Disinfo: Europe blaming others for its problems with claims about alleged coronavirus “Russian disinformation”

Summary

Europe’s claims about alleged “Russian disinformation” concerning the coronavirus pandemic spring from its desire to blame others for its own problems with the pandemic. The preoccupation in Europe about “Russian disinformation” in the current coronavirus pandemic situation is bizarre, to say the least. This situation clearly requires uniting the forces of all peoples and countries. A well-known Chinese proverb says: “He who directs the attention of a community towards a black cat in a dark room lacks dignity, especially if there is no cat”.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying that Russian media has been involved in spreading disinformation about the coronavirus. The EUvsDisinfo Database on disinformation currently (9 April 2020) contains close to 300 cases of disinformation. Russia’s disinformation campaign on the coronavirus has been well documented by both media and governments, and some of their elements were widely reported by Russian and international publications. The coronavirus is a relentless and daily topic in pro-Kremlin media, including in state-owned outlets. These messages are characteristic of the Kremlin’s well-established strategy of using disinformation to amplify divisions, sow distrust and chaos, and exacerbate crisis situations and issues of public concern. Some cases, for example, claim that Bill Gates and George Soros are sponsoring the Wuhan coronavirus, that it is a UK, US or NATO creation and Americans have its 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 profits, that it is a biological weapon against Russia and China, that it will wipe out Ukraine’s population in a few days or that it was predicted by Nostradamus and others. Read previous cases claiming that mainstream media ignores the fake news campaign against Russia and that the EU is not publishing the coronavirus disinformation case it accuses Russia of spreading.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue191
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: EU, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, fake news, European Union, Russophobia

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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Removal of Soviet Marshal Konev’s statue in Prague is immoral and illegal

The monument to the Soviet Marshal Ivan Konev, whose troops liberated the Czech capital from the Nazis in 1945, was dismantled in Prague.
The Marshal was not defeated in Prague, but he was stabbed in the back 75 years later – dismantled during an epidemic when it is forbidden to gather in groups of more than two, and everyone who could protest is at home.
The main message is here: in 1968, Konev allegedly participated in the preparation of the invasion of Czechoslovakia. This myth has been repeatedly debunked by Russian historians and representatives of the Ministry of Defense.
The agreement on cooperation between Russia and the Czech Republic contains a clause on obligations to protect and care for military monuments. Russian diplomats demanded that their Czech colleagues comply with this agreement and now the Czech Foreign Ministry is obliged to provide explanations.

Disproof

This is a recurring disinformation narrative about the statue of Marshall Konev in Prague. It is also consistent with common pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Russophobia and the supposedly hostile anti-Russian intentions of the West, based on which Russia can cast itself as the victim. In the dispute over the statue, Russia has argued that under the Czech-Russian mutual agreement of 1993, the Czech Republic is obliged to leave the statue in place on Prague's Interbrigade Square. However, this is an intentionally false and misleading interpretation of the terms of the agreement (full text available here). The monument is municipal property, belonging to city district Prague 6, and the 1993 agreement therefore does not apply to this case. The statue of Konev, erected in 1980, is not a military grave or memorial and therefore it was not protected by international treaties. The democratically elected municipal council of Prague 6 voted for the removal of the statue. Basing on the protocol of the Politbureau's assembly, Czech historians established that on 8-14 May 1968, Konev chaired the Soviet military delegation sent to Prague to prepare the military invasion of Czechoslovakia. Konev was also chief of the Soviet troops in East Germany during the Berlin wall crisis in 1961. In other words, the Red Army brought not only liberation but also terror to Czech Republic, as the mayor of Prague 6, Ondřej Kolář reminded. Kolář said that he respects the role of Konev-led forces in liberating Prague, and the sacrifice of Soviet armies liberating Europe from Nazism. "We will strive for an art competition for a memorial to the liberators of Prague at the end of World War Two instead of the marshal Konev statue," he said before the vote. "At the same time we will secure a dignified - and let me stress that, dignified - placement of this art piece (Konev) in a memorial institution. I think this is a consensual solution we have called for a number of years.". The removal of the statue was planned for April 2020 in advance and is not due to coronavirus quarantine. The monument to Marshall Konev was erected in 1980 during the "normalisation" period in communist Czechoslovakia. The leadership of Prague's Municipal District 6, which retains legal ownership of the statue, has voted to move the monument to a museum and replace it with a memorial commemorating Soviet sacrifices in the fight against Hitler in general, and the liberation of Prague in particular. More information available here.

EU claims about a Russian coronavirus disinformation campaign are Russophobia

The EU’s claims that Russian media are conducting a disinformation campaign regarding the coronavirus are an expression of the the West’s Russophobia. The West’s Russophobic obsession is continuing even now in times of the pandemic.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying that Russian media has been involved in spreading disinformation about the coronavirus. This narrative is consistent with the propaganda theme that seeks to discredit any critical views of Russian foreign or domestic policies as “Russophobia”. By labelling them “Russophobia” pro-Kremlin outlets degrade such views as irrational and not worthy of a serious reply. Russia’s disinformation campaign on coronavirus has been well documented by both media and governments, and some of their elements were widely reported by Russian and international publications. The EUvsDisinfo database has more than 200 Kremlin-linked disinformation cases related to the coronavirus pandemic (since January 22). Such cases include, for example, claims that Bill Gates and George Soros are sponsoring the Wuhan coronavirus, that it is a UK, US or NATO creation and Americans have its 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 profits, that it is a biological weapon against Russia and China, that it will wipe out Ukraine’s population in a few days or that it was predicted by Nostradamus and others. Read previous cases claiming that the EU is not publishing the coronavirus disinformation case it accuses Russia of spreading that Russia is being falsely accused of waging a disinformation campaign on coronavirus, and that mainstream media ignores the fake news campaign against Russia

The Bundestag called for lifting Russian sanctions to combat COVID-19

Germany called for the lifting of sanctions against Russia amidst the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. It was noted that in difficult times, countries should help each other, and the current crisis will hurt the economy of the entire European Union. Removing restrictions from the Russian Federation could stimulate the growth of trade in the EU.

Disproof

The recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that sanctions against Russia are senseless and ineffective. It's also one of the narratives about COVID-19. Claim refers to positions of two members of Bundestag, presented as the position of the whole German parliament. There are no plans to lift the sanctions against the Russian Federation in the near future. There were no official statements from Germany or the EU official structures that sanctions will be lifted because of the coronavirus pandemic. Further debunking by StopFake. Read similar cases on Western sanctions alleging that the EU suffers from its own sanctions more than Russia, EU sanctions against Russia are not democratic and that European Council sanctions are irrational and unjustified.