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Malign Information Influence and the Swedish audiences of RT and Sputnik

Patricia Cruz



The article “The paperboys of Russian messaging: RT/Sputnik audiences as vehicles for malign information influence” by Charlotte Wagnsson from Swedish Defence University looked at the reception and dissemination of ‘malign information influence’ (MII) in Sweden, a liberal democracy. It did so by studying the attitudes of self-professed readers of RT/Sputnik through a panel study with a total of 3033 participants.

Wagnsson started of by a hypothesis, based on previous studies, that RT and Sputnik appeal to their readers by presenting information designed to strengthen the identity grievances of the readers. It was then presumed that the readers would score higher on scales that measure their identity grievances. 

While these outlets also present material that could plausibly further attitudes that weaken the national security, the hypothesis based on the characteristics of the type of people who read alternative news and russian media  was that there would be no effect on the attitudes pertaining to matters of national security compared to non-readers. 

It was found out that 7% of the participants read RT or Sputnik at least on some occasion, with 2% reading either or both regularly, weekly or monthly. Nearly three fourths of the readers are men and the age category of 18-29 years old readers was clearly overrepresented. A high total of 13% of that age cohort consume Sputnik.

The results on political preference were similarly striking: followers of non-parliamentary parties were overrepresented, as were the followers of the far-right Sweden Democrats. Followers of traditional parties, the Moderate Party and Social Democrats, were underrepresented. 

Yet another distinctive feature was found among the consumers of RT/Sputnik: they had a very high total consumption rate of all kinds of news media. 95% of them consumed a traditional foreign media (such as CNN or BBC), compared to 65% of the total respondents, and 82% consumed a national alternative media (28% for the total).

The users of RT/Sputnik were also more likely to spread news to who they know, even news they consider untrustworthy, so the potential reach for RT/Sputnik news/disinformation  is likely higher than the reported users, although the users reported that they are unlikely to spread RT/Sputnik on their social media.

Respondents who consume RT/Sputnik were likely to be mistrustful of media in general, with more claiming that they do not trust any news than the average, and many expressing skepticism of mainstream media. Still, it is noteworthy that the Swedish consumers of RT/Sputnik still consider mainstream media more reliable than RT/Sputnik.

The reported reason for reading RT/Sputnik was most often “for pleasure” (40%), For nearly a third, the content of the news was the reason for tuning in. There were different reasons for this, such as presenting news not considered politically correct on other sites, the readers views not being presented in other media, or that RT/Sputnik was more trustworthy on societal problems, Russia, or national security.

 A large amount of readers did not know or  want to tell their reason (25%), or referred to other reasons (22%). The hypothesis that RT/Sputnik users would not align with views that could potentially harm national security turned out to be wrong, 

The users aligned more with views that were negative of Swedish Armed Forces and Sweden’s inability to cooperate with other countries and were more likely to think that Russia’s threat was exaggerated.

On the first hypothesis, that RT/Sputnik users would be strengthened in their identity grievances, it was found that the users were indeed more likely to perceive such identity grievances out of the 15 claimed statements, save for the one that said “people on the countryside are left out”. It was speculated that most responders/users were in fact urban.

As for effect on political stances or matters of national security policy, the users were surprisingly, and contrary to the messaging from RT/Sputnik, more likely to support NATO. It was speculated that the users’ views were generally supportive of anything that projects strength and national unity.

On society at large, the users were more likely to be critical of many parts of the civil society save for the armed forces, which was viewed somewhat positively, although, as mentioned, they aligned themselves with worry of the present state of the armed forces.

It was noteworthy that the users were, contrary to the hypotheses, aligning themselves with views that can potentially harm national security. They did not consider Russia as much as a threat and were less inclined to be critical of the Russian Federation. 

The author notes that the consumers hold the potential to act as megaphones on issues of importance, as they consumed media to a great extent and were somewhat reckless in their media sharing habits. 

The relatively high consumption rate of RT/Sputnik, combined with the aligning of the users on both identity grievance matters (that can fracture the society) and matters of national security is problematic, particularly as the users were young, media-savvy men. 

The study “The paperboys of Russian messaging: RT/Sputnik audiences as vehicles for malign information influence” by Charlotte Wagnsson is in Information, Communication & Society. (open access). 

Picture: Russia Today logo.

License Wikimedia Commons. 

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The benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start

Alice Trout



In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of everyday life. Between work, family, and other responsibilities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. This is where mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment, without judgment. In this article, we will explore the benefits of practicing mindfulness and how to start.

Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety

Mindfulness can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. By focusing on the present moment, you can calm your mind and reduce racing thoughts.

  1. Improves mental clarity

Practicing mindfulness can improve mental clarity and focus. It can help to clear your mind of distractions and increase productivity.

  1. Enhances self-awareness

Mindfulness can increase self-awareness and help you to understand your thoughts and emotions better. By being present in the moment, you can learn to recognize your patterns of thinking and behavior.

  1. Improves relationships

Mindfulness can help to improve relationships by increasing empathy and compassion. By being present with others, you can develop a deeper understanding of their needs and feelings.

How to Start Practicing Mindfulness

  1. Set aside time

Set aside a specific time every day to practice mindfulness. It can be as little as 5-10 minutes per day to start.

  1. Find a quiet space

Find a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. It could be a quiet corner of your home or a quiet park.

  1. Focus on your breath

Focus on your breath and the physical sensations of breathing. Notice the rise and fall of your chest and the sensation of air moving in and out of your body.

  1. Be present

Allow yourself to be present in the moment without judgment. Let your thoughts and emotions come and go without dwelling on them.

  1. Practice regularly

Make mindfulness a regular practice. It takes time to develop the habit, but the benefits are worth it.

In conclusion, practicing mindfulness can have numerous benefits for our mental and physical well-being. It’s a simple yet powerful practice that can be incorporated into our daily lives. By setting aside a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness, we can reduce stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity, and enhance our relationships. So why not give it a try? Your mind and body will thank you for it.

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How to create a perfect morning routine for a productive day

Alice Trout



Do you ever feel like your day has gotten away from you before it even starts? One way to combat this feeling is to create a perfect morning routine. Establishing a routine can help you start your day off on the right foot, and set the tone for a productive and successful day. Here are some tips on how to create a morning routine that works for you.

Determine Your Priorities

Before you start creating a morning routine, it’s important to determine what your priorities are. What are the things that you want to accomplish in the morning? Do you want to exercise, meditate, or have a healthy breakfast? Once you have a list of your priorities, you can start creating a routine that includes them.

Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day

Waking up at the same time every day can help regulate your body’s natural sleep cycle and make it easier to fall asleep at night. Try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This can help establish a consistent routine and make it easier to stick to.

Take Time for Yourself

Many people feel rushed and stressed in the morning, but taking some time for yourself can help alleviate this feeling. Whether it’s meditating, reading a book, or simply enjoying a cup of coffee, taking time for yourself can help you start your day feeling calm and centered.


Exercise is a great way to start your day, as it can help increase your energy levels and improve your mood. Whether it’s a quick jog, yoga practice, or weightlifting session, try to include some form of exercise in your morning routine.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a healthy breakfast can help fuel your body and provide the energy you need to start your day. Try to include protein, whole grains, and fruit or vegetables in your breakfast.

Plan Your Day

Taking a few minutes to plan your day can help you stay focused and productive. Make a to-do list or set priorities for the day, and review your calendar to make sure you’re prepared for any meetings or appointments.

Stick to Your Routine

Once you’ve created a morning routine that works for you, try to stick to it as much as possible. Consistency is key, and sticking to your routine can help establish healthy habits and improve your overall productivity.

In conclusion, creating a perfect morning routine can help set the tone for a productive and successful day. By determining your priorities, waking up at the same time every day, taking time for yourself, exercising, eating a healthy breakfast, planning your day, and sticking to your routine, you can create a morning routine that works for you. Remember, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle.

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10 simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in your daily life

Alice Trout



Stress is an inevitable part of our lives, but it can have a negative impact on our mental and physical health if left unchecked. Fortunately, there are several simple yet effective ways to reduce stress in our daily lives. In this article, we will explore 10 such methods that you can easily incorporate into your routine.

Exercise regularly

Physical activity is an excellent way to relieve stress. It helps to release endorphins, which are natural mood-boosters. You don’t have to engage in high-intensity workouts to reap the benefits. Even a brisk walk or light yoga can help reduce stress levels.

Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep can cause irritability, mood swings, and increase stress levels. Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night to feel well-rested and refreshed.

Practice deep breathing

Deep breathing techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing can help to calm your mind and body. Inhale deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Repeat this for a few minutes to feel relaxed.

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature can have a calming effect on your mind and body. Take a walk in the park or go for a hike in the woods to feel rejuvenated.

Practice mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on the present moment without judgment. It can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Set aside a few minutes every day to practice mindfulness meditation.

Listen to music

Music has a soothing effect on our minds. Listening to calming music can help to reduce stress levels. Create a playlist of your favorite relaxing tunes and listen to it when you feel stressed.

Practice yoga or tai chi

Yoga and tai chi are ancient practices that combine physical postures and breathing techniques. They can help to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation.

Connect with loved ones

Talking to friends and family members can help to reduce stress levels. It can provide a sense of comfort and support during challenging times.

Practice gratitude

Focusing on the positive aspects of life can help to reduce stress levels. Make a habit of practicing gratitude by writing down things you are thankful for every day.

Take breaks

Taking short breaks throughout the day can help to reduce stress levels. Go for a short walk, practice deep breathing or simply take a few moments to close your eyes and relax.

In conclusion, stress is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to take over. By incorporating these simple yet effective methods into your daily routine, you can reduce stress levels and improve your overall well-being. Remember, taking care of yourself should always be a top priority.

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