Disinfo: Bloomberg fakes Putin's approval numbers

Summary

The US news agency Bloomberg has reported, citing figures by the Russian state pollster VTsIOM, that Putin’s rating dropped to a record low of 27 percent in April as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on the national economy. The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the report, showing that the real figures provided by VTsIOM (67-8%), which Bloomberg claimed to cite, were altered in the report. “The editors of Bloomberg continue to show complete disrespect for its readers. They probably hope that their audience will not check Russian sources and find a real WCIOM data”, the Russian Embassy in the United States said on Twitter.

Disproof

The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative which casts Western media as biased against Russia. Under this narrative, outlets such as Bloomberg will not hesitate to report bogus statistics for the sake of impressing their Russophobic prejudices on unsuspecting readers. VTsIOM's statistics on public trust in politicians are based on two different survey questions, which in turn produce two different percentages. The first question is closed-ended: "Do you trust or not trust... [name of public official]"? Based on this, Putin's approval rating stands at 67.9% as of 17 May 2020. The second question is open-ended and allows multiple answers: "When it comes to politicians, whom do you trust, and whom would you not entrust with solving important state issues?" In this case, Putin's approval comes to 27% as of April 2020. The Bloomberg article correctly cites the second figure (27%) and correctly bills it as an "historic low," given that Putin's approval is now at its lowest since 2006. Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in the US countered Bloomberg's reporting by citing the first figure (~67%), implying that this is the only relevant statistic produced by VTsIOM.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 198
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 24/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) English, French
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: fake statistics, fake news, Mainstream media, Vladimir Putin
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US trained in the skies over Norway and Sweden, to attack Russia

The United States used the airspace of Norway and Sweden to simulate strikes in Russia with B-1B Lancer bombers. According to the Telegram channel “Svarshchiki”, Norway and Sweden made their airspace available for aggressive (offensive) operations against Russia with strategic bombers of the US Air Force B-1B Lancer on May 20, 2020. The United States even petted the head of the complaining Swedish leadership (not part of NATO) because it allowed its country to come into conflict with Russia solely in the interests of the United States (to the detriment of its population, economy and security). Sweden has accompanied strategists with Gripen fighters and Norway with F-35 planes.

Disproof

New adaptation of a recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on western militaries or NATO encircling and trying to attack Russia.

On 20 May 2020, US strategic B-1B bombers were in joint training with Norwegian and Swedish fighter jets, exercising in the airspace over both Norway and Sweden. Two B-1B Lancers from the 28th Bomb Wing in Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, conducted a long-range strategic bomber task force mission to the Nordic region on 20 May 2020. The bombers visited Norwegian airspace, where they integrated and trained with four Norwegian F-35s. For Norway, the U.S. mission provided an important training opportunity. These training exercises were not targeted at Russia, nor were these jets training to target Russia as claimed.

In The Hague, there is no case against Russia related to Ukraine

It is unclear to which case against Russia in the court in The Hague the materials from the interviews with Girkin and Poklonskaya can be attached. In The Hague, there is no case against Russia in relation to Ukraine.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the lawsuit trial between Ukraine and Russia at the International Court of Justice in Hague. Read a similar case, claiming that Ukraine’s lawsuit against Russia is groundless. Ukraine has filed a complaint against Russia to the International Court of Justice in Hague on 17 January 2017, concerning the events in separatist areas of Ukraine, Donetsk and Lugansk, including the downing of the MH17 Malaysian plane in July 2014. Ukraine invoked the violation of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD). Ukraine requested the Court ”to adjudge and declare that the Russian Federation bears international responsibility, by virtue of its sponsorship of terrorism and failure to prevent the financing of terrorism under the Convention, for the acts of terrorism committed by its proxies in Ukraine”, and ”to adjudge and declare that the Russian Federation, through its State organs, State agents, and other persons and entities exercising governmental authority, including the de facto authorities administering the illegal Russian occupation of Crimea, and through other agents acting on its instructions or under its direction and control, has violated its obligations under the CERD”. See details here. On 8 November 2019, the Court fixed the time-limit for Russian Federation to present the counter-memorial in this trial. In the same Judgment, the Court rejected the preliminary objection raised by the Russian Federation to the admissibility of the Application of Ukraine in relation to the claims under CERD. Thus, the UN Court will consider the case. The lawsuit was filed at the International Court of Justice by the then President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, in early 2017.

US organises colour revolutions around the world, Ukraine is one of the projects

The US brings chaos and organises colour revolutions around the world simply because it can, and there is no court or institution which can legally oppose it. Ukraine is one of the US’ projects.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that the United States supports the so-called "colour revolutions" around the world. This narrative portrays any spontaneous disorders and civil uprisings in other states, especially the former Soviet republics, as Western-funded "colour revolutions", including the Revolution of Dignity (Euromaidan) in Ukraine, which began in 2013 without any outside influence. Ukrainians spontaneously united against the actions of President Viktor Yanukovych after his government refused to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union, which had taken seven years to negotiate, due to pressure from Russia. Ukraine is an independent state whose sovereignty is respected both in the EU and in the USA. Washington is working closely with Ukraine, directing its assistance to support the development of a safe, democratic, prosperous and free Ukraine, fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community. See the similar case: The US tried to organise a colour revolution in Belarus against Russia.