Russia Intensified Its Propaganda in Europe Using Pseudo-Pacifists

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For a long time, Italy continues to be the main subject of Russian propaganda in Europe. In 2023, pseudo-pacifist movements became active in the Italian information space, which actually call on Rome to stop supplying weapons to Ukrainians and negotiatewith Russia. Propaganda is spreading about Italian society’s fatigue from the war, the country’s economic exhaustion, and the need to lift anti-Russian sanctions. There have been growing callsfor a compromise and giving up to Russia the occupied Ukrainian territories. All this is based on the false idea that Vladimir Putin would agree with the current status quo and to stop further Russian aggression against a sovereign country.

Today, Italians who support negotiations with Russia suggest thatPutin understands his inability to achieve a direct victory and is ready to stop at several already annexed regions of Ukraine. However, the idea of negotiations and an end to the war does not take into account the strategic role that the war plays in strengthening Putin’s power.

Over many years, in addition to economic ties, the Russian Federation has succeeded in establishing close political and cultural ties with Italy. Moscow invested huge funds in supporting far-right radicals and ideologists, held large-scale cultural events, convincing Italian society of the progressiveness and Europeanness of Russian culture.

Russia’s influence on the Italian media can be traced long ago.According to pro-Russian establishment and ideologists, Italian aid to Ukrainians should not consist from arms, but fromhumanitarian needs, primarily for children suffering from the war. This idea has been promoting since the annexation of Crimea and until now. Pro-Russian resources are calling for donations to Italian foundations (AASIB, Fal popolo italiano con amore, L’associazione Vento dell’Est, etc.). Some of them note in their reports that the coordination of assistance is carried out with the help of the Russian authorities.

Italian politicians with suitable position are often invited by Russians to joint far-right or far-left radical forums, which are sponsored, if not directly from the Russian budget, then by various patrons such as Konstantin Malofeev.

One of the latest messages of Russian propaganda is “Ukraine will not survive, Russia is strong, the West is tired of Ukraine.” This misinformation is highlighted by the Italian historian, journalist and at the same time the leader of the Italian far-left radicalUnione Popolare (UP), Professor Angelo D’Orsi, who accuses Washington of being one of the main obstacles to peace.

Journalists Andrea Lucidi and Vittorio Rangeloni, geopolitical analysts Stefano Vernole and Stefano Orsi, President of the Cultural Association of Russia Emilia Romagna Luca Rossi, director of Marx21 Cultural and Political Association Marco Pondrelli, representative of the Modena Coordinating Council against the War Fabio De Maio are also involved in the spread of Russian propaganda.

During 2023, the spread of misinformation in the Italian media is accompanied by public events. “Peaceful” demonstrations took place in Rome, Modena, Turin, Naples, Bologna, Cesena, Livorno, Carrara, Rovereto and other cities.

In addition, Greenpeace Italy, Campagna Sbilanciamici and Rete Italiana Pace e Disarmo announced demands at a press conference in the Senate in July of this year: to reduce any further military spending and foreign support that fuels the arms race and war, to demilitarize public policy, and to make direct efforts to solve the climate crisis. All this completely falls under the message that is beneficial to Russia.

Thus, Moscow, through Russian cultural centers and humanitarian organizations in Italy, as well as with the assistance of communist/socialist movements, launched a long-term and large-scale disinformation campaign aimed at disrupting the supply of weapons for the defense of Ukraine against Russian aggression, popularizing Russophile sentiments in Italian society and promoting the need to start peace negotiations on the terms of the Russian Federation.

Moscow’s main motivation in promoting “peace” is to get a break and restore lost military potential for further aggressive actions in Europe. Russia does not want to live according to the rules of the international world order.

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