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
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Sergei Skripal, election meddling, Brexit, Anti-Russian, Alexander Litvinenko

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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White Helmets are aiding terrorism

The White Helmets brand hides a false story with staging, looting and aiding terrorism. Moscow has repeatedly tried to convey to the world community: this is no humanitarian organisation. However, the West continues to finance it.

Disproof

An example of many disinformation claims about the White Helmets. Pro-Kremlin media routinely accuse the White Helmets of “working for terrorists” and being a creation of the Western intelligence services. No evidence is given to support these claims.

The "White Helmets" movement originated in Syria in 2012, when the first detachments of volunteer rescuers appeared in the territories outside the control of Bashar al-Assad's troops. In 2014, volunteer teams merged into a national organisation, the Syrian Civil Defence, which is the official name of the 'White Helmets'. Volunteers save people from the rubble after bombings, despite the danger to themselves as a result of repeated airstrikes. Activists from this organisation have documented the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad government and allied forces. Because of this, they have become the target of an extensive Russian disinformation campaign.

US Democratic Party is trying to eliminate Orthodoxy

The US Democratic Party decided to use the Patriarchate of Constantinople for its corporate purposes, for the collapse of the Orthodox world as an incomprehensible and alien identity, of mainly Eastern European countries.

Orthodoxy as a part of national identity is interpreted by the Democratic Party as a threat that must be eliminated.

Disproof

No evidence given. Conspiracy theory and recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative alleging that the US is trying to split the Orthodox world.

The Democratic Party does not use, nor plan to use, the Constantinople Patriarchy for its own purposes, it is not trying to eliminate Orthodox Christianity.

Dutch “justice” is totally corrupt, as shown by the MH17 trial

The judge on the trial in The Netherlands of the downing of MH17 flight ruled out allowing Russia to present any evidence that would prove its innocence. Judge Hendrik Steenhuis refused to allow Russia’s military intelligence to reveal the location of the Buk missile [that allegedly shot down the plane] between 1987 and July 2014. Dutch prosecutor says that the missile was shot by the Russian government, not by the Ukrainian government; that it was made in Russia in 1986, belonged to Russia, and had been there since, and the Dutch judge rejected any Russian evidence on the contrary.

When the Ukrainian government authorised Dutch authorities to investigate the downing of the MH17 flight, they signed a secret agreement that included a clause allowing Ukraine to block and prevent any finding that may implicate them. The Government of The Netherlands violates its own Freedom of Information law by refusing to make the agreement public.

Disproof

Recurrent disinformation narrative about the trial on the downing of the MH17 flight over Eastern Ukraine, aiming to discredit the judicial process and maintain the pretence of Russia’s innocence and of an international set up against it. This article is consistent with Russia’s defense strategy based in requesting that the court revises every long-debunked claim -in this case, that the Buk missile involved in the downing was sent to Ukraine in 1986 during the Soviet period and remained there, despite evidences on the contrary-, in order to be able to assert that “not every stone was turned” in the investigation.

The claim that the Ukrainian and Dutch governments signed a secret agreement with a clause preventing any investigation of Ukraine’s implication is a conspiracy theory not backed by any evidence.