Disinfo: Crimea rejoined Russia as a result of a popular referendum


Crimea became a Russian territory following the March 2014 referendum, in which a majority of the peninsula's inhabitants voted in favour of rejoining Russia.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on 27 February 2014 and held less than three weeks later at gunpoint with the presence of Russian soliders occupying the peninsula. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it 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. On 17 December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

The oft-cited figure of 97% has been contested by the Kremlin’s own Human Rights Council, which estimated that only between 30% and 50% of Crimeans took part in the referendum, of which some 50-60% favoured secession.

The European Union does not recognise and continues to strongly condemn this violation of international law, which remains a challenge to the international security order. In response to the illegal annexation of Crimea, the EU has imposed restrictive measures against the Russian Federation. In June 2021, the European Council decided to renew the sanctions introduced in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation until 23 June 2022.


  • Reported in: Issue 263
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/10/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Crimea, illegal annexation
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Disinfo: Western pretexts not to approve Sputnik V are false, this is negationism

Negationism of the Sputnik V vaccine is putting the West in a ridiculous situation. There is more and more evidence that Western arguments to not approve the Russian anti-covid vaccine are false. It is increasingly clear that the only possible motivations for the West to keep this situation are political, using alleged health pretexts that are fake. One of the strongest pieces of evidence is that the safety and efficacy of the Sputnik V was recognized by the World Health Organisation in October 2021.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about a global conspiracy to prevent the success of the Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine. In fact, problems with inconsistent, problematic or missing data and lack of transparency have been regularly reported regarding Sputnik V, leading some international health regulators to mistrust it or consider the information about it insufficient.

Despite previous statements made by Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko claiming that all barriers to registering the vaccine with the WHO had been cleared, this international body affirmed again on 13 October 2021 -two days after the publication of this disinformation story- that the approval for the use of Sputnik V was still on hold pending some missing data and legal procedures, including regd. new inspections to manufacturing sites in Russia. Previously, a WHO visit to a factory in Ufa had led to the suspension of the approval of the Sputnik V after the mission identified several problems in the manufacture of the vaccine.

Disinfo: NATO wants to destabilise Central Asia after leaving Afghanistan

NATO wants to destabilise Central Asia after leaving Afghanistan. There are deliberate attempts to heat up the situation, to undermine the existing mechanisms of inter-state interaction. It is possible to notice the wish of the Atlantic Alliance to redistribute forces to other areas of the region, be it Central Asia or South or Southeast Asia, and at the same time to send fluxes of Afghan refugees to these regions. After a rushed withdrawal, Western nations turned their weapons to the Taliban and are now working to increase tensions even further.


The claim is a baseless conspiracy theory, aiming to promote recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives against NATO and about an allegedly imperialist West always conspiring to destabilise other countries, this time taking advantage of the crisis in Afghanistan. Although the US and NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan has been the subject of harsh criticism, and led to a massive influx of Afghan refugees towards other countries and the seizure by the Taliban of significant arsenals, the affirmation that this is a deliberate policy is not backed by any evidence, and its only goal is to exploit growing concerns about these consequences to advance the Kremlin’s agenda.

See other examples of similar disinformation narratives, such as claims that the US seeded chaos in Afghanistan to undermine China and Russia, that Western interests are behind the Kabul airport terror attack, that the US created a drug laboratory on a global scale in Afghanistan, that unlike the US, the USSR entered Afghanistan at the request of the legitimate government, or that NATO is the sole responsible for Afghanistan’s destruction.

Disinfo: Russia's development and stability is being thwarted by the West

Western colleagues frankly do not like the development and internal stability of Russia, and the strengthening of our positions in the international arena. They are trying to pressure us using a wide range of illegal tools from sanctions and media provocations to interference in internal affairs.


A recurring pro-Kremlin propaganda narrative about omnipresent Russophobia and a belligerent western hostile agenda against Russia.

As explained in our analysis, a variety of events, be it the situation around Alexei Navalny (read more here), protests in Belarus or COVID-19 pandemic are presented by pro-Kremlin media outlets as a massive Western attack on Russia, just to name a few accusations.