Disinfo: Media spreading panic about coronavirus to divert attention from unpopular issues like Brexit

Summary

International media are seizing the opportunity provided by the new coronavirus outbreak to criticize China, spreading panic to divert attention from many unpopular decisions in their own countries. For example, the focus isn’t on Brexit as much as before.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory. No evidence is provided to support the claim.

This is part of pro-Kremlin disinformation efforts on coronavirus aiming to put some blame on the West for allegedly exploiting this outbreak for their own purposes, namely isolating China. While many baseless conspiracy theories emerged all over the world amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, there is no proof that Western media are deliberately promoting them. On the other hand, there is mounting evidence that pro-Kremlin media are spreading disinformation on the disease for political purposes in a coordinated campaign.

You can see other examples of Kremlin-led disinformation narratives on the coronavirus outbreak in our database, such as claims that Bill Gates and George Soros are sponsoring it, that it is a UK, US or NATO creation and Americans have its cure, that it is an artificial disease which specifically targets Chinese DNA, that it was created with economic goals while big pharma companies are spreading panic for their own profits, that it is a biological weapon against Russia and China, that it will wipe out Ukraine’s population in a few days or that it was predicted by Nostradamus and others.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 184
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/02/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: China, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Brexit, Conspiracy theory
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All information stuffing in Poland is aimed at creating anti-Russian sentiments

The topic of the “Russian threat” is artificially constructed by the Polish authorities for internal and external use. Poland launched an active information attack on Russia. In recent months it has intensified. All information dumps in Poland are aimed at creating anti-Russian sentiments. They are Russophobic in nature. Statements about the “Russian threat” periodically come from Western politicians, but most often from the Baltic countries and Poland.

Disproof

An attempt to depict EU member states as anti-Russian and Russophobic, as well as recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that the “Russian threat” is made up and used for different internal and external reasons, for example, to encircle and weaken Russia. More generally, this disinformation message is also in line with the current disinformation attack on Poland.

“Russophobia” is a manipulative defensive line, often used by Russian propaganda to reduce any criticism of the Russian state to an irrational intolerance towards the Russian people. Outlets such as RT, Sputnik and Russian national state television use the term to explain away almost any foreign criticism of Kremlin policies.

Poland seeks to be the main US outpost in its aggressive policy towards Russia

Poland has difficult relations with the EU countries. For Poland, it is important to have approval primarily from the United States. It is no coincidence that military cooperation between Poland and the United States intensified. Poland seeks to take the position that West Germany took in Europe during the Cold War: the position of the main US outpost in its aggressive policy towards Russia.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on “lost sovereignty”, Russophobia, as well as a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that the United States fully controls the foreign policy of Poland.

Poland is often presented by pro-Kremlin outlets as a “puppet-state” of the United States. This narrative includes a message that the United States manipulates Poland and other European allies in order to carry out its anti-Russian policies. The statement that Poland is used by the United States to inspire a conflict with Russia is a conspiracy theory. Poland is a sovereign state, which shapes its own foreign and domestic policies.

"Maidan" was conceived by Washington for the sole purpose of deploying its military facilities in Crimea

There is a theory that “Maidan” was conceived in Washington for the sole purpose of deploying its military facilities directly at Russian borders, in particular in Crimea.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Ukraine's statehood which claims that protests in the country were organised by the US and the West.

The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan" or "Euromaidan" – were not provoked from outside but were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last-minute policy U-turn, when after seven years of negotiations, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement. More cases on this topic here.