Disinfo: Europe, including Germany, is subjected to Washington’s power

Summary

A deputy in the Russian parliament criticised Germany’s decision not to exclude the Nord Stream 2 project from new gas regulations in Europe. He said that it indicates that Berlin does not have autonomy in decision making.

It is clear that in addition to the pseudo-European unity, Germany is subjected to Washington, which has repeatedly pressed Berlin to renounce the Russian gas project.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative portraying Europe as a vassal of the USA and trying to undermine the sovereignty of European countries.

The European Union is a sovereign entity, created by the voluntary initiative of European nations, and it has its own, independent foreign policy. Its citizens are directly represented in the European Parliament and Member States are represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU. The United States of America is not part of these institutions. The US had no role in the creation of the EU and has no say in its decisions.

In fact, the EU Member States are sovereign countries and make sovereign decisions about their own security and policies. The US is an important ally to the EU but EU policy is not determined by the US.

Similar disinformation narratives claim that European élites obey Washington, that EU and NATO member states are subordinate to the US, while the US has long regarded the EU as a kind of protectorate, and that lined up with the US, the EU never took independent decisions.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 200
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: EU, Russia, US, Germany
  • Keywords: gas, Nord Stream 2, US presence in Europe, Sovereignty

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 European Parliament has falsely accused the Soviet Union of the Second World War moving Hitler to the background

Truth is a difficult goal to achieve in the West, where fake news and now also “fake history” have become the norm. The OSCE and the European Parliament accuse the Soviet Union of the Second World War, suggesting that Russia and Putin are to blame. Hitler is moved into the background as a result of these baseless accusations. The hidden actors that are pushing this parallel history are the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine, which are full of hatred for Russia. Today the Baltic states remember Nazi collaborators as national heroes and celebrate their cowardly deeds. Today the Polish government is destroying monuments. Polish “nationalists” cannot stand the memory of the Red Army that liberated Poland from the Nazi invaders.

Disproof

This message is part of the pro-Kremlin’s disinformation campaign against the European Parliament resolution on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe. It reflects the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and is an attempt to portray Russia's role in World War II as not aggressive.

The European Parliament resolution, stressing that World War II was an immediate result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, was portrayed as “fascist” along with the Parliament which adopted it. The pro-Kremlin media outlets claimed that the European Parliament has joined forces with fascism, that it represents the Third Reich, and relieves Germany of the responsibility of World War II. The disinformation campaign about the European Parliament resolution has also targeted Poland, the Baltic States, Finland and Ukraine.

Russian Embassy caught The New York Times juggling facts on coronavirus mortality rate

Our embassy in the United States caught The New York Times, the largest American newspaper, juggling and hushing up facts that are clearly not in the US’s favour. The day before, an article appeared on its pages stating that the Moscow Department of Health allegedly intentionally underestimates the statistics of mortality from coronavirus. The New York Times cited figures as evidence. In April of this year, 1700 more people died in Moscow than in April of the past year, although according to official deaths from COVID, about 650 were registered.

Our Health Department published the answer on the pages of the same publication: it makes no sense to compare the increase in mortality in the monthly dynamics. This is too small to identify trends. In addition, if we take, for example, the numbers of 2018, the difference will be much smaller.

Disproof

The NYT in its article "A Coronavirus Mystery Explained: Moscow Has 1,700 Extra Deaths" and FT in the article Russia’s Covid death toll could be 70 per cent higher than official figure" from May 11, said that data released by Moscow’s city government on Friday shows that the number of overall registered deaths in the Russian capital in April exceeded the five-year average for the same period by more than 1,700. That total is far higher than the official Covid-19 death count of 642 - an indication of significant underreporting by the authorities.

Within two days, on May 13 (the day that the TASS' article was also published), the Moscow City Health Administration’s statement admitted that, indeed, over 60% of deaths from COVID-19 were accounted in Russian statistics as deaths “from obvious alternative causes” such as heart attacks, stroke, cancer and others. The same principle of attribution of deaths of patients with coronavirus is implemented in at least several Russian regions, for example, in the Chelyabinsk region: here, official death statistics openly divides those with confirmed coronavirus into those for whom COVID-19 became the "main" cause of death with those who are classed as having had "concomitant disease". For comparison, see the principles of WHO. Indeed, coronavirus may trigger other diseases, such as heart attacks, but without coronavirus the victim may have had been alive.

Conspiracy theories are useful for human societies

Conspiracy theories quickly give a fallacious explanation of a reality that can be stressful and traumatic. Thinking that a small group of people caused all catastrophes helps people and human groups to cope with this trauma, overcome their stress, accept the situation and adapt to the new reality.

Therefore, it can be concluded that conspiracy theories are useful even if this contradicts the way they are usually presented. Conspiracy theories brings more good than bad.

Disproof

This case is an example of how a harmful disinformation claim can be mendaciously disguised as an "opinion". The argument that conspiracy theories bring more good than bad, especially in context of the present pandemic, flies in the face of reality. Extensive research and analysis details the dangerous consequences of belief in conspiracy theories, including the negative impact they may have on public health. This claim is part of the pro-Kremlin disinformation effort to legitimise conspiracy theories.

While it is true that conspiracy theories can provide convenient explanations of a reality that's stressful and traumatic, it is false and irresponsible to suggest that they play a positive role in helping accept reality or adapt to a new situation. In his book The Opium of Fools, Rudy Reichstadt denounces the excessive indulgence intellectual circles have towards conspiracy theories. Reichstadt argues that conspiracy theories do not constitute psychological help to cope with traumas; while faith helps, incorrect knowledge does not. Furthermore, in crisis situations, the spread of conspiracy theories can seriously jeopardize public health.