Deception is an integral part of how Russia is fighting its wars, including public press pronouncements and fabricated news items. In recent weeks, U.S. and British officials have tried to flip the script on this Russian tactic by selectively releasing intelligence information to let the world know what kind of lies the Russians are planning. This is a bold new strategy to blunt Russian aggression in both the information space and in the physical world.
As part of this push, last week State Department spokesman Ned Price let the world know that Russia is planning to create a faked video of a fabricated Ukrainian atrocity in Eastern Ukraine to justify a further Russian invasion. The video would include faked gore and even fake mourners. One journalist was skeptical, and demanded further proof. He even compared the State Department’s claim to something out of InfoWars: “Crisis actors? Really? This is like Alex Jones territory you’re getting into now.” Here’s video of the awkward exchange.
Unfortunately, Price was unprepared and defensive. He should have spoken about the regular use of faked videos by Russian propagandists to support their Ukraine narratives. There have been at least six faked videos that came out of the Ukraine crisis since the war started in 2014. While these videos do not come with an easy-to-read Moscow return address, even someone without access to intelligence information can see how they fit right within Russia’s propaganda objectives. While several of them are poorly done fakes, perhaps done quickly on a shoestring budget, at least one is a pretty good imitation of reality.