Lithuanian troops are teaching their British counterparts how to identify and fight Russia propaganda as part of an ongoing attempt to fight the country’s attempts to influence public opinion. Officers from the Baltic state – which is said to be at the front line of Russia’s “soft power” war in Europe – shared their experiences with the 77th Brigade, a new British Army unit set up to deal with information warfare.
America’s historical quest for freedom and democracy has been all but stamped out under the Obama administration in its quest to weaken American power, hard or soft. During Soviet times, Radio Free Europe and other Western media outlets did a good job of telling the world [...] We need to restore this vision and capability with similar, modern media efforts around the globe to tell the American story.
NATO may combat Kremlin “weaponisation of information” used to support action such as the 2014 seizure of Crimea by creating a new more powerful communications section and declassifying more sensitive material, according to draft plans. Both NATO and the European Union are concerned by Russia’s ability to use television and the Internet to project what they say is deliberate disinformation. The EU set up a special unit last year to counter what it considers overt propaganda.
Philip Seib on Russia and disinformation.
In early June, the Czech daily Hospodářské Noviny was first to report the European Union was forming “a special group to fight Russian propaganda.” Based in Brussels, the group will include experienced journalists and press officers who are fluent in Russian. It is charged with promoting the EU more effectively and strengthening its media presence, with special attention to Russian-language media.
The idea of Russian “soft power” became fashionable, but it was very different to European “soft power”. So-called Russian soft power was just “softer power”, including any means of coercion not involving tanks. It was, in the English phrase, “softly-softly” power, or “covert power”, the type of behind-the-scenes influence encapsulated in the Russian phrase kuluarna polityka – politics in corridors, not just away from public influence, but without formal record.