Iran’s admission to shooting down Ukrainian International Airlines’ flight 752 has created big problems for the pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets. This is clearly visible in this week’s cases of disinformation.

The pro-Kremlin media started its well-oiled disinformation machinery along well-known narratives: profit-hungry Ukrainians used an old, derelict aircraft, ready for scrapping; only the US had the capacity to shoot down the aircraft – and is methodically shooting down civilian planes; PS752 collided with a US spy drone; the US shot down the aircraft to put the blame on Iran, and selected an Ukrainian aircraft, as the Ukrainians always will support their puppet-masters; the video, allegedly showing a missile hit, is likely staged; and generally, falling Boeings have become a US secret weapon.

All, normal, comfortable Kremlin-standard lies, easy to produce, easy to repeat. Iran’s decision to respect the victims of the disaster; admit to a terrible mistake, give access to the crash site for experts and cooperate with international bodies has demanded serious spinning from Moscow. How to emphasise that “The West” is still to blame? Well, according to the pro-Kremlin outlets, Iran caved in for pressure – or for some profitable deal; Iran fell in a US trap; the Iranian air-defence operator might have been recruited by the US.

Deny Everything!

In a Twitter thread, Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russian state broadcaster RT, is expressing envy with Iran:

There are two religions concerning how a large and demanding respect for itself country should behave itself in case of a disastrous screw-up. The first suggests that the country should enter into a state of strong denial; admit to nothing, atone for nothing. Or everything will get much worse. Well, just because. Most responsible comrades in most powerful countries, including ours, adhere to this one.

The other religion suggests that one should act like Iran. This is closer to me. For simple human reasons. In my system of values, Iran acted like a real man.

Screen-shot of Margarita Simonyan’s Twitter account.

Simonyan is a key figure in the pro-Kremlin disinformation system. Are we witnessing the advent of a new approach from Russian state media? Is “deny everything” not standard operational procedure anymore? Judging from this week’s cases, nyet, not yet. The same old lies are repeated: on MH17, on the aggressive West, on Russia’s role in Ukraine, on the deaths of 14 persons in Vilnius 1991

This week also demonstrates a systematic campaign against Poland. Pro-Kremlin media is accusing Poland for starting WWII, for waging information war against Russia and planning for future wars. The Kremlin media is, in line with Simonyan’s statement above, careful never to admit Russia’s mistakes, never to atone for wrongdoings, never take responsibility.

This Week’s Weirdest:

In the perpetual competition of Weird Disinfo, the following three can be noted from this week’s cases:

The Kremlin’s propagandists might be losing their religion, but the cult itself remains strong.


related disinfo cases

Date
Title
Outlets
Country
13.01.2020
  • rubaltic.ru
Lithuania
13.01.2020
  • SouthFront - English
Iran, US
13.01.2020
  • 60 minut @Rossiya 1 - YouTube
Poland, Baltic states
13.01.2020
  • 60 minut @Rossiya 1 - YouTube
UK
13.01.2020
  • Baltnews Lithuania
Lithuania
13.01.2020
  • rossaprimavera.ru
Lithuania
12.01.2020
  • Sputnik Italia
Estonia
12.01.2020
  • Sputnik Italia
China, US, Russia
12.01.2020
  • Rossia 24 - YouTube
Ukraine
12.01.2020
  • News Front - Georgian
Canada
12.01.2020
  • Pravda.ru ,
  • Pervyi Kanal
Iran, UK
12.01.2020
  • Rossia 24 - YouTube
Poland
11.01.2020
  • vz.ru
Iran
11.01.2020
  • vz.ru
Iran, US
11.01.2020
  • vz.ru
Iran, US
11.01.2020
  • vz.ru
Iran, Ukraine
11.01.2020
  • RT Russia
Iran
10.01.2020
  • News Front - Hungarian
Iran, US, Ukraine
10.01.2020
  • Ria Novosti,
  • www.1lurer.am,
  • www.168.am
Armenia, Russia
10.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Germany, Russia
10.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Russia
10.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Russia
10.01.2020
  • Sputnik Poland
China, Poland
10.01.2020
  • Sputnik English
Poland, Germany
10.01.2020
  • RT English
Estonia, Russia
10.01.2020
  • kp.ru
Iran, US, Russia
10.01.2020
  • Tsargrad TV,
  • ren.tv
Iran
10.01.2020
  • Komsomolskaya Pravda - Kazakhstan
Iran, US
09.01.2020
  • RT France - YouTube
UK, US, Ukraine, Russia
09.01.2020
  • Together with Russia,
  • Civic initiative Soyuz
US, Belarus, Baltic states, Russia
09.01.2020
  • topwar.ru
US
08.01.2020
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Iran, US
08.01.2020
  • Moskovskij Komsomolets,
  • PolitPuzzle
Iran, US, Ukraine
08.01.2020
  • Tsargrad TV
Iran, Ukraine
07.01.2020
  • gazeta.ru,
  • Izvestia,
  • rusvesna.su
Ukraine
06.01.2020
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian
US
06.01.2020
  • Geopolitica.ru - Italian
China, Iran, Israel, US, Russia
05.01.2020
  • RT Arabic ,
  • hathalyoum.net,
  • Khabar Masr,
  • yemen.shafaqna.com
Iraq, Syria, US
04.01.2020
  • One World,
  • Oriental Review
UK, The Netherlands, Ukraine
01.01.2020
  • News Front - Russian
Ukraine
31.12.2019
  • Sputnik Spain
Estonia
30.12.2019
  • Sputnik Italia
Italy, Turkey, US
29.12.2019
  • Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws),
  • m.alwafd.news
Ukraine, Russia
28.12.2019
  • Strategic Culture Foundation,
  • Russia-insider.com
US
27.12.2019
  • Sputnik Estonia
Estonia
26.12.2019
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • youm7.com,
  • akhbarelyom,
  • elwatannews,
  • bbcnews1.com,
  • bbcnews1.com,
  • m.akhbarelyom.com,
  • emeknes.com,
  • bbcnews1.com,
  • emeknes.com,
  • trend4dm.com,
  • arriyada.net,
  • alhilalalyoum.com,
  • agwarnews.net,
  • abudhabi-news.com,
  • abudhabi-news.com,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • shahennews.com,
  • sada-ar.com,
  • akhbarak.net,
  • albawabhnews.com,
  • masr20.com,
  • youm7.com,
  • almasryalyoum.com,
  • abudhabi-news.com,
  • albidda.net,
  • sabq-sa.com,
  • masr20.com,
  • news.akhbarten.com,
  • voiceofbeladynews.com,
  • saadaonline.net,
  • saadaonline.net,
  • saadaonline.net,
  • news-araby.com,
  • masr20.com,
  • mangish.net,
  • albidda.net,
  • news.miralnews.com,
  • akherkhabrtoday.com,
  • masrawyfm.com,
  • watan-m3k.com,
  • uk-arabicnews.com,
  • uk-arabicnews.com,
  • news-sinaa.com,
  • rosaelyoussef.com,
  • albawabhnews.com,
  • Khabar Masr,
  • Khabar Masr,
  • barq-org.sa,
  • Wikimsrweb.com,
  • 6060news.com,
  • news-sinaa.com,
  • belbalady,
  • egysaudi.com,
  • arabyoum.com,
  • elgornal.net,
  • akherkhabrtoday.com,
  • dmcnews.org,
  • alderaah-news.net,
  • alsharqtimes.com,
  • medanelakhbar.com,
  • Khabaralyoum
Russia
25.12.2019
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Baltic states, Russia
23.12.2019
  • Podneprovie
Belarus, Russia
23.12.2019
  • Sputnik Estonia
Estonia
22.12.2019
  • RT Arabic - YouTube,
  • RT Arabic
US
20.12.2019
  • RT Arabic ,
  • hamsnews.com,
  • middle-east.sahafahn.net
Russia
20.12.2019
  • RT Arabic ,
  • alghad.tv,
  • Syria friends,
  • rtarab.com,
  • emeknes.com,
  • kachaf.com,
  • saadaonline.net,
  • nafeza2world.com,
  • albidda.net,
  • akhbarlibya
Ukraine, Russia
20.12.2019
  • Iravunk.com
Armenia
20.12.2019
  • lb.shafaqna.com,
  • RT Arabic
Baltic states, Ukraine
20.12.2019
  • RT Arabic ,
  • lb.shafaqna.com
Ukraine, Russia
20.12.2019
  • Teleskop,
  • Sonar2050,
  • Podneprovie
USSR, Belarus, Russia
19.12.2019
  • RT Arabic ,
  • New Hub,
  • Khabaralyoum
18.12.2019
  • News Front - Serbian,
  • Večernje novosti,
  • Sputnik Serbia - Cyrillic,
  • RT English,
  • Russia’s Armed Forces newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda,
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Poland, Baltic states, Russia
17.12.2019
  • Sputnik Armenia - Russian
16.12.2019
  • Ura.news,
  • lenta.ru,
  • utro.ru,
  • vz.ru,
  • Ria Novosti,
  • Argumenty i Fakty
Ukraine, Russia
16.12.2019
  • RT Arabic ,
  • Lebanese-forces,
  • shehabnews,
  • amad,
  • beirut-news,
  • shamra,
  • hamsnews.com,
  • akhbarak.net,
  • sahafah24,
  • hamsnews.com,
  • zahlealfatat.net,
  • alhemyarianews.com,
  • elarabielyoum,
  • satelnews.net,
  • emeknes.com,
  • alwassat.com,
  • waradana.com,
  • ajel.sahafahn.net,
  • elbayan-news.com,
  • abudhabi-news.com,
  • news.sahafahn.net,
  • saadaonline.net,
  • sabq-sa.com,
  • masr20.com,
  • news.akhbarten.com,
  • belbalady,
  • nafeza2world.com,
  • middle-east.sahafahn.net,
  • sada-ar.com,
  • middle-east.sahafahn.net,
  • alsadaranews.com,
  • news-araby.com,
  • albidda.net,
  • lomazoma.com,
  • akhbarlibya
Ukraine, Russia
15.12.2019
  • RT Arabic ,
  • RT Arabic - YouTube
Syria
14.12.2019
  • Sputnik Arabic
Russia
13.12.2019
  • RT Arabic ,
  • RT Arabic - YouTube
Italy, Russia
13.12.2019
  • shaamtimes,
  • Arabi today,
  • Sahafah 24,
  • Syrian News App,
  • Sputnik Arabic
UK, Syria, US
12.12.2019
  • Sputnik Abkhazia - Russian
USSR, Poland
12.12.2019
  • Sputnik Poland
Poland, Ukraine
12.12.2019
  • Pervyi Kanal
Ukraine
10.12.2019
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • Sputnik Arabic,
  • awajelpress.com,
  • saadaonline.net,
  • almada.org
Ukraine, Russia
10.12.2019
  • Sputnik Belarus - Russian
Estonia, Russia
09.12.2019
  • aqreqator.az,
  • Sputnik Azerbaijan - Russian
Ukraine, Russia
08.12.2019
  • Rossia 24 - YouTube
Ukraine
08.12.2019
  • TASS - Russian,
  • RIAFAN - Russian,
  • rg.ru,
  • Izvestia,
  • Ria Novosti,
  • news.ru
Ukraine, Russia
05.12.2019
  • RT Arabic
Georgia, Russia
04.12.2019
  • belvpo.com,
  • 4esnok.by
Poland, US, Belarus, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia