Disinfo: Coronavirus epidemic disrupted European unity and accelerated EU disintegration

Summary

[…] the coronavirus epidemic disrupted the once strong European unity and accelerated [EU] disintegration processes.
It is already clear that there will be no Schengen visa. Well, most likely, there will be no European Union.
[…] today, everyone can see that the European Union is collapsing, even though until recently it seemed strong and unshakable.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that is consistent with the disinformation message that the Schengen zone has collapsed and more broadly, with the disinformation narrative that the EU is collapsing as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

The current situation is an example of how indispensable Schengen is to the European economy and way of life, and not just for Italy. In the current exceptional situation, many EU Member States introduced temporary border controls to slow the spread of coronavirus, which adhere to the Schengen border code, but the EU Commission is ensuring that EU-wide supply chains continue to operate and that flow of goods and key services continues around the clock.

The introduction of ‘green lanes’ will allow all freight vehicles to cross internal Schengen borders within 15 minutes.

Furthermore, to cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a €37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.

Regarding the current coronavirus crisis, European leaders said they would spend hundreds of billions of euros to prevent the coronavirus outbreak from provoking a deep recession or financial crisis. European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that the European Union would allocate up to €100 billion ($109.62 billion) to the hardest-hit countries, starting with Italy, to help cover the cost of lost wages and to preserve jobs.

The EU has also created the first-ever stockpile of medical equipment, while German hospitals took in Italian patients and masks were sent to Italian doctors from France, Czechia, Austria and much more.

Read more about the EU's response here and here. For similar cases, see here, here, and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 195
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: EU
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy theory, Euro-scepticism, EU disintegration, European Union

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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The US is behind the removal of Konev’s monument in Prague

The decision to remove the monument to Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev in Prague was not made by the Czech leadership, it was a vile decision of people going against the national interests of the Czech Republic.

The conclusion to justify the liquidation of the monument was prepared by an American company.

Disproof

This is part of the recurring disinformation campaign about the statue of Marshall Konev in Prague. It also capitalises on the common pro-Kremlin narrative about the US standing behind all hostile anti-Russian intentions.

The democratically elected municipal council of Prague 6 voted for the removal of the statue. Using the protocol of the Politbureau's assembly, Czech historians established that on 8-14 May 1968 Konev chaired the Soviet military delegation sent to Prague to prepare the military invasion of Czechoslovakia. Konev was also chief of the Soviet troops in East Germany during the Berlin wall crisis in 1961. In other words, the Red Army brought not only liberation but also the terror to Czechia, as the mayor of Prague 6, Ondřej Kolář, reminded.

Former members of Bush Administration created an anti-communist group to advise president Trump against China

Several advisors for President Trump are members of a group born out of the George W. Bush administration, calling themselves Red Dawn. The New York Times just released some mails from these people. This group, nostalgic for the Cold War, is viscerally anti-communist. The USSR ceased to exist, but China is still being ruled by the Communist Party. They are convinced that “evil” Chinese are attacking them with Covid-19. President Trump marginalised them, but their ideas entered the public debate. In the same way that the 9/11 events allowed the adoption of the Patriot Act, which had been prepared in advance, now Covid-19 allows former members of the Bush Administration to reactivate their own crusade.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory deliberately misrepresenting the so-called ‘Red Dawn group’, which is by no means a formal group. According to the documents, originally published by the site Kaiser Health News and later collected and reviewed by the New York Times, the Red Dawn was simply a chain of email exchanges between a US elite group of infectious disease doctors and medical experts in the federal government and academic institutions, both inside and outside of the government. This group was concerned by the implications of the novel coronavirus outbreak and the response of the Trump Administration and other governments and global institutions, which they considered ill-conceived and insufficient.

“Red Dawn” was a notoriously anti-communist film released in 1984, but apart from that, there is no mention of any anti-communist ideology or any plan against China in the emails, or to any attack from the “evil Chinese”. The fact that some of these long-career experts served in the George W. Bush Administration is largely irrelevant, and there is no evidence that this group has an agenda to be implemented concerning taking advantage of the Covid-19 crisis.

Plans to close biolabs in Ukraine made US start supporting Euromaidan

The coronavirus pandemic and the rumours of its artificial origins have activated the discussion on US biolabs, located around Russian borders. Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and, of course, Ukraine are covered by a network of laboratories, funded by Pentagon money. Attempts to rid oneself of these disputable institutions might even lead to an overturn of the powers in a country. […] The laboratories was one of the factors that drove the Americans to actively work for a regime change in Ukraine.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative alleging that the 2013-14 Ukrainian revolution was caused by external factors mixed with a narrative about American biological laboratories in Ukraine.

The U.S. did not initiate the 2013-14 Ukrainian revolution. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure.