Disinfo: Like in the UK in 2014, Europeans will freeze to death this winter trying to save on heating


Against the background of the rising prices of food and gas, poor families will have to choose between eating or heating this winter.

Traditionally, tens of thousands of elderly people die every winter in Britain. To save on heating costs, they turn off the heating at night. In the morning, they are found frozen to death. In 2014, more than 40,000 people died in this way. Such deaths are expected to rise this winter.


This article is part or a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative of the "EU in decline", "the western societies are helpless and in crisis". The underlying deceptive message is that "the weak EU is forced to talk with strong energy-exporter Russia not to kill the population".

This manipulative twist appeared in an article on Europe's energy crisis. There is no clear connection between excess winter deaths in the UK in 2014 and the rise in gas prices.

Analysing the reasons for the situation, and keeping silent about Russia's role in the current crisis (decrease in Gazprom supplies), the author of the article criticises the European energy policy, sarcastically ridiculing Green Energy, and Europe's desire to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. As a way out of the energy crisis for the Europeans, it is proposed to develop cooperation with Russia and order nuclear power plants.

Pro-Kremlin outlets paint a very black picture of dire consequences of Europe's gas shortage: factory closures, unemployment, surging prices for electricity, food, transportation, poverty, starving families and tens of thousands of elderly people frostbitten to death in unheated homes.

It is true that an estimated 43,900 excess winter deaths (EWDs) occurred in England and Wales in 2014/15; the highest number since 1999/00. But it is not true that people got frozen to death because of cold houses.

Cold weather is clearly a factor in the increased number of deaths compared to other periods of the year. Because winter weather can directly increase the occurrence of heart attacks, stroke, respiratory disease, influenza, falls/injuries and hypothermia. Exposure to extreme cold can lead to hypothermia, but this is not the main cause of excess winter deaths of 2014/2015 in the UK.

Circulatory diseases (i.e.heart attacks and strokes) account for 40% of EWDs nationally and around one-third of excess winter deaths are due to respiratory illness. Respiratory disease is known to be one of the main causes of excess winter deaths (EWDs); for example in 2014/15, respiratory diseases were listed as the underlying cause of death for 36% of all excess winter deaths, with the majority of these deaths occurring in the 75 and over age group. Pneumonia was the underlying cause in 19% of all excess winter deaths in 2014/15. More information can be found here.


  • Reported in: Issue 261
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 20/09/2021
  • Article language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: UK
  • Keywords: gas, Economic difficulties, health, economy
see more

Disinfo: Sanctions are beneficial to Russia so the West should recognise Crimea as Russian

Instead of making gratuitous statements about the so-called "annexation" of Crimea, the French authorities would do better to recognise it as an integral part of Russia.

Russia has benefited from Western sanctions imposed on it after the peninsula was attached. Sanctions are not beneficial to the West. Sanctions are beneficial to Russia.

Crimea, offered to Ukraine within the USSR by Nikita Khrushchev in 1954, was reattached to Russia following the referendum held in March 2014, following the coup d'état in Ukraine in February of the same year. Kyiv continues to regard Crimea as Ukrainian territory.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the illegal annexation of Crimea and sanctions against Russia.

The impact of sanctions needs to be evaluated in the long run. However, primarily assessments show a significant and negative impact on the Russian economy.

Disinfo: There is democracy in Russia, since there are a lot of participants in the Duma elections

There is democracy in Russia, since there are a lot of participants in the Russian parliamentary elections.


A large number of candidates does not guarantee that the whole electoral process meets the high standard of democracy. Many candidates were denied the right to register.

The OSCE was unable to observe and evaluate the electoral parliamentary elections of 17-19 September 2021 due to major limitations imposed by Russian Authorities.

Disinfo: Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew visits the US which asked him to split the Orthodox world

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew is paying a visit to the United States. This should come as no surprise as it was the United States and the West which forced him to grant autocephaly to the Church of Ukraine, thus splitting the Orthodox World.


Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets frequently attack the establishment of an autocephalous Ukrainian church. The Constantinople Patriarchy, not the US, decided to grant the autocephaly to the Ukrainian church. The final decision was made in January 2019, when all members of the Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate signed off the Tomos of autocephaly. The signing of the Tomos happened after months of careful preparation and consideration by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Holy Synod.

For more information and analysis on pro-Kremlin disinformation against the Church of Ukraine see here.