Disinfo: EU’s own report clears Moscow of election meddling charges

Summary

In the face of its established tendency to accuse Moscow of meddling in elections, the EU has itself acknowledged that such charges are lacking in substance.

In a recent report, the European Commission admitted there is insufficient evidence to identify a “distinct cross-border disinformation campaign” in the run-up to the 2019 European Parliament elections. This, however, did not stop the Commission from alleging that unspecified “Russian sources” had attempted to influence their outcome.

This claim fits into the three-year campaign of baseless interference allegations which the US, France, the UK, Spain, and Germany have levied against Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative stating that all charges of election meddling, however well-grounded in the facts, are actually Russophobic plots used by Western governments to shift the focus away from domestic problems.

The report in question does not absolve Russia of interference charges. The statement that "available evidence has not allowed to identify a distinct cross-border disinformation campaign" is immediately followed by this one: "However, the evidence collected revealed a continued and sustained disinformation activity by Russian sources aiming to suppress turnout and influence voter preferences" (p. 3, emphasis added).

The conclusion does indeed fit in with earlier meddling allegations. They, too, were each supported by dozens of reports produced in the course of media investigations, official inquiries, and analytical work. See here for our dedicated database of resources pertaining to Russian interference in Western elections and referenda.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 154
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/06/2019
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: EU elections 2019, election meddling, EU, Anti-Russian, Manipulated elections/referendum, Russophobia, Elections, Referendum

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.

see more

No evidence of Russian meddling in Western elections

Several European states, namely Spain, Germany, and the UK, have accused Russia of meddling in their domestic elections, thereby following the US. However, none of these countries have managed to provide any credible evidence in support of these allegations.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying any Russian interference in Western elections and other democratic processes.

Russia's attempts to sway foreign elections have been overwhelmingly documented by government agencies, journalistic investigations, and think tanks. See the original disproof here; see here for our database of resources pertaining to Russian interference in Western elections; and see here for our debunk of the "no-credible-evidence" trope as applied to the 2016 US presidential election.

Russia respects the Minsk Agreements, Ukraine does not

Russia did what it could to push the so-called separatists of Donbas to respect the Minsk agreements and indeed, they respected them. It was the Ukrainians who were reluctant [to respect the Minsk agreements] because they were asked to change the constitution. The Minsk agreements mention the change of constitution. Russia will certainly take further steps if Ukraine commits to respect the Minsk agreements that were signed in 2015.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the Minsk agreements, portraying Ukraine as a primary violator of the cease-fire.

In March 2015, the European Council linked the duration of EU sanctions to Russia to the complete implementation of the Minsk agreements, acknowledging Russia's responsibility to uphold the Agreements.

New US policy on the Arctic is belligerent

New US policy toward the Arctic is aimed at turning the region into a potential theatre of war.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the US claiming that US and NATO policies are a threat to world peace and security.

In June 2019, the US Department of Defense released its updated Arctic Defence Strategy.  This document focuses on threats posed by Russia – which is building up and upgrading military infrastructure in its Arctic region – and by China. However, contrary to the claim made in this story, US experts argue that this strategy does not really commit the necessary resources to address these challenges, nor does it provide clear policy recommendations.