Days after the Russian ambassador to Australia delivered a provocative defense of his country’s role in the Skripal poisoning to the disbelief of local journalists, the embassy has gone one further.
It published a statement which castigates Australian media for reacting to what can only be described as a Donald Trump-like media conference, in which wild untruths were stated as facts, only to be widely reported and commented on.
This in effect handed the Russian embassy defacto control over part of the local media cycle – even if only to muddy the waters.
What may have been missed in the reporting, however, was a line at the very end of the ambassador’s statement yesterday.
Run together with the preceding sentence are the words: “for clarification of the real state of affairs keep coming to the official site of the Russian Embassy in Canberra and its accounts in the social networks.”
Essentially, if you enjoyed this spectacle the ambassador made, bookmark our site and follow us on social media for more.
This potentially raises Russia’s information operation profile within Australia, as it provides a clear line of information flow aimed towards audiences inclined to accept it.
Such a strategy echoes the Russian foreign ministry’s social media activity in the UK and elsewhere.
At this point, Australian media can choose how much oxygen to give the Russian embassy if it is going to play the role of post-truth troll. For a few thoughts on misinformation in a democratic discussion, please see the Twitter thread below, also from yesterday.
But in any estimation, the Russian ambassador’s statement suggests an escalation of Russia information war/influence activities aimed at Australia.