Disinfo: Absurd accusations of the Czechs against Russia serve to cover the fail of its counterintelligence


The Czech Republic uses the scandal with Russia to cover up the shame of its counterintelligence service, the BIS. The BIS claims an employee of the Russian embassy anonymously contacted BIS, saying that a Russian diplomat was carrying ricin in his briefcase in order to poison the mayor of Prague, in revenge for demolishing the monument to Konev. This version is unproven and created solely to get out of a hopeless situation with the least loss for the reputation of the Czech Republic. The expulsion of Russian diplomatic staff does not follow the internal agenda of Prague; relations with Moscow are deliberately spoiled by a certain part of the Czech elite.


In late April, Respekt, a Czech weekly, reported that a suspected Russian intelligence officer travelling on a diplomatic passport had arrived in Prague carrying the lethal toxin ricin in his luggage in order to poison Czech municipal civil servants, including the mayor of Prague. The investigation was ongoing. Speaking to journalists on June 5 in Prague, Mr. Babis, the Czech prime minister, said that an unnamed Russian embassy staff member had fabricated the ricin story and passed it on to the Czech intelligence service, BIS, which spent weeks investigating the alleged plot. Two Russian diplomats were expelled by Prague as a result of the investigation. Russian officials did not challenge the Czech PM's information that a Russian diplomat, and not somebody in the Czech Republic, produced this "fake news" about the ricin incident. Taking into account that Russia had just opened a criminal investigation into the removal of the Marshal Konev statue in Prague, which was accompanied by an aggressive disinformation campaign in Russian media against local Prague authorities, this allegation was naturally taken seriously by Czech security services and the police. As a precaution, three city officials were placed in protective police custody. The article provides no evidence to support the conspiracy theory that Prague invented the story about the ricin investigation. See more disinformation cases on the removal of the Soviet Marshal Konev statue in Prague.


  • Reported in: Issue 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Czech Republic, Russia
  • Keywords: Konev, Diplomacy with Russia, Anti-Russian, Monuments


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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IMF policy in Ukraine aims to turn Ukrainians into cheap labour force

The IMF’s policy in Ukraine is aimed at turning Ukrainians into a cheap labour force that will work on the fields of European Union countries.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative undermining the statehood of Ukraine and its relations with the IMF. In its press release, the IMF emphasised that ensuring macroeconomic stability and coping with COVID-19 pandemic challenges are the key tasks of a new Stand-By Arrangement between the IMF and Ukraine: "The new Stand-By Arrangement will provide an anchor for the authorities’ efforts to address the impact of the crisis, while ensuring macroeconomic stability and safeguarding achievements to date. [...] The program will focus on safeguarding medium-term fiscal sustainability, preserving central bank independence and the flexible exchange rate, and enhancing financial stability while recovering the costs from bank resolutions." According to the IMF, policies under the new arrangement will focus on four priorities: (i) mitigating the economic impact of the crisis, including by supporting households and businesses; (ii) ensuring continued central bank independence and a flexible exchange rate; (iii) safeguarding financial stability while recovering the costs from bank resolutions; and (iv) moving forward with key governance and anti-corruption measures to preserve and deepen recent gains. Read similar disinformation claiming that Ukrainians will remain without land because of the IMF and that IMF has abandoned Ukraine and cuts its support.

The EU continues to support a colour revolution in Belarus

A Lithuanian MEP condemned the Belarusian authorities for repressions against the opposition and warned about possible EU sanctions. The policy of Brussels is not surprising, it is about a well-known algorithm of colour revolutions. The EU’s actions are aimed at legitimising radical opposition and preventing the state authorities from using power against an attempt to organise a coup d’état. The EU’s political establishment follows the same tactics as it used in 2013-14 events in Ukraine.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western attempts to instigate colour revolutions. On 2 June 2020, Lithuanian MEP Petras Auštrevičius co-signed a letter, deploring the crackdown on peaceful protesters and civil society activists in Belarus. "In case of further arbitrary arrests and restrictions for Belarusian citizens to freely exercise their political rights, we will see no other option but to seek for a review of the European Union’s policy towards Belarus, including new sanctions targeting the officials responsible for these actions,” the letter says. Restrictive measures or sanctions are an essential tool of the EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy. Their imposition is no way equal to the support of a colour revolution. In the past the EU repeatedly introduced sanctions against Belarusian officials for mass violations of human rights and electoral standards but it has not attempted to stage a colour revolution in Belarus or any other country. There was no coup d'état in Ukraine. The spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was an organic reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here. The war in eastern Ukraine is not a West-driven civil conflict but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Belarusian opposition leaders prepare a coup with US military assistance, that the West dreams of tearing Belarus apart from Russia and to organise a Ukraine-like scenario, that Belarusian opposition leader Andrei Sannikau prepares a coup with US military assistance, and that pro-Western Belarusian opposition prepares a revolution with the assistance of armed Ukrainian nationalists.

Due to Ukrainian provocation, a man died at a checkpoint with the DNR

Due to Ukrainian provocation, a man died at a checkpoint with the DNR. Ukraine opened checkpoints without coordination with the DNR. DNR has long offered Ukraine to organise humanitarian corridors for citizens, but Ukraine refused.


Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine. The information that Ukraine did not inform the representatives of the so-called "Donetsk National Republic" (DNR) about the opening of two checkpoints does not correspond to reality. The Ukrainian leadership in advance and directly informed the pro-Russian militants of their intention to open two entry and exit points for social and humanitarian purposes from 10 June 2020. The refusal of the militants to let citizens through the checkpoints led to the fact that many Ukrainians living in the occupied territories were forced to spend the night right at the border. On Friday 12 June, the UN Monitoring Mission in Ukraine reported that a 59-year-old man died trying to get to his family on the territory of the Donetsk region not controlled by the government near the exit-entry checkpoint in Maryinka. Since 10 June, a man had been waiting for the opportunity to cross the border with the “DNR”. On the evening of 11 June, he became ill and was taken to hospital by ambulance. He refused hospitalisation and returned to the border - a couple of hours later he died of a heart attack. This is not the only such case. On the same day, 11 June, in the so-called “grey zone”, a woman became ill while she waited, unsuccessfully, to be allowed across the border by representatives of the “DNR” group. The victim could not move, but the militants took no action to provide the woman with first aid - she was evacuated from the grey zone by Ukrainian border guards and representatives of the Red Cross. It is also reported that for more than three days, representatives of the “DNR” have been holding two people in their car in front of their checkpoint, stubbornly preventing them from driving home.