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Disinformation in the Kremlin’s Toolkit of Influence

Training Guidance for Scoping the Threat to the Norms and Institutions of Weapons of Mass Destruction Nonproliferation

Russia’s hybrid warfare operations utilize a combination of tactics and tools. Disinformation – the deliberate spread of inaccurate, incomplete, or fabricated information – remains one of the core instruments through which the Krem­lin seeks to assert its political authority domestically and exercise influence abroad. During the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Russia has stepped up its disinformation campaigns focusing in particular on technically specific and malign narratives around chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons – collectively referred to as weapons of mass destruction (WMD). This training guidance focuses on hybrid threats that involve the use of materials associated with the development of chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons. It seeks to illustrate 1) how the use of WMD materials fits within the Kremlin’s toolbox of influence and 2) how disinformation activities regarding WMD-enabled attacks can impact the existing WMD nonproliferation norms and institutions. The guidance contains indicative scenarios which are intended to facilitate consideration of the possible manifestations of disinformation activities and the types of approaches and strategies that can be implemented to counter foreign malign activities in the media sector.

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