Disinfo: After the coup in Kiev in 2014, Crimea reunited with Russia following a referendum

Summary

After the Kiev coup in February 2014, the authorities in Crimea and Sevastopol decided to hold a referendum on reunification with Russia. In the vote, which took place on March 16 of the same year, more than 80 percent of those eligible to vote took part. For reunification with the Russian Federation, 96.7 and 95.6% of the inhabitants of Crimea and Sevastopol voted, respectively. On March 18, the President of Russia signed an agreement on the acceptance of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol into the Russian Federation, and on March 21, the document was ratified by the Federal Assembly. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kiev refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

Disproof

Recurrent narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea. The Euromaidan was not a coup but a nationwide popular protest against the government's sudden announcement that it would not sign the EU Association Agreement. See the full debunk here. Crimea is a part of Ukraine and was illegally annexed by Russia. The annexation has been condemned by the UNGA (see the resolution A/RES/68/262 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine). No international body recognizes the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held on 16 March 2014. A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum. The European Union does not recognise Crimea's annexation and continues to condemn it as a violation of international law. EU sanctions continue to be in place against Russia as a consequence of the annexation. See the EU's statement on the sixth anniversary of Crimea annexation here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 211
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 13/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) French
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Crimea, Referendum, Euromaidan, Coup
see more

Germany could be the real target of intoxication of Navalny; money trails point to the US

The intoxication of Russian blogger Alexei Navalny has a very clear goal, and in order to know who could be behind it, one only must know who benefits from the event that caused his metabolic disorder, produced by a sharp fall of his blood sugar levels, which the West is promoting as an alleged poisoning. In this match, Germany could be the real target, and the money trail points directly to the US: its defence budget for 2021 includes imposing sanctions to prevent the finalisation of the Nord Stream 2 works, for which there are only 160 kilometres left until its completion.

Disproof

This is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. The claim that Navalny suffered an “intoxication” or a “metabolic disorder” presented now by the West as “an alleged poisoning” is false, since the use of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group against the Russian dissident has been established beyond any doubt by a specialist Bundeswehr laboratory. The campaign is following the same playbook that the one deployed after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daugther in Salisbury in 2018, a case where there is strong evidence of the involvement of Russian intelligence operatives and high-level Russian officials. By claiming that is the US and not Russia who benefits from this incident, pro-Kremlin media are trying to deflect any Russian responsibility for it, a frequent Kremlin tactic. Also, the use of multiple and simultaneous versions of an event involving questionable actions by the Russian government or its allies, in order to confound citizens about the actual truth, is a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation strategy, already seen in the cases of the MH17 downing, the illegal annexation of Crimea, the murder attempt against the Skripals or chemical attacks in Syria. See other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on Alexei Navalny’s poisoning in our database, such as claims that only caffeine and alcohol were found in his blood, that the US wanted to use it to block Russia's vaccine against coronavirus, that the West hopes that he dies to have an excuse for new sanctions, or that Western accusations about Navalny’s case are as false as they were about Sergei Skripal and Alexander Litvinenko.

The same authoritarian regime exists in Bulgaria and Belarus

Taking into consideration [political] trends, it is possible to compare Bulgaria to Belarus, because the same authoritarian regime exists in Bulgaria and Belarus.

Disproof

This message presents Bulgaria as an authoritarian and undemocratic country and uses manipulative headline. According to the Freedom House, Belarus an authoritarian police state in which elections are openly rigged and civil liberties are curtailed. Bulgaria’s democratic system holds competitive elections and has seen several transfers of power in recent decades. Belarus scored 19 points out of 100 in the Freedom House's Global Freedom Index 2020. Bulgaria's score: 80 out of 100. Read more disinformation messages focusing on Bulgaria: The USA is planning a coup in Bulgaria in order to subsequently blame Russia; Bulgarians have not seen any significant benefits from membership of the EU and NATO and EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn says that Bulgarians do not need a state.

The crowds protesting in Belarus are computer generated imagery

Look at this photo: it’s like an ocean of people. But look at the distances between people in the first row! It is impossible that there can be such distances in a crowd like that. It is impossible! There should be no space at all, first, second, third row should be full. But they’re not as you can see. It is a clearly an example of computer graphics.

Disproof

An unfounded claim to suggest the absence of popular support for the protests in Belarus.

The filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov certainly demonstrates an allegedly doctored picture, but Russian journalists have documented that the original broadcast did not contain the picture, demonstrated on Mikhalkov's show.