Disinfo: Accusing Russia of cyber-attacks is purely Russophobic

Summary

Any accusations of Russia’s involvement [in cyberattacks] are totally unfounded and are most likely a continuation of blind Russophobia, which is resorted to in any incident.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative about ubiquitous Russophobia and a belligerent agenda against Russia.

There is substantial evidence that cyber-attacks targeting companies and governments between Europe and the US originated from Russia and are also linked to the Russian government. Russian President Vladimir Putin is known to have admitted that ‘patriotic hackers’ might target election campaigns abroad. Below are some examples of Russian cyber-attacks.

Cyberattacks linked to Russian military intelligence have targeted companies researching Covid-19 drugs and vaccines.

Russian meddling in the 2016 US Presidential election was also established by US intelligence agencies, and at least two units within the Russian GRU were accused of targeting both the Joe Biden and Donald Trump campaigns ahead of the 2020 US Presidential election.

The US Department of Justice indicted in 2017 two FSB officials and their Russian cybercriminal conspirators on computer hacking and conspiracy charges.

Dutch law-enforcement agents caught red-handed Russian military intelligence operatives involved in a hacking operation against the OPCW.

The UK has provided convincing evidence of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum.

Germany in 2015 issued an international arrest warrant against Dmitri Badin, a hacker working for the Russian military intelligence service.

Norway's Police Security Service (PST) also said that hackers linked to the GRU took part in attacking its Parliament.

Check out our article regarding GRU-linked cyber attacks, and our analysis: The “Russophobia” Myth: Appealing to the Lowest Feelings.

Read similar cases claiming that accusations about Russian-sponsored hacker attacks aim to discredit Sputnik V, and that Brussels uses Russophobia as a uniting idea to prevent the EU's collapse, or that it is speculation to say that cyberattacks originated in Russia, or that Russia is not and will never be implicated in cybercrimes, or that Russian secret services have never been involved in cyber-attacks.

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  • Reported in: Issue 226
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/12/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: UK, Norway, Russia, US, Germany, The Netherlands
  • Keywords: GRU, OPCW, Fancy Bear, Internet, Brexit, Cyber, Anti-Russian, Russophobia

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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Fascist Zelensky declared the Russian nation an enemy of Ukraine

(The) Jew Zelenskyy declared the Russian nation an enemy of Ukraine. However, you do not expect anything else from the fascist president. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy changed his rhetoric that the main enemy of the Ukrainians is supposedly Russia, now, according to him, it is the Russians who are the invaders.

Disproof

This is a new take on an already well-known Russian disinformation narrative, attempting to portray Ukraine as a fascist, Nazi state.

The myth of Nazi-ruled Ukraine has been the cornerstone of Russian disinformation about the country since the very beginning of the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests, when it was used to discredit the pro-European popular uprising in Kyiv and, subsequently, the broader pro-Western shift in Ukraine's foreign policy. Far-right groups enjoyed a very limited presence during the Euromaidan itself and had poor results in the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections. In the 2019 election, far-right candidates fell short of the 5% minimum guaranteeing entry into parliament.

The West did not respond to Russian initiatives to cooperate on the Navalny case

Russia is ready to open an investigation into the case of Navalny, but it asked the West to provide it with official conclusions about the issue. Moscow has suggested to foreign partners to cooperate in the investigation on its territory and abroad, but these initiatives have not received any response.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Aleksei Navalny's poisoning.

Germany has responded to past Russian calls for Navalny's medical samples by saying that Russia should already have all it needs after its initial treatment of the dissident.

Washington implemented new anti-Russian sanctions and pushed relations with Moscow into deeper crisis

The US Department of Commerce announced the list of 103 Chinese and Russian companies linked to the military. Export restrictions will be implemented for these companies.

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Washington is ignoring its own business interests with anti-Russian fervor. The US cancels the possibility of cooperating with Russia in very promising area, including civil aviation, engineering, manufacturing of devices, metal industry.

This step pushes relations between Russia and the US into a deeper crisis. It will only be possible to exit this crisis if the US is ready to develop relations on the principles of equality and mutual respect.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the anti-Russian position of the US. New restrictions on Russian companies (as well as on Chinese) are aimed:

“to combat efforts by China and Russia to divert U.S. technology for their destabilising military programs”.

The current crisis in relations between Russia and the US is linked to Moscow's modus operandi, including oppression against its own civil society, aggression against its neighbours, attacks on democratic institutions etc. The official position of the US Department of State in the context of relations with Russia is:

“The United States would like to move beyond the current low level of trust with Russia, stabilize our relationship, and cooperate where possible and when it is in the core U.S. national security interest to do so. To achieve this, Russia must take demonstrable steps to show it is willing to be a responsible global actor, starting with a cessation of efforts to interfere in democratic processes. The long-term goal of the United States is to see Russia become a constructive stakeholder in the global community”.

Pro-Kremlin disinformation often tries to present the sanctions on Russia as Russophobic or not in the interest of the countries imposing them. See similar examples: US sanctions policy is ineffective; American sanctions aim to destroy the Russian economy; US sanctions against Ramzan Kadyrov are part of Washington’s Russophobic strategy.