Information noise blurring the lines

Eerik-Niiles Kross. PHOTO: Tairo Lutter

The aim of Russia’s information warfare is to sow confusion and force members of society to doubt everything, politician and security expert Eerik-Niiles Kross (Reform Party) finds.

“It is not very likely the French will one day come to believe that Russia is a better place to live than France. What the Kremlin can do, however, is use its alternative truth to make people believe that everyone lies and that the truth doesn’t exist at all,” Kross told the “Otse Postimehest” program yesterday. “This spawns apathy, and Russia’s goal is for people to abandon their convictions and the defense of their values.”

Kross said that Russia is increasingly investing in English media channels it controls.

“I do not think they hope to bring the West round or pull it into Russia’s boat, but it is enough for a part of society to start doubting things,” he said. “Misinformation differs from fast food in that the human body can get rid of the latter. However, the brain cannot be cleared of misinformation. Even if a person realizes it is lies, a nagging suspicion remains in the back of one’s mind – what if?” the security expert added.

Kross said that the main aim of information noise is to blur a person’s picture of what is going on. “Because we inhabit modern information environment and quite indiscriminately consume all manner of information, if only out of curiosity, we cannot rule out that something will stick and that people will come to believe some of these things. Looking at Russian television, one gets the impression there is a civil war going on in the USA: black people are beaten and killed regularly, the people are rioting, cars are burned. In that same media image, Muslims have completely taken over Sweden,” he said.

Kross added that while it is not sensible to get excited over every message Kremlin-controlled networks send out, it is also irresponsible to ignore them.

“Every country must take into consideration the fact its citizens are under information attack, and people need to be protected somehow,” he said. “If we ignore information attacks completely, we are playing along and pretending that there is no truth, no lies, no good and no evil, and that nothing matters anymore.”

Kross announced in June that he will be stepping down as MP and traveling to Harvard University to take part in a study that treats with, among other things, prevention of attacks against democratic elections. He has been given a grant by the university.