Poland - 23-29 May 2016

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Object of manipulation: Polish Radio Information Agency (Polish: IAR)

Date: 25 May 2016

Author: Maciej Jastrzębski

Source of manipulation: Interfax News Agency

Date: 24 May 2016

The false fact or narrative: Russia no longer wants to transport U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS), according to IAR, quoting the Russian news agency Interfax.

The truth: Russia sought to extend its contract with NASA to transport U.S. astronauts to the ISS. On 12 April, the same Interfax agency, quoting top Roscosmos officials, expressed hope that Roscosmos would conclude that contract and keep cooperating with NASA. However, NASA had previously contracted with two private U.S. companies, SpaceX and Boeing, which by 2018 must construct rockets capable of transporting astronauts. In January 2015, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden plainly stated that he did not “ever want to have to write another check to Roscosmos again.”

Technique: Facts not favorable for Russia are concealed, leading to a totally artificial reality. 

Audience: The disinformation is aimed at both Russians as well as readers in other countries.

Analysis: By disseminating such disinformation, Russia hopes to change an unpleasant situation—the loss of a key NASA contract—into a victory. It was Russia that wanted the contract to be extended, not NASA. Yet when this didn’t happen, Russian media announced that Roscosmos chose not to extend the contract—leaving readers with the impression that Russia had somehow punished the United States.