The faces of Russian propaganda: RT France and its head, Ksenia Fedorova

RT France differs little from other divisions of RT, also known as “Russia Today.” The French programs of this Russian propaganda machine use the usual cocktail of distorted news about the war (in Syria or Ukraine), sensational reports about the deep crisis in the EU (France), and Russian propaganda extolling the victories and virtues of Vladimir Putin.

Ksenia Fedorova manages this branch of Russian propaganda in France. She uses the same technique as Russian media commonly used in western countries to protect the TV channel. To all accusations, there is one answer: “we are persecuted because we are a truly independent media that carries the freedom of speech.”

Current President Emmanuel Macron has no respect for RT France. During one of his meetings with Putin, he stated: “the truth is that Russia Today and Sputnik behave not as media organizations and journalists, but as agencies of influence and propaganda.”

Before denouncing RT and Sputnik as liars and “propaganda agents,” Macron banned them from his headquarters during his 2017 presidential campaign. Both publications were accused of spreading lies about him, including claims of an extramarital gay relationship. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, another ally of Russia, also participated in this campaign, promising to publish “fascinating info about Macron soon.”

RT France has been under the watchful eye of the state regulator in recent years and has received several warnings. For example, for incorrectly dubbing the voices of Syrian civilians in their program and writing in subtitles what they did not say – a well-honed tactic of Russian state television.

Another important episode in RT France and Ksenia Fedorova’s activities contributed to the mass anti-government protests of the “yellow vests” that began in November 2018. The best explanation for this ideological overlap comes from Ksenia Fedorova, who told Le Monde: “The Yellow Vests know that Macron does not respect us.”

RT France skillfully played the “protest porn” card. YouTube and Facebook algorithms push posts that evoke a strong reaction and emotion. RT France used it in its coverage of the “yellow vest” actions, continuously broadcasting the most violent clashes between demonstrators and the police; the essence of what goes viral on social networks: spectacular, violent, divisive content.

This strategy has made them the most preferred news source for the Yellow Vest movement, doubling their audience from 3 million monthly visitors to their website (during regular times) to 8-12 million during the Yellow Vest movement “. RT France became the most significant French media source on YouTube with 23 million views, far ahead of mainstream media such as Le Monde, which covered the same topic.

RT France used this popularity for its primary purpose: promoting the interests of Russia. They gave airwaves to Etienne Choir, a conspiracy theorist and Yellow Vest ideologue. The aim was not only to portray France as a country mired in chaos and disorder but to make Russia look good in comparison.

Among other things, for this RT France chose interviews with protesters who stood for Vladimir Putin. Thus, a specially selected participant in the protests became famous with the statement, “It’s time for Putin to speak out and understand our moron president.”

Since February 2022, RT and Sputnik have been under sanctions by the EU. However, they still find ways to circumvent the ban; for example, RT France broadcasts online through the online Odysee platform, i.e., they continue their activities. Understanding the importance of propaganda, Russia allocated significant funds, 262 million dollars, just for 2022 “for the needs of the media.”

This money may go to “cooperation” with hundreds of tiny channels ( like this or this) on YouTube and other platforms. Products with the RT logo are distributed through them, even when RT’s channel is banned.

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