Disinfo: Neither doctors, nor food supplies in Lithuania

Summary

The coronavirus epidemic in Lithuania demonstrates with all clarity the results of the democratic reforms on the road to the “Bright European Future”. [—]

There are only five medical facilities in the country; in the largest cities: in Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys and Vilnius. In rural areas nothing is left, except for something like first aid stations. If there are only a few hospitals, there are few doctors. This has become on of the largest challenges. Students from the last years of medical schools are summoned to fight the outbreak, but the shortage of specialist is disastrous. The second problem, connected to the results of the “democratic reforms” is that the country does not have any strategic resources of food supplies.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative portraying Lithuania as a failed state. The 5 hospitals mentioned in the disinformation claim are not the only hospitals in the country. Rather these are the largest hospitals that are designated to test and treat the COVID-19 patients. Lithuania has also established mobile points for testing patients for suspected cases of the coronavirus. Lithuanian society has mobilized to fight the pandemic, student and other volunteers are assisting the state and medics to disseminate public information, procure medical equipment, reach out to the most vulnerable parts of the society and other activities. Lithuania does have strategic resources of food supplies, which are stocked in accordance to national law.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 189
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 24/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Lithuania
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy theory
see more

Disinfo: Coronavirus pushed the West into the Middle Ages

A combination of systemic crisis and the coronavirus epidemic dealt a blow to the West’s mythical unity. Western countries refuse to help each other by sending medical equipment or providing financial assistance. The US organised a military operation to export half a million of coronavirus tests from Italy, despite the deficit Italy is facing. The West is sinking in the Middle Ages, where everyone is for himself. The longer the epidemic stays, the further back in time the West will be submerged. The only positive aspect is that the combination of a global systemic crisis, low hydrocarbon prices, and the coronavirus pandemic may replace a new world war by moving away unsustainable political entities.

Disproof

This message is consistent with recurring pro-Kremlin claims about the EU's helplessness in dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and a common narrative about the EU's imminent collapse. The European Union is supporting Member States in addressing the crisis and has adopted measure to mitigate the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and proposed to set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector. To support scientific research into COVID-19, the European Commission earmarked 47.5 million EUR for shortlisted research projects that can improve epidemiology and public health, including preparedness and response to outbreaks. The EU has also created first ever stockpile of medical equipment. Read more about the EU's response here and here. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Italy, Spain, Portugal and possibly even France are in line to exit the EU, that a number of EU countries teeter on the brink of default, and that the coronavirus and economic crisis caught the EU by surprise because of its Russophobia.

Disinfo: Western sanctions are a result of Crimea's return to Russia

Western countries imposed since mid-2014 several sanctions on Moscow because of the return of Crimea to the strength of Russia, and because of Russia’s position on the Ukrainian crisis.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea.

Crimea was illegally annexed by Moscow based on an illegitimate referendum. On 27 March 2014, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in which it stated that the referendum in Crimea was not valid and could not serve as a basis for any change in the status of the peninsula. On 17th December 2018, the UN General Assembly confirmed its non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Disinfo: Due to coronavirus, Italy is on the brink of default, many European states will likely cease to exist

The course of events in the next months can change Europe’s political map. Many European countries will likely not get through it, they will merge with bigger ones. Total economic downturns point at their absolute incapability to deal with the crisis. Italy is on the brink of default, and nobody can help it. The EU just does not possess enough money for saving the Italian economy. Everyone will care about himself in the first place. The situation is dramatic, similar events took place in the 1910s, 1920s, 1940s.

Disproof

This message paints a far-reaching gloomy economic and political scenario which is consistent with a common pro-Kremlin narrative about the EU's imminent collapse. Whereas the economic consequences of coronavirus outbreak for Italy are indeed grave and a sharp economic slowdown is expected, it will not inevitably face default as alleged. At present, no EU country has a credit rating low enough to justify that claim. The EU as a whole enjoys a very high credit rating. Before the coronavirus outbreak it was rated AAA/Aaa/AAA/AAA (outlook stable) by Fitch, Moody’s, DBRS and Scope and AA (outlook stable) by Standard & Poor’s. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the coronavirus puts EU’s existence into question, that Italy, Spain, Portugal, and possibly even France are in line to exit the EU, that a number of EU countries teeter on the brink of default, and that the EU is rotten and countries are leaving it.