With the European parliamentary elections approaching in less than a month’s time, we devote this week’s Disinfo Review to a brief summary of the ongoing disinformation trends surrounding the elections.

First, a reminder: Russia’s disinformation campaign against the EU – and by extension, its electoral process – has been underway for five years. It is not a new feature of the European political landscape. The Kremlin’s efforts to undermine public support for the EU, promote populist and Eurosceptic parties and candidates, increase polarisation and fragment European unity began in earnest in 2014, and have not relented since.

Russia is playing a long game in Europe: its objective is not merely to influence the outcome of any particular election, but rather to broadly subvert the efficacy of our democratic institutions, fuel widespread social fragmentation and mistrust, and ultimately paralyse our ability to act in our own self-interest and to defend our values.

The Snowball Effect

Using various tactics and disinformation narratives, the Kremlin has been sowing the seeds of this discontent now for nearly half a decade. It has habitually supported populist, anti-EU parties and candidates on both the far right and the far left, attacked the integrity of mainstream politics and media, and emphasised the illegitimacy and futility of elections in a system it alleges to be fundamentally corrupt. Through these efforts, the Kremlin has empowered and amplified other venal and anti-democratic actors to grow their influence in Europe, creating a snowball effect for its anti-Western agenda.

Due to this meticulous groundwork and the long-term integration (and normalisation) of anti-EU narratives in the public sphere, the Kremlin’s attempted manipulation of the EP elections looks far less sensational than other more infamous cases, such as #MacronGate or the 2016 US presidential election. But this doesn’t mean that no manipulation is taking place – on the contrary, the pro-Kremlin media continues to persistently attack the EU, its values, and its democratic mandate whilst simultaneously promoting Eurosceptic voices.

For example, Sputnik systematically features interviews with and updates of anti-EU parties as well as their candidates and positions. Sputnik Poland headlines anti-EU politicians, giving them space and promoting their narratives, while Sputnik Italy has given exclusive attention to the national-conservative Fratelli d’Italia (Brothers of Italy) party. Questioning the legitimacy of European elections on grounds of corruption and the EU’s alleged capture by special interests is another common trope aimed at discouraging voter turnout.

Meanwhile, parties that do not question the EU’s future existence or promote their country’s secession from the EU face relentless criticism. If their top candidates are well-known, like in France, they are often subject to personal attacks. Similarly, mainstream media are accused of being biased and intentionally underreporting on the successes of Eurosceptic parties. Fact-checking initiatives also face growing criticism for supposedly infringing on free speech and promoting a “globalist” agenda.

Of course, the EU itself is subjected to all manner of misrepresentations and false narratives, most of which are grounded in the narrative of “lost sovereignty” or threatened national identity. For example, the EU stands accused of undermining the sovereignty of its Member States: EU gun directives, forced migrant quotas, and Article 7 procedures are all just political tools designed to override national legislation. But that’s not all – the EU actually lacks true independence too, because it is just a vassal of the United States!

Finally, Europe’s progressive values are also consistently ridiculed and portrayed as an existential threat to the Christian moral tradition and conservative family values. The rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities, and LGBTQ groups are particularly popular targets for disinformation. Even the recent tragedy at Notre Dame was exploited for this purpose – proof, apparently, that “our European civilisation is dying.”

The best way to save it, the Kremlin would have us believe, is to give up on democracy entirely. How does that sound?

Crimea joined the Russian Federation after a referendum carried out in accordance with the rules of international law
Additional details: In March 2014 Crimea joined the Russian Federation after a referendum carried out in accordance with the rules of international law.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the annexation of Crimea stating that the inhabitants of the Ukrainian peninsula chose to join Russia through a legal referendum.

The so-called referendum held on the 16th of March 2014 has not been recognized by any international body.  On the 27th of February 2014, when it was announced, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula.

A year later even Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

Five years later Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, issued a statement on behalf of EU confirming the EU’s commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, stressing that EU does NOT recognize this referendum  and continues to condemn this violation of international law.

 

 

Keywords: illegal annexation, Manipulated elections/referendum, Referendum, Crimea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
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Ukraine is a Western tool of anti-Russian policy
Additional details: The West has been using Ukraine as a tool of its anti-Russian policy for a long time. In this respect, the US has achieved a number of successes. The Ukrainian state powers are under external control and its anti-Russian foreign policy course has been set. Furthermore, considerable losses for the Russian economy were inflicted through Western sanctions, difficulties with transit, and the disruption of technological ties between Russia and Ukraine, among other things. The US will do its best to maintain control over Kyiv to ensure the stability of the Ukrainian dictatorship and to preserve Ukraine's anti-Russian foreign policy.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sonar2050
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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about alleged anti-Russian projects in the West and Ukraine's alleged hyper-dependence on its Western partners. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Ukraine and Belarus are seen by the West as anti-Russia projects.

Ukraine's current foreign policy towards Russia is not a result of western anti-Russian strategy but of Russia's aggression against Ukraine, including its annexation of Crimea and the Russian military presence in Donbas.

Ukraine is a sovereign and independent state with a democratically-elected president and parliament. The EU and US support the democratic development of Ukraine in accordance with the UN Charter’s principles of non-interference into internal affairs and respect towards territorial integrity and political independence.

Relations between Ukraine and the EU are based, inter alia, on the Ukraine-EU Association Agreement, which recognises and reaffirms independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of borders.

NATO’s goal is to support a sovereign, independent, and stable Ukraine that is committed to democracy and rule of law. The alliance provides Ukraine with comprehensive support in the security and defence sector.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Conspiracy, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: West, Russia, Ukraine, US
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The Orthodox church is the main enemy of the zionist West
Additional details: According to Zbigniew Brzezinski, after the collapse of communism, the zionist West's main opponent became the Orthodox church. The Balkan wars in the late 1990s were a manifestation of this concept as they were clearly based on differences between civilisations.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sonar2050
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A conspiracy theory and recurring disinformation narrative about alleged anti-Orthodox strategy of the West, involving Zbigniew Brzezinski as a mastermind of western anti-Russian activities.

Zionism is the nationalist movement of the Jewish people that supports the re-establishment of a Jewish homeland in the territory defined as the historic land of Israel. The claims about the zionised West are ungrounded.

See earlier cases about the West using the Church in hybrid war against Russia and about the US pushing the Belarusian authorities to split from the Russian Orthodox Church.

Keywords: Western Balkans, Orthodox Church, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Conspiracy
Countries: West, Russia, The West
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Ukrainian wealthiest people are controlled by the US and Israel
Additional details: Over 80% of the wealthiest people listed in top 200 richest Ukrainians do not represent the Orthodox civilisation. Their activities are coordinated from the US and Israel, which aim at limiting the scope of confrontation among Ukrainian oligarchic clans and consolidating them against Russia.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sonar2050
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A conspiracy theory and recurring disinformation narratives about West's anti-Russian campaign and Ukraine under foreign control.

See an earlier disinformation case alleging US influence over Volodymyr Zelensky through Israel.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Conspiracy, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: West, Israel, Russia, Ukraine, US
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The EU Parliament is a place of corruption, voting in the elections is worthless
Additional details:
Elections are a tool used to hide mistrust of political authorities and confidence in their own strength. Parliaments are corrupt, be it through the contributions by lobbyists or through the misguided belief that one can actually make a difference by voting in parliamentary elections. This self-deception is the cheapest corruption.


Elections to the European Parliament have been held since 1979. The Parliament's chief purpose has always been the stabilization of financial rule, the best example of which is the Euro-coup. If you cast a vote in the EU Parliament elections, you will never get it again.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Deutsch
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This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative questioning the EU institutions' legitimacy and powers and seeking to discourage voter turnout in elections.

The European Parliament is the EU's only directly-elected institution. Since 1979, it has been elected by EU voters every 5 years. The last elections were in May 2014, and the next ones are in May 2019.

The European Parliament is one of the EU's two law-making bodies.  It has constitutional-type and ratification powers. It passes EU laws, together with the Council of the EU, based on European Commission proposals.  It has budgetary powers, scrutiny over the executive, hears citizens’ petitions, and appoints the European Ombudsman. A detailed overview of the European Parliament’s role in the European decision-making process can be consulted here.

Keywords: Euro-scepticism, EU elections 2019, European Parliament, Corruption
Countries: Europe, EU
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Kerch confrontation was part of Poroshenko's election campaign to receive more anti-Russian sanctions from the West
Additional details: In November 2018, Petro Poroshenko, who was clearly on the election campaign trail, tried to create a scandal to appeal again to the West and show how Russia is treating him and that new sanctions are needed.

The [Ukrainian] warships secretly tried to sneak through the Kerch Strait by entering [Russian] territorial waters, the part that was Russia's territorial waters before the referendum in Crimea.
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Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BBCUusoG8AY
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
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No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on Ukraine and Azov Sea.

On November 25 border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters.

However, a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

The construction of the Kerch Bridge took place without Ukraine's consent and constitutes a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.  It has led, in parallel with the militarisation of the Azov Sea, to tougher controls on naval traffic in the strait. The European Union stated that it expects Russia to stop the inspections.

For further reporting see the BellingcatDFRLab and Polygraph.

Keywords: Azov sea, Kerch, The West, Crimea
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
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The fire at the Notre Dame was a satanic ritual
Additional details: The fire of Notre Dame was the work of the Luciferian New World Order (NWO) as an intended attack on Christiandom. The proof is the series of profanations and destruction of churches in Europe in the last years, 1.063 of them only in France in 2018: on average, 3 attacks per day. Nobody said these were accidents, but it is hardly a surprise that authorities claim now that the fire in Notre Dame was accidental because this is how the NWO operates. The Islamic State launched a campaign calling to attack in Easter; some witnesses affirmed to have heard explosions in the temple before it started burning; president Macron – a former employee of the Rothschilds - suspended an important speech intended to address the protests of the “yellow vests” that have been cornering his government for months; and fire fighting airplanes were not used despite the advice of US president Donald Trump.

It is impossible, in the era of technology, that a fire could break out by accident, and a large number of witnesses heard an explosion at the church as it started to burn. The firefighters did not use hydroplanes to put out the fire. President Macron, an employee of the Rotschilds, cancelled an important speech. And the day of the fire (April 15, 2019): 4+1+5+2+0+1+9 equals 22, a multiple of 11 - a number present in most mega-attacks. The timing coincides with the beginning of the Celtic month of the willows; the month of Witches, which culminates with the heathen Walpurgis Night on the 30 April - the eve of the foundation of the Illuminati Sect.

The fire of Notre Dame has an obvious parallel to 9/11, and not only because of the similarity between its architecture of two towers together, but also with the number 11, so important to occult symbolism. The destruction of the Twin Towers was the assault on an economic symbol, which was followed a few years later by a devastating economic crisis. It is not difficult to imagine what the attack on the Christian symbol of Notre Dame, the most famous cathedral in the world, means: an intensification of the persecution of Christianity that we are already suffering in the West. The fire of Notre Dame is the 9/11 of Christianity.

The signs are obvious - this is work of the Satanic New World Order. We are at the gates of a total Armageddon. The New World Order will stage a new Catholic holocaust, which is overwhelmingly prophesied in countless stories - including the Protestant - on the final Apocalypse, where we will be judged.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Katehon.com
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This is a mixture of several conspiracy theories. It adheres to a known narrative that some kind of superior government led by powerful financial powers are attacking Christianity and Western civilization, of which there is absolutely no proof. Some of the elements have also appeared in previous disinformation pieces about Notre Dame in Russian-linked media.Other conspiracies include aliens, intelligence services, Free Masons and Ukrainian President-Elect Volodymyr Zelenskyi. More on pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets' use of conspiracy theories here.

According to the official investigation of the Notre Dame fire, most likely an accident occurred due to renovation works activity, which started more then one year ago at Notre-Dame. In particular, according to firemen, the fire started in the area under renovation. The fire began from a spire which was encircled in scaffolding. Having collapsed in front of the face of journalists (the photo and video footage of the spire falling became very famous), the spire threw fire on all cathedral.

The provided figure of 1,063 “profanations” is accurate, though misleading: it refers to “anti-Christian acts” in general, when actually only 875 of them were acts of vandalism or actions against churches, according to the Ministry of Interior of France. Of those, the big majority - around 700 - were graffiti, and only one hundred included violent acts. Actions such as property thefts in churches may also be included in the statistics, though they may be the work of common criminals.

Keywords: Notre Dame, Conspiracy
Countries: France
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The debates between Zelenskiy and Poroshenko didn’t raise much interest among Ukrainian voters
Additional details: Not many people were in the stadium, so the debates between Zelenskiy and Poroshenko evidently didn’t raise much interest among Ukrainian voters.

Kyiv’s Olympic stadium can host around 70,000 people, but only around 15,000-20,000 came to watch the debates.

For almost 4 million people living in Kyiv, the debates did not attract interest, despite the extensive media hysteria.
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Disinforming outlet(s): vesti.ru/
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According to the survey of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), the debates between presidential candidates Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Petro Poroshenko were watched or listened to by 80% of Ukrainians in some form or another.

The majority, 58% of respondents, watched the broadcast on television, while 20% watched or listened to the broadcast online, and 1.5% on the radio. Only 20% of respondents did not watch the broadcast.

Google Trends shows that on 14 April 2019, the second most-searched topic in Google Ukrainian was "Debates 14th of April", with more than 200k searches (second only to “Game of Thrones” in first place).

On April 19, when the debates took place, the five top-searched topics in Google Ukrainian were all about politics. The topic of the debates again featured in the top 5 on that day.

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, Elections
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
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The Minsk Agreements are violated because of the Ukrainian strategy to join the EU and NATO
Additional details: The Minsk Agreements are violated as Ukraine has unilaterally declared, and constitutionally approved, a strategy to join the European Union and NATO without consulting the Donbas republic.
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Link to the disinformation: youtu.be/BEgm2H7K-oc?t=1861
Disinforming outlet(s): Polnyi kontakt @ Vesti FM time: 31:01
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No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Minsk Agreements.

The Protocol on the results of consultations of the Trilateral Contact Group (Minsk Protocol) is an agreement to halt the war in the Donbas region of Ukraine.  It was signed by representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and so-called "the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR)" and "the Luhansk People's Republic (LPR)" on 5 September 2014.

The text of the agreement does not stipulate any recognition of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk "People's Republics" or any need to consult with them about national issues.

 

Keywords: DNR, LNR, Minsk agreements
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
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The European Union is obliged to participate in US wars
Additional details: Washington castrated the European Union at its birth by imposing a clause to be inserted in the Treaty of Maastricht – the "suzerainty" of NATO. The EU has a vassal status in relation to the United States. We should remember the total support offered by the European Union to all of the Pentagon’s adventures, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. In all these cases, without exception, the EU marched along its suzerain, NATO.

The European Union, which was imagined at a time when the world was divided into two irreconcilable blocs, is today completely unadapted. If they want to avoid being dragged by the United States into conflicts which are not their own, its members will have to free themselves from the European treaties and the integrated command of NATO.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Oriental Review
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Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the United States, dictating EU and member state policies. Similar examples can be found here and here.

 

Keywords: Military, Sovereignty, NATO
Countries: United States, EU
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Sweden turns resort island into a military shooting range, scaring away the tourists
Additional details: Sweden has decided that the Island of Gotland has a strategic function in a war with Russia - who has no plans on going to war. Now the roaring from cannons never quiet over the idyllic province and the Swedish military are scaring away the tourists. The people of Gotland are disappointed with the return of the noisy military units.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Lithuania
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Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation on Western military, encircling Russia. Similar cases here and here. Unfounded claims on discontent on Gotland with the military presence on the island and on the military impeding tourism.

Sweden established a military unit on the island of Gotland in 2018, consisting of a few hundred conscripts.

Keywords: Military, Encircling Russia
Countries: Russia, Lithuania, Sweden
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Russia's collapse is an aim of Western foreign policy
Additional details: After the  collapse of the USSR, Western policy towards Russia has had a number of objectives including:

  • Slowing down Russian economic growth and the modernisation of its defense industry;

  • Creating instability around Russia and taking control of neighbouring countries' foreign policies;

  • Creating preconditions for managed chaos and Russia's collapse in order to get access to Russia's natural resources.

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Disinforming outlet(s): Sonar2050
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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Western Russophobia and alleged anti-Russian projects in the West, as well as about Western attempts to encircle Russia.

See earlier conspiracies about Western "Great Turan" doctrine aimed at creating a ring of unfriendly states along Russia's southern border and a similar anti-Russian plan for an "Anaconda ring". See also an earlier case about an alleged Western anti-family strategy with the ultimate aim of obtaining access to Russian natural resources.

Keywords: Encircling Russia, Anti-Russian, Conspiracy
Countries: West, Russia
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Ukrainian authorities are controlled by Washington and each presidential candidate coordinates with the US
Additional details: In Ukraine, each presidential candidate coordinates his or her actions either with an American ambassador or with the US State Department directly. As a result, Washington does not even need to interfere in the local monkey business. However, at some point, the US may decide that the local games went too far and start threatening US strategic interests. In this case, Ukrainian authorities will begin receiving direct orders from Washington.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
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This message contains recurring disinformation narratives about Western meddling in Ukraine's elections through US control over presidential candidates and about Ukraine as a state under foreign control.

Whereas disinformation statements about Western, US and EU control over Ukraine are most frequent, at times Israel and individual EU member states such as Germany are claimed to be the controlling parties.

Keywords: election meddling, Conspiracy, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Ukraine, US
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Turkey may store S-400 missiles in Azerbaijan
Additional details: Turkey may temporarily store Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems in Azerbaijan.

 
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Disinforming outlet(s): Azvision Azerbaijan
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This article suggests that in order to escape sanctions threatened by the US if it continues with its purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, Turkey is considering temporarily storing them in Azerbaijan. In fact, Turkey hasn’t put forward a compromise to defuse tensions with the U.S. over its plans to buy the advanced missile-defense system from Russia by stationing it in a third country, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said late Tuesday. Moreover, discussions with NATO and the US to find a solution have not yet taken place, although Turkey is open. “Other than that, no middle-way formula has appeared on the agenda or was considered, but such hearsay is still floated in Ankara and beyond,” Cavusoglu said.

Keywords: Missile defence system
Countries: Turkey
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Georgia bought US Javelin missiles, Ukraine received them as a gift
Additional details: While Georgia had to buy FGM-148 Javelin man-portable fire-and-forget anti-tank missiles from the United States, Ukraine received them as a present.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Dghis Bolos @ Obieqtivi (obieqtivi.net), time 11:50
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The US Department of State decided to approve the sale of Javelin missiles and command launch to Ukraine on 1 March 2018. In April, delivery of the missiles to Ukraine was confirmed. Ukraine purchased 210 missiles and 37 launchers for $47 million.

Georgia purchased 410 missiles, 72 launchers, 10 basic skills trainers, and 70 simulated round for $75 million.

 

Keywords: Military, Missile defence system, Conspiracy
Countries: United States, Ukraine, Georgia
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Latvia instigates linguistic genocide against Russian-speaking citizens
Additional details: What is happening in Latvia with the Russian language is a manifestation of linguistic genocide against Russian-speaking citizens, more than 40% of the country.
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Link to the disinformation: regnum.ru/news/polit/2618003.html
Disinforming outlet(s): Regnum
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Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the discrimination of Russian speakers.

According to the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, 25,2% of residents of Latvia are ethnic Russians, not 40% as claimed by the Russian deputy making this statement.

At the same time, the Constitutional Court of Latvia stated that Amendments to the Education Law that stipulate transition to Latvian as the sole instruction language in schools are in line with the Constitution.

In its decision, the Constitutional Court indicated that the convention on the protection of national minorities said that any person has the right to learn their native language.  But to what extent this will be done, the convention leaves the countries the right to decide for themselves - which was done in Latvia.  Separately, the court decision notes that the right to learn the native language should not interfere with the development of the state language, and it is Latvian in Latvia.

See other examples of pro-Kremlin narratives on the matter here and here.

Keywords: Russian language, Genocide
Countries: Latvia, Russia
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Europe began a mass deportation of Georgians
Additional details: Europe began a mass deportation of Georgians. The deportation of Georgian citizens from the European Union member states is analogous to the mass deportation of 2,380 Georgian citizens from Russia from late-September 2006 to late-January 2007.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Georgia and the World, Timenews.ge, Videa.ge, Ontime.ge, Websport.ge
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This is the part of disinformation narrative saying that the EU obliging Georgia to receive migrants, while Georgian citizens are deported from the European countries. The aim was also to equalize politically motivated deportation of Georgian citizens from Russia and deportation from the EU - but the latter is based on the violations of certain norms.

According to data from the official Georgian Ministry of Internal Affairs, a total of 624 Georgian citizens were deported from the EU in the period September 2018-February 2019. The largest number of Georgians in that period was deported from Turkey (755 persons) and Israel (387 persons).

Deportations of Georgian citizens from the EU are regulated by the visa liberalisation agreements as well as EU and national laws.

As for the mass deportation of ethnic Georgians from Russia in 2006-2007, according to the findings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), orders were issued for 4,634 ethnic Georgians, of whom 2,380 persons were deported, while the rest had urgently left the country. During mass roundups and deportation, four Georgian citizens had died.

In a case addressing this situation, on 31 January 2019, the Grand Chamber of the ECHR ruled that in the Autumn of 2006 the Russian authorities violated the prohibition of the collective expulsion of aliens and of inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as of the right to liberty and security and the right to an effective remedy.

Further debunking by MythDetector.

Keywords: migration, European values, Visa liberalisation, Europe
Countries: EU, Georgia
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Young people organised a dance party at Notre Dame after the fire
Additional details: Young people organised a dance party at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris after the fire.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Newposts.cc
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Video footage which was described as a youth party at Notre Dame was filmed at an electronic music festival organised at the St. Vincent Church in Metz, France, on 27 March 2016. The video, filmed by Irenee Sutter, had 200,000 views within 72 hours.

As for Notre Dame, entry was banned after the fire on 15 April 2019. ABC News quotes French authorities as saying that the cathedral might open for visitors as late as in three years’ time.

The Notre Dame fire caused a flurry of disinformation reports spanning a range of anti-Western and anti-European narratives, from Islamisation to moral decay in Europe.

 

 

Keywords: Notre Dame, European values, Europe
Countries: France
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EU laws threaten sovereignty of the Member States
Additional details: The EU is a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of European nation states. EU gun directives, forced migrant quotas or Article 7 procedures are used as a political tool to try to alter and change national legislation.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik News
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The report advances a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative painting the EU as a disunited and disintegrating bloc, overseen by a central bureaucracy bringing harm to the sovereignty of member states.

Article 7 of the Treaty of the European Union may not be invoked unilaterally by any one state or non-elected EU institution. Instead, the decision on its triggering must follow a "reasoned proposal by one third of the Member States, by the European Parliament or by the European Commission," obtain the approval of MEPs, and pass a four-fifth majority in the Council of the EU (p. 19). It is not a political tool allowing Brussels to amend national legislation on an ad hoc basis, but a complex and lengthy procedure followed only in cases whereby a member state-level law poses a clear risk of a serious breach of fundamental EU values, listed in Article 2 (p. 17).

Likewise, the amendments to the 1991 Firearms Directive -- passed with unanimous support of EU member states -- were preceded by thorough policy debates among member states and members of the European Parliament. The process was accompanied throughout by fact sheets, studies, and press releases regarding its progress. The final version of the amendments was in fact the result of a compromise between the law makers.

The EU policy governing the migration flows is based on relevant Treaty articles, whereas secondary provisions addressing the types, volumes, and integration of non-EU migrants are implemented with the consent of the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.

Keywords: Euro-scepticism, legislation, European Parliament, European Commission, Brussels, EU disintegration, European values, Sovereignty, Migration crisis
Countries: EU
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Western Ukrainian cities can join the EU by themselves
Additional details: Western Ukrainian cities can join the EU by themselves.

Ukrainian nationalists should rally outside of Kiev, in cities like Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk, as some Western Ukrainian cities are  themselves more likely to join the EU, without the rest of Ukraine.
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Disinforming outlet(s): tvzvezda.ru/
dnr-hotline.ru/
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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine's disintegration.

The European Union is made up of Member States. Only countries can join the EU, not cities.

The EU strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. The EU continues to extend sanctions against Russia for its violations of Ukraine's territorial integrity.

Read similar debunks about Ukraine and it's "disintegration" here and here.

 

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, Europe
Countries: Europe, Russia, Ukraine
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Ukrainian police reported a sharp increase in the number of violations in the presidential elections
Additional details: The National Police of Ukraine reported a sharp increase in the number of violations in the second round of presidential elections compared to the same period in the first round.

 
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Link to the disinformation: ukraina.ru/news/20190421/1023392624.html
Disinforming outlet(s): Ukraina.ru
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Manipulative exaggeration and fake headline.

The official statement by Ukraine's Ministry of Internal Affairs at 14:00 on April 21 claimed that they received 562 reports of election irregularities, while during the first round of the presidential elections, at the exact time (14:00), they received 522 reports of election irregularities. Therefore, there is no evidence to support a sharp increase of violations compared to the first round.

In general, the National Police of Ukraine received almost 2500 reports of violations during the first round.

At 19:00 on April 21, there were 1167 reports of violations, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs. 

According to international observers, the Ukrainian presidential election was the cleanest in the country's history.

Read similar disinformation cases on Ukraine's elections here and here.

Keywords: Ukraine, Elections
Countries: Ukraine
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NATO itself rejected the positive agenda in its relations with Russia
Additional details: NATO itself rejected the positive agenda in its relations with Russia. It [the agenda] does not exist. And there are no signs that NATO knows how to resolve this deadlock.

In recent years Russia has faced unprecedented NATO activity near its borders. NATO calls it “the prevention of Russian aggression”.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
Reported by:
Disproof note:

A recurring narrative on NATO enlargement and NATO-Russian relations, also seeking to portray NATO as having belligerent agenda against Russia.

NATO reached out to Russia with a series of partnership initiatives, culminating in the foundation of the NATO-Russia Council in 2002.  No other country outside the alliance has such a privileged relationship with NATO.

As stated by NATO heads of state and government at the Warsaw Summit in July 2016, "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia.  But we cannot and will not compromise on the principles on which our Alliance and security in Europe and North America rest".

Keywords: Anti-Russian, NATO
Countries: Russia
More
French journalist: "Zelenskiy impresses Macron"
Additional details: A French journalist says that during his trip to Paris, Volodomyr Zelenskiy, the frontrunner in Ukraine's presidential race, impressed Emmanuel Macron, pointing out similarities between the two men.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): https://strana.ua/
https://elise.com.ua/
http://www.sovross.ru/
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a false quote, the words of the "French journalist" are fabricated.

On April 12th, Ukrainian comedian and presidential candidate Volodymyr Zelensky and French president Emmanuel Macron indeed met in Paris.

But Elise.com.ua falsely attributes this quote to French journalist Stephane Siohan, who was in fact first quoted by the Ukrainian website Strana.ua. Stephane Siohan works for Le Figaro, Le Temps and Le Soir in Kyiv. On his Facebook page, he mentions that he never spoke to Strana.ua.

“No, I never gave an interview on Strana.ua website about Zelensky. If you read a quote with my name, then this is a fake. I have never talked to Strana.ua and usually do not give interviews about the elections I work on. This is a principle. Especially in Ukraine”.

Strana.ua used Siohan's name and later changed it to “Lucas Talarn”. Google search still shows the previous version of the article on Strana.ua. Other websites still have the same quote with Stephane's name. Stephane told EUvsDisinfo:

“There are many sites which relay the info that I have given an interview to Strana.ua, but strangely Strana publishes an article with the name of an unknown journalist who doesn’t work in Ukraine.”

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron, Elections
Countries: Russia, Ukraine, France
More
With Zelenskiy as president, governance by terrorism will continue in Ukraine
Additional details: After the coup in Ukraine in 2014, a regime of terror was established. Given the radical political preferences of the Ukrainian population, Volodymyr Zelenskiy does not need to initiate any substantial changes. Hence, the system of governance by terrorism will continue in Ukraine.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about an alleged Western-backed coup d'etat in Ukraine in 2014.

In reality, the spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s violent dispersal of peaceful student protests against Yanukovych's sudden decision to withdraw from the Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013.

See earlier cases claiming the Ukrainian authorities are terrorists here and here.

 

 

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Terrorism, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Ukraine
More
Ukrainian oligarchs will divide Ukraine into principalities
Additional details: Ukrainian oligarchs are likely to attempt to divide Ukraine into principalities where they will enjoy absolute power.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation about Ukraine's imminent disintegration and corruption. Despite the advantaged positions that some oligarchs enjoy in Ukraine, there is no grounding to support the claim that the country will disintegrate into "oligarchic principalities", as alleged in the case above.

For example, refer to our past news analysis, Ukraine Under Information Fire, to see other Ukraine-related disinformation narratives and messages.

Keywords: Oligarchs, Ukrainian disintegration, Conspiracy
Countries: Ukraine
More
Kurt Volker is funded by Poroshenko
Additional details: US special envoy to the Ukraine, Kurt Volker, is drawing a salary from John McCain's think tank, which is funded by George Soros and a DC lobbying firm (BGR) working for Ukrainian President, Petro Poroshenko.

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Russia Today (RT)
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The article advances the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative painting Ukraine as a failing vassal state, governed by US-sponsored figureheads since the 2013-14 "coup."

In its opening sentence alone, it manages to implicate Kurt Volker, John McCain, George Soros, Washington lobbyists, and Ukrainian President Poroshenko -- "among others" -- in a grand conspiracy which has aimed to demonise and isolate Russia since its annexation of Crimea in March 2014, and emphasise the corrupt nature of Kyiv's relationship with Washington.

The BGR has in the past rendered lobbying services to the National Reforms Council of Ukraine (p. 242) -- not to President Poroshenko, as the story falsely claims -- which is a collegiate, advisory body formally attached to the presidential administration. The lobbying firm has donated funds to the McCain Institute, which in turn pays a salary to Kurt Volker. George Soros does not figure in the Poroshenko-Volker equation.

 

Keywords: Kurt Volker, US presence in Europe, War in Ukraine, Russophobia, Petro Poroshenko, Ukrainian statehood, George Soros, John McCain
Countries: Ukraine, US
More
Kyiv will destroy the whole Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine
Additional details: The Ukrainian government intends to destroy the whole Russian-speaking population of Donetsk and Luhansk regions after the liberation of the territory and its return to Ukraine. The economic recovery and development of Donbas does not interest the Ukrainian authorities, so they intend to leave only burned land in this region. People who collaborated with the authorities of the "LDNR" militants are also subject to destruction.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: ukraina.ru/news/20190420/1023375278.html
Disinforming outlet(s): Ukraina.ru
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. One of the multiple pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives around the war in Eastern Ukraine.

The Minsk agreements, which consist of 13 points, emphasise that after the liberation of the Ukrainian territories, special attention will be paid to the restoration of socio-economic ties. The document also says that the parties guarantee pardon and amnesty, the release of all hostages and illegally detained persons.

The Ukrainian law on the peculiarities of state policy in the occupied Donbas, which was adopted in 2018, also states that Kyiv guarantees, after the liberation of the occupied territories, to restore the constitutional order, protect the rights, freedoms and legitimate interests of citizens.

Moreover, at the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine in 2014, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted a special law on amnesty for residents of the occupied Donbas, who collaborated with the occupation authorities. The document guarantees forgiveness to all people who have not committed war crimes - the amnesty will not include the terrorists involved in shooting down the Malaysian Boeing, the murderers and rapists.

Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, Russian language, Donbas
Countries: Ukraine
More
White Helmets admit staging chemical attacks in Syria
Additional details: At least 40 members of the White Helmets, the notorious Western group posing as volunteer rescue workers, admitted that they had taken part in the staging of chemical attacks in Syria, according to a new study conducted by the Foundation for the Study of Democracy and unveiled at the UN. The fake attacks were designed to lay the blame on -- and provoke armed retaliation against -- the Syrian government.

The study also casts considerable doubt on the accuracy of OPCW reports concerning the alleged chemical attack in Douma, noting that the fact-finding mission based its conclusions on "falsified facts and untrustworthy or unidentified sources".
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik News
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This report advances recurring pro-Kremlin narratives which, respectively, paint the White Helmets as terrorists and/or war criminals; give the lie to OPCW findings which challenge the rhetoric of Moscow or its allies; deny the occurrence of the April 2018 chemical attack in Douma.

The "study" in question is a PowerPoint presentation created by the Foundation for the Study of Democracy, which the report presents as an independent organization. The Foundation is in fact a Russia-based GONGO (government-organized NGO) (p.28) led by Maksim Grigoriev and forms part of the so-called Civic Chamber, established in 2005 to simulate state engagement with civil society.

Although it charges the OPCW with the "juggling of facts" and using "deceitful sources" (p. 1), the study is itself unreferenced and relies overwhelmingly on hearsay and "witness interviews" which may well have not taken place. Grigoriev's previous presentation before the UN, which used the same dubious methodology to charge the White Helmets with organ trafficking, falsely claimed that all cited interviews had been videotaped and published (p. 1), whereas the most recent omits such assurances altogether.

See some of other cases around the OPCW/Douma conspiracy here, here, here, and here.

The OPCW stated in its report that in Douma in April 2018 chlorine was used. OPCW regretted that it had no access to the dead bodies, which were burnt.

Background: 

The methodological considerations, activities and timeline are an integral part OPCW's final report on Douma. It does not leave any doubts on the detection of chlorine on Douma: "based on the levels of chlorinated organic derivatives, detected in several environmental samples gathered at the sites of alleged use of toxic chemicals, which are not naturally present in the environment, the FFM concludes that the objects from which the samples were taken at both locations had been in contact with one or more substances containing reactive chlorine" (page 3 of the report).

Recurrent conspiracy narrative on staged chemical attacks in Syria and White Helmets acting as terrorists and also carrying out human organ traffics. The disinformation outlets do not specify what "40 White helmets members" told themselves how they faked chemical evidence, to the Russian investigative team, or how their identity was proven by the investigators. On the website of the Russian "Foundation of the Researches of Issues of Democracy", to which the disinformation outlets refer, the original study is not available.

The tweet of BBC's producer Riam Dalati, mentioned in the claim, doesn't deny the chemical attack; "The producer was expressing his personal opinions about some of the video footage that emerged after the attack but has not claimed that the attack did not happen", the BBC spokesperson told Sputnik.

 

Keywords: United Nations, false flag, Douma, White Helmets, Chemical weapons/attack, Syrian War
Countries: Syria
More
US is shifting the burden of Ukraine's economic problems on to the EU
Additional details: As a result of developments in Ukraine, the US expanded its political and military presence in Europe. One of the main US priorities is to ensure that key EU member states keep anti-Russian sanctions and to shift the burden of Ukraine's social and economic problems on to the EU.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sonar2050
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This message is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about abandoned Ukraine and the EU under the control of the US.

EU Member States make sovereign decisions about their own security and policies. The US is an important ally to the EU but its policy is independent. For more information, see the speech by Federica Mogherini, EU's High Representative for Foreig Affairs and Security Policy.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the EU is controlled by the US politically, militarily and economically and Germany's security bodies are controlled by the US.

Keywords: Anti-Russian, Abandoned Ukraine, US presence in Europe, Conspiracy
Countries: Russia, Ukraine, EU, US
More
US did not allow Petro Poroshenko to win as he began leading the US into a war with Russia
Additional details: All Ukrainian politicians are dependent on Washington because they save their money in Western bank accounts that Washington has influence on. Petro Poroshenko was an ideal Ukrainian presidential candidate for the US until his military provocation in the Kerch Strait. He was a guarantee for the US that Ukraine could not make any agreements with Vladimir Putin because the latter was not in position to negotiate with Poroshenko. However, on his anti-Russia path, Poroshenko tried so hard that he began leading the US to direct military confrontation with Russia. American politicians cannot afford to cross this red line and they will kill anyone who attempts to push them into war with Russia. Poroshenko's arranged military provocation in the Kerch Strait shaped his political future.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sonar2050
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Conspiracy and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about US meddling in Ukraine's elections, western control over Ukraine, and concerning the conflict in Kerch Strait.

Ukraine is a sovereign state. The EU and US do not control Ukraine. A  bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty are considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine.

The construction of the Kerch Bridge took place without Ukraine's consent and constitutes a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It has led, in parallel with the militarisation of the Azov Sea, to tougher controls on naval traffic in the strait. The European Union stated that it expects Russia to stop the inspections.
See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Kerch Strait incident was a rehearsal for a larger provocation to drag Russia into war, Ukraine is under external control, and that US Ambassador controls Ukraine's elections.
Keywords: Kerch, Anti-Russian, Petro Poroshenko, Conspiracy
Countries: Russia, Ukraine, US
More
Europe shows double standards in criticism of Russian and Ukrainian elections
Additional details: European circles consider that if Putin wins in Russia with such a [high] score, it is a threat to democracy, that it is an authoritarian regime, that there is a falsification in vote counting. But when a candidate wins with such a score in a country that matches the interests of the United States and Europe, everyone finds it normal. Macron has invented an explanation of style: do not compare, the system in your state is different. Everything is transparent. Everything is perfect. It's two weights, two measures.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: youtu.be/N8GfeGj8OUg
Disinforming outlet(s): Russia Today France
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The best known intergovernmental election observations body, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), has several criteria of transparency of the elections. The election day and the final result is only one of them. For example, the equal access to the media is monitored by the long-term observation mission. According to these criteria, in its preliminary findings OSCE resumes: "The 2019 presidential election in Ukraine was competitive and held with respect for fundamental freedoms. The orderly transfer of power should offer the opportunity for strengthening democratic institutions and their accountability, although the campaign for both rounds lacked genuine discussion of issues of public concern".

As for Russia, OSCE concluded that “the 18 March 2018 presidential election took place in an overly controlled legal and political environment marked by continued pressure on critical voices, while the CEC administered the election efficiently and openly".

No evidence given that Ukraine "matches the American and European interest". It is a recurring disinformation narrative - see previous examples here, here, here and here.

 

 

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Manipulated elections/referendum, Vladimir Putin, Elections
Countries: United States, Europe, Russia, Ukraine
More
New investigation confirms that Douma's chemical attack's evidence was staged
Additional details: Douma residents in Syria and dozens of White Helmets confirmed the false nature of the chemical attack of 7 April 2018.  OPCW presented dubious witnesses, the autopsy of the bodies of victims of an alleged chemical attack was not made, the names of specialists cited were not given, they failed or identify the dead , nor to estimate the number of dead persons. 40 members of the White Helmets explained how they falsified the scenes for Center of the Studying of Democracy problems.


This is not the first time that elements concerning special effects videos of chemical attacks in Syria appear. Thus, on February 13, the BBC's producer in charge of Syria, Riam Dalati, said that footage shot in a hospital after the April 7, 2018 chemical attack in Douma was staged.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik French, TASS
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given.

The "study" making these allegations is a PowerPoint presentation created by the Foundation for the Study of Democracy, which the report presents as an independent organization. The Foundation is in fact a Russia-based GONGO (government-organized NGO) (p.28) and forms part of the so-called Civic Chamber, established in 2005 to simulate state engagement with civil society.

Although it charges the OPCW with the "juggling of facts" and using "deceitful sources" (p. 1), the study is itself unreferenced and relies overwhelmingly on hearsay and "witness interviews" which may well have not taken place. Grigoriev's previous presentation before the UN, which used the same dubious methodology to charge the White Helmets with organ trafficking, falsely claimed that all cited interviews had been videotaped and published (p. 1), whereas the most recent omits such assurances altogether.

OPCW stated in its report that in Douma in April 2018 chlorine was used. OPCW regretted that it had no access to the dead bodies, which were burnt.

Background: 

The methodological considerations, activities and timeline are an integral part OPCW's final report on Douma. It does not leave any doubts on the detection of chlorine on Douma: "based on the levels of chlorinated organic derivatives, detected in several environmental samples gathered at the sites of alleged use of toxic chemicals, which are not naturally present in the environment, the FFM concludes that the objects from which the samples were taken at both locations had been in contact with one or more substances containing reactive chlorine" (page 3 of the report).

Recurrent conspiracy narrative on staged chemical attacks in Syria and White Helmets acting as terrorists and also carrying out human organ traffics. The disinformation outlets do not specify what "40 White helmets members" told themselves how they faked chemical evidence, to the Russian investigative team, or how their identity was proven by the investigators. On the website of the Russian "Foundation of the Researches of Issues of Democracy", to which the disinformation outlets refer, the original study is not available.

The tweet of BBC's producer Riam Dalati, mentioned in the claim, doesn't deny the chemical attack; "The producer was expressing his personal opinions about some of the video footage that emerged after the attack but has not claimed that the attack did not happen", the BBC spokesperson told Sputnik.

 

Keywords: Douma, White Helmets, Chemical weapons/attack
Countries: Russia, Syria
More
Euromaidan was a coup d’etat of the Right Sector and Ukrainian Nazis, supported by the CIA and Poland
Additional details: The 2014 uprising in Ukraine known as Euromaidan was a coup d’etat conducted by the Right Sector (Pravyi Sektor) and followers of Nazi Stepan Bandera, sponsored by the CIA and the Polish government.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that claims Euromaidan was a coup, organized by Nazis and foreign states.

The protest movement  known as Euromaidan, which lasted from the end of November 2013 until the end of February 2014, was a genuine uprising of the Ukrainian people against the government of former President Yanukovych who, with a U-turn decision, decided not to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union that he had promised for years.

The role of the nationalist forces was marginal. Euromaidan was a civic initiative. The insignificance of the "Right Sector" is evident from the election results – their candidate received 0.7% of the vote in the May 2014 presidential elections, and the party received 1.8% of the vote in the October 2014 parliamentary elections.

For more disinformation cases about Euromaidan see here.

 

Keywords: Ukraine, Stepan Bandera, Coup, Euromaidan, CIA, Right Sector
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
The US deliberately lowers the threshold of nuclear weapons use and intentionally increases the risk of nuclear conflict
Additional details: The US intends to deploy new high-accuracy nuclear airdrop bombs in Europe. This means that Washington is deliberately lowering the threshold of nuclear weapons use and intentionally increasing the risk of catastrophic nuclear conflict.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Italia
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that US and NATO nuclear policies are bringing the world closer to nuclear war. See previous cases here and here.

The current US nuclear strategy is detailed in the Nuclear Posture Review [NPR], issued by the Department of Defence in February 2018. The 2018 NPT states that “Nuclear forces, along with our conventional forces and other instruments of national power, are therefore first and foremost directed towards deterring aggression and preserving peace. Our goal is to convince adversaries they have nothing to gain and everything to lose from the use of nuclear weapons. In no way does this approach lower the nuclear threshold”.

The Review states that the US would consider the use of nuclear weapons only under “extreme circumstances” to defend the vital interests of the US, its allies and partners. It defines “extreme circumstances,” to include both nuclear attacks and “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks” against “U.S., allied or partner civilian population or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities”

More background is available here.

 

 

Keywords: INF Treaty, Nuclear issues, Missile defence system
Countries: Russia, US
More
Elections in Donbas controlled by “armed Ukrainian punishers”
Additional details: The Ukrainian junta and punishers controlled the presidential elections in the unoccupied parts of Donbas. Armed Kyiv rebels were parked outside polling stations in armed personnel carriers. The Armed Forces of Ukraine fully controlled the voting process in Mariupol, which is occupied by the Kyiv rebels.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Tvzvezda.ru, Novorosinform.org
Reported by:
Disproof note:

One of the multiple pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives around the Ukrainian elections.

Pro-Kremlin media and propagandists in occupied Donbas have distorted a Hromadske Radio report. According to the report, the Armed Forces of Ukraine were present at the two voting stations in Mariupol.  Speaking to Hromadske, the soldiers explained that the two voting stations are considered to the be “particularly important.” Mariupol is a city close to the frontline and the army dispatched forces to provide security to the polling stations.

Increased security in Donbas during the second round of presidential elections was provided by other Ukrainian law enforcement agencies.  According to the National Police in Donetsk oblast, some 3,000 police officers were dispatched across the region since April 19.  Round-the-clock security for all the voting stations was provided by 2,400 officers.  The remaining officers are members of street patrols and quick-reaction groups. Another 30 members of special police and emergency services are members of bomb squads that are keeping close watch over the communities near the front lines.

Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies have repeatedly stated that the patrols stationed outside voting stations do not have the right to interfere in the work of the voting station commissions. In other words, neither soldiers, nor police officers, nor other law enforcement representatives are allowed to influence the voting process. They are present exclusively for monitoring and security purposes. Moreover, police are required to maintain political neutrality, they are forbidden from “consulting” voters, and campaign for candidates or influence the voting process in any way.

See here for more background about disinformation narratives surrounding presidential elections in Ukraine.

Keywords: Donbas, Elections
Countries: Ukraine
More
Ukrainian Military Sabotages Elections in Donbas
Additional details: Representatives of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic have accused President Petro Poroshenko and his administration of suppressing voting in the  war zone in eastern Ukraine. These representatives also claim that ballots prefilled in favour of President Poroshenko were stuffed at military polling stations, that had been specifically set up to rig the election in favour of the incumbent.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Lug-info.com, Ukraina.ru
Reported by:
Disproof note:

One of the multiple pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives surrounding the Ukrainian elections.

Ukraine’s Central Election Commission, the state body that organises and oversees elections, set up 79 polling stations in the military zone adjacent to the occupied territories and an additional 14 polling sites in military hospitals and abroad.  According to Ukraine’s military command, soldiers were brought from the front to the polls on a rotation basis throughout Election Day; one group remained in deployed positions, while another voted.  All polling stations were manned with international election observers and no violations were noted.

As for pre-filled ballots in favour of President Poroshenko being delivered to military polling stations, this is not possible, even theoretically.  All ballot deliveries are checked by at least three separate groups involved in the process:  the district election commission, Central Election Commission personnel, representatives of both presidential candidates and official election observers.  Ballots are stored in sealed vaults which are certified by all three groups and guarded around the clock by the National Police.

Further debunking by StopFake.

See here for more background about disinformation narratives surrounding presidential elections in Ukraine.

Keywords: Volodymyr Zelensky, Manipulated elections/referendum, Novorossiya, Petro Poroshenko, Elections
Countries: Ukraine
More
The Crimean issue has been removed from Ukraine's political agenda
Additional details: One of the most prominent political events of 2019 has been the removal of the Crimean issue from the public political agenda of Ukraine.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

The claim that Crimea is part of Russia is one of the many recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives targeting Ukraine. In fact, the Crimean issue is still a high priority in Ukraine's political agenda.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is constantly stressing the need for the liberation of Ukrainian citizens held for political reasons in the occupied Crimea, as well as the observance of the rights of Ukrainians, Crimean Tatars and citizens of other nationalities in the region. Above all, he stresses that Crimea must be returned to Ukraine.

Ukraine's newly-elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, said before the second round of elections that, in his opinion, Ukraine would resume control of Crimea after a change of power in Russia, for which his own election is paving the way. "By our example, if we change power, we will show that this is possible, that new ones are coming. And it is possible to do the same there," Zelenskiy said.

Keywords: illegal annexation, Crimea, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Russia, Ukraine
More
West will tolerate Ukraine's agony as long as it doesn’t default on its debts
Additional details: The West always offers a carte blanche to the Ukrainian presidential candidate who is able to convince them of their ability to squeeze money from the population to pay Ukraine's external debts. Since the shirts of the people have long been taken, they will continue to remove their skin and even the meat from their bones.
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is consistent with recurring disinformation narratives about Western meddling in Ukraine's elections, about the EU abandoning Ukraine, and the collapsing Ukrainian economy.

The Ukraine is a sovereign state, not controlled by any foreign government. The European Union supports Ukraine in ensuring a stable, prosperous, and democratic future for all its citizens. Since spring 2014, the EU has stepped up its support for economic and political reforms in Ukraine. For EU countries, Ukraine is a priority partner. In June 2014, the EU and Ukraine signed an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which promotes deeper political ties, stronger economic links, and the respect for common values.

Keywords: Abandoned Ukraine, Conspiracy, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: West, Ukraine
More
Facebook is in the service of the US State Department
Additional details: While Facebook is officially a commercial service, it has in fact been drawn into the service of the US State Department.

Facebook's fight against fake news is only a facade - in fact, it is a fight against objectionable content and for the promotion of a single narrative that benefits the State Department, Soros, and others.

 

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory about the US and social media companies. The claim is made without any supporting evidence.

Facebook, Inc. is an American online social media and social networking service company based in Menlo Park, California. Contrary to its being in the service of the US State Department, the US government is actually investigating Facebook. Its founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, was called to testify before Congress in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and revelations about the platform's role in the dissemination of Russian disinformation during the 2016 presidential campaign.

See earlier disinformation messages alleging excessive control over Facebook by American security bodies here and here.

Keywords: Facebook, Deep state, George Soros
Countries: United States, US
More
Donbas residents prevented from voting in the presidential elections
Additional details: Kyiv prevented 4 million Donbas residents from voting in the presidential elections.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JodOT8_LucQ
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Deutsch
Reported by:
Disproof note:

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the elections in Ukraine.

As reported by StopFake, Ukrainians living in the Russian Federation or in the occupied territories of Donbas were not denied the right to vote.

According to Ukrainian civic network OPORA, an election watchdog, voting stations were in fact opened not far from the frontlines in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. In the Donetsk region, there are 12 electoral districts (for an estimated 1.4 million voters), while in the Luhansk region, there are 6 districts (for an estimated 522,000 voters).

According to data provided by the Central Election Commission, residents of occupied Donbas and internally-displaced persons were also taking part in the election process.

 

 

 

Keywords: Eastern Ukraine, Ukrainian disintegration, Donbas, Elections, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Ukraine
More
The majority of newborns in Brussels are from the new Islamic community
Additional details: Europe is experiencing a great migration of nations. 65 million refugees can already reach Europe. They are mostly men coming from Africa. These people go to Europe to live according to their own rules.

Nowadays the majority of newborns in Brussels are from the new Islamic community.
Language / Targeted audience:
Link to the disinformation: radiovesti.ru/brand/60948/episode/2161464
Disinforming outlet(s): Polnyi Kontakt @ Vesti FM time: 19:27
Reported by:
Disproof note:

No evidence given. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about migrants and Islamisation.

There is no data proving the claim that the majority of infants currently born in Brussels are from the new Islamic community. According to the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis, the precise data cannot be acquired. However, data from the Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences shows that the dominant religion in Belgium is Catholicism (52,9% in 2015), while there are only 5,2% Muslims in the country.

According to official statistics, the number of people residing in an EU Member State with citizenship of a non-member country on 1 January 2018 was 22,3 million, representing merely 4,4% of the EU-28 population. In addition, there were 17,6 million persons living in a given EU Member State as of 1 January 2018 with citizenship of another EU Member State.

In absolute terms, the largest numbers of non-nationals living in the EU Member States on 1 January 2018 were found in Germany (9,7 million persons), the United Kingdom (6,3 million), Italy (5,1 million), France (4,7 million) and Spain (4,6 million).

Similar disinformation cases can be found here and here.

Keywords: migration, Islamisation, Muslim/Islam, Migration crisis
Countries: Belgium
More
Ukrainian language law allows strict punitive measures and discriminates against Russian-speakers
Additional details: The Verkhovna Rada adopted the law “On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language”, securing its exclusive rights in comparison with other languages in the country.  According to the document, the Ukrainian language is recognised as the only possible application in almost all areas of the country's life.

This is a discriminatory law that implies punitive measures.  If it comes into force, it will significantly affect the literacy of the population of Ukraine and greatly impoverish it culturally.

 
Language / Targeted audience:
Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
Reported by:
Disproof note:

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine and discrimination against Russian speakers.

The Verkhovna Rada passed on April 25 the law "On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language". The law establishes mandatory use of the Ukrainian language in most areas of public and communal life, including the mass media.

However, the language rights of national minorities have to be in line with the obligations of Ukraine under the European Charter for Regional Languages and Languages of National Minorities, guaranteed by a separate law, the draft of which the government must develop and submit to the parliament six months after the law on the state language will enter into force.

The usage of Russian language is not limited in private communication and religious ceremonies. Just like the languages ​​of other minorities, Russian can be present in book publishing, the press, television and education and in the service sector.  But the Ukrainian language in these areas is preferred.. the Ukrainian language is positioned as the main language of publishing activity, and circulation in other languages ​​can not exceed the circulation in Ukrainian.

For discrimination of the Ukrainian language, including in favour of Russian, administrative responsibility is given. In the humanitarian sphere - education, science, culture, sports - for violating language policy, there is a fine of 200 to 300 times the non-taxable minimum wage (now it is from 3400-5100 hryvnias). The entry into force is delayed for three years.

Similar disinformation cases are here and here.

For background on the Ukrainian language laws, see here.

Keywords: Russian language
Countries: Ukraine
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Russia gave passports to Donbas locals because Kyiv deprived them of any rights and social benefits
Additional details: Russia provided passports to Donbas locals, because Kyiv deprived the region of social transfers and pensions, and furthermore denied local citizens their voting rights.
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Link to the disinformation: youtu.be/3RD-ucPK41o?t=599
Disinforming outlet(s): Polnyi kontakt @ Vesti FM time: 10:01
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Since 2014, the Ukrainian government has required citizens in Donetsk and Luhansk, which are not controlled by Kyiv, to register as internally displaced persons in government-controlled areas of Ukraine in order to receive their pensions and other entitlements.

The website of the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine declared that residents of the Donbas, who live in territory not controlled by Kyiv, could nonetheless participate in the presidential elections. To do this, they had to come to the Department of State for Voter Registration in order to submit an application.

The text of the Trilateral Contact Group (Minsk Protocol) does not stipulate any recognition of the so-called Donetsk and Luhansk "People's Republics" nor any need to consult with them about national issues.  The text states "to ensure early local elections in accordance with the Ukrainian law... on temporary Order of Local Self-Governance in Particular Districts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts".  There is no mention of the fact that the Ukrainian parliament should coordinate bills with the so-called "DPR" and "LNR".

This is a recurring disinformation narrative about the Ukrainian elections.

Keywords: DNR, LNR, Donbas, Elections
Countries: Ukraine
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Religious organisations are employed in the Western war against Armenia
Additional details: As Western NGOs have failed to draw Armenia away from its ties to Russia, religious organisations, representing the Global Government, have been employed.

In the Western undeclared war on Yerevan, Mormons are playing the role of intelligence agents, as they are capable of collecting information across Armenian territory freely. In turn, the Jehovah’s Witnesses perform the role of a military service that occupies entire cities and villages, while forming their new legions from local citizens. In essence, the purpose of these sects is to conduct subversive activities, to destroy the foundations of statehood under the pretext of promoting faith.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Journal of the New Eastern Outlook
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No evidence given. Conspiracy theory and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western attempts to instigate colour revolutions in EU neighbourhood.

Keywords: War preparation, Conspiracy
Countries: Armenia
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Ukraine is a vassal to the US, Nato and the EU
Additional details: For the past five years, the Kiev-dominated Ukrainian state has been nothing but a puppet regime for Washington, NATO and to a lesser extent the European Union. It has served as a spearhead against Russia with vile provocations and slander. It is in fact an abomination of international law and democratic principles.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Strategic Culture Foundation
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Recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative, challenging Ukraine's statehood. Similar cases can be studied here, here and here.

Ukraine is a sovereign state, one of the founding members of the United Nations. Neither US, nor the EU countries in general or Germany in particular control Ukraine. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by most of the free world, but were violated by Russia in 2014.

 

 

Keywords: Sovereignty, Conspiracy, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Ukraine
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Ukraine will start issuing foreigners' passports as in the Baltic states
Additional details: The law strengthening the use of the Ukrainian language adopted by Kyiv proves that Ukraine is following the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian scenarios, which means that disloyal parts of the population are excluded from public life based on their languages. The next step will be issuing passports for foreigners, as in the Baltic countries.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
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This message is consistent with a recurring disinformation narrative about Ukrainian statehood and human rights violated in Ukraine.

Alien's (non-citizen's) passports are issued in Estonia and Latvia. They were granted to the people who did not reside in the countries before their annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940, as well as to their descendants, in case they did not successfully pass exams proving proficiency in the state languages and knowledge of the countries' history.

Despite the new law's ambiguity (president-elect Volodymyr Zelensky already stated he will be reviewing it), it is ungrounded to speculate about the introduction of alien's (non-citizen's) passports in Ukraine.

For other disinformation cases about Russian language being suppressed see here.

Keywords: Ukraine, Conspiracy, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Latvia, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania
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Notre Dame fire is a sign of Europe’s decline
Additional details: There is a hidden meaning in the fire at Notre Dame. Signs exist in order to be interpreted. Notre Dame Cathedral is burning. The church is burning, Europe is burning. This is the time of twilight. If we do not convert we all will burn. Our European civilisation is dying.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Polska
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Disproof note:

Recurring narrative on the Notre Dame fire, making a connection between with the fire and the decline of values in Europe.

The cause of the fire at Notre Dame is not yet clear, the investigation is ongoing. Most sources argue it happened because of electrical circuit and that it was an accident.

See more debunk stories on the alleged decline of values in Europe here.

Keywords: Notre Dame, Catholic church, Western values, European values
Countries: Europe, France
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At least 9 million Ukrainians support civil war, political terror and extrajudicial killings
Additional details: The results of the Ukrainian presidential election show that at least 8-9 million Ukrainian voters support domestic and foreign policies by the current Ukrainian authorities. Hence, these people support the continuation of civil war, political terror, extrajudicial killings, keeping thousands of political prisoners without relevant court verdicts and the cannibal economic policy in Ukraine. Furthermore, they support forced Ukrainisation, a split in the church and terrorist shelling of Donbas by the Ukrainian military.
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Disinforming outlet(s): Sputnik Belarus
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This disinformation message contains pro-Kremlin narrative about the war in Ukraine, which does not mention the well documented Russian involvement that violated Ukraine's territorial integrity, including by supporting and arming separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine.

It also contains ungrounded information concerning the situation of human rights in the country. There is no proof about thousands of political prisoners or alleged political terror in Ukraine.

Pro-Kremlin, Ukraine-related messages aim to dehumanise, demoralise, make Ukraine the guilty party, as shown by our earlier analysis .

The article also applies obvious manipulation by saying that the voters who made certain political choice are supporters of state policies in virtually all spheres including economic, legal, etc.

Keywords: Elections, Conspiracy, Ukrainian statehood
Countries: Ukraine
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Russia is regarded as an enemy in the plans of NATO
Additional details: On the eve of the 70th anniversary of the founding of NATO, the Alliance Defence College presented three ways to develop the military bloc. The report includes the “good”, “bad” and “terrible” scenarios, and in each of the forecasts, Russia is considered an enemy.
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Disinforming outlet(s): RT Russian
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This is a recurring Kremlin narrative about the belligerent West and NATO attempting to encircle and weaken Russia.

According to the research paper "NATO's futures: the Atlantic Alliance between Power and Purpose", where three scenarios of NATO's future are mentioned, Russia is not regarded as the main enemy. Before the description the author explains: "The opening discussion of geopolitics pointed to the key trends we must assess as part of this more circumscribed approach to future history: not least the United States' approach to its modern-day Monroe doctrine but also the ability of all Allies to protect their Alliance into the future where China looms large, their ability to engage Russia in a regional order, and then their ability to contain non-state disruption to the south".

While the three scenarios do explore potentially difficult relations with, i.a., a contentious Russia, the conclusion encourages a NATO mindset change on Russia to ensure a an all-around more sustainable outcome. "To secure NATO’s future and these wider benefits, the Allies should contemplate a number of ideas outlined in this report: that NATO should shift its mindset on Russia, downgrade its hope of friendship (which, when disappointed, heightens the level of antagonism) and instead offer Russia a partnership in a revised balance-of power arrangement for Europe." (p. 2)

Keywords: Anti-Russian, NATO
Countries: International, Russia
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