Shekhovtsov, journalist and author, exploded the myth that Russia support only extends to the far left. Far right organisations, fascist conferences, paramilitary organisations, and political parties like France’s Front National are all the recipients of Russian generosity—be it funding, training or, at least, a media platform. Russia’s cooperation with extremist movements in Europe is indiscriminate, explained Shekhovtsov, provided the movements pose a challenge to the liberal democratic order.
When Russia realised it had lost the information war after the 2008 conflict in Georgia, the state’s TV started presenting far-right activists and conspiracy theorists as ‘experts’ to fuel the new narrative of decay and decadence in Western liberal democracies. By concealing the background of these so-called ‘experts’, Russian media ensured that their audience remained oblivious to the extremity of the views exposed. Little by little, the conspiracy theories and far-right narratives entered into the mainstream—a process which Shekhovtsov dubbed ‘narrative laundering’.
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