Moscow State University’s Political Science Department offers an elective course on “information war” where students are currently learning how Western intelligence agencies falsified news about the attempted assassination of Sergey Skripal and his daughter in order to embarrass the Kremlin and erode international trust in Russia.
According to a new report by the independent television network RTVI, the class is run by Andrey Manoilo, a lecturer in the Political Science Department and a former Federal Security Service agent. He tells his students that the British authorities successfully “transformed” the poisoning of the Skripals into a “nerve-agent attack on British society by a hostile foreign state,” arguing that London used “drive hunting” tactics to corner Moscow within “planted stories” that were released gradually, each supposedly more distorted and untrue than the last.
Manoilo also teaches his class that it was a huge mistake for Russia to put the two Salisbury attack suspects (who are widely believed to be GRU operatives) on television and involve President Putin in this process. The instructor also says Moscow failed to “recognize why British intelligence forged airport security camera footage” of the two suspects at Gatwick airport.
Moscow State University students reportedly told RTVI that the course provides them with “new information, not propaganda,” insisting that they “verify everything on the Internet.” Manoilo told the TV network that his course differs little from a class offered at Cambridge University, where students supposedly study “the Panama Papers scandal.”
RTVI reports that there is a similar course on “information war” offered to journalism students at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. Tatyana Alexeeva, the deputy dean of the school’s Political Science Department, admitted that it’s sometimes hard to present the subject matter in this class without personal bias. “It’s difficult, but it’s possible,” she told RTVI.
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