Category Archives: Europe

Polish Journalist Punched in the Face After Insulting Russians on TV Debate Show

A Polish journalist was punched in the face on Russian television this week, after telling a debate panel, “Ukrainians want to live like normal people, not in shit, like you [in Russia].”

ED: Am I the only person that finds this funny ?

Polish journalist Tomasz Maciejczuk’s run-in with another man’s fist came during an appearance on the Russian TV show “Voting Right.” The episode never aired, but the TVTs station published the video on YouTube on Nov. 22.

The man who hit Maciejczuk was Ihor Markov, a former Ukrainian lawmaker who served briefly in Ukraine’s parliament before the Maidan Revolution. Today, Markov is wanted by police in Ukraine in connection with riots that took place in Odessa in September 2007.

This week’s fight on Russian television broke out when the debate turned to average salaries in Russia. Maciejczuk took the opportunity to point out that the Russian economy lags significantly in this area, saying heatedly, “When we talk about money, I want to congratulate Romania on its victory. And do you know why? Because today the average salary in Romania is higher than it is in Russia. And it’s higher in Latvia, too.”

When pressed to talk about Ukrainians, Maciejczuk let loose his quip about “living in shit.” In response, the show’s host, Roman Babayan, threw a piece of paper in his face, and fired back, “You’re the ones who live in shit!”

It was chaos after this, with Babayan, Markov, and others charging Maciejczuk and demanding, over and over, that he leave the television studio. When Maciejczuk refused to go, arguing that his remarks were no more offensive than comments Russians often make about Poles, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians, Markov leaned in and punched in him the forehead. The footage published on YouTube abruptly ends there.

Maciejczuk seems to be okay. On Vkontakte, he remained defiant, mocking political analyst Sergei Mikheev, who also appeared on the show, for his apparent ignorance about average salaries in Russia.

Russia’s state-news media, meanwhile, has described the incident as yet another Russophobic outburst by a foreign journalist. Sputnik’s Russian-language Armenia division, for instance, spoke to Mikheev and historian Armen Gasparyan, who accused Maciejczuk of intentionally staging a scandal. Gasparyan told Sputnik that Maciejczuk even confessed to him in the past that he “knows better” than what he says on the air.

From – https://themoscowtimes.com/news/polish-journalist-punched-in-the-face-after-insulting-russians-on-tv-debate-show-56279

EU states conditionally back visa-free travel for Ukraine

BRUSSELS, Nov 17 (Reuters) – European Union states agreed on Thursday to waive visas for Ukrainians coming to the bloc for short visits, but said implementation could only take place once the bloc beefs up its mechanism to suspend visa-free agreements.

“I am delighted that our decision is able to send a positive message in the run up to the EU-Ukraine Summit on 24 November,” said Peter Javorcik, the EU ambassador for Slovakia, which now holds the EU’s rotating presidency.

From – https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/reuters-eu-states-conditionally-back-visa-free-travel-ukraine.html

Former Foreign Minister of Poland: Putin could cease support for Assad if given Ukraine

The former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Radosław Sikorski, suggested that the crisis in the Russian economy could force the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, to offer a substantial agreement to the new President of the United States. Vladimir Putin could refuse to support the Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, if the United States let him have Ukraine.

Sikorski believes that such an exchange would be possible because the Middle East has always been a priority for the United States.

“That what Putin dreams of, sort of a Yalta-2. The chances for the implementation of such a scenario are minimal, but Russian leadership may have such plans,” Sikorski believes. The former Minister also added that the ascendance of Donald Trump to the White House would be necessary for this. The U.S Presidential elections will take place on the 8th of November.

From – http://www.uawire.org/news/former-foreign-minister-of-poland-putin-can-offer-the-united-states-the-exchange-of-syria-for-ukraine

No visa-free travel for Ukraine on EP’s November agenda

Visa waiver suspension mechanism has not been incorporated on the agenda as well

The European Union visa-free travel for Ukrainians is not on the agenda of the European Parliament’s session in Strasbourg on November 21- 24.

Neither visa liberalization for Ukraine, nor visa waiver suspension mechanism has been incorporated on the EP agenda, according to its official website.

As earlier reported, the European Council and the European Parliament planned to agree on the mechanism, which is considered to be a major obstacle to the EU visa liberalization, in early November.

The suspension mechanism enables EU members to temporarily reintroduce visa requirements for third-country nationals in the event of sudden surges in irregular immigration.

Some EU member states, including heavyweight Germany and France, oppose granting more visa-free movement before the bloc has beefed up the emergency mechanism.

The discussions between the European Parliament and the Council on the suspension mechanism are still ongoing.

Earlier President Petro Poroshenko announced that Ukraine will get visa-free regime no later than on November 24 when the Ukraine-EU summit is scheduled to take place in Brussels.

Writing on his Facebook page, Poroshenko underlined that Ukraine has fulfilled all the 144 requirements of the European Union for securing visa-free travel.

From – http://uatoday.tv/politics/no-visa-free-travel-for-ukraine-on-ep-s-november-agenda-796539.html

How the West should punish Putin

As NATO scrambles to beef up its defences in the frontline states and Western diplomacy is humiliated in Syria, the New Cold War is no longer a fanciful book title. It is fact.

As the author of that book — much-criticised when first published in 2008 — I am glad, if alarmed, that my warnings about Russia’s revanchist and repressive policies have been vindicated. Yet one of its central messages has been missed. Russia is not the Soviet Union, and this is not a tussle of strength between global superpowers. We — the European Union, NATO, the West in general—are losing not because we are weak, but because we are weak-willed.

Russia’s weapons include lies, money, espionage and bluff. It deploys them with the decisiveness, even recklessness, that comes from autocratic rule.

The Kremlin practises joined-up government. Its businesses (especially energy exporters), state agencies (spies and soldiers) and independent public bodies (broadcasters, universities, courts) work together. Ours don’t. Vladimir Putin is willing to accept economic pain; we aren’t. He uses force; we flinch. He threatens the use of nuclear weapons; we find that terrifying.

All too often, we fail to notice even that we are being attacked. We salivate at Russian money, while ignoring its political payload. Even legitimate trade and investment build up constituencies in the West which lobby for the political decisions that will preserve their juicy contracts and deals. That is one reason that our sanctions on Russia since it invaded Ukraine have been so weak.

Worse, Russian money feeds into our public life. Cash-strapped papers regularly carry Russian propaganda in advertorial. The Kremlin overtly bankrolls the National Front in France. Covertly, Kremlin cash supports other extremist, anti-American and disruptive forces elsewhere. We are timid when it comes to tackling these links.

Similarly, we brush off Russian propaganda, believing that our media is invincible and that truth triumphs in the long run. Perhaps, but too much can go wrong in the meantime. Russian media and disinformation outlets stoke conspiracy theories, spread scare stories and corrode our political system with stolen information. Even now, many Americans do not realise that Russia has been trying to get Donald Trump elected, using a pernicious combination of hacking and leaking.

Our media prize fairness over truth. If Western sources say that a Russian missile shot down an airliner over Ukraine, and pro-Kremlin voices dispute this, it is easier to give both sides of the story rather than rule out one side as too tendentious. This addiction to balance is selective. Our editorial decision-makers do not, generally, balance round-earthers with flat-earthers, or astronomers with astrologers. But they are quite happy to host Kremlin viewpoints as though these were entirely legitimate and reasonable.

We can do plenty about this if we wish. It starts with our financial system. The central message of the New Cold War was this: if you believe that only money matters, then you are defenceless when people attack you using money.

The weakest part of the Putin machine: its Western accomplices. Russia can’t launder money on its own. It uses Western—often British—bankers, lawyers and accountants. These are the “guilty men” of our era. They have enabled the theft of tens of billions of pounds every year from the Russian people. They knew what they were doing, and they thought nothing would ever happen to them.

We can change that. We can start with ostracism. Working for dirty Russian clients should be social and professional suicide, akin to dumping toxic waste, trading in endangered species or loan-sharking. We should apply regulatory sanctions, such as professional disqualification: it is a serious breach of the rules, for example, for a lawyer to take on a client whose beneficial ownership is unclear. Only the cost of defending a libel action prevents me giving examples.

Finally there is criminal prosecution. Britain has a lamentable record in prosecuting high-level, white-collar crime, but we could always change that. Moreover, in some cases the money-laundering has an American dimension. The thought of spending several years in a US prison should not only be a powerful deterrent to those still working for Putin and his cronies. It will also be a powerful incentive to turn Queen’s Evidence. With better insight into the Kremlin’s offshore financial empire, we can start rehearsing the ultimate deterrent: freezing and seizing assets.

We don’t need new laws. We just need to enforce our existing ones. British banks have a shameful record on money-laundering, as a report in 2011 by the former Financial Services Authority (now the Financial Conduct Authority) made clear. It highlighted how banks simply ignored the “know-your-customer” requirement for what are called “politically exposed persons” if the profits were big enough. Why worry about the source of the funds when the destination is so lucrative? Lobbying from the City made sure that the recommendations got nowhere.

What we do need is much greater coordination among our different agencies.We need a cabinet committee, chaired by a senior minister, to coordinate our criminal-justice, intelligence, defence, security, financial-supervision and other capabilities.

We can also raise the bar for Russian propaganda. We should lambast the BBC and other broadcasters for their phoney, lazy balancing of truth and falsehood. We should refuse to have dealings with the Kremlin’s lie-machines — the “TV station” RT, and the “news agency” Sputnik. No reputable commentator, politician or official should lend them credibility by responding to their requests for comment. Let these propagandists stew in their own swamp of cranks and conspiracy theorists. We should encourage Ofcom to continue enforcing its rules on balance in broadcasting — which RT has already tripped over several times.

These counter-measures are far more effective than a military response. It is quite right to bolster NATO’s presence in the frontline states. But we should not fall for Russia’s attempt to frame the argument in its terms: if you defend your allies, you risk a nuclear apocalypse. We are bigger, richer and stronger than Russia. We should act that way.

From – http://capx.co/playing-russia-at-its-own-game/

Gorbachev Says Tensions Between U.S., Russia At ‘Dangerous Point’

Former Soviet leader and Nobel laureate Mikhail Gorbachev says tensions between the United States and Russia have reached a “dangerous point.”

Former Soviet leader and Nobel laureate Mikhail Gorbachev has warned that the world has reached a “dangerous point” as tensions between Russia and the United States have soared over the Syria conflict.

Relations between Moscow and Washington — already at a post-Cold War low over the Ukraine conflict — have deteriorated sharply since the United States abandoned attempts with Russia to negotiate a cease-fire in Syria on October 3 and formally accused Russia of hacking U.S. political targets during the elections.

The Kremlin, meanwhile, has suspended a series of nuclear cooperation pacts and built up its military forces in Syria and near the border with Europe, most recently by stationing nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, on NATO’s doorstep.

“I think the world has reached a dangerous point,” Gorbachev, 85, told state news agency RIA Novosti on October 10. “I don’t want to give any concrete prescriptions, but I do want to say that this needs to stop. We need to renew dialogue. Stopping it was the biggest mistake.”

As the last leader of the Soviet Union, Gorbachev oversaw an easing of decades of tensions with the West that helped to end the Cold War.

He inked several landmark nuclear disarmament deals with Washington aimed at defusing the standoff between the two superpowers. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990 for his reform efforts.

“It is necessary to return to the main priorities. These are nuclear disarmament, the fight against terrorism, the prevention of an environmental disaster,” he said. “Compared to these challenges, all the rest slips into the background.”

Separately, Gorbachev called for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons in an address in Iceland on October 10.

“The worst thing that has happened in recent years is the collapse of trust in relations between major powers,” he said. “The window to a nuclear weapon-free world…is being shut and sealed right before our eyes.”

“As long as nuclear weapons exist, there is a danger that someday they will be used as a result either of accident or technical failure or of evil intent of man — an insane person or terrorist,” Gorbachev said.

But instead of curbing the development of nuclear weapons, world powers are creating new ones, improving the old ones, and adopting missile-defense systems in ways that have actually made a nuclear proliferation and conflict more likely, he said.

Kyiv Post – Mh17 Cartoon

Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team on Sept. 28 officially said that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a Buk missile launcher that was brought from Russia. However, the investigators said they were “not making any statement about the involvement” of the Russian Federation. Critics say Dutch investigators are reluctant to antagonize the Kremlin, but authorities say blame will be the focus of the next phase of the investigation.

 The United States and NATO Are Preparing for a Major War With Russia

Massive military exercises and a troop buildup on NATO’s eastern flank reflect a dangerous new strategy.

For the first time in a quarter-century, the prospect of war—real war, war between the major powers—will be on the agenda of Western leaders when they meet at the NATO Summit in Warsaw, Poland, on July 8 and 9. Dominating the agenda in Warsaw (aside, of course, from the “Brexit” vote in the UK) will be discussion of plans to reinforce NATO’s “eastern flank”—the arc of former Soviet partners stretching from the Baltic states to the Black Sea that are now allied with the West but fear military assault by Moscow. Until recently, the prospect of such an attack was given little credence in strategic circles, but now many in NATO believe a major war is possible and that robust defensive measures are required.

In what is likely to be its most significant move, the Warsaw summit is expected to give formal approval to a plan to deploy four multinational battalions along the eastern flank—one each in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Although not deemed sufficient to stop a determined Russian assault, the four battalions would act as a “tripwire,” thrusting soldiers from numerous NATO countries into the line of fire and so ensuring a full-scale, alliance-wide response. This, it is claimed, will deter Russia from undertaking such a move in the first place or ensure its defeat should it be foolhardy enough to start a war.

The United States, of course, is deeply involved in these initiatives. Not only will it supply many of the troops for the four multinational battalions, but it is also taking many steps of its own to bolster NATO’s eastern flank. Spending on the Pentagon’s “European Reassurance Initiative” will quadruple, climbing from $789 million in 2016 to $3.4 billion in 2017. Much of this additional funding will go to the deployment, on a rotating basis, of an additional armored-brigade combat team in northern Europe.

As a further indication of US and NATO determination to prepare for a possible war with Russia, the alliance recently conducted the largest war games in Eastern Europe since the end of the Cold War. Known as Anakonda 2016, the exercise involved some 31,000 troops (about half of them Americans) and thousands of combat vehicles from 24 nations in simulated battle maneuvers across the breadth of Poland. A parallel naval exercise, BALTOPS 16, simulated “high-end maritime warfighting” in the Baltic Sea, including in waters near Kaliningrad, a heavily defended Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

All of this—the aggressive exercises, the NATO buildup, the added US troop deployments—reflects a new and dangerous strategic outlook in Washington. Whereas previously the strategic focus had been on terrorism and counterinsurgency, it has now shifted to conventional warfare among the major powers. “Today’s security environment is dramatically different than the one we’ve been engaged in for the last 25 years,” observed Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter on February 2, when unveiling the Pentagon’s $583 billion budget for fiscal year 2017. Until recently, he explained, American forces had largely been primed to defeat insurgent and irregular forces, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now, however, the Pentagon was being readied for “a return to great-power competition,” including the possibility of all-out combat with “high-end enemies” like Russia and China.

 The budgetary and force-deployment implications of this are enormous in their own right, but so is this embrace of “great-power competition” as a guiding star for US strategy. During the Cold War, it was widely assumed that the principal task of the US military was to prepare for all-out combat with the Soviet Union, and that such preparation must envision the likelihood of nuclear escalation. Since then, American forces have seen much horrible fighting in the Middle East and Afghanistan, but none of that has involved combat with another major power, and none entailed the risk of nuclear escalation—for which we should all be thankful. Now, however, Secretary Carter and his aides are seriously thinking about—and planning for—conflicts that would involve another major power and could escalate to the nuclear realm.

It’s hard to know where to begin when commenting on all this, given the atmosphere of Cold War hysteria. There is, first of all, the question of proportionality: are US and NATO moves on the eastern flank in keeping with the magnitude of the threat posed by Russia? Russian intervention in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is certainly provocative and repugnant, but cannot unequivocally be deemed a direct threat to NATO. Other Russian moves in the region, such as incursions by Russian ships and planes into the airspace and coastal waters of NATO members, are more worrisome, but appear to be more political messaging than a prelude to invasion. Basically, it’s very hard to imagine a scenario in which Russia would initiate an armed attack on NATO.

 Then there is the matter of self-fulfilling prophecies. By announcing the return of great-power competition and preparing for a war with Russia, the United States and NATO are setting in motion forces that could, in the end, achieve precisely that outcome. This is not to say that Moscow is guiltless regarding the troubled environment along the eastern front, but surely Vladimir Putin has reason to claim that the NATO initiatives pose a substantially heightened threat to Russian security and so justify a corresponding Russian buildup. Any such moves will, of course, invite yet additional NATO deployments, followed by complementary Russian moves, and so on—until we’re right back in a Cold War–like situation.

Finally, there is the risk of accident, miscalculation, and escalation. This arises with particular severity in the case of US/NATO exercises on the edge of Russian territory, especially Kaliningrad. In all such actions, there is a constant danger that one side or the other will overreact to a perceived threat and take steps leading to combat and, conceivably, all-out war. When two Russian fighters flew within 30 feet of a US destroyer sailing in the Baltic Sea this past April, Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN that under US rules of engagement, the planes could have been shot down. Imagine where that could have led. Fortunately, the captain of the destroyer chose to exercise restraint and a serious incident was averted. But as more US and NATO forces are deployed on the edge of Russian territory and both sides engage in provocative military maneuvers, dangerous encounters of this sort are sure to increase in frequency, and the risk of their ending badly will only grow.

No doubt the NATO summit in Warsaw will be overshadowed to some degree by the UK’s Brexit vote and ensuing political turmoil in Europe. But as Western leaders settle down to business, they must not allow their inclination to “demonstrate unity” and “act resolutely” lead them to approve military moves that are inherently destabilizing. Surely it is possible to reassure the Baltic states and Poland without deploying many thousands of additional troops there and inviting an additional military buildup on the Russian side.

From – https://www.thenation.com/article/the-united-states-and-nato-are-preparing-for-a-major-war-with-russia/

EU to cancel visas for Ukrainians next month – Commissioner Hahn

Visa regime for Ukrainians could be lifted by the end of October, EU Commissioner for Enlargement says

The European Union will lift the visa regime for the Ukrainian citizens as early as next month, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn has told in an exclusive comment to Deutsche Welle.

“I hope and I am convinced that it will happen in October. There are very positive signals from both EU member states and from the European Parliament. That is why it should happen,” he said, commenting on the prospects of a visa-free travel for Ukraine, DW reported.

As UNIAN adds, the issue of granting Ukraine visa-free regime should be considered at the meeting of Justice and Home Affairs Council of the European Union, according to Deputy Foreign Minister of Ukraine Olena Zerkal. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin earlier said he expected to see a positive decision of the European Parliament on a visa-free regime for Ukraine until November.

Finnish journalist Jessikka Aro’s inquiry into Russian trolls stirs up a hornet’s nest

Soon after Jessikka Aro poked the trolls, they started to stir.
In one of the early calls, someone phoned her mobile and fired a gun.

Undaunted, she kept poking. And the growls have been getting louder.

Last spring someone sent her a text message pretending to be from her father – who died 20 years ago – telling her he was “watching her”.
Another wrote a song, mocking her as a bimbo “James Bond” NATO agent with a drug habit. There is even a music video online, with Aro portrayed by an actress in a leotard and wig. It would be funny if it wasn’t dripping with venom.

And just a few weeks ago there was a blog post. Someone had trawled through old court records and found a copy of Aro’s 12-year-old fine for amphetamine possession, twisting it into outrageous claims of addiction and drug dealing.

Personal attacks on journalists are nothing new. But the case of Jessikka Aro is considered extraordinary by European Union officials familiar with this and other cases.
They told Fairfax Media it was a case study of Russia’s escalating “information war” against the West, an increasingly sophisticated and well-resourced operation that already counts the annexation of Crimea among its successes.

Aro is an investigative journalist with Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle. All her life she has been fascinated by Russia, she says – “it’s my favourite topic, really” – she finds Russian society “interesting, fascinating and also a bit scary”.

Finland’s history makes its bigger, stronger neighbour an enduring presence in its culture and politics.

Aro had been writing about jihadist propaganda, and noticed reports about Russia’s “troll factories”, reportedly Kremlin-funded set-ups pumping out fabricated news and propagandist social media commentary: regurgitated misinformation from the bowels of the internet.

So in September 2014 she crowdsourced an article, asking Finns “to help look for trolls, [tell me,] how do the trolls act, how do they work, what is their influence in Finnish public opinion?

“I got something like 200 responses and information,” she says. “I also got so much trolling.”

A few days later Finnish pro-Russian activist Johan Backman got involved. Last year he was appointed the “official representative” of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies in the Nordic countries. RISS was founded by Russian President Vladimir Putin, as a think tank/lobby group funded by the Kremlin to promote its policies and interests, domestically and in Bulgaria, Turkey, Finland and France.

But Aro says Backman was doing more than just disagreeing with her journalism.

“He started to fill the internet … with disinformation about me being some kind of helper of the United States and Estonia and other countries’ intelligence services or security and police services,” Aro says. “[He was] claiming – lying – that I am collecting some kind of illegal database of Putin supporters in Finland. And that it’s criminal.
“He was doing very active campaigning against me.”

Fairfax Media put a list of questions to Backman but he had not responded at the time of writing.
According to a report from a Finnish news agency, police last week launched an investigation into Backman and the chief editor of a news blog, MV Online, in relation to the persecution and defamation of Aro.

Backman stirred up the trolls, Aro says. Soon after she began to receive “very disturbing messages, absurd messages, trolling messages” in Russian, English and Finnish, on the internet and by phone. And over time – as she has written more stories about their activities – they have just become worse.
“All these horrible things [they say] have given me this feeling of fear sometimes. They stalk me all the time. They stalk everything that I do on social media. They take my pictures and add them to [false blogs].”

They “repurposed” her holiday photos, they emailed editors and politicians to call for her sacking. They even stalk her friends.

At one point, one offered to “play down” the hate speech against her if she apologised and promised to stop writing about pro-Russian trolls – an offer Aro considered blackmail.
Such trolls, Aro says, are having an unhealthy impact on freedom of speech and democracy more broadly.

Aro says she has spotted some “high-profile officials” in the Finnish parliament lurking on troll groups on social media.

And she says ordinary Finns who are exposed to troll misinformation have “told me that they have started to lose touch with what is true and what is not true … for example, in the Ukraine crisis they don’t know what is a fact and what’s not, because trolls mess up the conversation”.

Some of those attacking her say they are just exercising freedom of political speech. Aro has no time for that argument. In fact they are trying to suppress other people’s free speech through aggression, she says.

An EU official who has been studying Russian propaganda – and who spoke to Fairfax Media on condition of anonymity – says Aro’s case is “quite extraordinary”.
“I’m actually surprised this is happening in the EU,” he says.

The amount of resources being put into an attempt to bully Aro was remarkable. “Not only money but also people. The purpose: intimidation … to kill the debate.”
However, Aro is far from the only victim, nor the only topic of pro-Russian trolling, misinformation and propaganda, the official says.

“You go through the disinformation stories around the continent and you see the very same article launched at some minor Russian blog site, then multiplied by 15, 20 different web pages and then gets back to the Russian media who can say, ‘Oh, ISIS fighters have joined the Ukrainian armed forces.’
“It is organised to serve the purposes of the Kremlin.”

The official says the propaganda takes different forms in different countries: in Britain it exploits the Brexit issue, in the former Soviet bloc it tries to drive a wedge between countries over Middle Eastern refugees.

Prior to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the official says, a flood of disinformation clouded claims that Russian troops had entered the Ukraine province.
“It showed that disinformation can affect our political decision-making,” he says.

More recently, a claim emerged – since admitted false – that a 13-year-old Russian-German girl was raped by a Middle Eastern or North African refugee in Berlin. The claim was spread and outrage stoked by pro-Russian trolls, even sparking a protest on the streets of Berlin, and then was stirred further by the Russian Foreign Minister before the whole story was found to be a hoax.

“This is a serious problem that doesn’t just affect the Ukraine or Baltic states but also a huge part of Europe,” the official says.

He puts credence in a theory that the troll network is used to “road-test” conspiracy theories, seeding six or seven competing pieces of propaganda or misinformation and letting the Darwinian world of online information exchange prove which is the hardiest – which is then republished by more conventional media. It’s a system applied, for example, to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014.

“One of the biggest problems is we don’t have a clue how much money they put into this,” the official says. “We do not have clue how much media there are, how many people they target, how many people they reach. We can only guess from the results.

“The aim is not to make you love Putin. The aim is to make you disbelieve anything. A disbelieving, fragile, unconscious audience is much easier to manipulate.”
But Aro says she is undaunted, going up against these foes.

“The best thing I can do is to just publish everything that happens to me. That’s also what my audience wants.

“I don’t want to be portrayed as some kind of crying victim. Yes, I cry sometimes, but most of the time I just do my articles and don’t care.”

From – http://www.smh.com.au/world/finnish-journalists-jessikka-aros-inquiry-into-russian-trolls-stirs-up-a-hornets-nest-20160310-gng8rk