Disinfo: European Commission did not detect signs of a disinformation campaign for EU elections


Despite frequent EU announcements “about the threat of Russian propaganda”, in its report of June this year, the European Commission acknowledged that it did not detect signs of a public disinformation campaign from abroad for the European Parliamentary elections, although it reported attempts by “some Russian sources” to influence voters.


This claim is a distortion of the actual report, taking the following sentence out of context: "Available evidence has not allowed us to identify a distinct cross-border disinformation campaign from external sources specifically targeting the European elections”. The next sentence provides further clarification: "However, the evidence collected revealed a continued and sustained disinformation activity by Russian sources aiming to suppress turnout and influence voter preferences”. Asked if the report doesn’t contradict itself, Security Commissioner Julian King said that disinformation aimed at dividing Europeans was "increasingly locally focused", which the report explains as follows: "Instead of conducting large-scale operations on digital platforms, these actors, in particular linked to Russian sources, now appeared to be opting for smaller-scale, localised operations that are harder to detect and expose." This claim follows a recurring disinformation narrative aiming to portray Russia as innocent and falsely accused of interference in other countries’ affairs. See other examples here, here and here.


  • Reported in: Issue 169
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 10/10/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Serbian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: EU elections 2019, European Parliament, European Commission, Propaganda, European Union
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Disinfo: JIT ignores Russian arguments and data on MH17 downing

JIT ignores Russian arguments and data on MH17 downing. The JIT accuses Russia of being jointly responsible for the tragedy. The Russian government, which has so far been excluded from the investigation, complains that investigators have ignored Russian arguments and data. For example, the investigation team did not pay any attention to documents proving that the missile hit by Boeing belonged to the Ukrainian army. The experiments of the Russian Almaz-Antey group, which manufactures anti-aircraft equipment, including the Buk systems, were also ignored, confirming that the Buk was fired from the area controlled by the Ukrainian army.


A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on flight MH17 denying Russia's responsibility. Russia's interest in aiding the JIT investigation is not a relevant condition of its membership in JIT. The crash did not take place over Russian territory and claimed no Russian lives, which precludes any basis for Moscow to be represented in the JIT. Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke told a Russian newspaper that "if MH17 were shot down over Russia, I would have suggested that Russia be made a member of the JIT group." The "evidence" claimed by Russia, namely radar data and the "field experiment" conducted by the Russian military company Almaz-Antey, is only a small sample of misleading claims advanced by Moscow since 2015, some of which have contradicted one another. Also, Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta found the claim that the Buk was of "Ukrainian origin" to be fabricated. The Dutch-led criminal investigation by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has been ongoing since 2014. On 28 September 2016, the JIT announced that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the town of Pervomaiskyi in Eastern Ukraine, from where the missile was launched. After firing, the system - with 1 missing missile - went back to the Russian Federation. On the 24th of May 2018, the JIT announced its conclusion that the BUK TELAR used to shoot down MH17 came from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation. See further debunking by Bellingcat and similar cases here, here, and here.

Disinfo: Real Ukrainian patriots fought for DPR/LPR, real Belarusian patriots consider Belarus and Russia as one

The enemy imposes a breakaway of post-Soviet countries from Russia presenting this as patriotism and protection of national interests. Real Ukrainian patriots are located in Donbas and fought in the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. Those who shout “Glory to Ukraine” are not not patriots but destroyers. They seemingly want to turn Ukraine into a concentration camp, to bring hatred among people and wage war. They are the forces who are used by external actors to destroy Ukraine and to turn it into the territory of a military clash of civilisations. This is also true for Belarus. The real Belarusian patriot is the one who understands that Belarus and Russia are one body, and that together with Russia, Belarus has a future. The one who opposes the Union with Russia is not a patriot. He is either a foolish man or the enemy of the Belarusian state and people.


This message is consistent with recurring propagandistic narratives about war in Ukraine and Western attempts to disrupt Belarusian-Russian relations. It presents a close union with Russia as the only positive way of development for Belarus and gives a completely distorted view on the war in Ukraine, presenting Russia-backed armed formations which violated Ukraine's territorial integrity as Ukrainian patriots. The war in eastern Ukraine is an act of aggression by the Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Belarusian opposition is tasked by the West to disrupt Belarusian-Russian integration, that the West targets the Union State between Belarus and Russia, and putting forward a ridiculous false dilemma, claiming that the only possible scenario for Ukraine and Belarus to prevent their descent into Nazism through the politicisation of national clothes is to become a Russian western federal area.

Disinfo: Elite and media driven anti-Russia campaign in Poland encourages the purchase of Western weapons

The Polish political elite and West-owned media concerns carry out a large-scale campaign promoting the anti-Russian attitudes in Poland. Key goal of this campaign is to persuade the Poles that they need expensive Western weapons and natural resources (which are cheaper in Russia). The Polish public opinion is made to support these expensive projects through a threat, real or alleged.


This message is a pro-Kremlin narrative on the “elites vs. people” – in this case, the political “elites” of Central and Eastern European countries are fully controlled by the West/USA, manipulating their societies in order to make them anti-Russian. See other examples of this message here, here and here. The statement that the political elites of Poland and the Western controlled media groups carry out a coordinated policy of spread of the anti-Russian attitudes in Poland is a conspiracy theory. The position of the main Polish political parties on purchasing Western weapons and the deployment of NATO troops in Poland reflects the Polish public opinion on these issues. For example, 65% of the Poles support the deployment of troops from other NATO countries in Poland, and 81% - fully support the Polish membership in NATO (CBOS NATO poll, March 2019). This poll had shown a substantial increase in public support for the Polish membership in NATO (+19%) immediately after the Russian annexation of Crimea. This fact indicates that the Polish perception of NATO and Russia comes not from alleged “elite” manipulations, but from assessment of aggressive Russian actions in Ukraine by the Polish citizens.