How the Kremlin Exploits the Pandemic for Propaganda

Kseniya Kirillova exposes the attempts to discredit the West, undermine Ukraine, and persecute dissidents in the current Russian disinformation campaign.

Coronavirus is gripping the world and cannot, of course, be ignored by Russian propagandists. Recently, several Russian experts explored the basic trends in reporting on the crisis by the Kremlin-controlled mass media in Russia. Based on that commentary and analysis, here are the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s basic goals in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Propaganda Goal 1: Discredit the West in Comparison with Russia

As predicted not long ago by Aleskander Morozov, a Russian journalist and researcher at the Boris Nemtsov Academic Centre in Prague, the main narrative of the Russian mass media is that “the Russian authorities are calmly and effectively combating the virus, while in Europe and the US, governments are fomenting hysteria and instituting incorrect measures that are heavily criticised by the people”.

He notes that “to the domestic audience, this will be presented as a holistic picture of Moscow’s superiority and the helplessness of the West”.

Declarations that Russia deployed effective preventive measures in time, and that this is why the number of people infected with the Coronavirus is allegedly so low in the country in comparison with the US, have been repeated by leading American broadcasters.

“In the face of crisis and panic caused by the Coronavirus, the so-called Western democratic powers displayed total powerlessness and no desire to provide mutual assistance,” declared the Russian ‘political commentator’ Yevgeniy Satanovskiy. “At the same time, they are ready to spend energy criticising countries that cope with difficulties an order of magnitude better than themselves, for example, Russia.”

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