“Project Kylo”: A leak exposed Russian intelligence's secret disinformation tactics in the West

The Moscow base of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).

Digital platform The Insider revealed the series Emails of foreign intelligence officials were hacked Russia (SVR), responsible for “information warfare” against the West. According to the leaked documents, addressed to various government agencies, the Kremlin's strategy consists of spreading disinformation on sensitive topics in the West, Spreading lies pretending to be radical Ukrainian and European political forcesAppeal to emotions, mainly fear, rationality, and use of new web platforms instead of old media RT And Sputnik.

Dubbed “Project Kylo,” the covert operation was designed to be completely untraceable and to have no connection to Russian intelligence services. however, The Insider and his research partner Der Spiegel They traced the propaganda to SVR, the agency responsible for foreign intelligence. The move was aimed at stoking anti-government sentiment in Western countries, particularly Ukraine, due to its support for liberal democracies. And Fear, panic and horror were the main emotions they tried to exploit.

Mikhail Koltsov, a 45-year-old SVR officer who served in Afghanistan, is the mastermind behind “Project Kylo.” On May 23, 2022, Koltsov sent him a document titled “Propaganda” that appeared to be an outline of a presentation at a private roundtable in the Russian Senate chaired by anti-Western senator Alexei Pushkov. Key figures from Vladimir Putin's regime, including Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Defense Ministry psychological warfare experts, and loyal journalists took part in the meeting.

Kolsov suggested Change the Kremlin's propaganda center Instead of traditional pro-Russian arguments towards a more offensive strategy. One of his proposals Creation of a bogus NGO to promote anti-establishment protests in the West and redirecting users to “restricted sources” and posting fake ads masquerading as news. Another tactic proposed by Kolsov was to adopt a staunchly pro-Ukrainian stance to make the protection of Ukrainian refugees seem irrational to native voters.

See also  The United States and the European Union accused the Guatemalan government of "undermining the will of the people."

“Project Kylo” exploded The refugee problem in Europe, as evidenced by more than two dozen legitimate websites circulating articles titled “How Ukrainians Are Stealing Germany's Economic Prosperity.” The websites are part of a broader Russian influence operation that includes numerous social media accounts that post sensationalist slogans with links to fake news sites.

Kolsov shared his plan Mikhail Gulemin, Another SVR official, and between May 2022 and September 2023 they exchanged more than 10 versions of “Project Kylo”. A copy was sent to Eduard Chernovoltsev, Head of the Technical-Scientific Service of the FSB. A more elaborate version, dated January 9, 2023, had a logo with Cyrillic and English characters, bitcoin symbols and a globe.

Kolsov with an unidentified person

The document is detailed The SVR would deploy teams in several countries and create a website mislabeled as the “Independent Investigative Agency” to disseminate manipulative content. Videos will be broken down into short films for publishing on platforms like TikTok. Links to content created by SVR will be embedded in the target audience's electronic media using a special algorithm.

Microsoft discovered a covert cyber operation dubbed “Storm 1679”. Fake videos from media like Euronews And France24, And while it's not clear if the storm site mentioned by SVR is the same as the false security warnings that prevented participation in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, it's clear that Kylo is trying to infect millions of users in the West.

A document explains it “The main aspect of awareness campaign in countries [occidentales] “It evokes the strongest emotion in the human soul: fear.” They plan to instill fear and uncertainty about the future. The cost of this impact activity is estimated to be around $3 per user per month.

See also  Hurricane winds and flooding in Northern Europe: At least 3 dead in Britain due to Storm Bobbet

Recent months have seen pro-Russian demonstrations in cities such as Paris, Brussels, Madrid and The Hague, including protests against arms shipments to Ukraine and placing coffins in front, seemingly aligned with the “Kylo” slogan. of the Eiffel Tower with the phrase “French Soldiers of Ukraine”.

Coffins appear at the foot of the Eiffel Tower on June 4

An email exchange between Kolsov and Gulemin reveals that morality and ethics have no place in this clandestine psychological warfare. The final version of the project explains the central objective “Massive countermeasures in NATO countries, followed by dissemination of content in the enemy's media sector.”

According to communications between Kolsov and Kulemin, their activities were linked to the Russian military intelligence service GRU. Also, although the emails do not indicate official approval of Operation Kylo, ​​by March 2023 both SVR officials began receiving numerous applications from candidates for various positions, all with previous intelligence experience and at least one foreign language.

Colso's application is also among the leaked documents with two different versions: one public and one private. In the general version, he is identified as a department head at Peacemaker, A Think tank And Holding Company Russia-based Security Services, whose website is currently under construction. On the contrary, the private curriculum reveals it Kolsov has dedicated 19 years of service to SVR and was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland in 2019. With more than 1,500 coordinated events, his specialties include developing and promoting agitation and propaganda campaigns to support Russia's foreign policy internationally.

See also  PLD in the case of coral: Nothing distracts us from our agenda

Esmond Harmon

"Entrepreneur. Social media advocate. Amateur travel guru. Freelance introvert. Thinker."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top