George Kennan, in his famous ‘long telegram’ to the secretary of state, while explaining how to deal with Russia’s schemes based on disinformation, wrote, “Much depends on health and vigor of our own society. World communism is like malignant parasite which feeds only on diseased tissue.. If we cannot abandon fatalism and indifference in face of deficiencies of our own society, Moscow will profit…Moscow cannot help profiting by them in its foreign policies.”
Disinformation differs in its meaning and impact from misinformation. Misinformation is part of official propaganda, so is disinformation, but the former is generally limited to official news outlets; it is more of routine propaganda. Disinformation, on the other hand, is making ‘misinformation’ public — accessible by the people through public media and not just limited to official documents, and the spread of that information is also attributed to someone else. The damage done by the latter is way more than what’s done by misinformation. Nonetheless, both are undertaken to promote particular ideologies or to challenge one. It’s done to influence and control the minds of their citizens and destroy the political careers of their competitors, both at home and abroad.
Paul Kengor explains, “So patently dishonest was the Soviet use of disinformation that even the Soviet definition of disinformation, published in the 1952 edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopaedia, was itself a form of disinformation.”
From interfering in American elections, including discrediting Hilary Clinton, to using disinformation against Emanuel Macron and Angela Merkel in France and Germany, respectively, Putin has proved that it is one of his favorite tools to unleash propaganda not only against his opponents but more harshly towards his own citizens. What he has done to America and Europe looks pallid compared to what he exposed his nation to during the annexation of Crimea.
Anne Applebaum narrates in her book Red Famine, “In 2014, Russian state media described Russian special forces carrying out the invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine as “separatist patriots” fighting “fascist” and “Nazis” from Kyiv. An extraordinary…