Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Russia is conducting a disinformation campaign in France

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jul8,2024

Russia is conducting a disinformation campaign in France

Photo: REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/Illustration//File Photo

Russia is waging an intensive disinformation campaign against France amid French legislative elections and the upcoming Paris Olympics, according to French officials and cybersecurity experts from Europe and the United States, Agence reports. France-Presse.

Photos of the red-stained Holocaust memorial. Coffins on the Eiffel Tower. A fake French conscription drafting soldiers into Ukraine and major French news sites incredibly registered in a Pacific territory of 15,000 people.

More than a dozen reports published over the past year point to increased Russian efforts to damage France's image, especially given the upcoming Olympics, and the actions of President Emmanuel Macron, who is one of Ukraine's most trusted supporters in Europe.

Russian campaigns spreading anti-French disinformation began online in early summer 2023, but first became noticeable in October, when more than 1,000 Russian-linked bots posted photos of Star of David graffiti in Paris and its suburbs.

A French intelligence report states that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) was the mastermind behind the graffiti, as well as the subsequent vandalism of a memorial dedicated to those who helped save Jews from the Holocaust.

According to cybersecurity experts, the photos were distributed on social media using fake accounts linked to the Russian disinformation site RRN. A French intelligence report says RRN is part of a larger operation organized by senior Kremlin official Sergei Kiriyenko.

"It can be thought of as an ecosystem– a French military official said on condition of anonymity. – This is a hybrid strategy.”.

The acts of vandalism have no direct connection to Russia's war in Ukraine, but they sparked a strong reaction from the French political class, legislative condemnation and public debate. Anti-Semitic attacks are on the rise in France, and the war in Gaza has divided society.

The massive disinformation effort has gained little traction in France, but Russian audiences may have been the real target, officials say.

According to a French military official, among the broader goals – a long-term and sustained effort to sow social discord, undermine faith in the media and democratic governments, undermine NATO, and weaken Western support for Ukraine. The bonus, according to French officials, is the denigration of the Olympic Games, which most Russian athletes are not allowed to attend.

The French government cybersecurity service Viginum has published numerous messages since June 2023 alleging Russian attempts to sow division. in France and other countries.

Prepared by: Sergey Daga

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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