Disinfo: Investigations in the US media about Russia is what totalitarianism looks like

Summary

The GRU is once again in the spotlight of the American press. The Associated Press and the New York Times published articles about how Russian intelligence is conducting a campaign of misinformation about the coronavirus among Americans in order to instil in them uncertainty about the future and undermine stability. The media refer to some declassified intelligence materials and their own sources. What we see now is what totalitarianism looks like. Real and authentic. When you can declare any quantity and carry any stupidity.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to depict accusations of Russian meddling in Western life as factually unfounded and driven by "Russophobia". According to the New York Times, declassified U.S. intelligence accuses Moscow of pushing propaganda through alternative websites as Russia refines techniques used in 2016. United States government officials mostly described disinformation focused on the pandemic, but they also outlined ties between Russian intelligence and a think tank that had published articles on politics. From late May to early July, about 150 articles on the pandemic were published by the Russian intelligence-backed effort, American officials said. Information portal oneworld.press and news agency InfoRos, which were mentioned in the investigation, featured as well in the EU DisinfoLab OSINT Investigation. “InfoRos is evolving in a shady grey zone, where regular information activities are mixed with more controversial actions that could be quite possibly linked to the Russian state’s information operations,” the report said. The Washington Post also has previously reported that InfoRos was linked to the GRU.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 207
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/07/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Russia
  • Keywords: GRU, Censorship, Media, Russophobia
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Americans want Ukraine to grow GMO products

The US wants Ukraine to grow GMO products, and they will help. The US does not give a task – grow whatever you want. Instead, they want Ukraine to grow GMO products, the Americans will help with this. Sell the land, become farm labourers. Ukrainians will grow the products that they need and not the ones that are profitable and traditionally produced by Ukraine.

Disproof

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative alleging that Ukraine is controlled by the US. Ukraine is a sovereign state, not controlled by any foreign government. The new law on the land market states that only Ukrainian citizens and companies registered in Ukraine and under Ukrainian law will be eligible to buy agricultural land in Ukraine. Other restrictions are prescribed by the law. A recently established working group at the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture of Ukraine will deal with the regulation of genetically modified organisms. The group included experts from the Ministry, as well as representatives of leading industry organisations and associations, including the Seed Association of Ukraine.

The West remembers the annexation of Crimea less and less

Russia and its European partners have learned to circumvent the sanctions, reducing their effectiveness, after which the problem of Crimea began to rapidly lose relevance.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the illegal annexation of Crimea. The EU still does not recognise the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation and continues to condemn this violation of international law. In June 2020 the European Council decided to renew the sanctions introduced in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol by the Russian Federation until 23 June 2021. Read similar cases claiming that Crimean people have expressed their desire to rejoin Russia in a democratic process and that Crimea never belonged to Ukraine.

Google’s decision to remove Tsargrad is another example of political censorship

Google’s decision is another example of political censorship, violation of freedom of expression, and the principle of equal access to information. Once again, the monopolists in the American technology market follow the official Washington leadership, which uses unscrupulous methods to clean up the global information field from Russian sources.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Russophobia, allegedly directed at the pro-Kremlin media. The Youtube account of the TV channel "Tsargrad", owned by Russian businessman Konstantin Malofeev, was blocked due to a violation of the law. Google representatives commented to RBC about it.

“Google complies with all applicable sanctions and trade compliance laws. If we find that an account violates these laws, then we take appropriate action,” the company said.

The lawyers of "Tsargrad" explained the reason for the blocking by the fact that Konstantin Malofeev is on the US sanctions' lists. The decision to remove Tsargrad TV from Youtube was therefore a legal decision based on the inclusion of its owner, Konstantin Maolofeyev, in the US and the EU sanctions list for financing separatist movements in Eastern Ukraine. In the European Council decision to sanction Mr Malofeev, it was stated that:

"Mr Malofeev is closely linked to Ukrainian separatists in Eastern Ulkraine and Crimea. He is a former employer of Mr Borodai, so-called Prime Minister of the so-called ‘Donetsk People's Republic’ and met with Mr Aksyonov, so-called Prime Minister of the so-called ‘Republic of Crimea’, during the period of the Crimean annexation process.

Malofeev gave a number of public statements supporting the illegal annexation of Crimea and incorporation of Ukraine into Russia and notably stated in June 2014 that ‘You can't incorporate the whole of Ukraine into Russia. The East (of Ukraine) maybe’. Shortly after the inclusion of Malofeev in the EU sanctions list, he was added to a US sanctions list in 2014 for his engagement in illegal activities, and the decision to remove Tsargrad TV by Youtube was an implementation of this sanction. According to the US Department of the Treasury, Malofeev is on the sanction list because "he is responsible for, complicit in, or has engaged in, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine and has materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, or in support of, the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic."

You can read similar cases claiming that "US senators and Macron accused Sputnik and RT of election interference with no evidence", "Europe's position in the situation with Sputnik Estonia - criminal silence", "Russian media are being discriminated in Baltic states", etc.