Disinfo: Conspiracy theories are useful for human societies

Summary

Conspiracy theories quickly give a fallacious explanation of a reality that can be stressful and traumatic. Thinking that a small group of people caused all catastrophes helps people and human groups to cope with this trauma, overcome their stress, accept the situation and adapt to the new reality. Therefore, it can be concluded that conspiracy theories are useful even if this contradicts the way they are usually presented. Conspiracy theories brings more good than bad.

Disproof

This case is an example of how a harmful disinformation claim can be mendaciously disguised as an "opinion". The argument that conspiracy theories bring more good than bad, especially in context of the present pandemic, flies in the face of reality. Extensive research and analysis details the dangerous consequences of belief in conspiracy theories, including the negative impact they may have on public health. This claim is part of the pro-Kremlin disinformation effort to legitimise conspiracy theories. While it is true that conspiracy theories can provide convenient explanations of a reality that's stressful and traumatic, it is false and irresponsible to suggest that they play a positive role in helping accept reality or adapt to a new situation. In his book The Opium of Fools, Rudy Reichstadt denounces the excessive indulgence intellectual circles have towards conspiracy theories. Reichstadt argues that conspiracy theories do not constitute psychological help to cope with traumas; while faith helps, incorrect knowledge does not. Furthermore, in crisis situations, the spread of conspiracy theories can seriously jeopardize public health. Conspiracy theories are based on denial of reality (e.g., the fake moon landing narratives, flat earth theories, 9/11 trutherism, theories about 5G causing the coronavirus...) and can have very dangerous consequences, for example if they lead people to refuse vaccination or attack essential infrastructure.The recent spread of Bill Gates anti-vaccination conspiracy theories also represents a real danger.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 198
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) French
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: Conspiracy theory
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Sabotage, imitation and profanity - what Ukraine is doing in the Donbas peace negotiation process

Sabotage, imitation, profanity, and absurd new ideas from Kyiv – this is how things turn out on the negotiating platform on the Donbas issue. Meanwhile, the ongoing shelling of settlements in the Donbas led the head of the DPR to increase the combat readiness of all units.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, casting Ukraine as the sole responsible party for the implementation of the Minsk agreements. At the end of April 2020, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy stated that the Ukrainian side in the Trilateral Contact Group offered to hold negotiations in a video format so that negotiations could continue. “At the beginning of each week, we have a Minsk video-call. We want to move forward. Because it is the only thing that brings us closer to solving this issue globally," the Ukrainian President emphasised. Meanwhile, the Special Monitoring Mission of the OSCE recorded every day a different number of ceasefire violations from both sides on Donbas. 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 situation in Donbas. Three parties are involved in this process: representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE. Unofficially, representatives of the "LDNR" factions are also present. The second set of measures to implement the Minsk agreements was signed on 12 February 2015. The first paragraph of the document relates to an immediate ceasefire. Next, it is necessary to withdraw heavy weapons, ensure OSCE monitoring, release prisoners, grant Donbas special status and hold local elections, provide amnesty to the parties involved in the conflict and restore control over the Ukrainian-Russian border in the conflict zone. You can read other similar cases claiming that Ukraine does not fulfil key point of Minsk agreements on negotiation with the "LDNR" or that Ukraine broke the Minsk agreements by allowing the National Police on the contact line.

Kyiv considers Crimea “its own” contrary to all international standards

Zelenskyy has to work out what his “masters” tell him, including on the Kerch provocation. He was told that there were no clues, that everyone understood the meaning of this provocation, based on the fact that Kyiv considers Crimea “its own”, contrary to all international standards, and they were still obliged to complain about Russia. Allegedly it was Russia, and not Ukraine, that violated the law of the sea. This is done in order to raise the anti-Russian wave, again and again, and to support Ukraine on the world agenda, although in reality neither this country nor its problems are interesting to anyone in the world and cause only irritation.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea. No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced 27th of February 2014 and held less than three weeks later. A part of this article also repeats the recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the Kerch incident. On 25 November 2018, border patrol boats belonging to Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armoured artillery vessels and a tugboat and their crews after shooting at them, wounding several Ukrainian servicemen and arresting 24 members. Russia argued that they were in Russian waters. However, a bilateral treaty between Russia and Ukraine, signed in 2003 and ratified by Russia in 2004, governs the use of the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov, which in the treaty is considered to be the “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine. On 25 May 2019, the United Nations Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ordered Russia to immediately release Ukrainian sailors and allow them to return to Ukraine. In addition, the EU urged Russia to release the captured crew. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. Read the EU statement on the sixth anniversary of Crimea's annexation.

NATO prepares a large scale military conflict in the Black sea region

The growing operational activity of the US/NATO naval and air forces in the Black Sea region provokes an adequate reaction from the Russian Aerospace Forces and the Navy. The destroyers of the 6th fleet of the US Navy in the Black Sea regularly display the star-spangled banner and Tomahawk cruise missiles. In Bulgaria and Romania, military infrastructure and materiel stocks are created. More, the Romanian air base Câmpia Turzii has become a platform for the deployment of US strategic offensive weapons. According to Russian military leaders, the manoeuvre scenarios testify to NATO’s targeted preparation for a large-scale military conflict.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on NATO belligerence towards Russia and on Russophobia. NATO's exercises and military deployments in the Black Sea are not directed against Russia – or any other country. Exercises are designed to ensure that NATO forces are trained, able to operate together and ready to respond to any threat from any direction. NATO has reached out to Russia consistently, transparently and publicly over the past 29 years. The allegation about NATO's plans to wage a war against Russia was addressed on NATO's official website: "Any claims that NATO is preparing an attack on Russia are absurd." NATO is a defensive alliance and does not pose a threat to Russia. Its purpose is to protect its member states. Every country that joins NATO undertakes to uphold its principles and policies, and this includes the commitment that "the Alliance does not seek confrontation and poses no threat to Russia," as reaffirmed at the Brussels Summit. For more information about NATO-Russia relations and disinformation narratives about NATO, see here and here. Here you can see other examples of disinformation on NATO alleged goals in Crimea and its intentions to introduce a fleet to the Azov Sea, provocations against Russia in the Black Sea or the dangers created by the Alliance’s activities in those waters, preparations for big war, NATO provokes Russia in the Black Sea region.