The project “Shady Horses” delves into investigating Russian propaganda dissemination within Western countries through prominent individuals, often referred to as “talking heads.”
By analyzing the influence and messaging of these figures, the project seeks to shed light on the tactics employed to spread Russian narratives, their impact on public opinion, and their potential connections to foreign organizations.
Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, is a figure recognized for his far-right and anti-Islam activism, anti-government stance, distortion of the concept of ‘free speech,’ and alignment with Russian sympathies. He has been associated with various far-right movements, gaining notoriety through involvement with groups such as the British National Party (BNP), the British Freedom Party (BFP), the English Defence League (EDL), and Pegida UK.
His activism often features divisive rhetoric, promoting anti-Islam sentiments, and expressing concerns about the perceived decline of Western civilization.
In addition to domestic controversies, Robinson has attracted attention for his connections with Russia. In 2020, he visited Moscow, engaging in a media tour that included an interview with state-sponsored RT, the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda channel. During his visit, Robinson claimed to feel “silenced in the U.K.” and said that he sought a platform in Russia, because the west ‘only has a facade of freedom of speech.’ This rhetoric was taken the next step further, giving a lecture titled “The Rape of Britain” to a university in St. Petersburg as part of his tour. Robinson’s tour in Russia, portrayed as an effort to unveil the truth about the UK, was echoed in Kremlin propaganda, reinforcing the distorted narrative that the West lacks true freedom.
Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, Robinson’s name would have appeared less in the information sphere. Why? In 2018, he received a ‘lifetime ban’ from Twitter, effectively shutting down a significant platform for the dissemination of the hatred and disinformation he often propagated. Nevertheless, Robinson has found alternative ways to communicate with his followers, resorting to less popular methods in the West, such as Telegram, a more commonly used social media platform in Eastern Europe.
Throughout the invasion, Robinson has consistently downplayed Russia’s attack on Ukraine and distorted information regarding alleged ‘Nazis’ in Ukraine and the members of the AZOV unit. He raises questions like ‘why is it fair’ and makes claims that Zelensky is taking billions of pounds from the UK to ‘pretend’ he has a democracy. Robinson does this by presenting what he believes are ‘fair and real’ events, coincidentally aligning with the narrative on Russian propaganda’s agenda.
With Musk reinstating Robinson on Twitter (or now X), canceling the lifetime ban, we can anticipate Robison’s voice resounding loudly alongside other agents of influence by the Kremlin. He will sing from the same hymn sheet, calling for a ‘cease-fire,’ urging Ukraine to concede territory, and highlighting alleged uncontrollable corruption in Ukraine, aligning his agenda with the Kremlin’s.
Making Robinson a perfect candidate for ‘The Kremlin’s Shady Horses of Russian Propaganda’
Who is this Shady Horse:
Tommy Robinson, far-right/anti-government public figure
Where are they from?
What have they been saying?
“I believe that the war in Ukraine has been instigated by expansionist ideas of the European Union. Basically right now racism against Russian is encouraged”https://www.tiktok.com/@myqiblah/video/7111844665246092549
“Just research! Research what’s been going on in Ukraine and who is behind it. George Soros again, billionaires who are sitting in WEF meetings now planning the future of all of our lives”https://www.tiktok.com/@myqiblah/video/7111844665246092549
“I’m a patriot from the UK and I welcome the new Za pravda political party. Our nations once stood together in the Second World War against a world-wide evil. That evil has returned. We see conservative voices being deplatformed, being silenced. We stand for the same values.”https://www.tiktok.com/@myqiblah/video/7111844665246092549
“Now Zelensky is taking billions of pounds of our money. Zelensky shut down all the Christian churches and locked up all the Priests. We talk about democracy, but he has imprisoned all the opposition. There is no democracy right now in Ukraine.”https://twitter.com/cheguwera/status/1625268999524081667?lang=en
“Leaked Documents Reveal US and Zelensky Recruiting ISIS Terrorists To Fight in Ukraine.”
“NATO turned their backs on Zelensky. Without NATO’s direct military intervention, Ukraine will fall, making Zelensky a dead man walking. The West sacrificed Ukraine and its people in an attempt to weaken Russia. They failed miserably.”https://t.me/TommyRobinsonNews/49464
“Vladimir Putin has revealed that Russian troops withdrew from Kiev [Kyiv] and other regions in Ukraine on the basis of a peace deal agreed in Turkey. This casts serious doubts over Ukrainian narratives about [the] defeat of Russia in the “battle of Kiev”https://t.me/TommyRobinsonNews/48783
“The Russian president says that the Pentagon was creating components of biological weapons right next to Russia. No wonder the West frantically banned RT. The people deserve to hear both sides of the story and make up their own mind.”https://t.me/TommyRobinsonNews/33769