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The Kremlin is taking advantage of the war in the Middle East. Seeking divisions in the West and diverting attention from Ukraine

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The war between Israel and Hamas is being used by the Kremlin to divide the West, reports “Politico”, which uses the findings of the American think tank Alliance for Securing Democracy. They show that the Russian plan involves not only dividing supporters of Israel and Palestine, but also diverting attention from the ongoing war in Ukraine. Social media are used very intensively for this purpose.

“Politico” points out that since the Hamas attack on… Israel On October 7, Kremlin-linked Facebook accounts almost quadrupled their activity. The crisis in the Middle East has dominated posts by Russian diplomats, state-backed media and Putin’s supporters in the West.

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According to the portal, Kremlin propagandists promote claims on the Internet that Hamas terrorists use NATO weapons to attack Israel and that British instructors trained Hamas attackers.

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Propaganda offensive

This is indicated by data collected by the American think tank Alliance for Securing Democracy, which shows that in the seven weeks since the attack by Hamas militants on Israel, Russian accounts on Facebook published 44,000 posts. For comparison, in the seven weeks preceding the outbreak of the war in the Gaza Strip, there were 14,000 such entries.

Currently, these accounts are said to use a number of phrases related to the conflict, such as “Hamas” and “Middle East,” according to an analysis by the Alliance for Securing Democracy. Before the war, Russian state media and diplomatic accounts focused almost exclusively on Ukraine or Putin’s role in the world.

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This activity – as Politico points out – is supported by “millions of posts on Facebook from ordinary social media participants.” However, many of them are said to be supported by the Kremlin. These are people associated with Russian media such as RT or Sputnik, which – as we read in the article – “have a huge reach.” Politico points out that accounts supporting the Kremlin’s narrative have millions of followers – including in Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Driving a wedge

The Kremlin’s narrative pushed online allows it to fuel divisions in the West. “The goal is to separate supporters of Israel from those who support Palestine,” we read in Politico.

The impact of the Russian Internet offensive on reality is visible – as the author points out – with the naked eye: anti-Israel sentiments have clearly increased over the last seven weeks, and anti-war protests, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, were organized “from London to Washington”.

– (Russians – ed.) are using everything possible to spread anti-Western messages – says Jakub Kalensky, deputy director at the European Center of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, a joint NATO organization and the EU tracking state-backed influence campaigns.

Russian activity on the Internet was also noticed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The local diplomacy claims that online bots supporting the Kremlin are spreading anti-Semitic images depicting Stars of David on Parisian buildings. France – as we read – she accused Russia of “creating tensions” between supporters of Israel and Palestine. In response, the Russian embassy in Paris stated that it had no links with the online accounts indicated by French diplomacy.

Distraction

The Russian attack on social media – as we read in “Politico” – is also intended to distract public opinion from… war in Ukraine.

– This works to Russia’s advantage – says Bret Schafer, an expert in the fight against digital disinformation at the American think tank Alliance for Securing Democracy. Schafer explains that the more public opinion focuses on Israel and Hamas, the less attention is paid to the fact that Congress will not finance Ukraine’s war efforts, he said.

Main photo source: SPUTNIK POOL



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