Russia’s Disinformation Offensive by Clifford D. May - Washington Times
Just so there’s no confusion: This column is not about Americans conspiring or colluding or coordinating with Russians. That’s a separate controversy about which I don’t have a lot to say at this moment.
What this column is about: Dezinformatsiya, the Russian word that gave birth, in the 1980s, to the English neologism “disinformation.” Understand that disinformation is not a synonym for misinformation. The later implies information that happens to be wrong. The former implies an attempt to deceive public opinion for strategic purposes.
For decades, thousands of Soviet propagandists and espionage agents disseminated tons of dezinformatsiya around the world. Today, using social media, sophisticated tech platforms and cyber weapons, the Russian government, headed by Vladimir Putin, is running a dezinformatsiya offensive beyond Joseph Stalin’s wildest dreams.
Jamie Fly and Laura Rosenberger have been studying this operation. Senior fellows at The German Marshall Fund of the United States, they are seasoned national security professionals. Both have worked, among other assignments, at the National Security Council, Mr. Fly in the George W. Bush administration, Ms. Rosenberger under President Obama.
They’ve been tracking “Kremlin-oriented social media accounts,” “troll farms,” “fake personas” and “fake organizations.” President Putin, they’ve concluded, is attempting to undermine faith in America’s democratic institutions, assist extremists on both the left and right, divide and polarize Americans (even more than they already are), and poison the policy debates that citizens of a mature republic should be able to conduct in a civil manner…