Recently, the acclaimed historian Timothy Snyder reflected on the storming of the Capitol and the power of lies. He called into memory the notorious concept of the “Big Lie”. This technique aims to spread a lie so “colossal”, no one would believe that anyone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously”.

A historical example is the lie that Germany did not actually lose the First World I, but was stabbed in the back. This was instrumental in sowing the seeds of resentment, which consequently allowed fascism to rise. Related, and just as notorious, are the inextricable anti-Semitic lies of those days: Jews secretly govern the world through control of banks, industry and media, while prominent Jews organise colour revolutions. It is sobering to realize our database shows how, in recent years, these narratives are welling up again.

Big lies have big divisive power. Looking to the storming of the Capitol, Mr Snyder points out that in order to understand a world in which the presidential election was stolen, distrust of journalism, experts and governments is necessary. It involves everyone from vote counters, to a civil servant of homeland security up to the Supreme Court. Whomever does not support the lie, must be part of the conspiracy.

Crossing the Atlantic, one recognizes pro-Kremlin outlets have been spitting multiple Big Lies for years now. This week was no exception.

For example, we noticed variations on the well-known theme in which the West craves world domination. Germany and Japan are occupied by the US. Poland has become an American vassal and protectorate, taking incomprehensible security decisions only to satisfy masters in Washington DC. We also saw a classic; the West promised Russia that NATO would not move eastward. NATO threatens Transnistria. In addition, the incoming Biden administration will make Russia the number one enemy. The list could go on.

Reading this, some might be wondering whether their memory is failing. Was it not Russia, who, not so long ago, violated the sovereignty of its neighbours, Georgia and Ukraine? Confusion is understandable, as we spot contradicting disinformation narratives from the pro-Kremlin side; the illegal annexation of Crimea was not an annexation, after all, Crimea voted to re-join Russia through a legal referendum. But, if it was, it was justified, because Crimea is a legal part of Russia and Crimea joined Russia in full accordance with international law.

Another big lie is Russia’s denial of its responsibility of the poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny – in spite of clear evidence and an outright confession! This week however, we saw a narrative claiming Germany’s response to the Navalny affair does not prove poisoning. According to another narrative, the West is sending Navalny back to Russia to ensure he does not become irrelevant!

One can only makes sense of these Big Lies, if one accepts the world is against Russia. To explain that, a meta-Big Lie exists: Russia is a beacon of stability, while the rest of the world is collapsing in chaos, yet jealously preying on Russia, its achievements and unspoiled values.

Vaccine vilifications

Sadly, the world is still experiencing the second wave of Covid-19 infections. Meanwhile, the “infodemic” continues to rage.

The narratives spotted on Covid-19 are part of a broader narrative asserting that Russia fights the pandemic more effectively than Western democracies, boosting the credibility of a Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine and undermining that of other (Western) vaccines.

In fall, we saw numerous cases discrediting the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. For example, rebranding it “the monkey vaccine”, enabling pro-Kremlin media to suggest that the British vaccine will turn people into monkeys and thereby tapping into criticism from animal rights supporters and anti-vaxxers.

Lately we saw the attention shifting from the Oxford vaccine to the Pfizer vaccine. Last week, we spotted the false claim that 6 people died because of the Pfizer vaccine. This week, a narrative falsely claimed top EU officials put pressure on the European Medicines Agency to approve the Pfizer vaccine. Why the rush, asks the lie? The Moderna vaccine was also targeted with claims that nothing is known about this company, which is listed on the NASDAQ.

Although we have reported clear, recurring evidence of pro-Kremlin disinformation undermining Western vaccines, pro-Kremlin outlets are claiming the exact opposite; it is the West which tries to denigrate the Russian vaccine, even comparing Russian scientists to terrorists.

On the other hand, disinformation and propaganda are employed to boost the reputation of Sputnik V:

  • Sputnik V is the world’s first vaccine with over 90% efficacy.
  • The Sputnik V vaccine will stop the pandemic.
  • Ukrainians want to be vaccinated with Sputnik V, but the US does not let them.

Tell me lies, tell me sweet little fascist lies

There are big lies, but also little lies. Unfortunately, this week, some of them relate to fascism.

For example, the attempted coup in Belarus, led by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, actually aims to relive Nazism. Or the US Democratic Party which, according to one story, officially became a fascist party. Officially. We also spotted the narratives in which the modern ideology of the Latvian authorities reflects the SS and guess what – Moldovan President Sandu began her visit to Kyiv with a Nazi slogan.

It is striking how many narratives this week have a fascism element. Maybe there was some strategic coordination at work here. Or, perhaps the Kremlin’s top disinformation officer just recently watched “Der Untergang”?

Although these lies are rather grandiose in character, they do not qualify as Big Lies. For now, they lack big divisive impact. This does not mean we should not take them seriously, as they may later fall on more fertile grounds and shape those grounds at the same time.

 


related disinfo cases

Date
Title
Outlets
Country
19.01.2021
Sputnik Armenia - Russian, TASS - Russian
Russia
19.01.2021
RT Arabic , paltimesps.ps, New Hub, Sahafaty, newsformy.com, kachaf.com, Khabar Masr, dowwar.com, mangish.net, eshraag.com
US
18.01.2021
Tsargrad TV
Russia
18.01.2021
Sputnik Lithuania
US, Ukraine, Russia
18.01.2021
eadaily.com
Sweden, Ukraine
18.01.2021
Tsargrad TV
US
18.01.2021
News Rambler
Russia
18.01.2021
SouthFront - English
US
17.01.2021
Sputnik Greece
Germany, Russia
17.01.2021
SouthFront - English
Russia
17.01.2021
abrag.akwadon.com, albousla.ps, alshbaka.net, RT Arabic , el-3rb.com, essahra.net, Head Topics, kol-masr.com, l0n.news, libyajeel.com, newsformy.com
UK, US, Russia
17.01.2021
SouthFront - English
Russia
17.01.2021
Tsargrad TV
Belarus, Russia
17.01.2021
Sputnik Lithuania - Russian, Sputnik Lithuania, Ria Novosti, 5-tv.ru, Sputnik Abkhazia - Russian
EU, US, Russia
17.01.2021
RIAFAN - Russian
EU
17.01.2021
svpressa.ru
Sweden
17.01.2021
svpressa.ru
Hungary, Sweden, Finland, US
17.01.2021
svpressa.ru
Sweden
17.01.2021
RT France - YouTube, RT France - Facebook, RT France - Twitter
Germany, Russia
16.01.2021
Livenews.am
Armenia
16.01.2021
Sputnik Spain
US
15.01.2021
Ritm Evrazii
Ukraine, Russia
15.01.2021
Tsargrad TV
Russia
15.01.2021
RT Arabic , nabd.com, newsformy.com, dowwar.com, New Hub, iq.shafaqna.com, syria.shafaqna.com, Head Topics
US, Russia
15.01.2021
Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
15.01.2021
Geopolitica.ru - Italian, Geopolitica.ru - English, Geopolitica.ru - Spanish, Castilian
US
15.01.2021
Sputnik South-Ossetia
US
14.01.2021
Sputnik Lithuania
USSR, US, Lithuania
14.01.2021
gazeta.ru
Sweden
14.01.2021
News Front - Spanish, News Front - Spanish
EU, Germany, US, Russia
14.01.2021
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
US
14.01.2021
TASS - English
Ukraine, Russia
14.01.2021
Sputnik English
Russia
14.01.2021
TASS - English
Ukraine, Russia
13.01.2021
Izvestia, Ria Novosti
Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Latvia
13.01.2021
Sputnik Lithuania
USSR, Lithuania
13.01.2021
Sputnik Poland
Poland, US
13.01.2021
RT Germany - YouTube
Russia, Latvia
13.01.2021
RT Germany - YouTube
Latvia
13.01.2021
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
UK, France, Germany, US
13.01.2021
Sputnik Abkhazia - Russian
Russia, Latvia
12.01.2021
News Front - Hungarian
US
12.01.2021
RIAFAN - Russian
US, Ukraine, Russia
12.01.2021
Donbass Today,
Ukraine
12.01.2021
Geopolitica.ru - Italian
Europe, China
12.01.2021
,
EU, Venezuela, US
12.01.2021
lenta.ru, News Rambler
Ukraine, Russia
12.01.2021
Polnyi contact - Radio Vesti, Sobesednik
Germany, Russia
11.01.2021
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
US
11.01.2021
politnavigator.net
Ukraine, Russia
11.01.2021
Rossia 24 - YouTube, vesti.ru
US
11.01.2021
News Front - Hungarian
US
11.01.2021
Sputnik Greece
US
11.01.2021
Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
11.01.2021
snanews.de
US
11.01.2021
60 minut @Rossiya 1 - YouTube
EU, Belarus
10.01.2021
RT Arabic , dowwar.com, , New Hub, iq.shafaqna.com, saudi.shafaqna.com, alistenhadh.com
US
10.01.2021
RT Arabic , dowwar.com, na-m.news, New Hub, iq.shafaqna.com, saudi.shafaqna.com, alistenhadh.com
US, Russia
10.01.2021
News Front - Hungarian
Ukraine, Russia
09.01.2021
antifashist.online, novoross.info
Ukraine
09.01.2021
News Front - German
Poland, Belarus, Lithuania
09.01.2021
News Front - Hungarian
US, Ukraine
07.01.2021
Tsargrad TV
US
07.01.2021
News Front - Hungarian, Yuzhnyi Federalnyi
Romania, Moldova, US, Ukraine, Russia
06.01.2021
Sputnik Arabic, alnilin.com, newsformy.com, lomazoma.com, sudanewsnow.com, Theworldnews.net
US
06.01.2021
Theworldnews.net, lomazoma.com, sudanewsnow.com, newsformy.com, alnilin.com, Sputnik Arabic
US
05.01.2021
Sputnik Belarus - Russian, Ria Novosti
China, Russia
04.01.2021
News Front - Russian
Russia
04.01.2021
Geopolitica.ru - Italian, Geopolitica.ru - English
US
04.01.2021
Geopolitica.ru - Italian, Geopolitica.ru - English, Geopolitica.ru - Italian, Geopolitica.ru - English
04.01.2021
Geopolitica.ru - Italian, Geopolitica.ru - English
US
30.12.2020
rg.ru
Sweden
30.12.2020
News Front - Spanish
Belarus
28.12.2020
Sputnik Spain, Sputnik Spain
US
26.12.2020
Imhoclub
EU, Baltic states, Ukraine
25.12.2020
eadaily.com
Russia
25.12.2020
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Ukraine, Russia
24.12.2020
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Japan, Germany, US
22.12.2020
News Front - Russian
EU, US
22.12.2020
abrag.akwadon.com, addiyar.com, akhbarak.net, al-vefagh.ir, aljoumhouria.com, alshbaka.net, alsiasi.com, alvefaghonline.ir, RT Arabic , belpresse.com, copts-united.com, dowwar.com, eshraag.com, factjo.com, hayrout.com, iq.shafaqna.com, kachaf.com, kol-masr.com, lomazoma.com, lomazoma.com, majall.net, mayadeeniraqya.com, nabd.com, nabd.com, New Hub, newlebanon.info, newsformy.com, rtarab.com, ruarab.top, shamra, swatan.news, swatan.news, syria.shafaqna.com, wafaamagazine.org
Central African Republic, Russia
21.12.2020
Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Belarus, Russia
18.12.2020
Sputnik France, Ria Novosti, News Front - French, Sputnik France - Facebook, Sputnik France - Facebook
USSR, UK, Germany, Russia
15.12.2020
Sputnik Czech, Sputnik Czech
US
14.12.2020
Sputnik Abkhazia - Russian
EU, US, Ukraine, Russia
09.12.2020
RT France - YouTube, Embassy of the Russian Federation in France, RT France - Twitter, RT France - Facebook
France, Russia
08.12.2020
Together with Russia
US, Belarus, Russia