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Watch out, NATO: Russian is winning the disinfo war in Italy

Watch out, NATO: Russian is winning the disinfo war in Italy
The head of Italy’s intelligence watchdog reveals the reach of Russia’s disinformation in the country – and the Eurobarometer shows how that impacts the way Italians feel about Ukraine

A national security issue. The Italian national intelligence sector is sounding the alarm over Russian and Chinese misinformation. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the Italian infosphere has been an ideal battlefield to disseminate Moscow-made fake news.

Record numbers. Adolfo Urso, President of COPASIR – Parliament’s intelligence watchdog committee – revealed that 13,831 “cases of disinformation” have found their way into Italy’s information bloodstream since 2014.

  • “We have told Parliament on several occasions that the Russian and Chinese propaganda machine also acts in our country through disinformation mechanisms,” he said; “suffice it to read the EU’s public acts.”
  • The autocratic countries attempt to influence through disinformation, as well as espionage and recruitment of the European ruling class.

Data speaks. A recent Eurobarometer survey shows that less than half of Italian citizens think that the Russian government is responsible for the invasion of Ukraine. Only 39% blame the Kremlin. A figure well below the European average (52%), which brings Italy closer to Hungary (29%) than to Germany (58%).

Eurobarometer 506

Turn off the TV. In two months, Italian TV has become a European case study: the Russian government’s propagandists are invited to speak in plain sight – and enjoy a sizeable reach.

  • As press rumours have it, Italian intelligence officials are investigating to unveil which of these pundits are on Moscow’s payroll.
  • Click here for a quick dive into Russia’s propaganda in Italy.

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