Disinfo: Anti-Russian report is needed to distract the British from their own problems

Summary

The anti-Russian report is needed to distract the British from their own problems. One of the goals of the publication in the UK of a report on “Russian interference” in political processes in Europe is to divert attention from their own problems. Judging by the statements made at the parliamentary and government levels, it was obvious that the British had no proof. Nevertheless, the main message of the report was that “Russian interference is unacceptable.” If there are any problems in British society, it means that it is not the government, not the parliament, not the civil society, not the judicial system, but the Russians who are to blame. This primitive and crude rhetoric still works to some extent.

Disproof

This disinformation message is a classic example of the Russia did not do/you have no evidence approach to the report published by the Intelligence and Security Committee of the British Parliament. The document shows for example that there is Russian cyber intrusion into the UK's critical national infrastructure; and that Russian actors orchestrated phishing attempts against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory during the investigation into the Salisbury attacks. The report also says: "Russia may spread disinformation or seek to influence political events for a wide range of purposes, but all in support of its underlying foreign policy objectives: • direct support of a pro-Russian narrative in relation to particular events (whilst some of the outright falsehoods which are put forward may not be widely believed, they may still succeed in casting doubt on the true account of events (...); • direct support of Russia’s preferred outcome in relation to an overseas election or political issue; and • general poisoning of the political narrative in the West by fomenting political extremism and ‘wedge issues’, and by the ‘astroturfing’ of Western public opinion; and general discrediting of the West." The report also indicates that Russian money has been welcome in the UK and it has had access to the highest levels of UK companies and political figures. Russian intervention in European, and in particular British affairs, is well known and documented. There is compelling evidence that the Russian state was behind Alexander Litvinenko's assassination through poisoning with radioactive polonium on British soil. A British murder investigation pointed to a member of Russia’s Federal Protective Service as the prime suspect. A public enquiry concluded that Litvinenko’s murder was a Russian FSB operation, probably personally approved by President Putin. As for the Skripal poisoning, the British Police have presented a solid chain of evidence, with pictures, connecting the suspects to the locations in the case. Parts of the material have been released to the public. The evidence was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals, Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin with the attack on the Skripals, both Russian military intelligence operatives from the GRU, who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents. Numerous investigations have provided convincing evidence of Russian interference in the Brexit referendum and in elections across Europe and in the US - see more information here, here and here. In early 2018, Twitter admitted that Russian trolls had indeed targeted the Brexit vote during an evidence session with British MPs, who flew to the United States to question representatives from major technology firms as part of their fake news inquiry. Further information came to light later in 2018, when Twitter released data showing that an army of Russian trolls sent thousands of messages with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU on the day of the Brexit vote. This army, which was linked to the Internet Research Agency (IRA), constituted approximately 3800 accounts. See similar cases claiming that The West falsely accuses Russia of election meddling, or that Twitter didn’t find any Russian effort to influence Brexit, There is no evidence of Russia’s involvement in the Skripals’ poisoning.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 207
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/07/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Sergei Skripal, election meddling, Brexit, Anti-Russian, Alexander Litvinenko
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Armenia has blocked broadcasting from Russia

Armenia blocked broadcasting from Russia. Armenian parliament nevertheless adopted a scandalous law on broadcasting in a foreign language. Parliament voted to ban the free broadcasting of Russian TV channels in Armenia. The rationale for the adoption of such a law is almost classical for post-Soviet limitrophes – the National Commission on Television and Radio Broadcasting believes that these channels are no less a threat to Armenia’s national security. Of course, this is an act of cleansing the country’s information space from Russian influence. Or even the act of clearing out for something new? This we will see in the nearest future.

Disproof

A manipulative statement, accusing Armenian authorities of being Russophobic and Anti-Russian. Misinterpretation of the "Audiovisual Media Law" of the Republic of Armenia. Armenia did not block Russian channels, the Law is regulating the broadcasting in foreign languages, including Russian in public multiplex only. It does not mean a ban on the broadcasting of Russian TV companies in Armenia and leaves both states the opportunity to conclude intergovernmental agreements to ensure broadcasting of Russian channels through the public multiplex of Armenia. The new law regulates the public multiplex, where foreign broadcasters can broadcast only under the interstate or intergovernmental or international agreements. For example, Russian MIR TV is broadcasting under the intergovernmental agreement. There is no talk about shutting down hundreds of foreign broadcasters that are available on cable networks, satellites, it is only about a public multiplex. The purpose of the law is to broadcast programmes in the state language, to promote a state agenda, preserve the national identity, language and culture in the free public multiplex.

There is no country in the world, including Russia itself, where there are foreign channels in the public multiplex.

Russia does not interfere in other countries sovereign affairs

Russia has never been a colonial country. Also, Russia has never known what is called looting of foreign countries. Our foreign policy is based on respect for international law and does not accept attempts to dominate, dictate the will of others over independent countries, nor interfere in the affairs of their sovereignty.

Disproof

Recurrent narrative praising peaceful Russia and its superiority over other countries.

Russia has a long track-record in interfering with other countries' sovereign affairs.

Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada admitted that Kyiv will not implement the Minsk agreements

The chairman of the Verkhovna Rada admitted that Kyiv is not going to implement the Minsk agreements. The Verkhovna Rada will not make any changes to the Constitution of Ukraine on the proposal of other countries, even if it is foreseen by the Minsk agreements and is necessary to end the war in Donbas. This was stated by Chairman of the Ukrainian parliament Dmitro Razumkov during a press conference. The head of the Rada replied that adding amendments, which are envisaged by the Minsk agreements, to the fundamental law of Ukraine is not even a subject to discussion.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine and the Minsk Agreements. The Chairman of the Ukrainian parliament Dmitro Razumkov did not say that Kyiv is not going to implement the Minsk agreements. Speaking at a press conference in the Verkhovna Rada, Razumkov stated that Russia cannot dictate to Ukraine how to change Ukrainian laws: “I think that only the Ukrainian people, society, the Verkhovna Rada, MPs, the president, and other institutions that work for the benefit of our country can require amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine." Razumkov also added that a lot of work regarding Ukrainian legislation still has to be done in order to return the temporarily occupied territories. The implementation of the agreements remains one of the key priorities of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Since 2014, negotiations with Russia to resolve the conflict in the Donbas have been held within the framework of the Normandy Format and the Minsk process. A special Trilateral contact group is working on a peaceful settlement of the Donbas situation. Three parties are involved in this process: representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. Unofficially, representatives of the "LDNR" factions are also present.