크렘린의 허위 정보 유포: 이탈리아 사례를 중심으로 Dissemination of Kremlin‘s Disinformation: The Case of Italy

Recent graduate of Political science in University of Vilnius, International Relations and Political Science

Paule Baziukaite

paulebaz@gmail.com

Introduction

When speaking about the scientific literature and existing research regarding Kremlin’s disinformation, the majority is focused on the post-soviet region which once suffered from the Soviet Union’s occupation and is occasionally still named as the aimed influence zone of today’s Russia. The presence of Russia’s disinformation is highly present in the territories which once were under the Soviet regime, nevertheless, theoretical knowledge combined with mounting evidence demonstrates that today’s disinformation campaign of the Kremlin is far broader and aims to reach even the most distant states of Europe[1]. The main goal of the Kremlin’s information operation is to re-establish the zones of influence in the post-soviet countries and to divide and weaken the West from the inside[2]. One of the main strategic objectives of Russia’s disinformation campaign is to construct a positive or neutral environment for its not always international order biased politics within the European countries. The biggest EU member states whose voices are very significant when speaking about the safety of the eastern EU and NATO borders are also targeted by Kremin’s disinformation narratives. One of the biggest European democracies, Italy, which holds a long history of close relations with Russia, is therefore a strategic target of Kremin’s disinformation campaign in Europe[3].

According to political scientist Stefan Meister, The Kremlin’s disinformation strategy targeting the West is based on operating within individual EU and NATO countries,  aiming to affect already existing political or cultural issues or cleavages[4]. Based on Russian modern institute research made by Peter Pomerantsev and Michael Weiss, first and foremost Kremlin is looking for the defects or grey zones of the western system and then uses them for its own benefit[5]. Their research also reveals that for information operations, Kremlin tends to exploit the information, cultural and monetary spheres in the national contexts of individual states. In other words, the vulnerabilities that exist in the areas listed correlate with the success of its disinformation operations[6]. In the European context, this means that Russian disinformation pursues the same goals using targeted methods specific to each European country’s political and cultural context: it spreads through vulnerable or less resilient areas of the state, or more precisely, through the disinformation retransmission channels found in vulnerable areas.

In Lithuania, since the restoration of its independence, attention has been paid to Russia’s efforts to influence the information sphere of the Baltic States. Assessing Russia’s disinformation efforts as a potential threat to Lithuania’s security, the data is available on the principles of the spread and operation of Kremlin disinformation in the country[7]. Vilnius University lecturer Dr. Nerijus Maliukevičius, in his dissertation on Russia’s information geopolitics in Lithuania[8], emphasizes the central role of Russian official broadcasters during information attacks in Lithuania. Analyst Dalia Bankauskaitė stresses that in the Baltic States, the Kremlin’s disinformation is based on the “divide and rule”  principle[9] – Kremlin seeks to act through the Russian-speaking community and those who had connections with the Communist Party[10]; Kremlin exploits these groups as targets and later as channels for disseminating Kremlin disinformation narratives. Meanwhile, outside the former Soviet Union territories, in Western Europe, greater interest in Kremlin disinformation as a hybrid threat emerged only after the start of the crisis in Ukraine in 2014, when the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign intensified across all of Europe.

So, why among all big European democracies is it worth discussing Italy’s case? Italy can be named as one of the greatest EU powers, being a G7 and G20 country, and one of the founding countries of NATO. Although severely affected by fascism, Italy has remained a country of strong democratic values and an advocate for the culture of freedom of expression. Unlike the countries of the former Soviet bloc, Italy does not have a malicious historical past directly related to Russia (e.g., occupation, deportations, censorship, etc.) and is geographically distant from Russia[11]. Based on the experience of the Baltic countries in the field, these above-mentioned specifics may lead to a more theoretical than practical Italian approach to the threats coming from Russia. Countries such as Italy, which have never experienced a real physical threat from Russia, might not assess the possible threats in the digital era coming from that particular region. Inadequate assessment of threats posed by Russia and its information operations may contribute to vulnerability to Kremlin’s disinformation and to the success (implementation of the goals) of the Russian disinformation campaign in the country and, as a result, all across Europe.

Since the annexation of Crimea, which happened in 2014, more and more particularly favourable to Russia disinformation narratives are being debunked in Italy[12]. In journalism research published in the Italian language, Russia’s disinformation has been linked to misleading narratives about the annexation of Crimea[13], diplomatic scandals during the pandemic[14], controversial humanitarian aid to Italy “from Russia with love”[15], the Sputnik vaccine campaign in Italy and political debates which are often inflicted by pro-Russian narratives[16]. There are also journalistic investigations alleging Russian interference in Italy’s 2016 constitutional reform[17] and 2018 elections[18].

Objectives

The aim of this article is to demonstrate how Russia’s disinformation is being disseminated in Italy (which channels and narratives are being involved) and which vulnerable spheres in the country create a favourable environment for the spread of Kremlin’s disinformation narratives.

To achieve this aim, the following objectives were determined: 1. Overview and analysis of relevant literature in order to build a theoretical basis and methodology for the research; 2. Identify the most common disinformation narratives in favour of the Kremlin in Italy’s infosphere (2021 October – 2022 March); 3. Based on the results of Italy’s infosphere analysis, identify the main Kremlin’s disinformation retransmission channels in Italy; 4. Analyse and identify spheres which are vulnerable to Russia’s disinformation narratives in Italy and can potentially contribute to further retransmission of such narratives.

The analysis of Italy’s case can be considered a real-life illustration of the theoretical disinformation phenomenon of today. Italy’s case can also serve as a practical example and proof of the Kremlin’s disinformation spread in European democracies, especially relevant when following the news stream about Russia’s war in Ukraine. Considering the geopolitical context of today, when the world is dealing with the military, economic, energetic, climate and humanitarian crises all at once, analyzing one of the cheapest and most controversial ways of warfare – the informational one – in the practical and less familiar context is crucial. The review of Italy’s case study can serve as an introduction to the topic of disinformation as well as the starting point for more detailed research works regarding the disinformation-related events in Italy as well as in other democracies.

Methodology

Measuring the spread of disinformation is empirically challenging, therefore the case study was implemented in three stages: 1. Overview of Italy’s infosphere with “Buzzsumo” tool and analysis of the most popular content based on selected topics; 2. Small-scale in-depth expert interviews; 3. Qualitative content analysis of the most popular media outlets and videos and transcribed interviews.

In order to identify the most popular pro-Kremlin narratives in the Italian information space, the media listening tool “Buzzsumo” is used. The publication of the NATO Center for Strategic Communication and Competence on media monitoring highlights the Buzzsumo tool as a suitable and effective tool for detecting disinformation[19]. The Buzzsumo tool filters data from the web, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Popularity in “Buzzsumo” is based on the statistics of shares, likes and comments. The tool’s search engines allow one to discover the most popular content in the selected period, in the selected country, according to the entered keywords.

Kremlin’s disinformation strategy: theoretical background

Defining disinformation. Understanding the disinformation phenomenon and effective response to it are complicated due to the inconsistent and contradictory use of modern terminology[20]. Many times terms such as “fake news”, misinformation, propaganda and disinformation are unreasonably confused, and the meanings of the terms themselves are defined differently depending on the context. This research-based article will be guided by the definition presented in the 2018 European Commission study “A multi-dimensional approach to disinformation”, which defines disinformation as a phenomenon that includes all types of false, inaccurate or misleading information with the intentional aim of causing harm or gaining profit[22].

When it comes to disinformation in the context of hybrid threats, this type of manipulation of information is appropriate to call a tool of hybrid attacks that can threaten democratic processes and practices[23]. Disinformation in favour of authoritarian regimes aims to impoverish healthy democratic practices such as open dialogue and public debate, thus purposely causing harm to Western democracies[24]. The long-term effects of disinformation on democracies are not yet well known. At the moment, it is noticeable that one of the consequences of disinformation – the increasing polarization of the electorate – has already led to certain changes in democratic states. Among the well-known consequences of disinformation are the decreasing trust of European voters in traditional parties and the reform of such parties, as well as the rise of radical political forces[25].

Kremlin’s strategy. Russia has been manipulating the information space of European states for several decades[26], but the Russian military theory published in 2014 gives information efforts a more important role than ever before[27]. Modern technologies, which have greatly adjusted the methods, speed and costs of information dissemination, have led to an increase in the importance of information tools for achieving both domestic and foreign policy goals. The general of the Russian army and the chief of the general staff of the armed forces, Valery Gerasimov, back in 2013 said that in the war of the 21st century, political goals can be most effectively achieved by using not only physical military weapons but rather by using informational, political, humanitarian and economic non-military means[28].

One of the main methods of the Kremlin to implement disinformation campaigns is the desire to use the principles of liberal democracies against them[29]. When targeted by Russia, which is guided by the authoritarian regime principles, the openness of the public and media systems of democratic states, based on free expression values, leads to greater vulnerability of democracies and can make it difficult to distinguish disinformation from simply freedom of speech[30]. Efforts of the Russian disinformation campaign in the Western information space based on liberal values do not take long to find their niches and sow distrust, and dissatisfaction. It also does not take long to find supporters among vulnerable, more divided or elite groups of society who support the values and policies proposed by the Kremlin, who for one reason or another find the policies proposed and promoted by the Kremlin convenient or attractive[31].

Kremlin’s disinformation objectives and most relevant narratives. An information campaign based on lies, distorted information and conspiracy theories, which has been tested and actively applied by Russia in its domestic politics, is also applied outside its own state to achieve strategic goals in the West[32]. The objective of Russia’s information campaign in Europe is to find supporters in the Western societies for the policies and narratives promoted by Kremlin and by doing so, ensure the inability of Western institutions effectively respond to manifestations of Russian aggression or other violations of the international order. Equally important is the effort to raise distrust in Western state-level and international institutions, harming democratic practices and inciting doubts about all available information, thus ensuring the passivity and inefficiency of Western institutions and societies[33].

According to research performed by RAND corporation, Kremlin’s disinformation in the West aims at three fundamental strategic goals, favourable to Russia’s ambitions and politics: 1. To form an environment favourable to Russia’s foreign policy goals; 2. To form a world view that corresponds to Russia’s vision of the world and is favourable to Russia; 3. To create mistrust and confusion[34].

An important element in achieving the listed objectives is the discovery of the weak points of the opponent or exploiting them to the initiator’s advantage[35]. Kremlin adjusts its methods of acting in different democratic countries with the objective to disrupt or paralyze the consensual activities of the EU and NATO and ensure that, in any scenario, decisions that harm Russia the least would be made[36]. Thus, in order to find out how the Kremlin’s disinformation spreads in a certain state and what potential it has to work successfully (i.e. to achieve its goals, find its audience), it is necessary to study the specific areas and channels of disinformation that are being exploited to ensure the spread of narratives favourable to Russia. By identifying the channels through which Russian disinformation is able to reach its audience, it would be possible to assess the extent of disinformation and the country’s vulnerability to disinformation.

Different types of disinformation dissemination channels. In the West, where absolute freedom of speech and thought prevails, we face a problem when it is difficult to unmask and indisputably name or prove who ensures the operation of the disinformation campaign or works on its behalf. In order to properly assess the extent of the Kremlin’s disinformation and expose how disinformation favourable to the Kremlin spreads in Italy, the model proposed by RAND political experts will be used, which distinguishes three types of channels that ensure the spread of Kremlin disinformation in the West[37]:

1. Actors directly controlled by Russia or officially representing Russia;

2. Those operating under the cover of anonymity and autonomy and  having no (officially unconfirmed or publicly announced) connections with the Kremlin;

3. Those who approve and support (spread) the Kremlin’s disinformation narratives voluntarily, but have no ties to the Kremlin.

Italy’s case

An overview and analysis of the Italian information space

The review of the Italian information space aims to identify the prevailing narratives favourable to the Kremlin in Italy. This part of the study analyzes the most popular content in Italian infosphere on topics that, according to the theory, are the most common targets of the Kremlin’s disinformation narratives. After finding out the narratives favourable to the Kremlin in Italy, this part of the study also aims to determine what are the main channels disseminating Kremlin’s disinformation in Italy during the research period (research conducted from September 2021 to April 2022). 

As foreseen in the methodological part of the study, trends in the Italian infosphere were reviewed using the ‘’Buzzsumo“ analytical tool. Keywords and their various combinations were selected according to the theoretical part of the research. The “OR” function was used for the search, which means combining the content found according to the entered keywords (“OR” as the “Combine searches” function). 

Keywords: war Ukraine, NATO expansion, NATO aggressive, NATO divided, NATO, EU (European Union), Europe, Europe weak, Europe divided, Russia, Putin. Used keywords translated into Italian: Guerra Ucraina, espasione NATO, NATO ostile, NATO divisa, NATO, UE (Unione Europea), Europa debole, Europa divisa, Russia, Putin.

<Figure 1> Web search results using three keyword combinations. Results with pro-Kremlin narratives are circled. Source: “Buzzsumo”.

After reviewing and analyzing the most popular content on topics that meet the goals of the Kremlin’s disinformation campaign, three categories of pro-Russian narratives unfolding in Italy were distinguished:

  • about NATO and America;
  • about Russia, Putin and Ukraine;
  • about Europe and its values.
TopicNarratives
NATO & America §  America is as aggressive as Russia – it would behave analogously in Russia’s place§  NATO’s eastward expansion provokes (and has previously provoked) Russia and poses a threat to Russia’s security§  NATO is responsible for the war in Ukraine§  NATO took the lands of the former Soviet Union§  NATO intimidated by Russian military forces§  The EU surrendered to American and NATO expansion
Russia & Putin & Ukraine §  Ukraine is the great Russia§  The war in Ukraine is an inevitable consequence of European and American policies§  Europe must take responsibility for the war in Ukraine§  Putin is a strong leader and president, unlike other EU leaders§  Putin has already achieved victory in Ukraine§  In order to protect the people of Ukraine, it is necessary for Ukraine to cease fire and surrender
ES & Values §  Europe is weak and inefficient§ The EU elites impose their liberal cultural attitudes – the banning of religious holidays and names§  Moral corruption of Europe
<Table 1> The table is compiled by the researcher. Source: “Buzzsumo”.

<Figure 2> Youtube search engine results using three keywords combination Occidente/ Europa/ NATO/ Russia/ Putin. Source: “Buzzsumo”.

A general trend was observed – the content found in the YouTube search engine gained more popularity than the web content. Also, narratives related to the topic of NATO gained the most popularity during the research period, while those related to Europe were the least popular among the researched topics. In general, the most popular content is related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine which could have been predicted, considering that the beginning of the war in Ukraine distorted an infosphere with high volume of news..

Regarding the dissemination of grouped narratives, during the research period the most popular disinformation narratives were disseminated by public figures such as the member of the Chamber of Deputies of the Italian Republic and art critic Vittorio Sgarbi, professor at LUISS University, and expert in the discipline of terrorism, Alessandro Orsini. The platform for falsified information favourable to the Kremlin narratives was provided by the local italian talk show “La7 Attualità”. The most popular pro-Kremlin narratives were distributed by such Italian newspapers as “radiomaria.it”, “ilgiornale.lt”, “ilfattoquatidiano.it”, “silenziefalsita.it”, “NotiziaPolitica.it”. It is worth noting that the mentioned newspapers are not among the top five most read in the country. Due to the limited scope of the study, bots and trolls operating in the Italian information space are not reviewed in this section.

In Italy, as in the rest of  Europe, due to sanctions on Russia,  state-funded daily newspapers aimed at foreign audiences such as RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik News, which could be classified as the first type of disinformation dissemination channels, became officially unavailable from the beginning of March. However, some alternatives to those can be found in such social media channels as Telegram. Still, the popularity of alternative sites remains considerably low. 

After a brief overview of the information space, it can be said that pro-Kremlin narratives have they channels in Italy, and dissemination is mostly ensured not by external actors with official ties to Russia, but, as the results show, by internal actors who do not have proven official ties or links to Russia, but operate in they full autonomy or for their own personal interests. It cannot be excluded that such actors are already victims of disinformation in the first place and thus have their world view particularly shaped.

Factors affecting the spread of disinformation: The case of Italy 

The second stage of the research, analyzing expert interviews, aimed to determine for what reasons and through which vulnerable spheres Kremlin disinformation not only reaches Italy but also finds its rebroadcast channels and followers. The analysis revealed that there are three essential vulnerable spheres in Italy – historical and political, economic, cultural and religious – forming a favourable climate for the spread of Russian disinformation narratives in the country. It turned out that these spheres are not only particularly vulnerable to Russian disinformation but can also become an easy target for disinformation from other countries.

In Italy, a favourable climate for the Kremlin’s disinformation is formed due to the close ties between Russian and Italian political parties and individual politicians. When analysing expert interviews, it became clear that the spread of narratives favourable to Russia is influenced by the long-standing friendship between the Italian ruling elite and Russian politicians and parties. The most prominent political figures who have established the closest connection with Russia after the fall of the Italian Communist Party are Silvio Berlusconi and Matteo Salvini. Well-known politicians, not shying away from openly demonstrating not only their friendship with Putin, but also their sympathy for Russia’s policies, contributed to the spread of narratives favourable to Kremlin.

During its existence, the Italian Communist Party created a medium for the dissemination of pro-Kremlin anti-American narratives. During its existence, the Italian Communist Party was the largest communist party in Western Europe and one of the most influential parties in Italy, helping to fight fascism and build a democratic Italy. The Italian Communist Party did not limit itself to the desire to gather as many votes as possible but created a kind of self-serving culture in which America was portrayed as hostile or distant to Italy. The effects of such a culture can be felt even today, as characters who present themselves as American antagonists do not take long to gain sympathy from former Italian Communist Party voters, their families, or others influenced by Italian Communist Party culture. This also applies to disinformation narratives that aim to present distorted, negative data about America or NATO. It can be said that the part of society influenced by the Italian Communist Party is less resilient to the Kremlin’s narratives about America or NATO.

The Kremlin’s rebroadcasting of disinformation in Italy is related to Russian-Italian economic relations and Italy’s energy dependence on Russian natural resources. The study showed that dependence on Russia’s energy resources and economic dependence (trade, exchange) lead to a more moderate assessment of pro-Russian narratives. Since friendly relations with Russia can lead to economic prosperity, and the Italian public does not feel a real physical threat from Russia, disinformation narratives are viewed with caution and can be accepted “by default” because supporting Russia, even if Russia is wrong, can lead to profit or greater personal gain. It is important to emphasize that the latter phenomenon is recorded in certain industrial regions of Italy, where some businesses depend on the possibility to trade with Russia. However, it cannot be said that falsified narratives are supported and channelled due to economic prosperity in Italy. Such cases do not represent the majority of Italian regions or the wider society.

Kremlin disinformation also spreads in the cultural sphere through the conservative part of the Italian Catholic community, which tends to rebroadcast the Kremlin’s disinformation narratives about European “moral corruption.” While EU is seeking to protect the LGBTQ community, to liberalize the concept of family and people’s lifestyle, the part of the Catholic community many times finds its value system in Putin’s conservatism and at the same time in certain misinformation narratives. Thus, in a community that feels less and less represented by the West and Western moral and cultural norms, anti-European Union, anti-Western and anti-liberalism narratives find a favourable medium to spread.

Reflection & Conclusion

The study showed that in Italy Kremlin’s narratives find ways to spread and also manage to find its audience. It also revealed that pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives found in Italy pose more challenges at the European and transatlantic levels than at the national level. The narratives are mainly focused on breaking or at least triggering the unity of Europe and NATO while it does not pose any obvious threats domestically.

The study is also relevant in order to understand and evaluate how the war in Ukraine can affect the spread of disinformation in Italy. The war in Ukraine has caused an increased flow of information and, at the same time, disinformation all over the EU. The conducted research can become the basis for future studies on how the war in Ukraine is affecting the spread of disinformation by the Kremlin in Italy or in Europe generally.

읽을거리

Tokariuk Olga. „Battle of Narratives: Kremlin Disinformation in the Vitaliy Markiv Case in Italy“, 2021 https://uacrisis.org/en/battle-of-narratives-markiv;

The paper is a case study analyzing the consequences of disinformation impacting the evidence and the juridical decisions in Vitaly Markiv Case. The paper provides intriguing insides about the impact of disinformation on the European juridical system. What is more, this reading material has a great overview of the Italian political environment.

Pomerantsev, Peter, and Michael Weiss. The menace of unreality: How the Kremlin weaponizes information, culture and money. (Vol. 14. New York: Institute of Modern Russia, 2014).

This paper is a useful read for those wanting to comprehend the “how” part when speaking about the impact and dissemination of disinformation. This paper provides a great picture of the most commonly used Kremlin patterns to spread disinformation in its own favour. What catches the attention is that every theory concept is rich in practical examples which lets the reader to better comprehend the phenomenon.

List of interview respondents

1. Respondent R1, interview with the author, Whatsapp call platform, March 15, 2022.

2. Respondent R2, interview with the author, Google Meet platform, March 18, 2022.

3. Respondent R3, interview with the author, MS Teams platform, March 29, 2022.

4. Respondent R4, interview with the author, Google Meet platform, March 31, 2022

5. Respondent R5, interview with the author, Zoom Meetings platform, April 12, 2022.

6. Respondent R6, interview with the author, MS Teams platform, April 14, 2022.

7. Respondent R7, interview with the author, MS Teams platform, April 21, 2022.


[1]  Matthews, Miriam, Alyssa Demus, Elina Treyger, Marek N. Posard, Hilary Reininger, and Christopher Paul (2021), Understanding and Defending Against Russia’s Malign and Subversive Information Efforts in Europe. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 6.  https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR3160.html.

[2]   Luigi Sergio Germani (2017), “Disinformazione e manipolazione delle percezioni: una nuova minaccia al sistema-paese.” Disinformazione e manipolazione delle percezioni, 24.

[3]  Francesco Bechis (2021.9.02) “Italy is in Putin’s sights. Fiona Hill explains why.” Decode39,. Italy is in Putin’s sights. Fiona Hill explains why – Decode39

[4]  Stefan Meister (2016). Isolation and propaganda: The roots and instruments of Russia’s disinformation campaign, German Marshall Fund of the United States, 7.

[5]  Pomerantsev, Peter, and Michael Weiss. The menace of unreality: How the Kremlin weaponizes information, culture and money. (Vol. 14. New York: Institute of Modern Russia, 2014).

[6]  Ibid, 43.

[7]  Bankauskaitė, Dalia – Vytautas Keršanskas (2019), “Baltic Security Strategy Report: What the Baltics can Offer for a Stronger Alliance.” The Jamestown Foundation, 95.

[8]  Nerijus Maliukevičius (2008), Rusijos Informacijos Geopolitikos Potencialas ir Sklaida Lietuvoje, Vilniaus universiteto leidykla, Vilnius.

[9]  Dalia Bankauskaitė, “Kremlin narratives for subversive activity in Lithuania’s information space.” May 21, 2019. Kremlin narratives for subversive activity in Lithuania’s information space | by Integrity Initiative | Medium

[10]  Dalia Bankauskaitė, Vytautas Keršanskas (2019), “Baltic Security Strategy Report: What the Baltics can Offer for a Stronger Alliance.” The Jamestown Foundation, 84.

[11]  Bankauskaitė, Dalia (2019), “Kremlin narratives for subversive activity in Lithuania’s information space.”

[12]  Olga, Tokariuk (2021), „Battle of Narratives: Kremlin Disinformation in the Vitaliy Markiv Case in Italy“,  https://uacrisis.org/en/battle-of-narratives-markiv; Sergio Germani, Massimiliano Di Pasquale (2021). „L’ influenza russa sulla cultura, sul mondo accademico e sui think tank italiani.” Centro Studi Gino Germani, 4.

[13]  Massimiliano Di Pasquale (2017.03.15) „Perché la propaganda russa trova terreno fertile in Italia?“ https://www.stradeonline.it/terza-pagina/2829-perche-la-propaganda-russa-trova-terreno-fertile-in-italia

[14]  Gianluca Di Feo (2021.03.31) „”Ufficiale italiano spiava per i russi”. Due fermi a Roma. Di Maio: “Atto ostile di estrema gravità” https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2021/03/31/news/ufficiale_italiano_spiava_per_i_russi_due_fermi_a_roma-294475219/

[15]  Giacomo Salvini. Adolfo Urso (2022.03.25) “La missione russa al massimo fu propaganda, non spionaggio” https://www.ilfattoquotidiano.it/in-edicola/articoli/2022/03/25/adolfo-urso-la-missione-russa-al-massimo-fu-propaganda-non-spionaggio/6536801/; Il Post (2022.03.23). „Perché si parla della missione russa a Bergamo del marzo del 2020“ https://www.ilpost.it/2022/03/23/missione-russa-bergamo-2020/

[16]  Alberto Magnani (2018.03.19) „Alla ricerca dell’uomo forte: perché la politica italiana è innamorata di Putin“ https://www.ilsole24ore.com/art/alla-ricerca-uomo-forte-perche-politica-italiana-e-innamorata-putin-AEwkkDJE

[17]  Jacopo Iacoboni (2016.11.02) „La propaganda russa all’offensiva anti-Renzi. E il web grillino rilancia.” La propaganda russa all’offensiva anti-Renzi. E il web grillino rilancia – La Stampa

[18]  Paolo Gallori (2018.01.10) „ Usa, rapporto dem: “Possibili interferenze russe nelle prossime elezioni politiche in Italia.” https://www.repubblica.it/esteri/2018/01/10/news/usa_rapporto_dem_interferenze_russe_su_elezioni_italia-186223282/

[19]  Twetman, H., Paramonova, M., Hanley, M. (2021), Social Media Monitoring: A Primer. Riga: NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, 52.

[20]  Judit Bayer, et al. (2019), “Disinformation and propaganda–impact on the functioning of the rule of law in the EU and its Member States.” European Parliament, LIBE Committee, Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs, 27 disinformatio rule of law.pdf

[21]  Ibid, 27.

[22]  High Level Expert Group on Fake News and Disinformation. (2018), A multi-dimensional approach to disinformation: Report of the independent high level group on fake news and online disinformation. European Commission, 10.

[23]  Deen Freelon & Chris Wells (2020), “Disinformation as Political Communication”, Political Communication, 37:2, 146.

[24]  Suffia, G., & Ziccardi (2020), Fake news, guerra dell’informazione ed equilibri democratici,  212.

[25]  Ibid, 212.

[26]  Pomerantsev, Peter, and Michael Weiss (2014), “The menace of unreality: How the Kremlin weaponizes information, culture and money. “ Vol. 14. New York: Institute of Modern Russia.

[27]  Keir Giles (2016), “Handbook of Russian Information Warfare, Research Division”, NATO Defense Colleg, 16.

[28]  Gerasimov, Valery (2016), “The value of science is in the foresight: New challenges demand rethinking the forms and methods of carrying out combat operations.” Military Review 96.1, 24.

[29]  Ibid, 4.

[30]  Walker, Christopher, and Jessica Ludwig (2021), “A Full-Spectrum Response to Sharp Power.” 6.

[31]  Stefan Meister (2016), Isolation and propaganda: The roots and instruments of Russia’s disinformation campaign, German Marshall Fund of the United States, II.

[32]  Ibid 7.

[33]  Matthews, Miriam, Alyssa Demus, Elina Treyger, Marek N. Posard, Hilary Reininger, and Christopher Paul (2021), Understanding and Defending Against Russia’s Malign and Subversive Information Efforts in Europe. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation 30. https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR3160.html

[34]  Ibid, 6.

[35]  Suffia, G., & Ziccardi, G.Fake news, guerra dell’informazione ed equilibri democratici, (2020), 208.

[36]  Keir Giles (2016), “Handbook of Russian Information Warfare, Research Division”, NATO Defense Colleg,  20.

[37]  Matthews, Miriam, Alyssa Demus, Elina Treyger, Marek N. Posard, Hilary Reininger, and Christopher Paul (2021), Understanding and Defending Against Russia’s Malign and Subversive Information Efforts in Europe. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 32-35.  https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR3160.html.

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