There is only one priority now: all national, European, and international resources are focused on containing the COVID-19 outbreak. The virus is spreading fast; hundreds of thousands are ill, thousands are dying. Lives depend on accurate and timely information. As Josep Borrell, head of the European External Action Service, said at a press conference earlier this week: “Disinformation is playing with people’s lives. Disinformation can kill.

This dangerous game has gone on for two months now. The first piece of disinformation we recorded on the coronavirus appeared in Russian state-funded Sputnik News on January 22nd. The narrative was in place from the beginning: the virus is man-made; a weapon created by NATO. With minor variations, we see the same claim repeated ad nauseam this week. The US constructed the virus; the Pentagon did it; the ruling elites… The purpose of this supposed fiendish scheme is to introduce world tyranny and secure American hegemony; third world countries – indeed anyone living south of the 40th parallel! – are the target of the Evil West.

 

Sowing Distrust

On the one hand, pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets claim that the outbreak is a hoax. On the other, they indulge apocalyptic scenarios, suggesting that due to the pandemic the Schengen system has collapsed, NATO will dissolve, the EU is paralysed, the Baltic states are doomed, there are no doctors in Lithuania, and Ukraine is in free fall. The entire project of “globalisation” is over! The coronavirus is the EU’s Chernobyl. But then the whiplash comes again: The virus is not dangerous at all. It can be cured with saline in four days, what’s the problem?

The problem is that the virus in fact cannot be “cured with saline”. Anyone following this advice risks not only their own health, but also the health – or worse, the lives – of other people.

Almost half of this week’s disinformation cases are devoted, in one way or another, to the COVID-19 outbreak. An overarching goal of this campaign is to sow distrust wherever possible: in the healthcare system (it’s controlled by Big Pharma to introduce mandatory vaccination!), national institutions (like in Sweden, where they are controlled by oligarchs), the EU (it’s just failing all in all), and the World Health Organisation (it’s an instrument of the government – what government, you ask? The shadow government!).

Meanwhile, the pro-Kremlin disinformation ecosystem parrots official claims about the situation in Russia being “under control” without going into much detail about this alleged achievement. The country has not fallen for the mistake known as “democracy”.

We Stand Together

The COVID-19 outbreak is a global challenge that needs to be addressed at all levels of society: we have a responsibility as individuals to make sure we don’t spread the virus and take care of each other. Municipalities, regions, and states all have obligations to secure medical services, take care of the weakest and most vulnerable among us, and maintain public order. Academia and the wider research community, the private sector, the EU, the UN, and other regional and international bodies all have their designated responsibilities and functions. In the end, the effectiveness of the global response boils down to trust and cooperation.

The Kremlin’s disinformation machine is seeking to undermine this essential solidarity at a time when disinformation can well and truly kill.

Stay up-to-date on EU measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak here. We stand together.

Other topics this week:

Stay healthy; don’t be deceived.


related disinfo cases

23.03.2020
Georgia
19.03.2020
RuBaltic.ru
Baltic states
16.03.2020
RuBaltic.ru
Baltic states, Lithuania
25.03.2020
US
24.03.2020
EU
22.03.2020
EU, Italy, Germany
23.03.2020
Ukraine
15.03.2020
Vesti Nedeli @ Rossiya 1
Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Germany, Poland
20.03.2020
EU, USSR
21.03.2020
US
24.03.2020
US
24.03.2020
Lithuania
24.03.2020
Sweden
22.03.2020
Itogi Nedeli @ NTV
Slovakia, UK, Ukraine, Germany, Sweden
18.03.2020
China, US
22.03.2020
RT Arabic
Russia, US
19.03.2020
Geopolitica.ru
China, Russia
18.03.2020
RT English
Russia, Poland
18.03.2020
Sputnik FR
France
22.03.2020
Kp.md
Moldova
18.03.2020
Sputnik Georgia
Germany
19.03.2020
Geopolitica.ru
US
22.03.2020
US
16.03.2020
Progressnews.ge
China, US
17.03.2020
Geopolitica.ru
US
18.03.2020
livenews.am
Italy, Iran, China, France
09.03.2020
NewsFront Deutsch
China, US
25.01.2020
NewsFront Deutsch
China, US
11.03.2020
Sputnik Deutschland
Russia, Ukraine
17.03.2020
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Poland
15.03.2020
Antikor.com.ua, Dialog.ua
Russia, Ukraine
20.03.2020
Sputnik Greece
Greece, Russia
19.03.2020
Iravunk.com
Armenia
19.03.2020
Vremya Pokazhet @Pervyi Kanal 42:37-43:20
India, China, Russia
16.03.2020
Rubaltic.ru
Italy, China, Latvia, Russia, Baltic states, Estonia, Lithuania, US
19.03.2019
Polnyy Kontakt @Vesti FM 14:50-15:45
Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland
19.03.2020
Rubaltic.ru
Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania
19.03.2019
News Front 4:25-5:25
China, US
20.03.2020
Ukraine
20.03.2020
Ukraine
16.03.2020
News Front 8:15-8:50
US, Georgia
20.03.2020
Ukraine
20.03.2020
Ukraine
12.03.2020
Sputnik News
US
12.03.2020
Sputnik Mundo
US
12.03.2020
Sputnik Mundo
Iran, China, US
17.03.2020
Pandemya.ru
Sweden
18.03.2020
Russia
14.03.2020
Czech Sputnik
China
18.03.2020
Verelq.am
Russia, Ukraine
14.03.2020
Sputnik Armenia
Norway, Russia
17.03.2020
Asd.news, News-front.info, Vk.com
Ukraine
17.03.2020
US
17.03.2020
Venezuela, Cuba, China, US
17.03.2020
China, Russia, US
17.03.2020
US
17.03.2020
Antifashist.com
Ukraine
16.03.2020
tsargrad.tv
China, US
16.03.2020
Vz.ru, Nahnews.org, Riafan.ru, Eadaily.com
Russia, Ukraine, The Netherlands
07.03.2020
Teleskop-by.org
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus
11.03.2020
Geoworld, Moscow Third World, Leonid Reshetnikov
US
12.03.2020
Sputnik News
Russia, The Netherlands
13.03.2020
Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden
10.03.2020
News Front Hungary
Australia, Ukraine, The Netherlands, Belgium
06.03.2020
Sputnik Italia
Russia, US
26.02.2020
Geopolitica.ru
US, Syria
03.03.2020
Georgia and World
Georgia
03.03.2020
El Zoom @ RT en Español time 04:20-05:00
US
04.03.2020
Sputnik Armenia
Russia, Lithuania
03.03.2020
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Belarus, Poland
01.03.2020
Sputnik Polska
Czech Republic
29.02.2020
Rossiya 24, time 00:25 - 00:38; 4:42 - 5:32
Russia
21.02.2020
Vreamya Pokhazhet @ pervyi Kanal Video 2:10:48 - 2:11:04
Russia, Ukraine
19.02.2020
RT TV AR @ رحلة في الذاكرة time 20:00 - 21:00; 21:38 - 21:50
Russia, Germany