We have seen plenty of disinformation targeting Europe this week. A Czech disinformation outlet wrote that the Council of Europe enforced a rule that Czech children are stolen from their mothers, in order to privilege the LGBT community and help the islamization of the nation, thus playing into two common anti-Western narratives in one go.
A Slovak outlet accused the German Press Council of censoring media, which are allegedly banned from mentioning the religion and ethnicity of people in their reporting. In fact, the non-binding rules were changed directly to the opposite: “The German Press Council on Wednesday eased slightly the rules about mentioning the religious or ethnic background of a criminal suspect,” writes thelocal.de.
A Bulgarian outlet spread the message that Turkey is preparing a military attack on Bulgaria. The Disinformation Review has reported over a dozen cases of such alleged planned attacks, none of which happened, but which blur the realities of aggression that has taken place in Europe’s Eastern neighbourhood.
Finally, a Georgian outlet told its readers that EU membership has had such devastating consequences for Estonia that the country has lost 800,000 citizens. The pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative of Europe’s depopulation has been seen before, targeting Scandinavia. Estonia’s population is around 1,3 million. We suspect that if the country really had lost two thirds of its citizens, someone there might have noticed.
The Minsk agreements are anti-Russian. Only Russia honours them
The disinformation campaign against Ukraine continues this week. Russia’s main TV shows all repeated the three-year-old disinformation narratives about Ukrainians being fascists and an alleged genocide against Russian speakers, and the almost two-year-old disinformation that Ukraine supports Daesh fighters.
But even smear campaigns need some refreshment. Thus, we saw some embellishment too, with pro-Kremlin outlets claiming that the US was targeting the Russian space industry when it “organised Maidan in Ukraine” (sic) and that Europe has always provided Ukraine with misfortune, grief and death – despite the EU being both currently and historically the biggest donor to Ukraine.
The recent decision about Russia’s contestant to Eurovision was also covered. Ukraine announced that since Yulia Samoylova had violated Ukrainian law by entering Crimea from Russia, she would not be allowed into Ukraine. Pro-Kremlin outlets turned this into a claim that Ukraine was against disabled people.
The message that Hungary will annex part of Ukraine was revived once again. Pro-Kremlin outlets repeat this disinformation every couple of weeks in one form or another (sometimes Hungary, sometimes Poland or Romania). But there is only one country that has violated Ukraine’s territorial integrity in the modern age, and that is Russia.
Russia’s own actions got some coverage on Russian TV (although less than the events outside Russia): we heard in the Vremya Pokazhet show that it is only Russia that fulfils the Minsk agreements, unlike e.g. the EU. Yet the 28 member states of the EU have recently prolonged sanctions against Russia – precisely for not fulfilling the Minsk agreements.
The story shows some inconsistency in pro-Kremlin disinformation: two weeks ago, another disinformation oriented outlet claimed that the Minsk agreements were just a Western tool designed to prevent Russia from fulfilling its geopolitical mission. But as we have explained in the past, the aim of Russian disinformation does not have to be to persuade an audience to believe, but rather to confuse, distort, blur, and undermine the very concept of truth (see e.g. here).
Disinformation cases reported in the previous week