DISINFO: Borrell: it is time for Europeans to freeze to death for the sake of democratic ideals
  • Outlet: tsargrad.tv (archived)* osnmedia.ru (archived)*
  • Date of publication: November 22, 2022
  • Article language(s): Russian
  • Reported in: Issue 318
  • Countries / regions discussed: EU, Russia
Energy War in Ukraine

DISINFO: Borrell: it is time for Europeans to freeze to death for the sake of democratic ideals


EU High Representative Josep Borrell has called on all Europeans to turn down heating in their homes. Europeans have been virtually asked to freeze to death so that only “democratic ideals” do not suffer. "We are faced with a choice between freedom and comfort. We have talked a lot about being willing to die for the ideals of democracy, it's time to prove it" Borrell said. According to him, the temperature in flats above +18 C is a crime against European values.


This is a recurring disinformation narrative from pro-Kremlin outlets trying sow distrust in European authorities (narrative 'Elite vs the people') and to downplay Europe’s efforts to cut down on energy use. This claim was made in the context of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

EU High Representative Josep Borrell did not make such a statement. It originates from a political satire Telegram channel @lastoppo which openly states in its info section that it exclusively posts satirical content and false information. This important aspect has been omitted when the text was picked up by other pro-Kremlin Telegram-channel incl. by main Kremlin propagandist Vladimir Solovyov’s @SolovievLive attributing these words to Borrell.

Like other disinformation and manipulation tactics, it takes things out of context or spins off inventing postulates. Last year, Borrell said that we must be ready to safe energy and turn our heating down by 2 degrees.

Russia’s unjustified military aggression against Ukraine and its weaponisation of gas supplies caused a sharp rise in energy prices. The EU is taking strong action to address this.

Multiple governments around Europe have called on their citizens to turn down heating to reduce gas dependency on Russia. See for example here and here.


Related disinfo cases


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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