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Russian Information Warfare and Interference in the 2016 U.S. Election

The creation and dissemination of misinformation and disinformation—‘fake news’—is a vital component of the Russian information warfare offensive strategy.

Russian Information Warfare (informatsionaya voyna) is rooted in Soviet thinking, dating back to the beginning of the Cold War in the form of spetspropaganda (special propaganda). Information warfare includes computer network operations, electronic warfare, psychological operations, and information operations.

The 2010 Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation says that these measures are implemented “to achieve political objectives without the utilization of military force.” In contrast to Soviet propaganda—which the regime went to great lengths to proclaim as the truth—modern Russian information warfare does not prioritize this, modern information warfare seeks to plant seeds of doubt and distrust; to confuse, distract, polarize and demoralize.

Accordingly, the creation and dissemination of misinformation, disinformation; what has commonly become known as ‘fake news,’ is a vital component of the Russian information warfare offensive strategy.

Reconceptualizing Acts of Foreign Aggression

Adversarial powers like Russia view "active measures" in the West as integral to their military doctrine. The current state of affairs between the U.S.-led West and Russia increasingly seems like a second "Cold war.” However, this is a misstatement. Western institutions and social discourse have been caught almost entirely off-guard by the…
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