What is ‘narrative laundering’ and why does Russia use it as part of its disinformation strategy?

19 April, 06:13 PM
Propagandist Skabeeva (Photo:Screenshot/YouTube/Denis Kazanskyi)

Propagandist Skabeeva (Photo:Screenshot/YouTube/Denis Kazanskyi)

Russia has systematically used information operations as a major element of its strategy since the start of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the UK’s Ministry of Defense wrote in its daily update on Twitter on April 19.

Russia has cultivated multiple channels and proxies to spread disinformation – the intentional creation and sharing of false or manipulated information.

One component of Russia’s disinformation is “narrative laundering,” where Russia promotes information from proxies, or unverified social media sources, which then permeates to more mainstream or state-run media.

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“The aim is to cloud the source of the information, making it easier for the Russian state to distance itself from the message,” the ministry said in its daily summary.

“It then promotes misleading fragments of the narrative, while masking its vested interest.”

The agency emphasized that Russian state actors present manipulated narratives in both orchestrated and opportunistic ways.

“Their current priorities almost certainly include discrediting the Ukrainian government and reducing international support for Ukraine,” reads the report.

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