An Example of Manual Propaganda Identification:

In order to illustrate the process of manually identifying Russian propaganda as described in the YYYcampaignYYY, let's walk through the process of evaluating an excellent case study, which was itself discovered through manual analysis. This story provides a great example, from

World War III!!!
On the surface, appears to be an American website about "hanging the bankers", but it extensively quotes the Russian defense ministry and Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, includes a Russia Today video in the main body of the story (and no video from any other source), and copies and pastes text such as "The plane reportedly crashed in a village mostly populated by Syrian Turkmen. The place has been a hotspot between the opposition and the Syrian Army" directly from, here, while obscuring the fact that its content is from Russia Today by using a link that just says "SOURCE". In fact, the entire article is copy-and-pasted directly from Russia Today:

This is from

This is from (Russia Today)
That meets the criteria outlined in manual Russian-propaganda analysis Checks #1 (consistently cites obvious Russian propaganda outlets) and #2 (has a history of reusing text directly from obvious Russian propaganda outlets, especially with minimal attribution). But what about Check #3, checking to see whether the site has a history of generally echoing the Russian line?

Sure enough: Some quick searching demonstrates how has been echoing Russian propaganda content and themes for years. This is some vintage anti-Euro propaganda, from in 2012:

Anti-Euro propaganda from 2012
This fits with what we know of parallel Russian efforts: Their intelligence services no doubt started investing in efforts to break up the EU and Eurozone quite some time previously, but it is interesting for them to suggest they have a timeline! And what exactly was the length of their supposed "countdown" to the "break up of the Euro" - what date exactly was it supposedly counting down to? Considering that article appeared in May 2012, shouldn't it have happened already?

But what about in 2013? It is not difficult to find great examples. Here is some anti-actual-media propaganda, from in 2013:

Anti-actual-media propaganda from 2013
Mainstream media may be in bad shape, but that probably has something to do with the way that the Russian intelligence services are investing a lot in efforts to kill it off - efforts like, for, example, the site that story appears on...

But what about in 2014? It doesn't take long to find great examples. Here is a textbook case of Russia-is-just-a-poor-innocent-victim nonsense, from in 2014:

Russia-is-an-innocent-victim propaganda from 2014
Nevermind the opinions of Syrians in Aleppo, Tatars in Crimea, Ukrainians in Mariupol, or Latvians in Riga - for it's poor innocent Russia that's being "targeted"! And nevermind that the West and the USSR survived a generations-long Cold War without starting anything like World War III - Putin does not want anybody organizing against him, so his propagandists trot out the prospect of global thermonuclear war as a rebuttal to anyone even considering fighting back. It's simple intimidation.

But what about in 2015? It doesn't take long to find this attempt to gin up opposition to US military exercises, from in 2015:

Anti-US-military-exercise propaganda from 2015
Nevermind that the US was preparing to do things like, for example, kick Russia out of Estonia on the off-chance Putin saw fit to invade there... Nevermind all that! For Russian propaganda, US military exercises are evil conspiracies to be opposed. The darkly humorous subtext here is that that particular Russian influence operation, to gin up opposition to Jade Helm, sort of worked - significant fractions of the Republican base, and even Republican elected officials, fell for it. Imagine the Russian intelligence officers laughing to themselves about that one on their way home from work!

But what about from 2016? Again, it doesn't take long. Here's some US-is-an-evil-aggressor propaganda, from in 2016:

US-is-evil-and-aggressive propaganda, from in 2016
Nevermind that that the US military paints aircraft in Russian colors for training purposes, in order to, again, practice for stuff like kicking the Russian military out of Estonia on the off-chance Putin sees fit to invade there. doesn't waver, or equivocate, or need alternative explanations. No, for, the appropriate headline is to assert that those US fighter jets are painted in Russian colors in a "push" for a "false flag" to start World War III.

More generally, echoes the larger themes of Russian propaganda to a T:
'The manifesto of the movement [the World National Conservative Movement] claims that the world is governed by the ideology of "liberalism, multiculturalism and tolerance". This, in the view of the activists, results in "the erosion of nations, massive migration from countries with foreign civilizational bases, falling away from religion, replacement of spirituality by materialism, impoverishment of cultures, destruction of the family and healthy moral values" through "abortion, propaganda of debauchery and acceptance of sexual perversions." Furthermore, the manifesto refers to the "super-national institutions" such as the EU and NATO, and argues that these forces represent "the global cabal" which, in the Russian cultural discourse, is essentially a euphemistic reference to the global Jewish conspiracy. The WNCM aims to counter liberalism and globalisation by staging a "conservative revolution" and bringing far right parties to power in Western societies. The manifesto claims that a "victory of the conservative revolution even in one country [...] will provide an example for other countries." Establishing the WNCMis considered the first step in this direction.'
-- Russian Politicians Building an International Extreme Right Alliance, by Anton Shekhovtsov, on September 15 2015, in The Interpreter Magazine

So, we have satisfied Check #1 (citing obvious Russian propaganda),  Check #2 (has a history of reusing text directly from obvious Russian propaganda), and Check #3 (has a history of generally echoing the Russian propaganda "line"), but what about Check #4, has a history of echoing the Russian line in weird ways?

To answer Check #4, let's step back a bit: What do Turkey shooting down a Russian fighter-bomber, dire predictions about the breakup of the Euro, the death of actual journalism, or Russia supposedly being targeted by "false flag" attacks to start WW3, have to do with "hanging the bankers"?

What does any of that have to do with it?

Obviously, not much.

There is plenty of room for reasonable debate about appropriate regulation of the financial system, including criminal penalties for bank and financial-industry executives who, for example, may have broken the law in connection to the Great Recession of 2008. That's a practical, real-world concerns, and it makes sense that there would be media outlets, blogs, and online communities dedicated to discussing it--but that's not what is, at all.

Its About page barely even mentions banking, let alone financial regulatory reform. It discusses the "New World Order", "rabbit holes", "red pills", the "corporate mainstream media", and an out-of-context quote from John F. Kennedy. The closest it comes to discussing banking is mentioning "a handful of families that control the world banking system and hence the money supply", although it doesn't say which families--a dog-whistle to a blatantly anti-Semitic tropeused with increasing frequency by Russian propaganda.

Instead of focusing on issues like financial regulation, has a history of echoing Russian propaganda in ways that are, indeed, weird. Its actual subject matter--including Turkey shooting down a Russian fighter-bomber, dire predictions about the breakup of the Euro, the death of actual journalism, Russia supposedly being targeted by "false flag" attacks to start WW3--is unrelated to the purported focus of its branding: Punishing white-collar crime associated with the Great Recession of 2008. That satisfies Check #4.

Check #5 is about whether lacks the hallmarks of good actual journalism: Are the stories factual? Are the facts placed in appropriate context? Do the headlines match the content? Are the agendas of the sources clearly disclosed? Are there good explanations? Does it bring clarity to complicated issues? Is there an absence of hype?

A cursory review of the content answers those and related questions: No.

That satisfies Check #5.

Check #6 is about whether has been called out by other fact-checkers, journalists, and debunkers already. A little double-checking reveals that has been identified as a "CLICKBAIT WEBSITE" by, is included in the Hoax Sites list, and is the subject of an interesting analysis of its use of visual imagery published by the International Center of Photography, titled CONSPIRACY THEORY 2.0: Photographic practices on conspiracy theory websites following the Boston Marathon bombing.

That satisfies Check #6.

Check #7 is is about whether steadfastly avoids coherently proposing constructive solutions to anything. Its most heavily-emphasized prescription, "hanging the bankers", might perhaps qualify as a Step One towards a constructive solution to a wide range of problems, for resolute Marxists, but like Marx, does not go into much detail about Steps Two, Three, Four, or Five through Nine.

The same applies for the other stories highlighted here. What's the solution to the pressures on the Euro as a currency? Well, the story on from 2012 has nothing to say about that. It certainly does not consult relevant expertise to determine what possible solutions might look like, or list out the problems associated with a potential breakup of the Eurozone, let alone the possible solutions to them. On the contrary, in this story, seems more like a cheerleader for the breakup of the Euro than anything else, which makes sense in light of Russia's strategic interest in seeing that happen.

The same applies to sounding the death knell for actual journalism in 2013. What solutions does propose? None. It links to a YouTube video which badly critiques actual professional journalism, and actual professional journalists. What about Russia supposedly being the innocent victim of "targeting" for World War III? Nothing. Jade Helm? Nada. The US military practicing against simulated Russian aircraft? Zip. In many cases, no constructive solution can be articulated, because the supposed "problem" is so incoherent.

That satisfies Check #7.

Conclusion: YYYhangthebankers.comYYY

Given that it satisfies those checks, thus qualifying as a bona-fide Russian propaganda outlet, what can be done? For one, you can help highlight it. When you see a story posted from it on social media, that we've already analyzed and debunked, surround the name of it in YYYs, and, as kindly as possible, push back against the person who posted it with a link to this page... And then tell us, at PropOrNot, about it. For example:

@uninformed_relative: Can you belief there doing this stuff!???
@you_our_enlightened_reader: Oh my dear relative, I love you, but just so you know, YYYhangthebankers.comYYY has been debunked by PropOrNot, and is totally Russian propaganda #propornot
@uninformed_relative: Wowww what next!? Wonders never cease
@you_our_enlightened_reader: <smug satisfaction>
@us_at_propornot: Hmmmm look at those metrics! Yay!
@vladimir_putin: эти чертовы ублюдки все планы мне сорвали!! And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids!! qualifies as “dark gray” propaganda, systematically deceiving its civilian audiences for foreign political gain. We at PropOrNot rate it: Five Shadies.