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This was a busy week for the pro-Kremlin media: besides fending off imaginary “Anglo-Saxon” provocations and disclosing evil globalist plots involving the Pope, it had to deal with trouble closer to home.

Following the brutal crackdown of protests in Russia in support of the imprisoned opposition politician Alexei Navalny, his team invited Russians to participate in a silent protest: wave flashlights outside their homes and share images on social media with the message, “love is stronger than fear”.

The pro-Kremlin media, however, did not get the message. A major segment on the Russian state-controlled Rossiya 1 TV channel was devoted to warning people about the sinister flash-light technologies which, following alleged instructions from NATO countries, are used to fuel anti-government sentiments. According to Russian TV, flashlight “technologies” (i.e. literally, people waving flashlights) were previously applied in Minsk, Bishkek, Hong Kong, and Kyiv – all the places where the pro-Kremlin media have seen the phantom of “Western-instigated” colour revolutions. Following this logic, this Metallica concert in Moscow in 2019 must have been the ultimate act of subversion – thousands of people waving their flashlights in the air and singing along “Anglo-Saxon” songs.

Devoting so much time and effort (and money) to find similarities between crowds in Moscow, Hong Kong and Bishkek and present that as “proof” that Americans and Europeans have been orchestrating protests around the world, the pro-Kremlin media ignores the one thing that actually unites these people: their courage to protest against corruption, curbing of freedoms and civic rights.

A fish rots from the head down

Instead of reacting to popular discontent, pro-Kremlin disinformation takes the well-trodden path and blames it on external “enemies”. European diplomats were interfering into Russian affairs! (No, they weren’t: monitoring public protests is perfectly compatible with diplomatic duties). German secret services helped Alexei Navalny! (No, they didn’t: the Stasi records that Navalny used for his investigation into the government corruption are widely accessible). Finland is attempting to destabilise Russia! (A visit of Finland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to St. Petersburg is hardly an “attempt” at destabilisation.)

These and similar claims are no longer reserved to pro-Kremlin pundits shouting at each other on state-controlled TV channels. Now they come from top Kremlin officials and their Facebook accounts and reverberate through the disinformation eco-system.

Take, for example, an op-ed published by the Russian state-news agency RIA Novosti, which, in complete congruence with the official Kremlin line, accuses Europe of pushing relations with Russia to the dead-end only to regret it. The text was quickly republished by Sputniks across the world: in Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, even Uzbekistan! A particularly interesting passage of the text, alleging that “Europe desperately needs two things from Russia: Nord Stream 2 and Sputnik V”, found a place in multiple Russian-language blogs and websites. Under the guise of different authors, such outlets repeat the headlines of “Europe in the dead-end”, aiming to create the illusion that this is a widely shared view among the media. For the Pro-Kremlin media, the technique of information laundering is a gift that keeps on giving.

The pro-Kremlin media often repeat claims that the West tries to eliminate Russia as a geopolitical actor, that the EU is always craving for conflicts and wars, and even that Europe is looking for “excuses” to impose new sanctions on Russia. Such statements aim to deflect attention from the Kremlin’s policies and their consequences. But a lie, repeated a hundred times, even if at the highest political level, remains… a lie.

Sputnik V and revolutionary socialism

Vaccines against COVID-19 are at the centre of attention these days and the pro-Kremlin media is not an exception. In its quest to promote the Sputnik V vaccine to global audiences, the pro-Kremlin media this week invoked the memories of revolutionary socialism, the USSR’s “gift” to humanity, which, according to the Polish edition of Sputnik, responded to vital needs of oppressed peoples around the world (never mind the millions killed and imprisoned in the name of socialism). Today, says Sputnik, Russia offers a similar, albeit a slightly more modest gift – a small syringe with a needle.

Sputnik V, along with other COVID-19 vaccines, could be part of marvellous scientific achievements, which could help overcome the global pandemic*. Unfortunately, pro-Kremlin disinformation uses vaccination and Sputnik V as a wedge issue to undermine other vaccine producers, inflate narratives of Russia’s superiority, sow distrust among Europe and its neighbours, and conjure more and more “Russophobic” threats.

With its vaccine as with its foreign policies, the Kremlin demands to be loved, giving no love in return.

 

*As of publishing of this text, the producers of the Sputnik V vaccine have not submitted a request for marketing authorisation to the European Medicines Agency (EMA). An authorisation from the EMA is necessary for any vaccine or medicament to be marketed in the EU. Since the Sputnik V vaccines are not produced in Europe, there would also have to be an inspection process of the production sites to ensure a stable and high quality production. See the remarks by the President of the European Commission comment on this in more detail here (from 28:45 onwards).


related disinfo cases

Date
Title
Outlets
Country
17.02.2021
  • RIAFAN - Russian,
  • mv-lehti.net
Finland, Russia
16.02.2021
  • One World
Russia
16.02.2021
  • Tsargrad TV
Europe, EU, US, Russia
16.02.2021
  • RT Arabic ,
  • dowwar.com,
  • New Hub
Russia
16.02.2021
  • Tsargrad TV
Germany, Russia
15.02.2021
  • Tsargrad TV
Belarus, Russia
15.02.2021
  • Sputnik Lithuania - Russian,
  • Sputnik Lithuania
Latvia
15.02.2021
  • TASS - Russian
EU, Russia
15.02.2021
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Russia
15.02.2021
  • swedinfo.ru,
  • rg.ru
Sweden
15.02.2021
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Russia
15.02.2021
  • Moskva 24
Ukraine, Russia
14.02.2021
  • Tsargrad TV
Ukraine, Russia
14.02.2021
  • lenta.ru
Sweden
14.02.2021
  • Tsargrad TV
Russia
14.02.2021
  • Strategic Culture Foundation
EU, Russia
13.02.2021
  • swedinfo.ru
Sweden
12.02.2021
  • rg.ru
Sweden, Russia
12.02.2021
  • RT Arabic - YouTube,
  • RT Arabic
EU, Libya, Iraq, Poland, Syria, Baltic states, Ukraine, Russia
12.02.2021
  • RT Germany - YouTube
Russia
12.02.2021
  • Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Poland, Germany, US, Belarus, Baltic states, Russia
12.02.2021
  • Sputnik Belarus - Russian,
  • Sputnik Latvia - Russian,
  • Sputnik Lithuania,
  • EVO-RUS,
  • Ria Novosti,
  • Sputnik Uzbekistan - Russian,
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian,
  • Newinform,
  • RIAFAN - Russian,
  • Politros.com,
  • Sputnik Georgia - Russian
EU, Germany, US, Russia
12.02.2021
  • Sputnik Georgia
Poland, Sweden, Germany, Russia
11.02.2021
  • Sputnik Lithuania,
  • vz.ru
Belarus
11.02.2021
  • Baltnews Lithuania
US, Baltic states, Russia
11.02.2021
  • News.am
Poland, Sweden, Germany, Russia
11.02.2021
  • News Front - Russian
EU, Sweden, Ukraine
11.02.2021
  • addiyar.com,
  • akher.news,
  • al3in.news,
  • alshbaka.net,
  • RT Arabic ,
  • awajelpress.com,
  • bawabaa.org,
  • bwabtk.com,
  • dowwar.com,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • Elfagr.com,
  • eliktisad.com,
  • elmarada.org,
  • eshraag.com,
  • iq.shafaqna.com,
  • kachaf.com,
  • Klyoum.com,
  • kol-masr.com,
  • mawazin.net,
  • misrelgdeda.com,
  • mnamerica.com,
  • na-m.news,
  • nabd.com,
  • New Hub,
  • newsformy.com,
  • sada-ar.com,
  • sawahhost.com,
  • shamra
EU, Belarus
11.02.2021
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Belarus, Russia
11.02.2021
  • Sputnik Lithuania - Russian
Lithuania
11.02.2021
  • Sputnik France,
  • Sputnik France - Facebook,
  • Sputnik France - Facebook,
  • Sputnik France - Twitter,
  • Sputnik France - Twitter
Poland, Sweden, Germany, Russia
10.02.2021
  • News Front - Russian
EU, Russia
10.02.2021
  • Sputnik France,
  • Sputnik France - Facebook,
  • Sputnik France - Twitter
Russia
10.02.2021
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland
10.02.2021
  • Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Yugoslavia, US, Ukraine, Russia
10.02.2021
  • Eho.md
Moldova, Ukraine
10.02.2021
  • Sputnik Spain
Russia
10.02.2021
  • Katehon - English
Vatican, Germany, US
09.02.2021
  • RT Germany
Germany, Russia
09.02.2021
  • RT Germany
The Netherlands, Ukraine, Russia
09.02.2021
  • RT Germany
Ukraine
09.02.2021
  • NASH
Ukraine, Russia
09.02.2021
  • abrag.akwadon.com,
  • alsharqtimes.com,
  • alshbaka.net,
  • RT Arabic ,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • essahra.net,
  • kol-masr.com,
  • nabd.com,
  • nafeza2world.com,
  • Syria friends
US
09.02.2021
  • abrag.akwadon.com,
  • alsharqtimes.com,
  • alshbaka.net,
  • RT Arabic ,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • essahra.net,
  • kol-masr.com,
  • nabd.com,
  • nafeza2world.com,
  • Syria friends
US
09.02.2021
  • akhbarak.net,
  • RT Arabic ,
  • bwabtk.com,
  • ertikaznews.com,
  • iq.shafaqna.com,
  • lomazoma.com,
  • mulhak.com,
  • nafeza2world.com,
  • New Hub,
  • newsformy.com,
  • ru4arab.ru,
  • ruarab.top,
  • shamra
Ukraine, Russia
09.02.2021
  • RT Arabic - YouTube,
  • RT Arabic
EU, US, Russia
09.02.2021
  • russtrat.ru
EU, Russia
09.02.2021
  • RT Arabic - YouTube,
  • RT Arabic
EU, Italy, US, Russia
09.02.2021
  • snanews.de
EU, Russia
09.02.2021
  • Sputnik Poland,
  • Rossiya 1
EU, UK, Poland, US, Russia
09.02.2021
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Germany, Russia
09.02.2021
  • Sputnik Spain
EU, Canada, US, Russia
09.02.2021
  • Sputnik Georgia - Russian
Latvia
09.02.2021
  • Sputnik Georgia
EU, Russia
08.02.2021
  • Livenews.am
Armenia
08.02.2021
  • Sputnik Lithuania
China, US, Russia
08.02.2021
  • akhbarak.net,
  • alshbaka.net,
  • RT Arabic ,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • eshraag.com,
  • essahra.net,
  • kachaf.com,
  • kol-masr.com,
  • lampress.net,
  • msdernet.xyz,
  • nabd.com,
  • nafeza2world.com,
  • newsformy.com,
  • raialyoum.com,
  • Sahafaty
UK, US, Ukraine, Russia
08.02.2021
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • nabd.com,
  • elmohafezeen.com,
  • mn2ol.com,
  • misrday.com,
  • newsformy.com,
  • nuomnews.com,
  • ,
  • ,
  • essahra.net,
  • Al Minasa Press,
  • lomazoma.com,
  • wtani.com
Poland, Sweden, Germany, Russia
08.02.2021
  • RT Arabic - YouTube,
  • RT Arabic
China, US, Russia
08.02.2021
  • Sputnik Spain,
  • RT Spanish
EU, Spain, Belgium, Germany, Russia
08.02.2021
  • RT Arabic - YouTube,
  • RT Arabic
China, EU, Hong Kong, US, Russia
08.02.2021
  • pl.rubaltic.ru
Poland, US, Russia
08.02.2021
  • Sputnik Belarus - Russian,
  • Ria Novosti,
  • Sputnik Uzbekistan - Russian
US
08.02.2021
  • Sputnik Belarus - Russian,
  • Ria Novosti,
  • Sputnik Lithuania - Russian
EU, UK, Germany, US, Ukraine, Russia
08.02.2021
  • RT France - YouTube,
  • RT France - Twitter,
  • RT France - Facebook
Russia
08.02.2021
  • TASS - Russian
Germany, Russia
07.02.2021
  • Sputnik Poland
EU, US, Russia
07.02.2021
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
05.02.2021
  • addiyar.com,
  • akhbarak.net,
  • alamalmal.net,
  • alebaa.tv,
  • algerianexpress.com,
  • alhayatnews.net,
  • alsharqtimes.com,
  • alshbaka.net,
  • RT Arabic ,
  • awla.news,
  • bwabtk.com,
  • el-3rb.com,
  • eshraag.com,
  • essahra.net,
  • jebalalbalqa.com,
  • khaberni.com,
  • kol-masr.com,
  • lomazoma.com,
  • medias-dz.com,
  • misrday.com,
  • mn2ol.com,
  • msdernet.xyz,
  • newsformy.com,
  • ru4arab.ru,
  • rumonline.net,
  • sahafah24,
  • samajordan.com,
  • shamra,
  • swatan.news,
  • vetogate.com
EU, UK, Russia
05.02.2021
  • Livenews.am
UK, US, Russia
04.02.2021
  • Sputnik Spain
EU, US, Russia
04.02.2021
  • RT Arabic ,
  • newsformy.com,
  • palestine.shafaqna.com,
  • dowwar.com,
  • vaca-ps.org,
  • mayadeeniraqya.com,
  • alistenhadh.com
France, Russia
03.02.2021
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • New Hub,
  • wtani.com
Russia
03.02.2021
  • Sputnik Armenia
Russia
03.02.2021
  • RT Spanish
Russia
03.02.2021
  • RT Spanish
Russia
02.02.2021
  • RT Arabic ,
  • abrag.akwadon.com,
  • alshbaka.net,
  • Arabnews 24,
  • dowwar.com,
  • el-3rb.com,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • eshraag.com,
  • essahra.net,
  • iq.shafaqna.com,
  • Khabar Masr,
  • kol-masr.com,
  • mayadeeniraqya.com,
  • New Hub,
  • newsformy.com,
  • palestine.shafaqna.com,
  • syria.shafaqna.com,
  • watira.com
Norway, Spain
02.02.2021
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian,
  • Geopolitica.ru - English
Russia
02.02.2021
  • Sputnik Italia
EU, Russia
01.02.2021
  • eadaily.com
Czech Republic, Poland, Baltic states, Russia
29.01.2021
  • Sputnik Azerbaijan
Russia
29.01.2021
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian,
  • Geopolitica.ru - Spanish, Castilian,
  • Geopolitica.ru - English,
  • Geopolitica.ru - Russian
US
28.01.2021
  • abrag.akwadon.com,
  • akhbarak.net,
  • Al Minasa Press,
  • alshbaka.net,
  • RT Arabic ,
  • Arabnews 24,
  • el-3rb.com,
  • essahra.net,
  • kol-masr.com,
  • lomazoma.com,
  • mangish.net,
  • newsformy.com,
  • sahafah24
Ukraine, Russia
25.01.2021
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Russia
12.02.2020
  • 60 minut @Rossiya 1 - YouTube
Russia
08.02.2020
  • Sputnik Moldova
EU