Russia: How to Steal an Election with Disinformation and Propaganda

Monday 7 May 2018, Vladimir Putin is sworn in for his fourth five-year term as Russia’s president, following an election that credible international and local observers deemed seriously flawed. Putin’s victory, with a 76.7% share of the vote, can be attributed in no small part to the unprecedented flow of disinformation and propaganda, a new expert analysis finds.

The latest media monitoring research by a group of international and Russian experts confirms that in a country where media coverage of the election process is biased and based largely on propaganda and disinformation, a fair vote is impossible.

“It’s abundantly clear that the Kremlin’s disinformation and propaganda have disrupted American and European democratic processes.  But despite all the time we spend talking about the Kremlin’s information wars, we often forget about the catastrophic effect that disinformation and propaganda have on the Russian people”, commented IMS’ Gulnara Akhundova, who reviewed the report and was engaged in disinformation research.

“Choice in the absence of the public debate, as we have seen in Russia, is not a real choice,” Akhundova said.

“This report highlights the urgent need to support good journalism, media and information literacy and other locally-driven initiatives in Russia. Without a strong civil society and media, free elections and democracy in Russia will remain a pipe dream “, she emphasised.

Download the report here