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

10.01.2020
Komsomolskaya Pravda
Iran, US
09.01.2020
Voennoe Obozrenie
US
13.01.2020
Krasnaya Vesna
Lithuania
10.01.2020
Tsargrad TV, REN TV
Iran
13.01.2020
Baltnews.lt
Lithuania
10.01.2020
Komsomolskaya Pravda
Iran, Russia, US
27.12.2019
Sputnik Estonia
Estonia
13.01.2020
60 Minutes @ Rossiya 1 [51:30 - 52:05]
UK
23.12.2019
Sputnik Estonia
Estonia
11.01.2020
RT
Iran
13.01.2020
60 Minut @ Rossiya 1 [38:06 - 39:07]
Baltic states, Poland
13.01.2020
South Front
Iran, US
10.01.2020
RT
Russia, Estonia
12.01.2020
Vesti Nedeli @ Rossiya 1 (48:35-49:05)
Poland
10.01.2020
Sputnik News
Germany, Poland
07.01.2020
Gazeta.ru, Iz.ru, Rusvesna.su
Ukraine
08.01.2020
Tsargrad.tv
Iran, Ukraine
10.12.2019
Sputnik Belarus
Russia, Estonia
12.01.2020
Pravda.ru, Vremya @ Pervyi kanal (06:36 - 06:50)
Iran, UK
12.01.2020
News Front Georgia
Canada
13.01.2020
RuBaltic.ru
Lithuania
12.01.2020
Vesti Nedeli @ Rossiya 1 [14:10 - 14:25]
12.01.2020
Sputnik Italia
China, Russia, US
12.01.2020
Sputnik Italia
Estonia
11.01.2020
Vzglyad
Iran, Ukraine
11.01.2020
Vzglyad
Iran, US
09.01.2020
Vmeste s Rossiyey, Rossbelsoyuz.su
Russia, Baltic states, Belarus, US
11.01.2020
Vzglyad
Iran, US
11.01.2020
Vzglyad
Iran
31.12.2019
Sputnik Mundo
Estonia
23.12.2019
Podneprovie
Russia, Belarus
10.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
China, Poland
20.12.2019
Teleskop-by.org, Sonar2050, Podneprovie
USSR, Russia, Belarus
10.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Poland
09.01.2020
RT France @ L’Info avec Stéphanie De Muru, 1:07:34 - 1:07:54
UK, Russia, Ukraine, US
06.01.2020
Geopolitica.ru
Iran, China, Israel, Russia, US
10.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Ukraine, Germany, Poland
10.01.2020
Sputnik Polska
Russia, Germany, Poland
06.01.2020
Geopolitica.ru
US
20.12.2019
Iravunk.com
Armenia
25.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Russia, Baltic states
08.01.2020
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Iran, US
10.01.2020
ria.ru, www.1lurer.am, www.168.am
Armenia, Russia
08.01.2020
Moskovskij Komsomolets, PolitPuzzle
Iran, Ukraine, US
10.01.2020
News Front - Hungarian
Iran, Ukraine, US
20.12.2019
RT Arabic, Lebanon News
Russia, Ukraine
20.12.2019
lb.shafaqna.com
Ukraine, Baltic states
28.12.2019
strategic-culture.org, Russia-insider.com
US
04.01.2020
One World, Oriental Review
UK, Ukraine, The Netherlands
05.01.2020
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com), hathalyoum.net, Khabar Masr, yemen.shafaqna.com
Iraq, US, Syria
30.12.2019
Sputnik Italia
Italy, Turkey, US
29.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws), m.alwafd.news
Russia, Ukraine
01.01.2020
News Front - Russian
Ukraine
26.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws), 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
20.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com), alghad.tv, Syria friends, rtarab.com, emeknes.com, kachaf.com, saadaonline.net, nafeza2world.com, albidda.net, akhbarlibya
Russia, Ukraine
22.12.2019
RT Arabic - YouTube, RT Arabic (ar.rt.com)
US
17.12.2019
Sputnik Armenia - Russian
20.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com), hamsnews.com, middle-east.sahafahn.net
Russia
19.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com), New Hub, Khabaralyoum
13.12.2019
shaamtimes, Arabi today, Sahafah 24, Syrian News App
UK, US, Syria
18.12.2019
News Front - Serbian, Večernje novosti, Sputnik Serbia - Cyrillic, RT English, Russia’s Armed Forces newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda, Sputnik Armenia - Russian
Russia, Baltic states, Poland
16.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com), 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
Russia, Ukraine
16.12.2019
Ura.news, lenta.ru, utro.ru, vz.ru, ria.ru, Argumenty i Fakty
Russia, Ukraine
14.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws)
Russia
12.12.2019
Pervyi kanal
Ukraine
15.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com), RT Arabic - YouTube
Syria
13.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com), RT Arabic - YouTube
Italy, Russia
12.12.2019
Sputnik Poland
Ukraine, Poland
12.12.2019
Sputnik Abkhazia - Russian
USSR, Poland
05.12.2019
RT Arabic (ar.rt.com)
Russia, Georgia
10.12.2019
Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws), Sputnik Arabic - (sptnkne.ws), awajelpress.com, saadaonline.net, almada.org
Russia, Ukraine
04.12.2019
belvpo.com, 4esnok.by
Latvia, Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, Belarus, US, Poland
09.12.2019
aqreqator.az, Sputnik Azerbaijan - Russian
Russia, Ukraine
08.12.2019
tass.ru, riafan.ru, rg.ru, izvestia.ru, ria.ru, news.ru
Russia, Ukraine
08.12.2019
Rossia 24 - YouTube
Ukraine