If last week the focus was on the evil West, then this week we saw that narrative embellished with repeated messaging about how good Russia is. These two overarching narratives describing the pro-Kremlin world are often used together: Russia is good, the West is evil.
So, on Russian state TV, we were told by the Deputy Chairman of the State Duma that Russia respects international law, that it is friendly towards its neighbours, and that it is those neighbours who are the aggressive ones, not Russia. To be fair, it was said in the same show that Russia might have to strike Europe pre-emptively if NATO keep putting troops into the Baltic countries. But no mention was made of Russia violating international law through its illegal actions in Ukraine, annexing Crimea among other things.
In the same show, it was stated that Donbass is part of Russia and that it is being bombed by European troops on a daily basis. Of course, no evidence was presented for these European troops – there are none.
A whole show on Russian state TV was devoted to the situation in Donbass, in fact. It was claimed that the current Ukrainian government aims to drown the country in blood – repeating the reoccurring myth that Ukraine is waging a war on its own population, rather than defending itself. On another TV show, there was speculation that the EU will eventually ask Russia to restore order in Donbass and subsequently in Kiev. It was also claimed that the European observers who observed the elections in Ukraine after the fall of Yanukovic took substantial bribes in order to recognize the results of the election. As usual, no evidence was presented. It was the OSCE that observed the elections in Ukraine. Russia is a member.
In another pro-Kremlin outlet, we learnt that Moscow’s peace efforts have been continuously sabotaged, with both Ukraine and Syria named as places where Russia has been hindered from achieving peace. No mention of Russia’s involvement in the escalation of both named conflicts, nor of the fact that Russia has vetoed several Security Council resolutions on the issue of Syria.
The Baltic states took some beating as well, as they were accused of endangering global peace through reproducing a conflict with Russia. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine were all again described as being part of ‘the Russian world’.
Sweden was again singled out and presented as a particularly unsafe place to live in, despite plenty of evidence showing the opposite. In a Czech outlet, the recent influx of migrants was blamed for an alleged massive increase in crime in the country. However, crime statistics analysed over the period in question (October 2015-January 2016) show that refugees account for 1% of crimes during that period. And the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention’s Swedish Crime Survey concludes that there has in fact been a 2% decrease in crime over the last 10 years.
In a Hungarian pro-Kremlin outlet, Swedish statistics concerning rape were used to portray the country as especially unsafe for women, while not mentioning that the legal definition has been recently broadened to include offenses that in other countries would not count as rape. In the same outlet, a recent riot in a suburb of Stockholm was blamed on ‘unknown migrants’. While the riot did indeed happen, no one has been arrested and the police do not know who was involved. It goes without saying then, that the culprits’ ethnicity is also unknown.
Disinformation cases reported in the previous week
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Ukraine are not part of a 'Russian world', they are sovereign and independent states of which the three first have joined NATO voluntarily. // Lithuania welcomed the NATO troops: http://bit.ly/2liobgr and actually would like to see more of them because of Russia' aggresive behaviour: http://reut.rs/2loTWEp // Latvia as well: http://bloom.bg/2lBVMkz // Similarly in Estonia: http://bit.ly/2kerQeQ
Russia's actions in Ukraine are a clear violation of international law. Article 2, paragraph 4 of the UN Charter declares without ambiguity that "all Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations" http://bit.ly/1rbGaE3. UNGA Resolution 68/262 also affirmed the General Assembly's commitment to the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and underscored the invalidity of the 2014 Crimean referendum http://bit.ly/1RZGnjo.
No evidence given. Ukraine is currently defending its territory against the Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. According to international law, as a sovereign state, it has the right to do so.
Polish translation of the vesti-ukr.com disinformation mentioned above.
The export of weapons from Ukraine to Russia was halted in August 2014: http://bit.ly/2muO1uC // Journalists have misinterpreted the data of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: http://bit.ly/2muP6mx
No evidence given. Donbas is a part of the sovereign state Ukraine.The EU High Representative's Official Spokesperson has made it clear that "Ukraine has a right to take legitimate actions in defence of its sovereignty, territorial integrity and citizens, in full respect of its international obligations. It is Ukraine’s duty to preserve law and order within its borders while maintaining a measured approach, in particular protecting civilian lives" http://bit.ly/1RMKnDr. In addition, there are no European troops whatsoever in Ukraine.
No evidence given. Nothing suggests that the Baltic states would want to start a conflict with their much bigger neighbour.
The claim adopted from a conspiracy website is based on four grant agreements for the Slovak Humanity Council, Marginal Civic Association, and the Human Rights League. In reality, the Interior Ministry sent €705,000 to these institutions and the rest goes from the Fund for Asylum, Migration, and Integration. The money from the fund is to allow for a dignified waiting period of the migrants until their asylum request is processed, and for their subsequent integration if the country accepts them. Furthermore, the Slovak Constitution guarantees free-of-charge health care also for children. Further debunking here http://bit.ly/2lD55Pj.
No country became poorer after accession to the EU than it was before. After their accession to the European Union in 2004, until 2015 the Baltic countries’ GDP expanded at a record level. About 93% increase in Estonia, 111% in Lithuania and 115% in Latvia. // http://bit.ly/2mfsAB9
There is nothing that suggest that Lipšic has shown any support for nazis. Further debunking here http://bit.ly/2lD55Pj.
The European Commission’s Representation in Bulgaria has denied that European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hanh made statements of a negative nature about Bulgaria. http://bit.ly/2kZFXRP
There is overwhelming evidence that Russia has in fact been fueling the conflict in Ukraine. See for example the conclusions of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court preliminary examination http://bit.ly/2ftv6iT. Furthermore, Russia has vetoed UNSC resolutions aiming at condemning and stopping the violence perpetrated by the Syrian regime on several occations http://bit.ly/1O5yESF.
There was a statement, and a moment of silence to honour Churkin. http://bit.ly/2muLBwq. Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maryana Betsa said that Ukraine did not block anything. She said that "a statement was issued for the press, as has been done in such cases in the past. There haven’t been many such cases. But there was no precedent for a separate political statement.”
According to Federal Service of State Statistics in Crimea, in 2015 67% of Crimea’s income came from subsidies from the central government, compared to 50% 2013 when Crimea was part of Ukraine, according to a Radio Svoboda analyst.http://bit.ly/2muLhh6
No evidence or indications for the claim. Ukraine is a sovereign state, so nobody may ‘ask Russia to restore the order’ there.
It was not a discussion in Bundestag, it was a press conference that was held in a room rented out for commercial purposes in a building for federal press conferences. The press conference was organized by members of Party of Regions (Viktor Yanukovych's party against which the people of Ukraine revolted because of Yanukovych's last minute U-turn on the Association agreement with the EU): http://bit.ly/2mkuflw
No evidence for the claims. Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter analyzed crime statistics between October 2015 and January 2016 and concluded that refugees were responsible for only 1 percent of all criminal incidents. http://wapo.st/2lMehkt. According to the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention's Swedish Crime Survey, between 2005 and 2015, the proportion of people who reported that they were victims of any crime during the past year decreased from 26 percent to 24 percent. A group for which likelihood to be subject to a crime rather increased over the past period were for people born in Sweden but whose two parents were born abroad.http://bit.ly/2l7jeXT.
No evidence given. It is worth noting that Russia just made domestic violence legal, indicating that protection of Russian women is clearly not a top priority http://bit.ly/2lfaRou.
Ukraine is recognised in international law as a sovereign nation state, with its own flag, nationality, language etc.
No evidence given. The OSCE characterised the elections as showing the "clear resolve of the authorities to hold what was a genuine election largely in line with international commitments and with a respect for fundamental freedoms." According to the OSCE, the only areas where serious restrictions were reported were those controlled by separatists, who undertook "increasing attempts to derail the process." This fact was reconfirmed by the parliamentary elections of 26 October 2014, where parties devoted to democratic values received the strong majority of votes. The OSCE characterised the vote as "an amply contested election that offered voters real choice, and a general respect for fundamental freedoms". It pointed out that "Electoral authorities made resolute efforts to organize elections throughout the country, but they could not be held in parts of the regions (oblasts) of Donetsk and Luhansk or on the Crimean peninsula". http://bit.ly/2g9K0Mp, http://bit.ly/2eWWBAV
No evidence given. In fact, Pavlo Klimkin, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine and UN Security Council President for February, proposed a moment of silence in memory of Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation, the day after he died. Churkin was also honoured in a press statement, as is the normal procedure http://bit.ly/2muLBwq, http://bit.ly/2mloxU2.
There was a group of young men that burned cars and destroyed local shops in the suburb of Rinkeby. As no one has been arrested, no one knows the ethnicity of the perpetrators and no evidence suggest that they would be migrants.http://t.sr.se/2kQtdAZ
Sweden does have 63.5 reported rape incidents per 100,000 citizens, however, this is attributable to differences in how a country reports crime. In Sweden, each case of sexual violence is reported as a separate incident, for example, if someone says they were raped by a partner every day for a fortnight, officers will record 14 potential crimes. In other countries, the claim could be logged as a single incident. The definition of rape is also broader in Sweden than it is elsewhere.
The dismissal of the minister was caused by controversies connected to new legislation about mobile tariffs and his lack of communication with the public http://bit.ly/2lfuexD.
The information comes from the Nobel Peace Prize Watch, which is not the official Nobel Committee. The real Nobel Committtee keeps all nominees a secret for 50 years http://bit.ly/2ljshjA, so there is no credible information suggestiong that the President of Kazakhstan is nominated. In last years list from the Nobel Peace Prize Watch the eventual Laureate Mr Juan Manuel Santos http://bit.ly/2cWwydr was not even among the nominations which suggests that they do not in fact have the information they claim to have. http://bit.ly/2ljkWk8.