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
  • Language/target audience: English, French
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: fake statistics, fake news, Mainstream media, Vladimir Putin
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Sanctions against Russia are ineffective

Sanctions against Russia are ineffective, not only did they fail to improve the situation in Ukraine, but also failed to influence the policy of Vladimir Putin. They only lead to the degradation of trust in Europe of our relation with the Russian partner.

There is now a  very important problem: the pandemic of Coronavirus. Europe should investigate the origin of the virus instead of extending the sanctions every six months, it would re-establish trust and trade within Europe with the Russians.

Disproof

Recurrent narrative about the  sanctions against Russia claiming they are useless and counterproductive. An additional element is added about the origin of SARS-CoV-2.

The EU sanctions were introduced as a political response to Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and deliberate destabilization of Ukraine. The introduction, extension or possible removal of the EU restrictive measures is not related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus – just a pretext for reducing population growth, then reducing the population

This special project or special operation – COVID-19 – will allow you to kill several birds with one stone.
The coronavirus is just a pretext for reducing population growth, then reducing the population. The optimal number for them is 1 billion people. As a result, it has certain purposes: to reduce the population through universal vaccination, to ensure the digitalisation of society or the completion of a concentration camp for electronic banks, etc.

Disproof

A conspiracy theory about the coronavirus pandemic sharing a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about "secret elites" controlling the world. Several conspiracy theories are presented, including that COVID-19 is an infection caused by the world's elites, in order to reduce the population through vaccination.

There is no evidence to support this claim. In fact, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, acknowledging that the virus had become a global phenomenon. Before that date, the situation was being described as an epidemic, illustrating that the virus had already spread to many people, and many communities, at the same time.

Euromaidan was a coup where pro-Western forces teamed up with ultranationalists

The 2014 Maidan coup saw pro-Western forces team up with outright ultranationalists and topple the nation’s legitimate government.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative painting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a violent coup spearheaded by "ultranationalists."

The Euromaidan was not a coup attempt but a nationwide popular protest against the government's sudden announcement that it would not sign the EU Association Agreement. See the full debunk here.