Disinfo: A continuation of bad US and NATO policies across Russia’s neighbourhood

Summary

The attempt to create hotbeds of trouble and tension in the countries neighbouring Russia, by investing in the technology of “colour revolutions”, and exploiting the real and legitimate pursuit of peoples in their search for freedom and democracy, promoting feelings of anger and using violence and sowing sectarian and ethnic strife, to change political systems and interfere in the internal affairs of countries with Sovereignty, is nothing but a continuation of the bad Western policies pursued by the United States and NATO, seeking hegemony and imposing de facto policies, and unipolar sovereignty.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative framing popular protests as Western-backed colour revolutions, and the NATO as a geopolitical project of the US, allegedly pursuing a belligerent and hostile anti-Russian agenda. No evidence is provided to support the mentioned allegations. NATO is not encircling Russia. Russia's land border is just over 20,000 kilometres long. Of that, less than one-sixteenth (1,215 kilometres), is shared with NATO members. Russia has land borders with 14 countries. Only five of them are NATO members. Read the most common fakes about relations between Russia and NATO here. See several other anti-NATO narratives such as NATO provoking Russia, Eastern European countries are NATO “hostages” (Baltic states, Moldova, Poland) and that NATO has taken a path of aggression.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 216
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/10/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Arabic
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Russia
  • Keywords: Encircling Russia, Democracy, Colour revolutions, NATO
see more

The coup in 2013-2014 is the root cause of the war and other problems in Ukraine

Ukrainian politicians still do not want to admit that the unconstitutional seizure of power in Kyiv was the root cause of the upheavals in the country. Instead, the so-called “Maidan victors” decided to use force to suppress the dissenters in various regions of Ukraine. They imposed an almost complete ban on the Russian language, initiated lustration, the liquidation of parties and NGOs, the closure of oppositional media, and the lifting of restrictions on the propaganda of neo-Nazi ideology. And the Western mediators – France, Germany, and Poland, who acted as guarantors of the agreement of February 21, 2014 – in fact, withdrew from fulfilling the promises. Almost seven years later, Kyiv is still afraid to face the truth and admit guilt for the tragic consequences of the bloody coup. They prefer to hide their fear behind anti-Russian and Russophobic rhetoric.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign against Ukraine, containing multiple disinformation narratives regarding the Euromaidan, the war in Ukraine and Ukrainian statehood. There was no coup in Ukraine seven years ago. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU. The Ukrainian government, which came into power after the Euromaidan, did not use force to suppress the dissenters. The war in eastern Ukraine, which is often regarded as an outcome of this, is actually a well-documented case of Russian armed aggression. Ukraine did not ban the Russian language, closed parties, NGOs, or oppositional media. The Russian language remains one of the minority languages in Ukraine; it can be used in private communication and religious ceremonies, in book publishing and the press, including radio and television, in education, the service sector, the healthcare system, and in law enforcement. New parties with oppositional ideology as well as new media came into existence after 2014. Ukraine did not propagate the neo-Nazi ideology. The Nazi and Communist ideologies were banned by a Ukrainian law in 2015. See similar disinformation cases alleging that Euromaidan and pro-European politics led to the collapse of Ukraine, that the USA destroys Ukrainian identity, or that Ukraine finally becomes "anti-Russia".

JIT ignores Russia-supplied radar data proving MH17 was shot down by Ukraine

The Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team, which is looking into the case, believes that the Boeing was shot down with a weapon belonging to a Russian military unit. The Russian authorities have criticised the Dutch investigation for ignoring radar data presented by Moscow, which it says shows that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian Buk missile.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative surrounding the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 17. The claim that Moscow was "eager" to supply the JIT with radar readings is false. The first batch of data provided by Russia was not "raw data" but rather a video combining primary and secondary information. It was intended to corroborate Russia's account of the events, according to which the ill-fated passenger flight had been shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet (see here for context). The raw data provided by Moscow, in the words of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, "offered contradictory results"; hence, "the investigation of radar data is complete" not only on the basis of the information provided by Moscow, but "also on the reasons why other data could not be provided [emphasis added]." See here and here for further debunking by Bellingcat and Polygraph.info, respectively.

It was EU that suffered the most from anti-Russian sanctions

The EU, not Russia, suffered the most serious damage in 2014 and 2018 as a result of the exchange of sectoral sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western sanctions on Russia claiming that they have backfired. Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine. According to research into the effect of sanctions, the cumulative export loss to Russia during 2014-2018 is estimated at EUR 30 billion (about -0.2% of EU’s GDP in 2018), incurred largely during 2014-2016, as EU exports to Russia recovered in 2017. While these sanctions do affect the EU's economy, the EU-wide impacts of the export losses are estimated at less than 0.2% of total value-added and employment. Research showed that already in 2016 most of the affected agricultural sectors had been able to find alternative markets, either within the EU or beyond.