Russian group Wagner takes action on social networks

A mercenary from the Wagner group pictured in the Central African Republic.

© Franceinfo

Text by: Dominique Desaunay Follow

2 min

According to an article in the daily

Le Figaro

, the paramilitary group of the Russian company called Wagner is launching online campaigns on social networks, in order to carry out disinformation operations.

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The group of mercenaries called Wagner has no official existence in Russia. And for good reason, private military companies are prohibited, according to the country's legislation. But this "shadow armed" force, although officially illegal, has over the years become a powerful instrument of geopolitics led by Moscow, reports the

Open Diplomacy Institute

on its website. This European think tank, citing statements by Vladimir Putin, concludes that sending "volunteers" abroad is now part of the Kremlin's strategy which seeks to strengthen its external influence, while avoiding appearing openly. to maneuver.

A "shadow army" less and less secret in Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic and which might intend to deploy in Mali.

The military authorities in power in Bamako have declared that they want to call on the services of Wagner's mercenaries, despite international warnings concerning the sending of a private armed force to the region.

A deployment which was immediately

qualified as unacceptable by the French executive

, recalls

Le Figaro

.

But to cast doubt on the reality of their actual presence in Mali, these paramilitaries are on the offensive on social networks, in order to rally supporters and disseminate their propaganda, analyzes the French daily.

All-round communication

Their messages accompanied by photos are posted on Telegram, on Twitter or on the TikTok network. Publications which are then republished en masse on Facebook in Africa and mainly by groups of anti-French Internet users. The analysis of these clichés, which was entrusted to the company

Storyzy, a

 specialist in the Sahel and an expert in the study of disinformation networks, illustrates the rise of this online propaganda orchestrated from Russia, specifies the article of the newspaper. 

Le Figaro

has deciphered several photos published online by the Wagner group.

A snapshot on Twitter shows, for example, three soldiers, guns in hand.

Two of the soldiers wear what looks like a Malian uniform, the third standing and masked appears to be issuing instructions.

A musician and inhabitants of the Malian countryside

", title the caption of the photo which could make believe that the mercenaries have already started their training operations.

Pastoral Symphony

The Wagner group is multiplying this kind of online word games in order to deceive search engines and bypass the moderation of social networks.

The use of the word "

orchestra

" in the caption of a photo would mean that a military group had been formed, the words "

musical instrument

" would designate a weapon and the word "

symphony

" would indicate that an operation was in progress.

And in their propaganda messages these paramilitaries are ironic at having thus become "

the most famous orchestra in the world

", specifies the article in the French daily. 

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