12.4 C
New York
Saturday, April 13, 2024

Putin’s €1 Billion Propaganda Scheme Revealed Before Presidential Vote

Estonian news website Delfi recently acquired internal Kremlin documents shedding light on a €1 billion initiative aimed at securing Vladimir Putin’s continued leadership and fostering Russian nationalism domestically.

Referred to as “Kremlin Leaks,” these documents, sourced in December 2023 through collaboration with around 10 international media outlets, detail Moscow’s “information war” within Russia. The primary objective is to secure Putin’s fifth term in the upcoming presidential election on March 15-17, with approximately €631 million earmarked for this propaganda effort, according to investigative journalism site Vsquare.

In addition to domestic efforts, the Kremlin is directing significant attention to what it terms “new territories,” focusing on Russian-occupied regions in eastern Ukraine. This involves substantial financial investment to ensure loyalty among the local population, as reported by Vsquare.

The overall budget for this state-sponsored “information war” leading up to the presidential elections is €1.1 billion. The entertainment sector, encompassing television, cinema, and online content, commands the majority of this budget, as highlighted by the independent Russian investigative site Meduza, another project partner.

Documents disclosed by Meduza outline the Putin administration’s emphasis on creative works promoting “traditional values” and showcasing positive societal changes. The content aims to celebrate “modern [Russian] heroes” and foster national unity, particularly among residents of the Russian-occupied territories in eastern Ukraine.

Also Read: North Korea Shipped Over 3 Million Artillery Shells to Russia

This strategic approach mirrors historical guidelines, resembling those provided to film studios in the 1930s, such as the Hays code in the US, according to Russia specialist Jeff Hawn from the London School of Economics.

Professor Vlad Strukov of the University of Leeds asserts that the “Kremlin Leaks” expose the financial intricacies of the ecosystem established to propagate the desired narrative of Russian authorities. Approximately €600 million was distributed to around 15 organizations to produce content aligned with these objectives, with the Institute for Internet Development (IID) emerging as a major recipient, securing over €400 million since the beginning of 2023.

Originally founded in 2015 to facilitate dialogue between the internet ecosystem and the government, the IID evolved into a funding source for content targeting young people. It has now become a key financier for films and TV shows, representing a notable example of “alternative organizations” supplanting previous sources of arts funding aligned with the regime’s narrative.

For the upcoming presidential election, the IID has outlined a “creative campaign content” document featuring numerous film projects, broadcasts, and music festivals. Notably, one series, “GDR,” portrays the daily life of an intelligence officer during the Cold War, drawing parallels with Putin’s earlier career.

According to Hawn, this level of proactive narrative framing for an election is unprecedented for Putin’s team, reflecting a shift since the war in Ukraine. The goal is to “pre-rig the election” by influencing public opinion before the polls, minimizing the need for direct manipulation of results.

Kremlin Leaks also underscore the regime’s increasing ideological orientation, emphasizing an ideological battle with the “decadent West” and leveraging propaganda tools to champion Russian “values.” Despite attempts to control the narrative, the Russian public still has access to a variety of cultural influences, differentiating Russia from China in terms of cultural control.

The leaks reveal a strategy where the regime delegates narrative production to various structures, such as the IID, to compete with diverse cultural influences. An IT insider noted the state’s realization that content on the expansive and costly Internet was largely produced by entities other than the state itself.

Latest Posts

Don't Miss

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.