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Conspiratorial Virus

January 30, 2020

The pro-Kremlin media continues to target Poland, while the newly identified respiratory virus brings new opportunities for disinformation.

As the news about a previously unknown respiratory virus – which has already claimed over 100 lives – spreads around the world, so do the conspiracy theories.

A mysterious disease that jumped the species barrier from animals to humans with potentially lethal consequences ticks all the “fit-for-conspiracy” boxes: the subject is alarming, highly complex and so far entails more questions than answers. For the pro-Kremlin media, the coronavirus is beginning to look like a disinformation gold-mine.

“It’s an American weapon of mass destruction, aimed against China, coming from one of the US military labs that surround Russia and China, for the benefit of Big Pharma and American corporations”:  the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine follows its usual outlandish yet familiar logic. After all, one of the most famous and successful examples of Soviet disinformation was the HIV hoax planted by the KGB in the 1980s, which claimed that the HIV virus was created by the CIA as a biological weapon.

More recently, in 2016, pro-Kremlin outlets alleged that the Zika virus was owned by American and British corporations. Cancer, syphilis, and Spanish flu have also been labelled American biological weapons. Ukraine has been accused of spreading Ebola on behalf of the US military among pro-Russian separatists. And the narrative about secret US military labs in Russia’s neighbourhood spreading all sorts of diseases is so prevalent that around 20% of Georgians believe it to be true in case of the Lugar lab in Tbilisi. (It is not).

As the coronavirus continues to spread and authorities race against time to contain it, watch out for the proliferation of disinformation stories, which have all the potential to go viral, with horrifying consequences.

The attack against Poland continues

This week, the systematic pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against Poland continued, painting the country in starkly anti-Semitic colours.

Poland was accused of trying to obsessively whitewash Hitler’s history, justify Nazism and provide a model for building Auschwitz. As horrid as they are, especially in light of the International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust, such disinformation messages are hardly surprising.

As EUvsDisinfo wrote previously, Poland is a carefully chosen target of a broad disinformation campaign. It was launched as a reaction to the resolution of the European Parliament “On the importance of European Remembrance for the future of Europe”.

It appears that the resolution, which expressed concern at “the efforts of the current Russian leadership to whitewash crimes committed by the Soviet totalitarian regime” was taken as an insult by pro-Kremlin circles. Since mid-September, when the resolution was adopted, the pro-Kremlin media has aggressively engaged in historical revisionism, smearing Poland and the European Parliament.

 

 

This week was no exception, with pundits on Russian state-controlled TV suggesting that if it weren’t for the activism of American Jews, the European Parliament would adopt a resolution blaming Jews for the start of the WWII.

With over a dozen of new disinformation cases targeting Poland this week, it seems that the Kremlin’s instrumentalization of history is continuing in full force, with no signs of stopping.

This week’s weirdest disinformation cases:


related disinfo cases

Date
Title
Outlets
Country
28.01.2020
  • svpressa.ru
China, UK
28.01.2020
  • kp.ru
China, US
28.01.2020
  • politnavigator.net
Poland, Ukraine
27.01.2020
  • tsargrad.tv
China
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv
China, US
27.01.2020
  • news-front.info
US
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv
Georgia, US
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv,
  • news-front.info
Poland, Russia
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv,
  • news-front.info
Poland, Russia
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv,
  • news-front.info
Poland, Russia
26.01.2020
  • Rossia 24 - YouTube
Baltic states
25.01.2020
  • southfront.org
Venezuela, Iran, UK, Georgia, US, Ukraine, Russia
25.01.2020
  • 5-tv.ru
Baltic states
25.01.2020
  • 5-tv.ru
Russia
25.01.2020
  • riafan.ru,
  • RIA
China, US
25.01.2020
  • 5-tv.ru
China, US
24.01.2020
  • pl.sputniknews.com
Poland, Russia
24.01.2020
  • vz.ru,
  • tvzvezda.ru,
  • tsargrad.tv,
  • iz.ru,
  • warandpeace.ru,
  • Nakanune.ru,
  • ren.tv,
  • mundo.sputniknews.com
Ukraine
24.01.2020
  • Pervyi Kanal
Poland, US, Baltic states, Ukraine
24.01.2020
  • 60 minut @Rossiya 1 - YouTube
Poland, Russia
24.01.2020
  • riafan.ru
Sweden
24.01.2020
  • ukraina.ru
China
23.01.2020
China, US
22.01.2020
  • RT English
USSR, Poland, Germany, Russia
22.01.2020
  • sputnik.by
China, US
22.01.2020
  • sputnik.by
US
21.01.2020
  • radiovesti.ru
Russia
20.01.2020
  • tert.am
Armenia
20.01.2020
  • pl.sputniknews.com
Poland, Russia
19.01.2020
  • ren.tv,
  • politonline.ru,
  • tvzvezda.ru
Ukraine
19.01.2020
  • radiovesti.ru,
  • novoye-vremya.com,
  • russian.rt.com,
  • regnum.ru,
  • vz.ru
Poland, Russia
19.01.2020
  • arabic.sputniknews.com,
  • arabics.ir,
  • newhub.org
USSR, Poland, Russia
19.01.2020
  • Strategic Culture Foundation,
  • southfront.org
UK, US
18.01.2020
  • arabic.rt.com,
  • lb.shafaqna.com,
  • Khabar Masr,
  • headtopics.com,
  • kachaf.com
USSR, Poland, Russia
18.01.2020
  • iravunk.com
Armenia
17.01.2020
  • pl.sputniknews.com
Poland
17.01.2020
  • pl.sputniknews.com
Poland, Russia
17.01.2020
  • Pervyi Kanal - YouTube
Ukraine
17.01.2020
  • Sputnik Azerbaijan - Russian
Estonia, Russia
17.01.2020
  • arabic.rt.com,
  • glgamesh.com,
  • faceiraq.org,
  • akhbar24.info,
  • news.sahafahn.net,
  • hawelaliraq.rawabetcenter.com
USSR, Poland
16.01.2020
  • ru.armeniasputnik.am
Estonia
15.01.2020
  • pl.sputniknews.com
Poland, Russia
14.01.2020
  • Sputnik Azerbaijan - Russian
Germany, US
14.01.2020
  • pl.sputniknews.com
UK, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Germany, Russia
14.01.2020
  • pl.sputniknews.com
Israel, Poland, Russia
14.01.2020
  • ro.sputnik.md
Romania
13.01.2020
  • Moskovskij Komsomolets,
  • lenta.ru,
  • svpressa.ru,
  • politnavigator.net
Ukraine
11.01.2020
  • teleskop-by.org,
  • Civic initiative Soyuz,
  • Grodnodaily
Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Ukraine, Russia
10.01.2020
  • Sputnik Germany
Poland, US, Baltic states, Russia
09.01.2020
  • fondsk.ru
Armenia, Iran, US
08.01.2020
  • fr.sputniknews.com
US, Ukraine, Russia
05.01.2020
  • arabic.rt.com,
  • newhub.org
USSR, Poland, Germany, Russia
31.12.2019
  • arabic.sputniknews.com,
  • mbs.news,
  • emeknes.com,
  • masr20.com,
  • saadaonline.net,
  • abudhabi-news.com,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • sabq-sa.com,
  • albidda.net,
  • uk-arabicnews.com,
  • news.miralnews.com,
  • news.akhbarten.com
Estonia, Ukraine, Russia
24.12.2019
  • arabic.rt.com,
  • damaseyes.com,
  • shamra.sy,
  • arabipress.net,
  • hamsnews.com,
  • sahafah24,
  • middle-east.sahafahn.net,
  • sahafah24,
  • bbcnews1.com,
  • emeknes.com,
  • alkhafji.news,
  • capbonnews.com,
  • satelnews.net,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • saadaonline.net,
  • abudhabi-news.com,
  • middle-east.sahafahn.net,
  • albidda.net,
  • sabq-sa.com,
  • masr20.com,
  • sabq-sa.com,
  • news.akhbarten.com,
  • news-araby.com,
  • news-araby.com,
  • sada-ar.com,
  • news.miralnews.com,
  • akhbarlibya,
  • arabyoum.com,
  • arabyoum.com
USSR, Poland, Germany, Russia
24.12.2019
  • RT Germany (old)
Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia
24.12.2019
  • francais.rt.com
USSR, Poland, Germany, Russia
20.12.2019
  • Pervyi Kanal
Ukraine
26.11.2019
  • pl.sputniknews.com
Poland, Ukraine, Russia