Russian diplomatic Twitter accounts rewrite history of World War II

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Official Twitter accounts amplified the hashtag #TruthAboutWWII in an effort to justify the Soviet Union’s signing of the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact

In recent years, Russia has used its official government Twitter accounts to reproach its critics and troll Western officials. The Twitter accounts of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the Russian embassies in the United KingdomCanada, the United StatesSouth Africa, and the Russian Mission to the OSCE have been particularly active in this regard.

As we has previously noted, the Kremlin tends to employ a full spectrum model of propaganda.  This model marshals both traditional state-sponsored media outlets, such as RT and Sputnik, and social media accounts to disseminate disinformation. Some of these social media accounts are bots and trolls, which do not claim an official affiliation with the Russian government, but a portion of them are official government channels: the Kremlin’s diplomatic Twitter accounts.


On August 19, 2019, the official account of the Russian Mission to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) announced the launch of a hashtag, #TruthAboutWWII, dedicated to “Twitter publications” on “the international law prerequisites for the start of #WWII.”

After the Twitter account of the Russian Mission to OSCE launched the hashtag #TruthAboutWWII, other Russian official diplomatic accounts rushed to amplify it. One of the main claims pushed by the diplomatic accounts about the Nazi-Soviet pact was that an unwilling Soviet Union was forced to sign the agreement.

Russian diplomatic accounts attempting to justify the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ahead of its 80th anniversary on August 23, 2019. (Source: Twitter)

Eto Buziashvili, analist at DFRLab analyzed the spread of the hashtag #TruthAboutWWII using Hoaxy, a tool that visualizes the spread of claims and fact checking. The results suggested that the two main amplifiers of the hashtag, other than the Russian Mission to the OSCE, were the accounts of the Russian Embassy in the United States and the Russian Mission to the European Union.

In comparison to the period of August 1–18, Russian diplomatic Twitter accounts were relatively active during the week beginning on August 19.

On Twitter, official Russian diplomatic accounts worked especially hard to justify the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact ahead of its 80th anniversary, claiming that the Soviet Union was forced to sign the treaty. The Kremlin’s account, however, deliberately omitted certain details: namely, that the pact paved the way for the Soviet and Nazi invasions of Poland as well as the Soviet invasion of Finland and occupation of the Baltic states. These details are critical to understanding the start of World War II, and their omission is further evidence of the Kremlin’s distortion of the historical record.


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