Disinfo: No evidence Russia waged disinformation campaign targeting Western coronavirus vaccines

Summary

By accusing Moscow of spreading disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines, US propagandists that spread the original ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy are doing it again, stoking fear and hatred and projecting amid a pandemic.

Disproof

The claim advances a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative concerning the Russian-made coronavirus vaccine casting Russia as the spearhead of the global race to develop an effective treatment for COVID-19 and to promote the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. The claim that the West is trying to discredit the Sputnik V vaccine is unfounded.

Experts' reports conclude that Russia has perceived the development of a coronavirus vaccine in terms of geopolitical and economic gain.

The pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on Sputnik V seems to have been launched after its announcement was met with scepticism and criticism even by Russian specialists in the country. Reservations of Sputnik V stem from the fact that Russia did not complete large trials to test the vaccine’s safety and efficacy before releasing it. Rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger people who receive it.

On February 2, several days after the disinfo message was published, interim results from a phase 3 trial of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine were finally published in The Lancet. The interim trial results show a consistent strong protective effect across all participant age groups, suggesting that the Sputnik V vaccine appears safe and effective.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has provided scientific advice to the Sputnik V developers and on 4 March EMA started a rolling review of Sputnik V.

The same disinformation campaign includes statements such as "Western attacks on the Russian coronavirus vaccine are a corporate cold war against humanity" or "Russian progress in COVID-19 vaccine has become for the West an outrageous challenge", that Sputnik V is a target of the corporate cold war; that the West wants to discredit the Sputnik V; that the WHO and Microsoft sabotaged the Russian vaccine, that the West criticises the Sputnik V because it can’t accept Russia’s primacy and because its pharmaceutical companies will lose billions of dollars.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 235
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 08/03/2021
  • Article language(s) English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, vaccination, Propaganda, Anti-Russian, Sputnik V
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AstraZeneca kills

AstraZeneca kills: a European country refused it.

Disproof

Disinformation that advances pro-Kremlin propaganda against the COVID-19 vaccines produced in the USA and Europe. The claim appeared in the title wrongly creating an impression that AstraZeneca Vaccine is designed to cause deaths.

It is true that in Austria a 49-year old woman died as a result of multiple thromboses and a 35-year-old was also hospitalised for a pulmonary embolism after receiving a vaccine from the same batch. However, the Federal Office for Safety in Health Care of Austria said that there is no evidence of a causal relationship with vaccination.

Instead of vaccine Zelensky might have been jabbed with vitamins

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has publicly got vaccinated with the Indian vaccine, but some have claimed that he was injected with vitamins. The vaccination in public has turned into a show. Zelensky got vaccinated in Donbass, and immediately after the injection, shelling from the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the war zone has sharply increased.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denigrating Ukraine and its president Volodymyr Zelensky.

There is no evidence to claim that the Ukrainian president received a dose of vitamins instead of vaccine. President Zelenskyy tweeted on 2 March 2021 that he was inoculated with Indian vaccine Covishield. A batch of 500,000 doses arrived in Ukraine on February 23 2021.

Teenagers in Estonia are infected by Russophobic alarmism

More and more teenagers in Estonia are ready to defend their country. This is showing that Russophobia in Estonia is widespread. Official Tallinn permanently scares citizens by “threat from East”.

The myth about “threat from East” is the idee fix of the Estonian government. The biggest part of society is infected by Russophobic alarmism.

Disproof

A recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Estonia is Russophobic.

The starting point of the disinformation narrative was data from the Public Opinion and National Defence Survey, which was published by the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Estonia. The Survey showed that readiness among young people of upper secondary school age to participate in defence activities has increased to 63 per cent, while a year ago it was only 54 per cent.