Even until May 1, 1945, when Joseph Goebbels, the propaganda minister of the Third Reich, committed suicide in the basement of the leader’s refuge (The Führerbunker) in the garden on Wilhelm Street in Berlin, he did not know who his main opponent on the Allied front was. He had repeatedly humiliated and ridiculed British propaganda. In 1942 he wrote in his diary: “British propaganda is so stupid that in order to counter it, it is enough to publish it directly. And that negates and neutralizes it. ”(1) The failure of the British propaganda machine in those years, as today’s research has shown, was not due to stupidity, but rather to the fact that Goebbels had had immunized the Reich people against any kind of foreign propaganda under the most intense and aggressive methods of brainwashing and indoctrination for many years. But with the outbreak of war and in support of fascist movements in Europe, such as the Spanish Civil War of 1937 and supporting General Franco, Goebbels soon began to develop and advance foreign propaganda methods and on the way to set up “black radio stations,” formed an independent body called “Büro Concordia.” These radios misinformed their listeners about the country or identity of the sender, as well as about their political positions, goals, orders, and mission. Hence: “Black”.
But black was not limited to only Reich radio stations. Shortly afterwards, shortwave transmitters appeared near Goebbels’ Büro Concordia radio stations, portraying themselves as extremist Nazis and melt-ins in their “Führer”, or soldiers who loved Hitler describing Nazi army’s approach to Reich’s enemies as “delicate and soft”. These were not Germans, though. The speakers were not Nazis either. None of the radio stations were supervised by limping Dr. Goebbels’s ministry. The PWE, Political Warfare Executive, was secretly set up inside the British Foreign Office, and the person in charge of setting up and overseeing these black radio stations was Denis Sefton “Tom” Delmer. Most Germans during the war thought these radios were German. Radio Deutschland, a British PWE production, was even acclaimed by Goebbels himself. (2) Denis Sefton “Tom” Delmer was born and educated in Berlin. He had a Berlin dialect. He had passed through Daily Express and BBC on his way to go against the Nazi propaganda machine, on a mission from the “Political Warfare Executive” of the United Kingdom, to perfect a concept in psychological warfare from the heart of the “black radio stations” that would surpass the Third Reich’s RMVP’s blackness (3). The concept was raw and primitive until that day: Black propaganda!
White, Gray, Black
In general, propaganda is divided into three categories. White propaganda is the output of official government institutions and apparatuses, does not hide its origin and is easily identifiable: Kayhan newspaper, IRIB with all domestic and foreign subdivisions, press department of government ministries, official media of the judiciary (Mizan) and the parliament (House of the Nation), IRNA, BBC, VOA, Deutsche Welle, RFI, Radio Moscow, etc. The content and information related to this category are instrumental in nature, in line with the government’s political goals, and carry a heavy ideological burden.
The sender or origin of gray propaganda is not clearly known or has been deliberately hidden and camouflaged. Gray, usually adorns its appearance with “private and independent media” label, has a variety of content and views, plays both sides. Well-known examples of this type of propaganda are Russia’s RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik networks, which operate as independent media outlets, but are in fact Putin’s speakers. A wide range of Iranian opposition media outlets fall into this category. Their content and management inclinations leave room for speculation about their origins, funding sources, and political goals. For example, the main investors in separatist and ethnicist tendencies in gray propaganda are now Saudi Arabia and its allies. Iran International and likewise IranWire operate in this gray area. BBC Persian, which its advertisements, presenters and officials always claim neutrality and independence, also tries to hide what was clearly stated in the “license agreement” and is now documented. In the July 7, 1969, “National Interests” were the last words in the agreement between the FCO and the BBC Foreign Service, and in the present version BBC Persian goals are explicitly mentioned as “promoting the interests of the United Kingdom” and its “long-term goals.” (4) From “Ensafnews” and “Zaytoun” to “Farsnews” and “Tasnim” and hundreds of publications and online news and media websites, which are all without exception under the supervision of the Cyberspace Policy Council and produce content under the magnifying glass of intelligence agencies but at the same time introduce themselves as “independent media”, they are operating exactly in the gray and foggy range of regime propaganda. They all represent part of the system, without explicitly defining their affiliation with the gangs and currents within the government.
Black, however, is the other end of propaganda and is the most complex form: all British, expanded and perfected from the heart of Churchill’s State Department during World War II, to counter Goebbels’ RMVP under the auspices of the FCO, Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and Tom Delmer’s mission. This kind of propaganda is completely nestled in the land of lies. Nothing is true about identity of the sender. The information that leaks out of this black channel is completely fabricated and unrealistic, produced and disseminated with the aim of destroying and striking. “Here is Gustav Siegfried Eins. Chef at your service,” with these words, Tom Delmer poured the poison of black propaganda on short radio waves 31 meters into the embankments of the Nazi German army. He called Wehrmacht battalions “our forces” and Allies “enemies.” He used the term “terrorist attacks” when referring to the bombing of German cities. He introduced himself as a lover of the Germany leader. His tone was crass, mixed with swearing and vulgar words. He often talked about corruption, smuggling operations, and love stories of senior members of the German Nazi Party, or would retell sexist jokes that soldiers told each other in barracks toilets. (5)
Black propaganda never gets in face to face, it does not take sides. It enters through the back door, with its opponent’s clothes, language, culture, tendencies, desires and aspirations. To be effective, black propaganda requires the trust and belief of the audience, trust in the accuracy of information and its sender. Otherwise, it is very likely that the audience will figure it out and will not allow to be used as a tool in this game. That’s why, the “black message” of this propaganda type must be tailored precisely to its specific audience, with their specific social, cultural, political and economic conditions. Hashemi Rafsanjani understood this important point. Amir Abbas Taghipour, Managing Director of Communications Management Monthly, one and a half years after the first BBC Persian TV program was broadcast via satellite, interviewed Rafsanjani, who is dubbed as “Head of the Personnel Office of BBC Persian”: “BBC is actually acting professionally to achieve its goals. In both Arabic and Persian, they are professionals. They have experienced journalists and presenters and are knowledgeable in sociology and public relations. […] We must first know the reality of environment and audience. Secondly, do not say words that make the audience run away, say things that satisfy audience’s conscience. Of course, if one has an opinion, one can also put one’s own words in that format. We do not expect BBC to forget its own country’s politics. You see the politics of that country in every program, even its colonial politics. It places itself in people’s minds professionally. We need to be familiar with psychology, sociology and could foresee the future. Many things are required in information now. I’m not satisfied with the way it is done. It has to be much more professional, more realistic, and more audience-oriented and truthful. We need a media that is really trusted by people and they understand and accept what it reports.” (6)
In these sentences, it seems Rafsanjani has translated the concept of Delmer’s black propaganda using Madrasa jargon, accurately. Tom Delmer also believed that the same white propaganda offered to the British could not be fed to Nazi soldiers on the battlefield. They need to be treated more intimately and honestly. Delmer explained what he meant by this famous parable: “There is only one way to confront the Nazis. And that is: spit in their soup and chant “Heil Hitler” at the same time.” Tom Delmer’s information sources were the same ones that Goebbels’s propaganda worked with: the newspapers and media of the Third Reich. The news Delmer published was not necessarily false. He was obsessed with lying, saying, “If I lie, it will only be deliberately and accurately.” (7) And that’s how Delmer would shout “Heil Hitler!” before injecting small packets of counter-intelligence which were sure to work in the long-term. His famous formula, which defines the relationship between pretense and concealment with destruction, lies, or slander, was: “cover, cover, dirt, cover, dirt.” (8) For instance, in special radio of soldiers, “Soldatensender Calais” (Radio Calais), he would say: “Units that are recognized as efficient and strong, will be transferred to the eastern front. Admiration and promotion in France means certain death in Russia.”
In 1977, BBC Persian Radio had matured and prepared its own audience, after several years of working on Iranian listeners. In those years, the radio had found its place in cultural, writers and artists circles, and had risen to the status of so-called “high-class” and “reliable” media. In a passionate speech in Tehran in May 1978, Margaret Thatcher described Shah Aria Mehr as “the most far-sighted stateman in the world.” “No other leader in the world has given his country such dynamic leadership. He is leading Iran on the path to a twentieth-century renaissance.” BBC Persian Radio, which in those days was no longer the “exclusive” media and had become the society’s popular radio, used to recite Khomeini’s nightly messages in between its music and poetry with the greasy and velvety voices of Shadab Vajdis, Shahran Tabaris and Khonjis. This is a clear example of black propaganda. While the British government publicly condemned the burning of cinemas, banks, destruction and riots, BBC Radio was broadcasting messages from the leaders of these riots, who were mostly active abroad. From reading leaflets to interviewing Khomeini. The Callaghan government even sold 175,000 CS (tear gas) capsules and 360 personnel carriers to Iran to counter insurgency and repression on November 29, 1978, two months before Khomeini’s transfer from Paris to Tehran, through the FCO, the ministry responsible for BBC.(9) December 4, 1978, three days after the sale of tools and equipment to suppress street riots in Iran, BBC Radio, conveyed the words of these riots’ leader , Khomeini, to Iranians inside Iran. The message was to call on the people to “overthrow the Shah and form a future government “, even at the cost of bloodshed and death.
-“Ayatollah, are you not worried about war, bloodshed and killings that will result from these invitations when you invite people to clash with the government?”
-“Of course, sacrifice is required to obtain any right. Shiism has been sacrifice sect, and throughout history, people have always stood up for justice and their lost rights, they have always sacrificed themselves. We do not worry about this, because we obey God.”(10)
Since there were questions raised about Khomeini’s stance on the Eastern bloc and communism, BBC also sent a message to the Western bloc and the United States during the Cold War that Khomeini’s “future government” was an anti-communist state based in the western bloc. The reporter for this interview was in British. While this media had no shortage of Persian-speaking reporters. As it turns out today, news about Iran was generally dictated to BBC Persian radio presenters by English sources and journalists, not Iranian and Persian speakers. This fact was confirmed in a seminar organized by the BBC in 2009 on the role of this media in the events of 1978-79 in Iran. At the same seminar, the then Iranian ambassador in London, Parviz Raji’s protest to the British Foreign Office about the media’s performance was mentioned. Today, however, with the emergence of newer documents, the reality seems different. This was the ambassador of the British government in Tehran, whose protest was the strongest and loudest against BBC Persian. Three years before the 1979 riot, Anthony Parsons, the then British ambassador to Tehran, had explicitly referred to the BBC Persian Service as “propaganda” in a letter to Mark Dodd, head of BBC’s Eastern Service, which led to Mark Dodd’s outrage. In the documents leaked by WikiLeaks, we read Parsons’ secret telegram, which clearly states that the then director of FCO was “anti-Shah” and “headed by a British professional who has only limited knowledge of Persian language”; The majority of the Persian-speaking staff in this section are “political antagonists of the Shah,” carefully selected from among the Iranian immigrants living in the United Kingdom. Tom Delmer’s black propagandists were all German, Austrian or Swiss: “Hans Reinholz, Otto John, Karl Theodor zu Guttenberg…”
Another notable example of black propaganda, which is very similar to the hypocritical actions of the British official media and the official takes of the British government in the international community which was mentioned before and is widely mentioned in research, is the occupation of the US embassy in Tehran and Russia’s role.
The National Voice of Iran Radio in those years, specifically since its inception in 1959, although operated by Iranians who were trusted by the Soviet regime and members of the Tudeh Party, was practically the black propaganda tool and black radio station of the communist regime. Just like Tom Delmer’s “Radio Calais.” The radio, which was broadcast live from Moscow’s central transmitter, featured speakers such as Sohrab Zamani and Ali Abloch. Throughout the hostage crisis in Iran, between November 4, 1979 and January 20, 1981, Soviet officials at the United Nations and other official international bodies declared the terrorist act against legal and diplomatic standards and condemned it in the strongest terms. At the same time, through their black radio station, the National Voice of Iran Radio regularly encouraged the hostage-takers in Tehran and supported this “anti-imperialist” act of the Islamic Republic with the most epic words. (11)
The purpose of black propaganda is to justify the use and exploitation of everything. That is why everything is an instrument from a propagandist point of view.
Ion Mihai Pacepa, a senior Romanian security officer sent to Germany by Ceausescu in July 1978 amid the Cold War to deliver a message to German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, as soon as he arrived in Bonn, he went to the US embassy and applied for asylum. In the following years, Pacepa wrote several books describing the tactics and methods of psychological warfare of the Russian intelligence services or the school of socialist propaganda. “Disinformation” entered other languages from Russian and is pronounced “dezinformatiya” in Russian. The word has recently (in the late 1980s) entered English dictionaries. Pacepa introduces Joseph Stalin as the creator of disinformation and says Stalin chose this term because its Russian pronunciation has a “French ring” to it and gives the listener the impression that it is rooted in “Western systems.” (12) Dezinformatiya was institutionalized by the Stalinist regime in 1920s by establishing an office with the same name within the KGB, the Soviet spy agency, with the responsibility of directing and using black propaganda. During World War II, like Britain, it used psychological warfare tactics against Nazi Germany and its allies, and later developed and upgraded them during the Cold War. It continues to use them more widely and extensively today. The meaning of ” dezinformatiya” cannot be easily reflected in Persian translations with words such as “misinformation, lying, misleading or counterintelligence.” Pacepa explains that in the course of his training as a Romanian intelligence officer, the narrative of “Potemkin Villages” (13) was used in the Soviet manuals to understand dezinformatiya.
If the focus of “black propaganda” function is more on the relationships of the actors involved in the communication process and the ways in which the message is conveyed, the disinformation tendency should be more in line with information anatomy and surgery of news’ organ. Disinformation deliberately interferes with the message’s body. It breaks up a news story from within and gives its constituent elements an unreal and new combination, in a way, direction and content, both change. It organizes and disseminates information components with a new layout and selection. The disinformation approach is a microscopic approach. Dezinformatiya is the design of misinformation and its dissemination in order to direct, mislead, distract, deceive the audience or make him forget.
For example, February 4, 2021, the Jerusalem Post published a report that in the city of Haifa, a huge explosion from the city’s petrochemical industry caused panic among the residents. In the first paragraph, Jerusalem Post reports the cause: “The explosions were heard coming from the area of the former Haifa Chemicals factory in the Haifa Bay. The building was being demolished in line with permits obtained from the city and in coordination with the IDF and Israel Police.”
The explosion was controlled and in fact part of a development plan. Citizens’ panic was explained as they were caught off guard due to lack of prior notice from responsible institutions. Fars News Agency, Mashreghnews and IRNA, official news agency of the Islamic Republic, each somehow manipulated this news’ “anatomy” and published it. Fars and Mashregh News deleted the first paragraph of the Jerusalem Post report, which was cited as a source of news and was in fact the most important part of the report. There was no trace of the controlled explosion and the construction plan. Instead, sections were added that linked the explosion in Haifa to the explosion in Beirut’s ammonium nitrate depots. At the end of it, both news agencies created ammonium nitrate tanks in the port of Haifa from nothing, which will be attacked by Hezbollah in the event of an Israeli attack on Lebanon. IRNA, meanwhile, totally changed the report’s design and its elements’ arrangement. This official news agency included all the components of Fars and Mashregh reports, changed and reduced what was stated in the first paragraph of the Jerusalem Post report (news source) to a video broadcast by an Israeli television channel on Twitter, and put it at the last line of its report as a claim.
Another example: During the November 2019 protests, a short video of Pouya Bakhtiari, a young protester whose name became a symbol of the overthrow movement, was posted on BBC Persian’ Twitter. The media outlet cut part of the video, with specific political agenda, in which Pouya said: “Once and for all, let’s eliminate this criminal and corrupt regime that has made the people of our beloved country of Iran miserable for forty years”, creating a “tourist” and emotional character from protesting Pouya, who came to the street just to watch the events, enjoy the unrest and then watch the sunset.
The effectiveness and success of propaganda, as mentioned earlier, is commensurate with the audience’s level of trust. The same is true of Russian disinformation. To gain this trust, propagandists use various tricks. Here are two well-known patterns of resource utilization: (14)
Deflective Source Model
In this process, the propagandist (P) creates a distracting source (P1) to convey the message (M) to the audience (R), which ostensibly introduces the source of the news. The audience assumes that the message comes directly from the distracting source and the propagandist has no role in processing it.
Immediately after Khamenei announced a ban on purchase and import of Western coronavirus vaccines (American, British and French), the Islamic Republic’s media disinformation campaign against vaccine brands produced by Pfizer / Biontec, Moderna and AstraZeneca was launched. The Young Journalists Club on January 23, 2021, published an article with the headline: “5 dead after receiving Pfizer vaccine. Switzerland’s medical regulatory body has announced five people have died in the country after receiving Pfizer vaccine.” Swissmedic, Switzerland medical regulator (P1) is used as the source of news in the YJC report (P) conveying the message “5 deaths after receiving the coronavirus vaccine” (M) to the audience (R). The propagandist (Young Reporters Club) had manipulated the news. In that report, Swissmedic categorically ruled out the possibility of 5 people dying due to receiving the vaccine.
Legitimating Source Model
In this method, the propagandist (P) first secretly plants the message (M1) in a foreign news source (P2) without the audience (R) awareness. The news source (P2) analyzes and interprets the message and publishes it as message 2 (M2). The propagandist now receives and interprets message 2 and delivers it to the audience (R) as message 3 (M3).
On July 17, 1983, the Indian newspaper Patriot published an article on its front page entitled “The Possibility of an AIDS Attack on India: A Mysterious Disease Product of American Tests.” The article quoted an unnamed “well-known American scientist” saying that AIDS (AIDS was a deadly, new and unknown disease in the 1980s) was invented by the Pentagon as a biological weapon, now that it’s out of scientists’ control, the country intends to infect other nations, especially developing countries such as India. (15) The Soviet intelligence service had a long history of planting news in the Indian media. Two years later, in October 1985, Patriot’s article was published in the Soviet’s weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta. A year later, the story hit the front pages of British publications, and in April 1987, AIDS disinformation was published in the media in more than 50 countries. In 1992, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Yevgeny Primakov, the then head of Russia’s intelligence service, confirmed that Operation Infection was a Russian disinformation campaign; In order to convince the world that AIDS was invented by the United States.
The widespread and inflated use of these two operational models by the disinformation service of Islamic Republic’s intelligence agencies is seen and can be researched regarding “COVID-19 epidemic, vaccines, contaminated blood and France, Bill Gates and world population decline, etc.” at all levels.
“If somebody had at this moment found the magic key that would open the Soviet bloc safes and looked into the files of secret agencies operating in Western countries, he would be surprised. A relatively high percentage of secret agents are journalists… “(16)
Disinformation is made up of manipulated and designed news items and articles that are planted in the press, radio, television and mass media by journalists, who are in fact secret agents of foreign intelligence services. (17) Troll armies (Russian Brigade, Islamic Republic Cyber Battalions, etc.) and online disinformation publishers are also added to this list.
In May 2020, Natalie Amiri, an Iranian/German dual citizen of the German ARD network since 2007, reported she had been under constant pressure, threats, and surveillance by the Islamic Republic’s secret service for the past 13 years. In order for her to keep her job, and not get arrested (Islamic Republic Judiciary does not recognize second citizenship. Dual nationals in the Islamic Republic are considered “hostage-taking assets”) she was forced to have “flexibility” in reporting and preparing it in accordance with circumstances. The result was that during internet shutdown and the crackdown on the so-called “Bloody November” protests, where she was one of the rare media outlets from inside the country, almost all of her reports were referring to the IRIB narrative and reflecting government’s white propaganda.
The circle of government secret agents is not limited to journalists. One of the last cases: Kaveh Lotfollah Afrasiabi. Afrasiabi appeared as an independent Iranian analyst and expert in the media and television programs in the United States for many years. He published articles in magazines. Published books. He portrayed the foreign policy of Islamic Republic in media in coordination with the Foreign Ministry and in some cases, as the FBI report indicated, with Javad Zarif himself. And received thousands of dollars from Tehran as mission pay.
“Active measures” became common at the beginning of Cold War in the 1950s and refers to a set of techniques used by the Soviet intelligence service (KGB), both covert and overt, to influence the policy of foreign governments, destruction of institutions and political persons, disruption of relations between other nations, weakening and suppression of governmental and non-governmental opposition in other countries. These measures also include operations to deceive individuals in the target community or political institutions by disrupting their understanding of reality.(18)
Civil organizations and peace activists, protest and anti-war movements are among the popular targets of “active measures”. An example is the “World Peace Council,” which was controlled and funded by the Soviet KGB and was in fact a “camouflage body” for the spy agency.
Although this claim has not yet been substantiated in research, coining of the term “useful idiot”, which entered the political literature at the same time as the “active measures” became common, is attributed to Lenin. “Useful idiots” are in fact side effects and – from the propagandists’ point of view – good effects of active measures. It’s narrated, Lenin used the term to describe Western intellectuals who, under the influence of their idealistic beliefs, became fascinated by the concepts of propaganda and inadvertently became political tools of the Soviet Union. Many activists in the anti-Vietnam War movement, the French Communist Party, Jean-Paul Sartre, and others are well-known examples of “useful idiots.”
Totalitarian systems have an amazing ability to exert influence on their opposing institutions and organizations. In the case of Khomeini and the 1979 insurgency, the list of “useful idiots” is very long. From Michel Foucault to Mehdi Bazargan and the religious nationalists (members of the National Front and the Freedom Movement as classic examples of Khomeini’s useful idiots), from the Marxists / jihadists (MEK) to all the intellectuals and activists who have survived since then. The ones who still talk about “seized revolution”, “deception of Khomeini’s democracy promise”, without seeing their share of stupidity in the events, in the most optimistic case, are in the long list of Islamic Republic’s “useful idiots.” The role that Sartre and the World Peace Council played as Soviet regime’s useful idiots, is now being taken over by Noam Chomsky and “The Code Pink.” In complete ignorance of the holy mission of exporting revolution and the “war, war to victory” of the Islamic Republic, Chomsky defines the “strategic doctrine” of the regime as a “defense doctrine” and speaks seriously about the irrationality of the idea that Islamic Republic may use atomic bomb. As if he has never heard of the “scorched earth” strategy and the “cult of martyrdom”, suicide attacks and Quds Force operations throughout the region, and nothing of jihadism. Code Pink is not even ashamed of attending the anti-Semitic “New Horizon” conference in Tehran.
Propaganda is not magic. Not a demon which can do anything. The list of propaganda scandals and failures is actually much longer than its successes and victories. As mentioned in this article, the success and failure of propaganda depends, first and foremost, on the degree of audience trust. The audience, from this perspective, is the most important and valuable propagandist’s collaborator. So, the question is, how do we fight propaganda? The answer to this question, however, will not be possible without a study and reflection on the theoretical concept and history of propaganda; without asking the question: What is propaganda?
Translation of this article by Sahar.
1.Fröhlich, Elke, Goebbels Tagebücher, Teil 2, Diktate 1941-1945
2.Allen, Thomas and Normal Polmar, Spy Book
3.RMVP, Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda
4.Text of the License and Agreement between the BBC and FCO, 7 July 1969:
“The Corporation shall consult and collaborate with the Department so
specified and shall obtain and accept from them such information regarding
conditions in, and the policies of HMG aforesaid towards, the countries so
prescribed and other countries as will enable the Corporation to plan and
prepare its programs in the External Services in the national interest.”
Text of broadcasting agreement, 2002
5.Sefton Delmer, Spiegel, 1954
6.Amir Abbas Taghipour, Amir La’li, Arash Mohebi, Serahat Nameh, Interview with Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 2012
7.Soldatensender Calais gegen Hitler
8.Black Boomerang, “Cover, cover, dirt, cover, dirt”
9.Prem 16/2130, National Archives, P. 13
10.Khomeini’s Interview with BBC Radio- Necessity of overthrowing Shah
11.Abram Shulsky, Silent Warfare, Understanding The World Of Intelligence
12.Ion Mihai Pacepa, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism, 2013
13.Refers to the myth about the construction of fake and showy villages by General Gregory Potemkin on the journey of Catherine II
14.Deflective Source Modell & Legitimating Source Modell developed by Victoria O’Donnell and Garth Jowett
15.Before “fake news,” there was Soviet disinformation
16.Ladislav Bittmann, former deputy chief of the Disinformation Department
of the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service, in testimony before the House
Committee on Intelligence of the U.S. Congress in February 1980
17.Garth S. Jowett & Victoria O’Donnell, Propaganda & Persuasion
18.Written Testimony of ROY GODSON to the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Open Hearing, March 30, 2017
“Disinformation: A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence