Disinfo: The new EU “Magnitsky sanctions” are a way to distract Europeans from the internal problems

Summary

The EU’s message should not mislead anyone about the true meaning of this project [the Magnitsky sanctions]: to legitimise the right to intervene in the affairs of other states. These sanctions are a way to distract Europeans from internal problems.

Disproof

This case is part of the pro-Kremlin media's ongoing disinformation campaign against Magnitsky sanctions.

On 9 December 2019, EU foreign ministers reflected on how to improve the EU toolbox on human rights, and the EU High Representative Josep Borrell announced the launch of preparatory work on a possible horizontal sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations. In a statement, the EU's High Representative said: "We have agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the European Union equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States". He added that the sanctions would give the EU “much more strength and much more capacity to act” and would be “a tangible step reaffirming the EU’s global lead on human rights.”

In practice, Magnitsky sanctions target individuals around the world responsible for human rights violations or acts of significant corruption by imposing travel bans and freezes on their financial assets. The original Magnitsky Act was passed in the United States in 2012 to punish Russian nationals involved in the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky as well as other human rights violations, and was followed in 2017 by the Global Magnitsky Act, which extends to individuals anywhere in the world. Similar legislation has also been passed in the UK, Canada, and the Baltic States.

Sergei Magnitsky was a 37-year-old Russian lawyer and auditor who was tortured, denied medical care, and ultimately left to die in a Russian prison in 2009. He had uncovered a massive fraud scheme to the tune of $230 million that implicated several high-level state officials. A Russian investigation concluded that Magnitsky had died of natural causes; the case was then closed and Magnitsky was posthumously convicted of tax evasion. In August 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russian authorities “had deprived Sergei Magnitskiy of important medical care and had failed to comply with their duty to protect his life.” The judges unanimously concluded that Magnitsky's treatment in detention violated his human rights, the right to live, right to liberty and security, and right to freedom from torture.

For more disinformation cases on Magnitsky, see here.

The trope of "lost sovereignty" is one of the Kremlin's most enduring disinformation narratives to demonise the supposedly "evil Western powers".

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 177
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: Bill Browder, Sergei Magnitsky, EU, Anti-Russian, Imperialism/colonialism, Russophobia, Sanctions, Europe
  • Outlet: RT TASS
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There is a crisis of adult authority in the West

The authority of adults throughout the western world suffers from a crisis, and adults are increasingly associated with negative characteristics. A feeling among adults of their inability to provide good guidance to the youth is also growing in parallel. Therefore, the other side of the erosion of the authority of the adults appears to be the tendency to approach the youth and adolescents in search of solutions and answers. This is the reason for the depreciation of the value of the “adult” in Western society compared to the increasing value of the young and “their wisdom”.

We can say that the most horrific manifestation of this trend is the scene of politicians and dignitaries as they listen to Greta [Thunberg] in high-level international meetings; the mere appearance of this symbol of “childish” political culture at any of these events generates a storm of applause.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative portraying the West as decadent, moving away from traditional values, and suffering from a moral value crisis. Russia in this context is usually being portrayed as superior to the West in terms of morals.

The narrative about “threatened values” is also adapted to a wide range of topics and is typically used to discredit liberal Western attitudes towards the environment, rights of women, ethnic and religious minorities and LGBTI groups, among others. It is one of the most common narratives used by pro-Kremlin outlets.

Tax-cheating Jewish oligarch keeps lying about his dead auditor to make everyone hate Russia

Tax-cheating Jewish oligarch [Bill Browder] keeps lying about his dead auditor to make everyone hate Russia. For years Browder – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s self-proclaimed “enemy number one” and head of the Hermitage Capital Management fund – has been waging what can only be described as his personal anti-Russia campaign.

Disproof

This case is part of the pro-Kremlin media's ongoing disinformation campaign against Magnitsky sanctions and their chief proponent, Bill Browder. The article uses anti-Semitism to attack Browder and accuses him of Russophobia - a disinformation tactic commonly used by pro-Kremlin outlets to deflect criticism about Moscow's policies by painting Russia as the innocent victim of Western antipathy.

As the CEO of Hermitage Capital, once the largest investment firm in Russia, Bill Browder fell afoul of the Russian government in 2005 after exposing the details of a vast $230-million corruption scheme involving several high-ranking Russian officials. While investigating the corruption scheme, Hermitage Capital’s tax lawyer Sergei Magnitsky was arrested. During his 11-month imprisonment, he was tortured, denied medical care, and ultimately left to die. A Russian investigation concluded that Magnitsky had died of natural causes; the case was then closed and Magnitsky was posthumously convicted of tax evasion. To commemorate Magnitsky, Bill Browder launched a campaign to sanction the individuals involved in his mistreatment and death. This campaign has led the United States and several other countries (the UK, Canada, and the Baltic States) to adopt so-called 'Magnitsky sanctions' that restrict the travel and freeze the assets of individuals who have been involved in human rights abuses and mass corruption.  EU foreign affairs ministers have also agreed to launch the preparatory work for a global sanctions regime to address serious human rights violations, which will be the EU equivalent of the so-called Magnitsky Act of the United States, EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell said. 

Fascist-oriented regimes in Latin America invite Israelis to provide advice on depopulating indigenous peoples

Fascist-oriented regimes in Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras, Paraguay, Guatemala, and Chile, eager to displace indigenous peoples, have invited the Israelis back to their nations to provide advice on depopulating indigenous regions as systematically as Israel has done to the Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Disproof

A recurring conspiracy theory, loaded with anti-Semitic sentiment. There is no evidence to support the claim that such an invitation was ever made.