Dutch referendum and black PR: how to win the information war

Author : Olena Derevianko

Source : 112 Ukraine

In terms of this kind of struggle, Ukraine must not only respond to stimuli, but take the initiative
13:26, 26 January 2016

Read the original text on Evropeiska Pravda

The referendum in the Netherlands, held on an EU agreement for closer relations with Ukraine, is coming soon, and the situation around it predictably continues to worsen.

In December, there was a notorious story of the paintings, which were stolen from Dutch museum and allegedly were found in Ukraine. And till now this story has no ending.

Another point was appearance of a fake video on behalf of "Azov" battalion that hectors the Netherlanders to perform terroristic attacks. In practice, in terms of informational warfare this sort of techniques are used to aggravate the situation and test the reaction of public opinion.

Related: Russian trace in the anti-Dutch campaign of "Azov" Regiment

These data makes it possible to simulate the strategy for the most important period of confrontation, called mobilization and it falls on the last week before the referendum.

If we compare these two incidents, fake video of "Azov" is like a pin prick.

Actually, for the Ukrainian side this "small threat" case made it possible to break in procedure of interaction within the working group, the "newsmakers", as well as with our and Dutch media. And yet it is a perfect occasion to recall the immutable laws of reflection informational aggression.

1. If the issue price is high (as in the Dutch case, it is extremely high), the initiator of the attack always has a very clear plan of attack.

Therefore, it is important to predict a possible scenario analysis and update it as the information accumulates - its volume will grow exponentially, I have no doubt.

Related: Poroshenko, Rutte discuss referendum in the Netherlands

2. News that appear in the media space, are just the tip of the iceberg. Main activity occur backstage and offstage.

Sometimes the most odious provocation deliberately are done quietly to divert resources and attention of the party that defends from other important issues.

3. A party which defends must have its own strategy. If not, the most effective and creative tactical moves instead turn into a coherent system hodgepodge.

4. The party that defends shall be solely disciplined. Anticrisis Staff, which deals with counteracting the aggression should be ready for the actions: very quickly - 24/7; within the framework of a clear and understandable hierarchy (take back our eternal credo from Soviet times; there must be a Roman legion, not the barbarian horde in order to effectively counteract the informational war).

5. Reactive strategy usually means defeat. You cannot play by the rules imposed by the attacker.

Our goal is not only to respond to stimuli, but take the initiative. The enemy should not distract our attention and resources; we have to get him to dance lezginka on hot coals.

To do this, it would be reasonable:

- to attack opponent on his own field, find and use the painful problems that exist in any international relations;

- to demonstrate the imagination, not every word must be true (à la guerre comme à la guerre);

- to work not only in the PR plane but also in real life (diplomatic negotiations, intelligence network, etc.).

Related: Information provocations expected as referendum in the Netherlands approaches, - Foreign Ministry

It is not a banal PR campaign and an attempt to conduct political agitation in another country in terms of unfavorable starting conditions. Background Euroscepticism, the expected high turnout, great importance of the referendum for the current Dutch government, maintaining public confidence on the eve of parliamentary elections, and limited resource potential of Ukraine – these are the realities.

Therefore, we cannot waste the time, discuss, philosophize and loudly rejoice intermediate successes.

According to Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the most of the campaign events will be non-governmental in nature, and it has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Ukraine will accumulate more resources than the state can itself afford. The more supervisors we have, the less effective is the coordination of the process.

Let us hope that everything will end with the victory, but not many with attempts to find the culprit.

Related: The Dutch referendum won’t harm ratification of EU-Ukraine Association Agreement

Related: Ukraine’s cyber police seek criminals who posted fake video threatening Dutch people

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