Two Case Studies of Russian Propaganda in Romania and Hungary

By Robert CR Swanson

The Kremlin’s current disinformation campaign against the West, unlike similar projects undertaken during the Cold War, is no longer based on the dissemination of an overarching ideology or “selling” Russia as an alternative. The contemporary logic of propaganda takes a highly nation-specific approach, and messages differ widely in subject matter, tone, character, and frequency. By examining the nature of state-sponsored propaganda, it is possible to determine whether the Kremlin views individual nations as friendly, up-for-grabs, or hostile, and what the underlying goals of such coverage may be. While the Kremlin’s propaganda campaign is multilayered and spans a wide variety of platforms, this paper focuses on messaging and its evolution from two outlets that often serve as starting points for the spread of disinformation: Sputnik and RT. In order to determine differences in coverage and government perception, Hungary and Romania are chosen for their near polar opposite representation in the aforementioned outlets.

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