top of page

Let’s get nuclear!

The Kremlin’s aging henchmen serve up casual nuclear bluffing, while pro-Kremlin actors aim to deplete and deceive fact-checkers and media organisations alike.

Kremlin’s tactics are, instead of evolving, turning more degenerate and insidious. From nuclear posturing and discrediting our democratic processes to the sprawling ‘Operation Overload’ disinformation campaign, pro-Kremlin disinformers keep sowing division and distrust.

In search of a magic potion

Suddenly awakened by troubling thoughts of their mortality and a fast slide into irrelevance, some people resort to buying sports cars, while others – well, resort to empty nuclear swagger in search of their lost potency.

The latest example of casual dinner table nuclear talk came from Lavrov, who tried attaching some nuclear threats to upcoming F-16 fighter jet deliveries to Ukraine. Not wanting to be outdone in crazy talk by Lavrov, Medvedev threw in some threats of nuclear apocalypse of his own, insisting that this time the Kremlin was totally not bluffing about using nuclear weapons.

Don’t succumb to the madness

All the madness aside, these empty nuclear threats serve as a multiple warhead information warfare vehicle for the Kremlin and its henchmen, as we have explained many times before.

Firstly, nuclear threats attempt to sway the risk calculations of decision makers in Western capitals and impact the overall level of military support that Ukraine receives from Western countries. Secondly, they aim to feed fears among Western citizens in an attempt to decrease popular support for Ukraine’s efforts to defend itself against Moscow’s brutal invasion. Thirdly, on a more tactical level, nuclear talk tries to limit the ability of Ukrainian armed forces to fully exploit their military capabilities, for example, against concentrations of forces in Russia. Lastly, the nuclear sabre-rattling show broadcast to Russian audiences portrays aging Kremlin circles as still potent strongmen.

Operation Overload – to deplete, exhaust, and overwhelm

CheckFirst’s recently released ‘Operation Overload’ report uncovered a sprawling disinformation campaign driven by Russia-aligned actors.

The campaign targets fact-checkers, newsrooms, and researchers globally, aiming to exhaust their resources and to manipulate credible information ecosystems into disseminating pro-Russian propaganda and advancing the Kremlin’s political agenda.

The campaign employs a multifaceted strategy, including coordinated email campaigns, the use of Telegram channels for hosting and spreading content, a network of inauthentic accounts on X (formerly Twitter), and the dissemination of manipulated content through Russia-aligned websites such as the Pravda network.

By blending real-world events with fabricated, multi-layered stories and impersonating reputable media, the campaign spreads pro-Russian propaganda while at the same time attempting to deceive and deplete the resources of credible media organisations and fact-checkers.

The ways pro-Kremlin manipulators attempt to target our elections

Between 6 and 9 June, the European Parliament elections will take place across the EU’s 27 member states. Hundreds of millions of people are eligible to vote in the largest demonstration of democratic power in Europe. The elections will give a mandate to the European Parliament for the next five years and will lead to the election of the next president of the European Commission and the commissioners.

We have uncovered the key tactics, techniques, and procedures employed by pro-Kremlin manipulators in our ‘Elections are battlefields for the Kremlin’ series. In the four published pieces, we have shown how pro-Kremlin disinformers attempt to smear leaders; sow distrust, doubt, and division; flood social media and information space with falsehoods; and drag everyone down into the mud with them.

All these efforts aim to sour the atmosphere, discourage voter turnout, and manipulate or disturb the agenda in the run-up to the European Parliament elections. These manipulative efforts also seem to prepare the ground for narratives rejecting the legitimacy of the election results and the processes that follow the EP elections. Moreover, they target the legitimacy of the Union as a whole.

Don’t be deceived – we encourage all those eligible to vote to go vote and strengthen our European Union.


Article and pictures first time published on the EUvsDisinfo web page. Prepared for publication by volunteers from the Res Publica - The Center for Civil Resistance.


Partneris Lietuvoje

bottom of page