Disinfo: Empty chairs for MH17 victims outside Russia's Hague Embassy: It's a fake

Summary

The so-called “action”, where relatives of victims of the crash allegedly brought 298 white chairs to the building of the Russian Consulate has nothing to do with reality. This is part of anti-Russian hysteria in the media, with describing an event at which the journalists themselves have not been. Even the building of the Russian consulate is not visible in the the photos. There are just some chairs standing on the lawn, and it’s not a fact that there are 298 of them. That’s how fakes appear.

Disproof

In fact, the action took place in front of the Russia's Hague Embassy, not the consulate. The chairs were laid out in rows like seats in an airplane and represented the victims who died when a Buk missile fired from territory held by pro-Russia separatist rebels shot down the flight MH17 on July 17, 2014. The action was observed by international journalists and documented not only with photos, but also with videos. Embassy officials did not comment on this action. Background: Pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives aim to undermine the results of the MH17 investigation and the outcomes of the future trial. The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) - which is comprised of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service officials and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine - has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy. At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation. The Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has concluded that the BUK-TELAR used to down MH17 originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation. On the basis of the investigation conducted by the JIT, the Dutch Public Persecution service will persecute Igor Vsevolodovich Girkin, Sergey Nikolayevich Dubinskiy, Oleg Yuldashevich Pulatov, and Leonid Volodymyrovych Kharchenko for causing the crash of MH17 and murdering the 298 persons on board. The first public hearing took place on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands. The European Union and NATO have called on the Russian Federation to accept its responsibility and to fully cooperate with all efforts to establish accountability. On the basis of the JIT’s conclusions, the Netherlands and Australia are convinced that Russia is responsible for the deployment of the BUK installation that was used to down MH17. The two governments are formally holding Russia accountable. Read other disinformation narratives alleging that The Netherlands is going to sabotage the MH17 trial, The MH17 trial will be a show process, and that There was no BUK, MH17 crashed because of an explosion on board.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 187
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s)
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: The Netherlands, Russia
  • Keywords: MH17
see more

Pro-Western civil society in Ukraine and Belarus is a Fascist fifth column

In Ukraine, the so-called civil society and human rights organizations, financed by the Western oligarchy, military forces and intelligence services, took an active part in 2014 coup d’etat and, assisted by Fascists, waged a war against Ukrainian people and Russia. The civil society continues its destructive activities through the adoption of harmful legislation such as the bill on the media or the language law. Thus Zelenskyy largely continues Poroshenko’s policies by turning Russophobia and mass-scale human rights violations into the tool of state policy on the instruction of the fifth column. The Belarusian civil society represented by allegedly independent media and initiatives promoting Belarusian language and culture (in reality, Russophobic, pro-Polish forces), is ideologically and politically close to Fascism. Otherwise, it would notice the violation of human rights in Ukraine and glorification of Nazism in Ukraine.

Disproof

This is a mix of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives undermining the statehood of Ukraine and advancing claims about the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup orchestrated by the West, Nazis in Ukraine, West's attempts to disrupt Belarus-Russia relations, and ubiquitous Russophobia in Ukraine and beyond. It also distorts the war in eastern Ukraine which is a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. For background, read our analysis: The “Russophobia” Myth: Appealing to the Lowest Feelingsand look at earlier disinformation cases alleging that Brussels uses Russophobia as a uniting idea to prevent the EU’s collapse, and about three types of Russophobia which are turning Belarus into anti-Belarus and anti-Russian state. The message paints virtually all Belarusian organisations which do not clearly follow pro-Russian policies in any field as Russophobic. The myth of Nazi-ruled Ukraine has been the cornerstone of Russian disinformation about the country since the very beginning of the 2013-14 Euromaidan protests, when it was used to discredit the pro-European popular uprising in Kyiv and, subsequently, the broader pro-Western shift in Ukraine's foreign policy. Far-right groups enjoyed a very limited presence during the Euromaidan itself and had poor results in the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections. In the 2019 election, far-right candidates fell short of the 5% minimum guaranteeing entry into parliament. There was no coup d’état in Ukraine. The onset of the Euromaidan protests was a spontaneous and endogenous reaction by numerous segments of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden withdrawal from the promised Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. The protesters’ demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, the formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence. See the full debunk of this disinformation claim here. Read similar cases alleging that Ukraine is a neo-Nazi state and Ukraine is an anti-Russian state under Western control, that the West is targeting the Union State between Belarus and Russia, and that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies.

White Helmets are frank falsifiers

The White Helmets are still doing everything they can to prove to the international community that Syrian President Bashar Assad is poisoning his people with either bleach or sarin-zaman-V-gases. And Washington itself is doing everything possible to make people believe these frank falsifiers. Because [the US] needs to throw Assad out at any cost.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative deflecting blame for chemical attacks away from the Assad regime. It also aims to discredit the OPCW in addition to labelling the White Helmets as terrorists or as accomplices of terrorist organisations by staging and/or perpetrating chemical attacks. These claims are not supported by evidence. The UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism found Syria’s Government responsible for the April 2017 attack in Khan Shaykhun. On April 2018, Russia vetoed a US-drafted UN Security Council resolution that would have created a new inquiry to ascertain responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. In June 2018, the OPCW members granted it the power to assign responsibility for chemical attacks. Read more about the “alleged” usage of chemical weapons in Douma. For more disinformation cases attempting to discredit the OPCW, see here. [Note: Another disinformation case from the same article is that it is false to assign equal responsibility for the outbreak of WWII to the USSR as to Nazi Germany.]

Coronavirus is a manipulative story

On a global scale, coronavirus is a kind of manipulative story. On the other hand, it is necessary to respond to it in some countries.

Disproof

Conspiracy theories about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus. The coronavirus (2019-nCoV) comes from a family of viruses that include SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China and has been rapidly spreading. As of 15th March 2020, over 153,517 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in over 143 countries/territories. You can see other examples in our database, such as claims that Bill Gates and George Soros are sponsoring it, that it is a UK, US or NATO creation and that the Americans have the cure, that it is an artificial disease which specifically targets Chinese DNA, that it was created with economic goals while Big Pharma companies are spreading panic for their own profit, that it is a biological weapon against Russia and China and that it will wipe out Ukraine’s population in a few days.