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
China, US
28.01.2020
Poland, Ukraine
27.01.2020
  • Tsargrad TV
China
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv
China, US
27.01.2020
  • News Front - Russian
US
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv
Georgia, US
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv,
  • News Front - Russian
Poland, Russia
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv,
  • News Front - Russian
Poland, Russia
27.01.2020
  • ren.tv,
  • News Front - Russian
Poland, Russia
26.01.2020
  • Rossia 24 - YouTube
Baltic states
25.01.2020
  • SouthFront - English
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 - Russian,
  • Ria Novosti
China, US
25.01.2020
  • 5-tv.ru
China, US
24.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
24.01.2020
  • vz.ru,
  • tvzvezda.ru,
  • Tsargrad TV,
  • Izvestia,
  • warandpeace.ru,
  • Nakanune.ru,
  • ren.tv,
  • Sputnik Spain
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 - Russian
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 Belarus - Russian
China, US
22.01.2020
  • Sputnik Belarus - Russian
US
21.01.2020
  • Polnyi contact - Radio Vesti
Russia
20.01.2020
  • tert.am
Armenia
20.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
19.01.2020
  • ren.tv,
  • politonline.ru,
  • tvzvezda.ru
Ukraine
19.01.2020
  • Polnyi contact - Radio Vesti,
  • novoye-vremya.com,
  • RT Russia,
  • regnum.ru,
  • vz.ru
Poland, Russia
19.01.2020
USSR, Poland, Russia
19.01.2020
  • Strategic Culture Foundation,
  • SouthFront - English
UK, US
18.01.2020
  • RT Arabic ,
  • lb.shafaqna.com,
  • Khabar Masr,
  • Head Topics,
  • kachaf.com
USSR, Poland, Russia
18.01.2020
  • Iravunk.com
Armenia
17.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland
17.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
17.01.2020
  • Pervyi Kanal - YouTube
Ukraine
17.01.2020
  • Sputnik Azerbaijan - Russian
Estonia, Russia
17.01.2020
  • RT Arabic ,
  • glgamesh.com,
  • faceiraq.org,
  • akhbar24.info,
  • news.sahafahn.net,
  • hawelaliraq.rawabetcenter.com
USSR, Poland
16.01.2020
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Estonia
15.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
14.01.2020
  • Sputnik Azerbaijan - Russian
Germany, US
14.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
UK, Czech Republic, France, Poland, Germany, Russia
14.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Israel, Poland, Russia
14.01.2020
  • Sputnik Moldova - Romanian
Romania
13.01.2020
  • Moskovskij Komsomolets,
  • lenta.ru,
  • svpressa.ru,
  • politnavigator.net
Ukraine
11.01.2020
  • Teleskop,
  • 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
  • Sputnik France
US, Ukraine, Russia
05.01.2020
  • RT Arabic ,
  • New Hub
USSR, Poland, Germany, Russia
31.12.2019
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • 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
  • RT Arabic ,
  • damaseyes,
  • shamra,
  • arabipress,
  • 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
  • RT France
USSR, Poland, Germany, Russia
20.12.2019
Ukraine
26.11.2019
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Ukraine, Russia