Disinfo: Constitutional amendments unleashed Russophobia because the West doesn’t like a strong Russia

Summary

The West doesn’t like a strong and firm Russia, which is not convenient for its interests. That’s why the Russophobia unleashed in face of the recent referendum on Constitutional amendments aims to discredit Russia in the eyes of the international community and to generate disconformity and internal breaches. Hegemonic mainstream media, some political institutes and NGOs used every mean at hand to express their rejection of Russia’s democratic procedure. They even tried to deter Russian voters from taking part in the voting.

Disproof

No evidence given. International criticism of some aspects of the referendum on Constitutional amendments was not due to alleged “Russophobia” but to its problematic aspects, such as Article 79, which stipulates that “decisions of interstate bodies” shall not be “subject to enforcement in the Russian Federation” if they run counter to the Constitution. This means, for example, that Russia won’t feel obliged to comply with binding rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. Other elements, such as its definition of marriage as the union of man and woman, have been strongly criticised by LGBT activists and human rights defenders. One of the most controversial amendments, removing term limits for president Vladimir Putin to remain in power beyond his original mandate, was also condemned by Russian pro-democracy and opposition activists.

The European Union regretted that, in the run up to this vote, campaigning both for and against was not allowed, thereby denying voters access to balanced information.

It was also marred with credible allegations of irregularities, including voter coercion, multiple voting, violation of the secrecy of the vote and allegations of police violence against a journalist who was present to observe.

Claims that the referendum process was criticised in order to smear the country, allegedly because the West doesn’t like a strong and firm Russia, are patently false. They fall into the recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative of framing any denunciation of the Russian government’s misdeeds as “Russophobic”. See other examples of this in our database, such as the supposed anti-Russian bias of international institutions - be it the OPCW, the World Anti-Doping Agency or the United Nations - which always falsely accuse Russia; the alleged Russophobia of the EU; the affirmation that it is NATO and not the Kremlin who is involved in the Donbas conflict; or denials that Russia had any role in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal or the downing of MH17, that it interfered in other countries’ elections or that it waged a disinformation campaign on COVID-19.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 206
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 10/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: Russophobia, Referendum

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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Latvia is blinded by Russophobia 

The decision to ban television broadcasts of RT is an indication of the level of stupidity and ignorance of the Latvian authorities, who have been blinded by the Russophobia, indicating that the reason for the ban has no legal meaning.

Disproof

A recurrent narrative against the Baltic states allegedly being Russophobic and acting irrationally against RT and Sputnik.

Latvia has banned the state-owned Russian television channel RT, saying it is controlled by an individual, Dmitriy Kiselyov, who is under EU sanctions. According to the Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Latvia's national media watchdog, RT and the network of channels operated by it are under Kiselyov's "effective control". Read full NEPLP's position here for details.

Reason behind sanctioning RT in Latvia is still unclear

The National Council of Electronic Media of Latvia has banned the broadcast of seven channels belonging to the RT group on the basis of personal sanctions, imposed by the European Union against Dmitry Kiselyov.

It is worth noting that the Russian journalist and TV presenter is the general director of the Russian news agency “Russia Segodnya”, to which RT does not belong, so how did the National Council of Electronic Media in Latvia link Kiselyov to this channel remains unclear.

Disproof

A recurrent narrative against the Baltic states allegedly acting irrationally against RT and Sputnik.

Latvia and Lithuania have banned the state-owned Russian television channel RT, saying it is controlled by an individual, Dmitriy Kiselyov, who is under EU sanctions. According to the Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Latvia's national media watchdog, RT and the network of channels operated by it are under Kiselyov's "effective control".

The United States is stopping Balkan Stream because of the political instability in Bulgaria

The current political instability in Bulgaria is the reason for the sanctions imposed by the US towards all companies involved in the construction of “Balkan Stream”.

Disproof

The sanctions that were declared on 15 July that the US will impose will be directed towards not only Turk Stream (referred by Michael Pompeo as “Balkan Stream”), but also Nord Stream 2 gas pipelines. The primary reason for the sanctions by the US is not related to the current political situation in Bulgaria. Rather, the US government views the current energy projects as beneficial only to Russia and the gas pipelines as one of Kremlin's main tools for exploiting and expanding Europe's dependence on Russian energy. Furthermore, as of the release of the article, there are no officially declared Bulgarian companies that are expected to be sanctioned due to the construction of the gas pipeline.