Disinfo: Most influential European media are backing away from propaganda against Sputnik V

Summary

The most influential European media backed away from the propaganda that aimed at discrediting the Russian vaccine and has now started to talk about the good sides of the “Sputnik V” vaccine. This indicates a change in attitudes, especially after the publication of the report of the British scientific journal “The Lancet” that opened the eyes of sceptics on the reality: the “Sputnik V” vaccine efficacity and safety has been scientifically confirmed in fighting the Coronavirus.

Disproof

Disinformation that exploits the coronavirus pandemic claiming that there is a Russophobic campaign against Sputnik V vaccine.

The claim that the “most influential European media” was trying to discredit the Sputnik V vaccine is not supported by factual evidence. Their critical view was linked to the lack of transparency which accompanied the vaccine's approval process.

Reservations and criticism of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine stem from the fact that Russia did not complete large trials to test the vaccine’s safety and efficacy before releasing it, which meant at that time that rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger people who receive it.

On Aug 11, 2020, Russia declared it is the first country in the world to approve a vaccine against coronavirus. Nonetheless, there were widespread concerns that the approval was premature because of the lack of large trials. At the time of approval, the vaccine had not even started phase 3 trials, nor had any results on the earlier stage trials been published, world scientists said on the Lancet.

Following the criticism, Russia published its response on the Lancet in September. Then international experts expressed concerns about statistical anomalies revealed during the publication of the results of the first and second phases of clinical trials of the Russian vaccine. Publishing their clarifications, Russia did not address the criticism, in essence, analysed Deutsche Welle.

Now that the results of the late-stage clinical trial of Sputnik V have been published in “The Lancet”, other health organisations such as the WHO and EMA will have to publish their own peer-reviewed results.

Emer Cooke, the head of the EMA, said at the end of January 2021 that the agency had "not received an application either for a rolling review or for marketing authorization," but added that "we are in discussions with the company who is responsible for this vaccine. And they have raised a number of questions with us in the context of scientific advice. And this will obviously shape how the evaluation could go forward in the future."

Other messages of disinformation about Sputnik V vaccine said that the Russian vaccine is a target of a corporate Cold war; or that there is a conspiracy ripening against Russian vaccine; or that the UK launched a smear campaign against it; or that the WHO and Microsoft sabotaged the Russian vaccine; or that the West criticises the Sputnik V because it can’t accept Russia’s primacy, or that WHO confirms the safety and efficacity of "Sputnik-V" vaccine, or even that people shouldn’t trust the Moderna vaccine, and that NATO has a policy of discrediting “Sputnik-V”.

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There is no repression in Russia

The Kremlin denies that there is repression in Russia, only police measures against those who break the law in unauthorised protests. During pro-Navalny demonstrations, arrests were made after the policemen were attacked by some violent elements.

Disproof

The claim is false. Although some participants in the pro-Navalny protests in Moscow in January 2021 were violent, there is evidence that the police acted with excessive force against largely peaceful demonstrators. The massive number of arrests (around 5,000 on the first week of protests in 85 cities) shows that not only those who acted violently were arrested. Also, there was a preemptive crackdown on activists and students ahead of the first demonstration.

These actions have been defined by Amnesty International as an attempt to silence criticism, and according to this organisation’s country profile, those attempting to exercise the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly faced reprisals, ranging from harassment to police ill-treatment, arbitrary arrest, heavy fines and in some cases criminal prosecution and imprisonment. A similar assessment is found in the Russian chapter of the Human Rights Watch World Report 2021.

Navalny doesn't reveal his sources unlike of Assange and Snowden

Unlike Assange and Snowden, Alexey Navanly doesn’t reveal the sources of his documents.

Disproof

Disinformation campaign to discredit Alexey Navalny claiming that he does make serious investigations or provides questionable pieces of evidence.

The FBK organisation (Foundation for Combating Corruption) is a Russian non-profit organisation based in Moscow established in 2011 by activist and politician Alexei Navalny. Its main goal is to investigate and to expose corruption cases among high-ranking Russian government officials.

NATO and the EU want to contain and destabilise Russia through Navalny and the “opposition”

The statements of NATO and EU countries about the situation regarding Alexei Navalny is a coordinated information campaign that represents a global attempt to contain Russia and interfere in its internal affairs.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Alexei Navalny , aiming to frame criticism of his arrest and the crackdown on protests as foreign interference.

Contrary to the claim, this criticism is not “a global attempt to contain Russia” but a legitimate concern about human rights and the rule of law in this country. The European Union condemned the arrest of Alexei Navalny and demanded his immediate release. In 2019 the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the charges against Alexei Navalny are politically motivated and arbitrary and manifestly unreasonable. As a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, Russia undertook to secure a number of fundamental rights and freedoms to everyone within its jurisdiction.