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"Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth"
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Conspiracy Watch | The Conspiracy Observatory
The Moscow-backed site spreads disinformation targeting Western democracies
Home page (screenshot, 11/29/2023).

Sputnik ( is a Kremlin online propaganda platform launched in November 2014. Its anti-Western editorial line is similar to the Moscow-sponsored English-language TV channel Russia Today (RT). Sputnik now publishes content in more than thirty languages. 

Denunciations of  the methods and content of Sputnik are comparable to those leveled at RT. A joint French report on information manipulation by the Policy Planning Staff (CAPS, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs) and the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM, Ministry for the Armed Forces) noted that “RT and Sputnik are not criticized for carrying out public diplomacy, but for manipulating information, which is not the same thing.

Research conducted by the Policy Institute at King’s College London found that “RT and Sputnik portray the West and construct news agendas” publishing “a steady stream of articles about domestic politics and events in the USA and Europe that focus on political dysfunction, institutional failure, social division and the negative effects of immigration.” 

A survey conducted by the independent Russian newspaper Vedomosti and the media monitoring institute Medialogia showed that the number and variety of conspiracy theories spread in Russian media has been growing since 2011. For example, Sputnik has actively kept alive doubts about the reality of the American mission to the Moon. In early 2017  Sputnik announced that a group of Russian engineers intended to launch a satellite to go and verify the reality of the American mission of 1969 on the basis of possible traces they should have left there.

In April 2018, the site shared with other conspiracy platforms a “report” by the late British journalist and conspiracy theorist Robert Fisk suggesting that the chemical attack in Douma had been staged and taking on board the Syrian government's version.

In a short article titled "Fake terrorism' and conspiracy: special services behind many attacks?", Sputnik honored Icelandic conspiracy activist Elias Davidsson, who presents himself as an "independent international law researcher". Davidsson, who has called the 9/11 terrorism attacks a "perfidious lie" claims they were "a planned operation at the state level, with the Pentagon as the perpetrator. As for the other Islamist attacks in Madrid, London, Paris, Nice, Amman and Istanbul, Davidsson believes that all but one of these attacks "were most likely organized by the authorities."

According to the testimony of a former journalist working at Sputnik, "In practice, Sputnik’s mission statement—“Telling the Untold”—means that Sputnik’s content should reflect the Russian side of any news story, whether it lines up with reality or not." On February 27, 2022, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced a ban on the Russian media RT and Sputnik in the European Union. Despite being outlawed, Moscow through its media outlets continues to spread propaganda as shown by several investigations. In February 2024, Viginum, the French Foreign Ministry agency tasked with tracking and protecting against foreign online interference revealed that it had uncovered a vast "structured and coordinated" Kremlin digital disinformation network targeting Europe and the US. 193 "information portals" are now spreading anti-Ukraine, pro-Russia propaganda including via "pravda" sites in France, Germany, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

(Last updated on 14/02/2024)

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