Disinfo: A strong external player is trying to create an “arc of instability” around Russia

Summary

There are hotbeds of tension throughout the post-Soviet space. We are talking about states that are not just Russia’s neighbours. These are countries that have partner relations with Russia. Many are again discussing the arc of instability, the State Department’s naphthalene plan to increase tensions on the Russian borders. A strong external player is trying to create a kind of “arc of instability” next to Russia.

Disproof

The article appeared in the context of the recent escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh which is a continuation of the decades-old conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

This conspiracy theory is hinting that the escalation of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is the result of deliberate Western actions aimed at harming Russia and its interests. It, therefore, corresponds to recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the belligerent and hostile US and West and fits well into the disinformation narrative that presents virtually all protests, civil uprisings, or local conflicts as a consequence of the West's intentional actions.

Read similar cases on "colour revolutions"; for example the claim that Nagorno-Karabakh conflict favours US interests, someone wants to divert Russia from Belarus and Syria, that The escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan is directed against Russia, or that the US embassy in Armenia is a mini-Pentagon escalating tension in the region and the Middle East.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 215
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia, US
  • Keywords: Encircling Russia, The West

Disclaimer

Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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NATO is trying to destroy the military alliance of Russia and Belarus

NATO continues to build up its combat potential and military activity in Europe. The deployment of NATO’s military infrastructure is proceeding at an accelerated pace in the Baltics. The main goal of expanding military activity is to dismantle the military alliance of Belarus and Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about NATO.

NATO is in no way directed against Russia or any other state. NATO’s objectives are set out in the 1949 Washington Treaty which forms the legal basis of the alliance. The treaty states that parties “are resolved to unite their efforts for collective defence and for the preservation of peace and security”.

Novichok is a purely “Western product”

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced that a substance similar to the neurotoxic agent Novichok was detected in the body of Alexey Navalny. However, Novichok is a “purely Western product” which does not exist in Russia.

The Novichok chemical warfare agent exists in about 140 variants in Western countries, but not in Russia. The structure and mass spectrum of “Novichok”, which is allegedly responsible for the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, was first revealed in the American spectroscopy database (American Institute of Standards) in 1988.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group was established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory. This is also a narrative employed during the Sergey Skripal case in 2018.

In September 2017, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) confirmed the full destruction  of the 39,967 metric tons of chemical weapons possessed by Russia, but Novichoks were never declared to the OPCW and weren’t included in the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2019. Novichok is known to be more powerful than VX and was developed in Russia in 1970s and in 1980s.

The European Union sent Moldova instructions on how to conduct the elections

The European Union sent Moldova instructions on how to conduct the elections. The Moldovan authorities received a special letter of instruction, which listed some of the requirements and simply the expectations of the European colleagues for the presidential elections scheduled for November 1.

Disproof

Recurring the pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western involvement in internal affairs, including elections, in many states, especially the ones of the former Soviet Union. See here a case about the West trying to destabilise the situation in Belarus before the election.

The claim refers to the Statement by the Spokesperson on the upcoming presidential elections in Moldova, issued on 30 September 2020, calling on the Moldovan authorities to organize credible, inclusive and transparent elections. "The European Union calls on the authorities of the Republic of Moldova to implement fully and without further delay the recommendations of the Council of Europe Venice Commission and the OSCE/ODIHR to guarantee the transparency of party and campaign financing," the statement said.