.... never existed and that the French fought on the side of the Nazis. 

Russia does indeed quite often go out of its way to call those who disagree with its twisted version of history Nazis or their collaborators. I recommend those particularly interested to read Dmitry Medvedev's telegram, it does a pretty good job of laying it all out. 

This formula works perfectly for any uncomfortable topics, such as:
-History of Ukrainian statehood,

-History and actions of NATO,

-The Gulag prison system,

-Holodomor and many others.


Russia constantly operates with the assertion that Western civilisation is collapsing because it has moved away from "traditional values". After all, the West seeks security and equality for LGBTQ+ people and promotes concepts such as women's equality and multiculturalism. 

The demise of Western civilisation is one of Russia's oldest disinformation tropes, with claims of a "decaying West" documented since the 19th century.

This "values-based" disinformation narrative uses vague concepts such as "tradition", "family values" and "spirituality". Russia claims to be a bastion of so-called "traditional values" and gender roles and serves as a moral counterweight to the "decadence" of the US and Western countries.  

Putin has repeatedly claimed that the West has virtually abolished the concepts of "mother" and "father", replacing them with "parent 1 and 2", while Foreign Minister Lavrov once wrote that children in European schools are indoctrinated that Jesus Christ was bisexual.


The Kremlin finds it difficult to accept that all people should have the right to freedom of expression and that government should be accountable to its people.  

Russia accuses the United States of instigating or plotting colour revolutions in Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Ukraine, the Middle East and Africa.  

If a popular movement advocates democracy and reforms and is inconsistent with Russian geopolitical interests, the Kremlin often attacks its legitimacy and claims that the United States is secretly behind it.  These unfounded accusations are often directed against local and international civil society organisations as well as independent media outlets that expose human rights abuses and corruption.  

The Kremlin seeks to deny that people in neighbouring countries may have autonomy, dignity and an independent will to pursue their interests, just as it denies these qualities in the people of Russia.


The Kremlin often tries to create many false realities and create confusion in the information environment when the truth does not suit its interests.  

For example, it was clear to the world that Russia tried to kill former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with the nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury, England, on 4 March 2018.  

According to the Institute of Politics at King's College London, Russian state-funded and state-directed TV channels RT and Sputnik spread 138 separate and contradictory stories in 735 articles in the four weeks following the incident.

Russia used the same technique of flooding the information space with multiple false claims after other events, such as the Malaysian Boeing shooting down, Russia's invasion of Georgia in 2008 and its ongoing occupation, to divert attention from its role in these events. 

It is unfortunate that so many souls are still swooping in and dying on the poisonous bait of propaganda.   

By: Artur Levin

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