Disinfo: Macron distributes fake news on Russian meddling in referendums


President Macron spreads fake news. He said that during the last referendums, on Brexit and Catalonia, the vote was manipulated by foreign powers. But there are no proofs.


On July 29, 2018 The UK Parliament issued a special report presenting evidence of Russian meddling in the referendums in the UK and in Catalonia.

The Parliament report refers to the research done by the "89up" agency, which found that Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik published 261 media articles on the EU Referendum, with an anti-EU bias [between 1 January 2016 and 23 June 2016]. The "89up" report also showed that RT and Sputnik had more reach on Twitter than either Vote Leave or Leave.EU, during the Referendum campaign. The Parliament report also refers to a joint research project by the Universities of Swansea and of Berkeley, at the University of California, which also identified 156,252 Russian accounts tweeting about #Brexit. These accounts posted over 45,000 Brexit messages in the last 48 hours of the campaign.

The Parliament report also found that during the referendum campaign in Catalonia, Russia provoked conflict, through a mixture of misleading information and disinformation, between people within Spain, and between Spain and other member states in the EU, and in NATO (p. 51).


  • Reported in: Issue 135
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 29/01/2019
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: UK, Russia, France, Spain
  • Keywords: election meddling, Catalonia, Emmanuel Macron, Brexit, Referendum


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.

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Estonian e-voting is not secret and has benefited specific parties

Voting over the Internet in recent years has been beneficial primarily to the right-wing parties.

In 2013, a 89-year-old retired woman took part in the elections to the board of the Reform Party. She did not own a computer and she also did not know how to use one.

There is no secret voting – in 2011, a 58-year-old Tallinn resident voted 553 times via the Internet and the representatives of the election commission called her to explain that only one vote would be counted.


According to the Freedom of the Net 2018 report, "The Estonian e-governance system is one of the most advanced in the world." Also, the Estonian e-voting system has nothing to do with the system used by the Reform Party.

According to the report by the University of Tartu, e-voting could mobilize new voters and people of higher socio-economic status who are more likely to lean to the right of the political spectrum. "The only plausible explanation for the aggregate level differences in party vote tallies depending on the mode is therefore that a large share of typical voters have simply switched from paper voting to e-voting and this process is non-random, meaning a larger share of supporters of particular parties have done so. Should e-voting be discontinued, these people would simply switch back to paper voting", the report said.

No evidence that Russian missiles 9M729 contradict the INF treaty obligations

Most Western media speaking about the US’ withdrawal from the INF Treaty present the American point of view and remain silent about the Russian one.

Western media do not mention that the Americans did not share evidence that the Russian missiles 9M729 contradict the obligations of the INF Treaty.



The US State Department issued a detailed rebuttal of Russian allegations of US noncompliance with the INF Treaty in 2018. Moreover, in December 2017 NATO affirmed that the US is in full compliance with the INF Treaty, and that Russia possesses a new missile system that aroused “serious concerns”.

The Congressional Research Service's Report on Russian Compliance with the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, dated 18-January-2019 details, i.a., how the Russian missiles 9M729 are in breach of the obligations of the INF Treaty.

Sputnik delivers high quality journalism, unlike other media

Our goal is neither to divide France nor to create a climate of hatred. It is to reveal what others do not cover.This is what can explain the increase in the number of our readers, and by no means a biased line seeking to harm the French government. If some media feel aggrieved, this is only due to their partisan editorial line, distant from our own, which is factual.


The most notorious report Sputnik published was in 2017, about "gay lobby" behind Emmanuel Macron, then candidate to the French presidency, without providing any evidence. According to the same Sputnik report, "ex-French Economy Minister Macron could be "US Agent' lobbying Banks' Interest". No evidence was given. For background see our reporting on the Sputnik coverage in 2017.

Sputnik also reported that the Russian name found in metadata of the hacked e-mails of Emmanuel Macron "does not prove the source". The investigations by The Insider and Mediapart.Fr discovered that behind those attacks was the same GRU unit later incriminated in the US for the similar actions against Democratic party.