By Radu G. Magdin Russian propaganda is not the stuff of romanticised spy movies; it is serious business treated accordingly by the Kremlin. If the West wants to counter the pernicious effects of this disinformation, it should up its game and consider the full spectrum of forms this propaganda takes, as well as its structural conditions and tactical adaptations. While the EU has documented at least 3,800 examples of disinformation in recent years, four very targeted narratives employed in Moldova and Romania offer clear illustrations of how the Russian propaganda apparatus functions. To tackle narratives such as these, the West must go beyond the usual fact-checking and elite coordination to address the sources of social polarisation. 1. EU, the ‘gay dictatorship’ In Romania, one of the most pro-EU countries of the continent, conspiracy websites are seeking to exploit the increasingly prominent divide between the progressives and the more conservative segments of the population. Echoing the official discourse of the Kremlin, the EU is presented as a source of “gay dictatorship”; as a transnational project aimed at undermining the Christian legacy of Europe. In this context, becoming a true European is equated with the active promotion of LGBTQ+ rights. The conservative… Read full this story
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