Disinfo: It was EU that suffered the most from anti-Russian sanctions

Summary

The EU, not Russia, suffered the most serious damage in 2014 and 2018 as a result of the exchange of sectoral sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Western sanctions on Russia claiming that they have backfired. Since March 2014, the EU has progressively imposed restrictive measures against Russia. The measures were adopted in response to the illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine. According to research into the effect of sanctions, the cumulative export loss to Russia during 2014-2018 is estimated at EUR 30 billion (about -0.2% of EU’s GDP in 2018), incurred largely during 2014-2016, as EU exports to Russia recovered in 2017. While these sanctions do affect the EU's economy, the EU-wide impacts of the export losses are estimated at less than 0.2% of total value-added and employment. Research showed that already in 2016 most of the affected agricultural sectors had been able to find alternative markets, either within the EU or beyond.          

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 216
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: EU, Russia
  • Keywords: Sanctions

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

Expulsion of Russian diplomats from Bulgaria is Russophobia

Bulgaria said that it expelled Russian diplomats. The expulsion of diplomats and similar actions reflect compliance with Russophobic tendencies, which the Americans are trying to plant in Europe and in every possible way to discourage Europe from Russian gas, and from Russian military products.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe, “lost sovereignty” and Russophobia. Eastern European countries are often presented as “puppet-states” of the United States by the pro-Kremlin media. The claim comes after Bulgaria expelled two Russian diplomats on suspicion of espionage. According to state prosecutors, the two suspects collected secret state information on Bulgaria’s military modernisation plans and preparedness. Bulgarian investigators said the espionage, which took place between 2016 to date, included the use of financial inducements to recruit Bulgarian nationals with access to sensitive information Regarding the comments on Europe being under America's thumb, the European Union is a sovereign entity, created by the voluntary initiative of European nations, and it has its own, independent foreign policy. Its citizens are directly represented in the European Parliament and Member States are represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU. The United States of America is not part of these institutions. The US had no role in the creation of the EU and has no say in its decisions. In addition, the EU Member States are sovereign countries and make their own sovereign decisions about their own security and policies. The US is an important ally to the EU but EU policy is not determined by the US. See other examples of this message claiming that Polish policy towards Ukraine is shaped by the Americans, that the US keeps Poland on a short anti-Russian leash, and Poland is a Trojan Horse of the United States, or that Lithuania is NATO’s dog barking at Russia and Belarus, that Foreign powers command political parties in Romania or Czechia is US’s puppet.

A high-ranking American official took under his control Moldova’s presidential elections

US Deputy Head of State Department took under his personal control Moldova’s presidential elections. The United States is closely monitoring the “health of democracy” in Moldova.

Disproof

The article's allegation that the USA is controlling the electoral processes in Moldova is blatant misinformation. In fact, on October, 9, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale spoke with Moldovan President Igor Dodon and former Prime Minister Maia Sandu about the November 1 presidential election in Moldova. He did not say that he "will take under personal control Moldova's presidential elections", but in separate calls, Under Secretary Hale noted the "importance of a free and fair electoral process that respects the will of the Moldovan people, including a level playing field for all candidates, the elimination of illegal foreign support for political campaigns, and unbiased access to mass media in accordance with Moldova’s laws." Additionally, US Ambassador to Moldova Derek Hogan said that Regardless of what choice the Moldovan people make on Election Day, "the United States will remain a faithful partner to the Moldovan people and this country’s sovereign right to choose its own path. We support and join in your struggle to build a bright, prosperous, and democratic future for yourselves and your children." Presidential elections will take place in Moldova on 1 November 2020. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the US is involved in Moldovan political life, including elections.

Germany has a serious problem with freedom of speech

No one will disagree that Germany has a serious problem with freedom of speech.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Western societies enjoy little to no freedom of speech and/or press. The German Constitution not only recognizes freedom of the press as a vital component of freedom of expression, but even upholds it as "an independent and separate freedom under article 5 of the Basic Law." Accordingly, Reporters Without Borders ranks Germany as the 11th media-friendliest state globally, noting that the country's "[s]olid constitutional gaurantees and an independent judiciary ensure a favourable environment for journalists." Pro-Kremlin outlets routinely decry the alleged erosion of press freedom in various Western states, while simultaneously claiming that Russian journalists enjoy far greater liberties than their European counterparts. See similar cases concerning The Netherlands, the Baltics, France, the United States, and the United Kingdom.