Disinfo: The New York Times blames Putin for US health system collapse in face of novel coronavirus


The US keeps breaking negative records of infected and deaths from coronavirus, but instead of blaming the US health system or the lack of measures adopted by the authorities at the beginning of the pandemic, the New York Times is already pointing to Putin. According to the newspaper, over the decades the Russian president has made the collapse of the US health system and the loss of confidence of Americans in their doctors his personal motivation, undermining the healthcare month after month and year after year through anti-vaccination campaigns and other strategies until its final collapse. The article uses arguments such as that the Kremlin envies the number of Nobel Prizes awarded to US scientists so it tried to destroy its foundations. The fact that this kind of articles always point to Russia after a concrete problem exploded suggests that their aim is to find a scapegoat and divert attention from the real causes.


This is a deliberate distortion of the original New York Times article, which doesn’t blame Russian President Vladimir Putin for an alleged collapse of the US health system in face of the coronavirus crisis, nor says that he has a personal motivation in provoking this collapse. Rather, it affirms that Russia has been promoting an anti-vaccination stance in the West and other public health disinformation issues for a long time and that Moscow’s aim is to portray American officials as downplaying the health alarms and thus posing serious threats to public safety. The NYTimes article also exposes the techniques used by the Kremlin to spread disinformation on health issues for over a decade, such as interviews in RT with experts that repeatedly claimed falsely that H1N1 flu or Ebola virus were bioengineered, among others.

The Kremlin’s long-standing efforts to seed distrust in vaccination abroad have been well documented by EUvsDisinfo and other researchers, such as the George Washington University and Georgia’s National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC).

The goal of attacking and misrepresenting the NYTimes article is to ridicule the claims about Russia’s involvement in this disinformation campaign and divert attention away from any responsibility, a frequently used disinformation technique in the Kremlin’s toolbox. You can see other examples of Russian-promoted disinformation on vaccines in our database, such as claims that they are not effective and their production is part of the agenda for a New World Order; that European countries where vaccination is not mandatory are more successful; that coronavirus vaccine is a big pharma fraud led by Bill Gates; that nano-chips for population control will be injected along with anti-coronavirus vaccines; or that those who survive the pandemic will be poisoned this way for population reduction purposes.


  • Reported in: Issue 193
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Russia, US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, vaccination, The New York Times, Vladimir Putin


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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