Disinfo: Discredited conspiracy theories about Russian meddling in US elections are back

Summary

Conspiracy theories against Russia are back. US TV station MSNBC is doing its best yet to spread the theory that Russia meddled in the 2016 election. “Do you think that the president is afraid to make Putin mad because maybe Putin did help him win the election and he doesn’t want to make him mad for 2020?”, anchorman Chuck Todd asked former National Security Advisor John Bolton in an interview in the show Meet the Press. This caused commotion in social media, since the Democrats’ affirmation that Trump colluded with Russia to somehow ‘steal’ the presidency seemed to have been put to rest after an attempt to impeach the president that came to nowhere. Bolton avoided Todd’s bait and said that there was “no evidence” that the president colluded with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Todd tried to put some distance and clarified several times that he wasn’t talking about “collusion”, without explaining what he was talking about if it wasn’t of “collusion”.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia’s innocence of meddling in US elections. The article deliberately merges the accusations of collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin with those of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. While the investigation of US special counsel Robert Mueller found no conclusive evidence of collusion -of which president Trump immediately claimed to have been exonerated-, there is massive proof of Russian meddling in the elections through social media, hackings and interested leaks, as the US intelligence community unanimously concluded. The mentioned impeachment process against Donald Trump was not related to any of this. Trump was impeached on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice, and the procedure was motivated by the US president's alleged attempt to use his leverage on Ukraine's president against his political rival Joe Biden. See other examples of this disinformation narratives in our database, such as claims about 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 203
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/06/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Spanish, Castilian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Russia
  • Keywords: election meddling, Anti-Russian, Donald Trump, Conspiracy theory, Vladimir Putin
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The West promised Moscow that NATO will not expand eastwards

The West promised Moscow in the course of the negotiations on German unification in 1990 that NATO will not expand eastwards. In the book, the Swiss historian Daniele Ganser also discusses NATO’s eastward expansion, although the West promised Moscow in the course of the negotiations on German unification in 1990 that it would not come to that.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that NATO had promised Russia not to expand to the East and that NATO has an aggressive agenda. NATO allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any decision been taken by NATO about putting a halt to enlargement to the East. Personal assurances from individual leaders cannot replace Alliance consensus and do not constitute formal NATO agreements. Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed, which by definition precluded any member of The Pact joining NATO. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991. This was confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev himself in an interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines:

The topic of 'NATO expansion' was not discussed at all, and it was not brought up in those years. I say this with full responsibility. Not a single Eastern European country raised the issue, not even after the Warsaw Pact ceased to exist in 1991. Western leaders did not bring it up either.

Central and Eastern European countries began seeking NATO membership in the early 1990s. NATO actively sought to create a cooperative environment that was conducive to enlargement while simultaneously building special relations with Russia. Also, NATO does not "expand" in the imperialistic sense as described by pro-Kremlin media. Rather, it considers the applications of candidate countries who want to join the Alliance based on their own national will. NATO enlargement is not directed against Russia. See more similar disinfo cases alleging that NATO promised Russia it would not expand to the East and that giving Ukraine special status is just an opportunity for NATO to expand eastwards. This disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claim that the US empire staged a secret coup in Ukraine in 2014.

The US empire staged a secret coup in Ukraine in 2014

The US empire staged a secret coup in Ukraine in 2014. According to the Swiss historian Daniele Ganser, the US empire there (in Ukraine), in accordance with the strategy of ‘divide and rule’, stirred up tension and in 2014 overthrew the government in a secret coup. But he says it is rarely said in public that Obama has staged a coup in Ukraine.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine's statehood which claims that the Euromaidan protests were organised by foreign forces. There was no coup d’état in 2014. The spontaneous onset of massive Euromaidan protests was a reaction of the Ukrainian population to the sudden departure of President Yanukovych from the Association Agreement with the European Union and to the brutal dispersal of student protest actions on 30 November 2013. It was not the United States, but Russia that triggered the military conflict after the Euromaidan in Ukraine. The US did not interfere in Ukraine in 2014. Ukraine is a sovereign state. Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by almost the whole world, including the US. The US works closely with Ukraine and supports its democratic development in accordance with the UN Charter’s principles of non-interference into internal affairs and respect towards territorial integrity and political independence. Read similar disinfo cases alleging that the US backed the coup in Ukraine in 2014 and that the Western-backed coup in Ukraine has torn the country asunder. This disinformation message appeared in the same article as the claim that the West promised Moscow that NATO will not expand eastwards.

The west is craving for lewdness

American diplomats raised the gay flag on their country’s embassy building in Moscow … coinciding with the start of the vote on a package of constitutional amendments, including “protecting the institution of marriage as a union between men and women.”

The West has turned to new sodom in its craving for lewdness.

Disproof

This message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the moral decay of the West and the propaganda of the morally corrupt West, aiming to encourage Russophobia.

The British and U.S. embassies in the Russian capital both flew rainbow flags to celebrate Pride Month, along with a joint statement from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States calling to “protect the rights of all its citizens, including sexual minorities… as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights”.