Disinfo: EU's political aim behind the Eastern Partnership Programme is to isolate Russia

Summary

The essence of the EU’s Eastern Partnership programme is to make its non-EU member states follow Brussels’ instructions on domestic policies and to go further away from Russia in their external relations. Closer economic cooperation with the EU for non-EU countries is only possible in exchange for political concessions. The reason behind the EU’s invitations to the Belarusian president, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, to the EaP summits were to have his signature on a joint anti-Russian declaration. Politically, the EU’s aim behind the Eastern Partnership is to isolate Moscow. Therefore, Belarus’ position to develop ties with both the EU and Russia is irrelevant for the EU.

Disproof

This message is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the West's, and in this case, the EU's intention to encircle Russia and the former’s attempts to bring discord in Belarusian-Russian relations. The Eastern Partnership programme aims to reinforce the political association and economic integration of six Eastern European and South Caucasus partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. It is not directed against any country, including Russia. Read more about the EaP's recent and ongoing activities.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 150
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 14/05/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, Georgia, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: Eastern Partnership, Anti-Russian, European Union, Conspiracy theory
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Further evidence of discrimination against residents of Donbas in Ukraine

Kyiv may deprive citizens who receive Russian passports of their social payments and pensions. Such measures are further proof of discrimination against the residents of Donbas in Ukraine.

Disproof

The recurring narrative of Kremlin propaganda saying that Ukraine discriminates against residents of the Donbas. For example, cut off water supplies to Luhansk, or prevented Donbas residents from voting in presidential elections. Since 2014, the Ukrainian government has required citizens in Donetsk and Luhansk, which are not controlled by Kyiv, to register as internally displaced persons in government-controlled areas of Ukraine in order to receive their pensions and other entitlements. The Ukrainian Minister of Veterans Affairs, Iryna Friz, said that "It also initiated working on the proposal for including citizens who received passports of the Russian Federation in a manner that violates international law and threatens the sovereignty of our state to a database with the further deprivation of their beneficiary status for receiving social benefits or pensions from Ukraine". Similar disinformation cases can be found here.

UK is against Azerbaijan

Several agencies, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Kingdom, that have nothing to do with sport, produce biased and unreal considerations and try to formulate opinions of the international community that it is inexpedient to hold important sporting events in Azerbaijan. There are no allegations of theft nor fraud, and there is no problem with ethical conduct. I think that in this issue we have to go down to political roots. Anti-Azerbaijani forces are clearly visible here. In the period of important international events in Azerbaijan, or during such events, these forces are launching a black campaign against Azerbaijan. If we pay attention, we can see that such campaigns are biased and have no basis.

Disproof

This report comes after Arsenal and Chelsea fans were apparently warned they could be a target for terror attacks in Azerbaijan. The Premier League sides will compete in the Europa League final in the capital city of Baku on May 29. But British media reports wrote about a ‘likely’ attack. This has been taken out of context, as the UK government responded, explaining this advice is not new: "We did not issue a new warning on the threat from terrorism in Azerbaijan. We issued an update to our Azerbaijan travel advice on 1 May to remove advice on travelling through Istanbul. It noted that there are consultative pages on every country for British people travelling abroad: “Each travel advice country page has a dedicated section with information on our assessment of the threat from terrorism in that country. This is to ensure we fulfil our duty of care to British nationals and is under constant review. Our assessment of the threat from terrorism in Azerbaijan has not changed.” "The British Embassy is surprised that travel recommendations published in the Azerbaijani media referring to the UK Foreign Ministry are constantly posted on the Ministry"s website. The citations referenced by the media have existed for several years. Travel recommendations are not subject to discussion. This is a carefully drafted document by the UK government to fulfil the obligation of care for citizens of the country. Recommendations were updated on May 1st. However, this update was only technical and logical in nature, and reflected some facts. In particular, the update was associated with the introduction of a new airport in Istanbul."

George Soros controls Ukrainian leader

Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy and numerous members of his team are stooges of George Soros and the Liberals.

Disproof

The story advances the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative painting Ukraine as a geopolitical hostage of the United States, and the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory portraying philanthropist George Soros as a menace bent on weakening Russia and meddling in its "sphere of influence." No sources are presented for the claim, and not a single member of Zelenskyy's team are named. The imagined links between Soros and Zelenskyy were first reported by Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the official newspaper of the Russian government, in a February 2019 article which counts "friends of George Soros and other globalists" among members of Zelenskyy's election team, without further elaboration. The Soros-Zelenskyy angle has since been picked up by pro-Kremlin websites in Russia and Ukraine, although the stories are usually unburdened by evidence. In a rare stab at fact-based reporting, one Russian website draws a link between Soros and Zelenskyy's economic adviser by noting that, in 1993, the latter enrolled in an Estonian university where the tuition fee for his first year of study was partly covered by the Soros Fund.