During the Cold War, the Soviets conducted over 10,000 disinformation operations, with up to 15000 KGB officers. Europe a target since 2015. Goal: weaken western democracy from within. This article sets out their most pertinent tactics:
1) Narratives: post-Western world (the West no longer dominates); anti-(elite, EU, NATO) narratives; danger narratives (extremism, migrants); pro-Russian narratives (trad. values).
2) amplifying extremist voices to stoke conflict & separatism
3) Rapid Fire Conspiracy/Overload: stress a population out through a torrent of violent imagery - "violent protests, vandalism, fire, injuries, deaths" - repeat trigger words & rapidly switch between different distressing stories, creating depression, panic, confusion, PTSD and "an inability to think critically and act rationally". Then offer solutions...
4) .. particularly to people who "lack critical thinking... the very religious, under-educated, conformists, youth, and people in a state of panic, fear or stress" using the "authority aura" effect. Organise group rallies to promote “psychological contagion - cf IRA-organised Trump rallies targeting miners and low-income demographics.
5) Target those with critical thinking skills with logical arguments based on selective information.
6) 60/40 Method, where 60% of your content is objective, creating trust, and 40% is disinformation at carefully chosen times, exploiting trust
7) Focus on one angle: rather than balancing coverage, select interviewees, quotes, facts which only support one perspective
8) Distract/Deflect attention away from stories unfavourable to Kremlin towards " school shootings, murders, catastrophes, terrorist attacks and natural disasters".
9) Trolling your opponents: abuse/mock them, ruin online discussions.
10) Repeat: keep hammering at the message - it makes people believe it more, particularly if they hear it from multiple sources.
11) Create a positive image of politicians and parties with fake news.
12) Rotten Herring: create/promote fake news associating someone with a scandal until the media pick it up and everyone's talking about it, despite there being no basis in fact, The stink sticks
13) Big Lie: a rotten herring of monstrous size.
14) Rumours to enhance stereotypes of target groups: these are classified by degrees of falsity (from absolute through to "plausible with elements of improbability") and "their emotional origin: rumour-desire; rumour-scare; aggressive-rumour"
15) Half-truths: tell the negative half of the story about the West, and never tell the negative part of the story about the Kremlin
16) False Equivalence: compare 2+ things that appear to be logically equivalent, but which are not. The BBC is not RT (yet!).
17) Gaslighting: make targets doubt reality and facts.
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