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thePodcast: Putin’s illegal war exported worldwide, via disinformation networks

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For the week of April 23, 2023:

Fourteen months since Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion of Ukraine. No end in sight.

Marcus Kolga (MLI)

The biggest war in Europe since the Second World War is also being fought globally, online. Russian cybercriminals and social media disinformation networks are creating havoc in countries that are supporting the defence of Ukraine. In Canada, DisInfoWatch.org founder and Macdonald-Laurier Institute senior fellow Marcus Kolga has faced threats and is one of more than 300 Canadians sanctioned by Russia. 

“The Russian efforts to silence analysts, journalists, activists in the West, this isn’t a new phenomenon, it didn’t start 14 months ago with this invasion,” Kolga tells thePodcast host Bob Mackin. “It’s been really ongoing, there’s been a slow escalation, going back to already around 2007, 2008, when Vladimir Putin sort of recycled the Soviet-era, active measures, the use of disinformation, influence operations.”

Russian disinformation, like Chinese disinformation, aims to sow division, distrust and danger. Kolga said the war has brought Western political extremists together. 

“These old labels and our sort of the political compass that we’ve been using for the past several decades, I think it’s sort of outdated,” Kolga said.

“In the context of Russian influence operations and amplification of some of these state narratives, when I say the far right, I don’t mean conservatives. The far right, when I speak about the far right, it’s more of an anti-democratic, illiberal, anti-NATO, anti-elitist group. They don’t have much in common, if anything at all, with traditional conservatives. And I’d say much the same, with the left. When I’m talking about the far left, I’m not talking about, mostly not supporters of the NDP, or traditional socialists. These are people that might be identified as sort of anarcho-communists, also very illiberal.” 

Listen to the full interview. Plus Pacific Northwest and Pacific Rim headlines.

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thePodcast: Putin's illegal war exported worldwide, via disinformation networks
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