Disinfo: The West forgot about the so called Russian threat and the Baltic states amid coronavirus

Summary

NATO proved its uselessness in fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Non-western countries seemingly counteract the epidemic much better then Western ones. Aligning efforts with Russia is necessary to save human lives and to prove that NATO’s existence makes sense. The coronavirus outbreak deprives the Baltic states of Western support. As Russia ceases to be NATO’s foe and this role is given to Islamic terrorism, coronavirus, etc. then rich Western countries do not have reasons to provide economic assistance to the Baltic states anymore. No “Russian threat” means the Baltic states do not exist for the West. Hence, due to the coronavirus outbreak the West forgot both about the so called Russian threat and the Baltic states.

Disproof

This claim exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western bodies and organisations' alleged lack of solidarity and the imminent collapse of the Western system.

One of the main pro-Kremlin narratives relating to the pandemic is that the EU and NATO are failing to cope with the COVID-19 crisis and, as a result, are disintegrating. In particular, this narrative of failure and lack of EU solidarity is trending after the delivery of Russian aid to Italy.

This narrative also aims to pit EU and NATO member states against each other in an attempt to undermine European solidarity, another recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation tactic.

NATO is also doing its part to help its member states and the Alliance's Foreign Ministers agreed to speed up the coordination to combat the coronavirus crisis. The European Commission is coordinating a common European response to the COVID-19 crisis and is supporting Member States in tackling the pandemic and in mitigating its economic consequences.

See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Russia is helping countries while Brussels and NATO stay indifferent, that coronavirus will cause the dissolution of the EU and NATO, and that NATO spreads the coronavirus in the EU.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 192
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Latvia, Russia, Baltic states, Estonia, Lithuania
  • Keywords: coronavirus, NATO, Baltic states
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Coronavirus epidemic confirmed that the EU’s values are not the values of the Italian people

Italy was completely unprepared for the coronavirus crisis. The terrible consequences of constant cuts in the health budget made by Italy’s left-wing governments over the years became clear when the coronavirus epidemic exploded, and Italy urgently needed not only advanced medical equipment, such as ventilators, but also simpler products such as face masks or simply beds in hospitals.  It also became clear that the values of the Germany-dominated EU are not the values of the Italian people, and that the EU’s economic recipes have been lethal for Italy.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the EU in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. See  a similar disinformation case claiming that the lack of solidarity against COVID-19 may cause the end of the EU.

EU countries are showing solidarity with the countries, most affected by the coronavirus pandemic by helping to treat the patients and protect health workers. Critically ill patients from Italy and France are treated in Germany, Austria, Luxembourg; millions of medical masks and other protective equipment have been sent to Italy. Read more here.

OPCW discredits whistleblowers to defend own Damascus-blaming narrative

Two former senior OPCW inspectors revealed that the watchdog had tried to cover up inconvenient evidence in the Douma investigation, which did not suit the mainstream Damascus-blaming story. Veteran inspector Ian Henderson and another former employee known as ‘Alex’ challenged the organization’s narrative which too strongly implied the government’s responsibility, but the OPCW has since tried to discredit them.

Henderson, who led the probe on the ground in Douma, had concluded that cylinders were likely manually placed on the ground, indicating the attack could have been staged by anti-government militias to frame the Syrian government — but his evidence was dismissed without explanation.

Disproof

The story fits a broader set of conspiracy narratives attacking the independence and integrity of the OPCW; lending credence to the claim that the 2018 Douma attack was staged; and absolving the Syrian regime of responsibility for chemical attacks in general.

The OPCW did not "cover up" any evidence it had access to. A press statement by the organisation confirms that "all information was taken into account, deliberated, and weighed when formulating the final report regarding the incident in Douma." According to the OPCW's director-general, the organisation has been targeted by a disinformation campaign aiming specifically to "undermine the official reports of the Fact-Finding Mission about investigations in Syria."

Konev monument will never be safe as long Czechia follows the geopolitical course of the USA

As long as Czech Republic follows the geopolitical course of the United States, the monument to Marshal Konev will never be safe in this country. There will always appear some opportunists who will try to satisfy the Americans even more. The replacement of the Monument to Konev is a signal that the Russophobic circles of Czechia have become more active.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative about the statue of Marshall Konev in Prague, seeking to obfuscate the statue's legal status and the grounds for its removal. It is also consistent with common pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Russophobia and the supposedly anti-Russian intentions of the West.

In the dispute over the statue, Russia has argued that under the Czech-Russian mutual agreement of 1993, Czechia is obliged to leave the statue in place on Prague's Interbrigade Square. However, this is an intentionally false and misleading interpretation of the terms of the agreement (full text available here). The monument is municipal property, belonging to city district Prague 6, and the 1993 agreement therefore does not apply to this case. The statue of Konev, erected in 1980, is not a military grave or memorial and therefore it was not protected by international treaties.