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Tuesday, 07 February 2023
How Russia Is Waging a Successful Propaganda War in Latin America – Part One

How Russia Is Waging a Successful Propaganda War in Latin America – Part One

2022-10-31

 

In the mid-2010s, Russia’s state-run media began a subtle but effective shift in strategy. Instead of trying to sway public opinion through coverage and analytical depth, the Kremlin’s propaganda efforts began to rely on subtlety,Tactics such as “covert” broadcasts via obscure media outlets and the occasional fake news story now have the potential to sway public opinion rather than take it into total submission.

The move towards covert operations and more subtle strategies comes as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to Russian propaganda efforts in the past few years. Instead of trying to sway public opinion with a single, overwhelming message, the Russian government has instead begun to focus its efforts on targeting specific audiences with a particular ideology.

These audiences are called “rays of sunshine” in Russian propaganda parlance and are typically people living in Latin America. In other words, Russia is now actively waging a propaganda war in Latin America, a strategy that has been extremely successful so far.

Russia’s Propaganda War in Latin America
According to the latest data released by the International Republican Institute (IRI), 80% of Russians believe that the Russian government is trying to interfere with the upcoming midterm elections. In response, the Russian government has been actively stirring the pot in Latin America in recent years.

In 2014, the Russian government began to ramp up its efforts in the region and has since been conducting a quiet but effective propaganda offensive.

Russia’s Key Tactics in the War
The Russians have a long and storied history when it comes to propaganda, and long-term objectives have always been at the center of it all.

Today, that means three things for Russia’s propaganda efforts in Latin America:

– Targeting specific audiences through specific tactics and channels. – Using a selective and updated news feed to maximize engagement among existing target audiences. – Maintaining a high-quality news operation to drive consistent coverage across all platforms.

Russia’s Efforts to Influence Public Opinion
Ultimately, the Russian government’s main focus in the mid-2010s was on winning the hearts and minds of the people. This is the heart and soul of propaganda, after all — awareness.

One of the Kremlin’s main tactics has been “infostamp,” or the creation of faux-news articles that are intended to be read aloud by the public and shared on social media. Another has been “covert” broadcasts via obscure media outlets and the occasional fake news story.

Both of these tactics rely on one thing in particular: trust. If the public believes that news outlets are trustworthy and accurate, then those outlets are likely telling the truth.

That’s an Herculean task for any media outlet, and one that Russia has had great success with in Latin America to date.

Russia’s Influence Campaign in Action
In the following sections, we’ll look at each of Russia’s key influence tactics in action.

 
 

First, let’s look at the government-backed youth organization, RT.

Russia’s Debunking Guide – Part 1
We’ve already discussed how well-known and trusted RT is in Russia, so it’s worth exploring what’s going on behind the scenes as well.

First, let’s take a look at how Russian state media really is:

– RT is a 24-hour news network presented in both Russian and English. It is a government-backed, cable-access television channel owned by Russia Today (RT) Media LLC.

– The English-language service is called RT America and is available on Fox, NBC, ABC, and CBS.

– The Russian-language service is called Russia Today and is available on numerous platforms, including Apple TV, Roku, and Google TV.

– Both services are operated by RT Media LLC, which is owned by the Russian state.

– RT is also active on social media, with over 100 million followers on Facebook and 40 million on Instagram.

Debunking Guide – Part 2
In addition to its English-language channels, RT also runs a handful of news websites in the U.S., including RT.com, RT.co.uk, and Russia Today Newsroom.

Conclusion
The early 2010s were a watershed moment for Russian propaganda.

After years of relying on a variety of tactics, such as low-key news coverage and favorable guest-posting in newspapers and magazines, the Kremlin now runs an extensive information operation that relies on nuances, such as “covert” broadcasts via obscure media outlets and the occasional fake news story.

The move towards covert operations and more subtle strategies comes as no surprise to those who have been paying attention to Russian propaganda efforts in the past few years. Instead of trying to sway public opinion with a single, overwhelming message, the Russian government has instead begun to focus its efforts on targeting specific audiences with a particular ideology.

These audiences are called “rays of sunshine” in Russian propaganda parlance and are typically people living in Latin America. In other words, Russia is now actively waging a propaganda war in Latin America, a strategy that has been extremely successful so far.

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