Sārts: Whoever wins information war will win real war

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In the fight against Kremlin disinformation, this year will not be any easier, as concluded at the conference of the NATO Strategic Communications Center, StratCom, held in Rīga February 2, on the fight in the information room, Latvian Television reported.

“Whoever wins the information battle is more likely to win the real battle with tanks, artillery, and weapons,” said Jānis Sārts, director of the NATO StratCom.

The role of technology in informational wars is becoming increasingly important. Russia is now trying to change its tactics to manipulate the West into not supporting Ukraine.

“We see them trying to push again. And certainly not brutally but smart enough. That 'we are for peace, that we want the war to come to an end at once, and for the end of the war, we must stop supporting Ukraine'. It can be seen that the message can be received in some audiences, but we know that this means the loss of Ukraine in the fight,” said Sārts.

In his view, Ukrainians and the West are still winning the informational fight in Ukraine and Europe, while Russia is still winning in Russia.

The studies presented at the conference also focus on the so-called “information laundering” phenomenon.

Specifically, this is common in Kremlin-supporting channels. Namely, a message is republished from other media, but the message is distorted to manipulate the audience. This is particularly common in the Telegram channels, including those aimed at the Russian-speaking audience of the Baltic States.

“A fraction of the posts take up news, especially from the world's popular English-writing outlets, Bloomberg, Independents. And then they slightly tweak the original message to include a pro-Kremlin message,” said Martha Stolze, a researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. 

In any case, the fight against Kremlin disinformation continues.

"2023 won't be any easier. As we see now, Russia is regrouping on the battlefield, and we can say the same in the information room. They are trying to regroup to restore the attacks," said Sārts.


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