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

28.01.2020
Komsomolskaya Pravda
China, US
28.01.2020
Svobodnaya Pressa
China, UK
27.01.2020
REN-TV News Front
Russia, Poland
27.01.2020
REN-TV News Front
Russia, Poland
26.01.2020
Vesti Nedeli on Rossiya 24
Baltic states
27.01.2020
REN TV News Front
Russia, Poland
27.01.2020
REN TV
US, Georgia
25.01.2020
Itogi Nedeli @ 5 kanal [1:01:09 - 1:05:58]
China, US
27.01.2020
News Front
US
27.01.2020
REN TV
China, US
24.01.2020
Ukraina.ru
China
25.01.2020
Itogi Nedeli @ 5 kanal [54:40 -54:47; 57:31 - 57:44]
Russia
25.01.2020
RIA FAN, RIA Novosti
China, US
27.01.2020
China
25.01.2020
Itogi Nedeli @ 5 kanal [24:13 - 24:30]
Baltic states
24.01.2020
RIA FAN
Sweden
24.01.2020
60 Minutes @ Rossiya 1 [56:06 - 56:56]
Russia, Poland
24.01.2020
Vremya Pokhazhet @ Pervyi Kanal [28:40 - 29:47]
Ukraine, Baltic states, US, Poland
25.01.2020
South Front
Venezuela, Iran, UK, Russia, Ukraine, US, Georgia
22.01.2020
Sputnik Belarus @ Novosti Shiolkovogo Puti @ 08:00 - 08:28
US
22.01.2020
Sputnik Belarus @ Novosti Shiolkovogo Puti time 1:00 - 1:17, 2:25 - 3:18, 5:08 - 5:28
China, US
22.01.2020
RT (rt.com)
USSR, Russia, Germany, Poland
24.01.2020
Sputnik Mundo, vz.ru, zvezda.ru, tsargrad.tv, iz.ru, warandpeace.ru, nakanune.ru, REN TV
Ukraine
24.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Poland
20.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Poland
23.01.2020
Sputnik web Arabic, tvzvezda, tsargrad, akhbarelyom, burathanews, emeknes, bawabaa, elbayan-news, abudhabi-news, jpnews-sy, saadaonline, news-araby,sabq-sa, uk-arabicnews, miralnews, bbcnews1, albidda, masr20, arabyoum,
China, US
21.01.2020
Polnyi Kontakt @ Vesti FM [17:01 - 17:05]
Russia
20.01.2020
Tert.am
Armenia
18.01.2020
Iravunk.com
Armenia
05.01.2020
RT Arabic, New Hub
USSR, Russia, Germany, Poland
19.01.2020
Strategic Culture Foundation South Front
UK, US
14.01.2020
Sputnik.md (RO)
Romania
19.01.2020
Sputnik Arabic, Arabics, New Hub
USSR, Russia, Poland
17.01.2020
RT Arabic, Glgamesh, Face Iraq, Akhbar 24, Sahafah Net, Hawel al-Iraq
USSR, Poland
18.01.2020
RT Arabic, Shaqafna, Khabar Masr, Head Topics, Kachaf
USSR, Russia, Poland
17.01.2020
Sputnik.az
Russia, Estonia
19.01.2020
Evrozona @ Vesti FM time 00:22:15-00:22:57, Novoye-vremya, RT Russian, Regnum.ru, Vz.ru
Russia, Poland
19.01.2020
REN TV, Politonline, Zvezda
Ukraine
17.01.2020
Vremya pokazhet @ Pervyi kanal time 29:00 - 29:37
Ukraine
16.01.2020
Sputnik Armenia
Estonia
14.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Israel, Russia, Poland
17.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Poland
17.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Poland
14.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Czech Republic, UK, Russia, Germany, Poland, France
15.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Poland
14.01.2020
Sputnik.az
US, Germany
24.12.2019
RT France
USSR, Russia, Germany, Poland
09.01.2020
Fondsk.ru
Iran, Armenia, US
11.01.2020
Teleskop-by.org Rosbelsoyuz Grodnodaily
Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, Poland
13.01.2020
Moskovskyi Komsomolets, Lenta.ru, Svobodnaya Pressa, Politnavigator
Ukraine
20.12.2019
Vremya pokazhet @ Pervyi kanal time 28:02-28:20
Ukraine
10.01.2020
Sputnik Deutschland
Russia, Baltic states, US, Poland
24.12.2019
RT Deutsch, Sputnik Deutsch
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia
08.01.2020
Sputnik French, time 28:13 - 29:36
Russia, Ukraine, US
31.12.2019
Sputnik web Arabic, mbs, emeknes, masr20, saadaonline, abudhabi-news, elbayan-news, sabq-sa, albidda, uk-arabicnews, miralnews, akhbarten
Russia, Ukraine, Estonia
24.12.2019
RT web Arabic, damaseyes, shamra, arabipress, hamsnews, sahafah24, sahafahn, bbcnews1, emeknes, alkhafji, capbonnews, satelnews, .elbayan-news, saadaonline, abudhabi-news, albidda, sabq-sa, masr20, akhbarten, news-araby, sada-ar, miralnews, akhbarlibya, arabyoum
USSR, Russia, Germany, Poland
26.11.2019
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Ukraine, Poland