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#KremlinLeaks: how Moscow organizes and finances its information war?

New revelations shed light on the system put in place by the Russian administration to ensure Vladimir Putin's victory in the elections on March 17.

They come from a leak of documents obtained and analyzed by the Estonian online news site Delphi, within a consortium of major European media.

These new data leaks provide information on the Russian propaganda tool ahead of the March 17 elections in the country.

© Grégory Genevrier/ RFI

By: Sophie Malibeaux


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The #KremlinLeaks file published by Delphi, an online media very popular in the Baltic States, reveals an entire propaganda and censorship system aimed at Russian-speaking populations.

The information that leaked comes from the services of the presidential administration, and more precisely from the political department under the direction of Sergei Kiriyenko, one of Vladimir Putin's main advisors, in charge of the occupied territories in Ukraine, who from August 2022 called for a “

war to conquer minds

,” in a speech addressed to Russian state officials.

Among the documents recovered, Excel tables, meeting minutes, presentations and internal reports to the administration and above all, elements of the budget of the Russian Federation, which cannot be found in public access.

It appears that to guarantee its re-election and consolidate the propaganda apparatus in Russia and in the occupied territories of Ukraine, the Russian administration is not skimping on means: the equivalent of 1.1 billion euros are allocated for this purpose in the 2024 budget.

Here's our freshest investigation into what the Kremlin is up to.

A leak of documents details how the Kremlin arranges for Putin to secure an election win, wages information war against its own people and plans to integrate the occupied areas in Ukraine.

— Holger Roonemaa (@holger_r) February 26, 2024

Highly paid propagandists

For example, the envelope granted to the famous propagandist Valdimir Solovyov would have increased to 3 billion rubles, or the equivalent of 30 million euros for 2024, double the previous year.

A note accompanies this budget line stating: “

We are waiting for a meeting between Solovyov and the president.

 » The investigation was able to establish that to date, the company in the hands of Solovyov had already collected 15 million euros.

Encrypted documents also make it possible to trace the decision-makers.

Depending on the case, this is Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, or even Vladimir Putin himself.

Information warfare for internal use

Out of a total of 1 billion 100 million euros, 631 million are allocated to the “

information war

”, an expression used for the Russian public, which must be conditioned ahead of the elections on March 17 , in order to obtain a significant participation in favor of the renewal of Vladimir Putin's mandate.

Analyst Mark Galeotti, interviewed by Delphi, sees this as an ideological restructuring of the Russian state down to the local level.

This reveals, according to him, signs of concern on the part of the regime and a desire for absolute control of society.

The Ministry of Education and Science is explicitly requested for this purpose.

The Kremlin is keen to create young opinion leaders capable of irrigating all spheres of society.

The “new regions” under control

An entire chapter is devoted to the occupied “new regions” of Ukraine, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia.

The system provides for both the takeover by Moscow, the deployment of technical means to integrate these territories into the Russian Federation, and the blocking of all access to information other than that emanating from the Russian apparatus.

The investigation provides numerous details concerning propaganda actions on the ground.

Some details are damning, such as the amount of 420,000 euros allocated to Maria Lvova-Belova, Commissioner for Children's Rights, attached to the Russian presidency, for "

the removal of children from the special military occupation zone

", in in other words, the deportation of Ukrainian children, at the origin of the arrest warrant issued against him by the ICC, the International Criminal Court, for “

war crimes


The great return of propaganda cinema

Finally, this arsenal includes a “

content creation

” component intended for the cinema industry and other series and video game producers, under the supervision of commissioners, ensuring proper compliance with Kremlin directives.

Billions of rubles are injected into this system.

The #KremlinLeaks file includes a memo prepared by Kiriyenko's team in October 2023, mentioning the involvement of around fifteen non-profit organizations, 4,357 employees and a budget of 600 million euros.

Their productions must necessarily meet one of the following four criteria: defense of national interests and traditional values, praise of national heroes, “ 

we are together 

” projects, aimed at residents of “ 


” territories.


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