Disinfo: Norway carries out an aggressive anti-Russian information campaign

Summary

Recently, Norway carries out systematic work to propagate the image of Russia as an enemy. It is an aggressive anti-Russian policy based on provocative fakes.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on Russophobia and anti-Russian moods in the Western countries. No evidence given to back up the claims of “an aggressive anti-Russian policy based on provocative fakes”. Relations between Norway and Russian have deteriorated since 2014 when Norway joined other European countries in implementing anti-Russian sanctions following the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. Since then, the countries exchanged several mutual accusations of spying. Thus, in April 2019, a Russian court sentenced Norwegian Frode Berg to 14 years in a strict-regime labour camp for spying on Russian navy submarines. In May 2019, Norwegians discovered a beluga whale wearing a harness indicating its Russian origin. One of the speculations was that the whale had escaped from a Russian military facility and was spying in Norwegian waters. However, no one from Russia publicly admitted the whale’s origin.

Please see other disinformation cases involving Norway here

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 168
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/10/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Norway, Belarus, Russia
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, Russophobia
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Moving towards the West is the end of the Belarusian statehood

Nationalism in Belarus has only one direction – Polonisation. The next stage of every nationalist [in Belarus] is a desire to move towards the West. And this is the end of the Belarusian statehood.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the threat of the West for Belarusian independence and national development. Belarus cooperates with the Western countries, including Europe and the United States and Canada on multiple levels. The relations with the Western democracies named among the biggest priorities by the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. The assistance given by the EU to Belarus is aimed to improve the living standard of Belarusian citizens in a tangible and visible manner. Find out more about the EU's assistance to Belarus here.

Relations between Russia and the West deteriorated due to civil war in Ukraine

The formal reason for the sharp deterioration in relations between Russia and the West was the situation around Ukraine, where, after the 2014 coup, a civil war broke out. Kyiv has repeatedly accused Moscow of allegedly participating in a conflict in the east of the country. However, the Russian Federation has consistently emphasised the groundlessness of such rhetoric, since Russia is not a subject, but a guarantor of the Minsk agreements, the task of which is to resolve the conflict in the Donbas.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, and Euromaidan protests. It was not Ukraine, but Russia which illegally annexed Crimea and continues violating Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity. This led to sanctions and a deterioration in relations between Russia and other countries. The onset of the Euromaidan protests which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence. See some more recent debunks of this claim here and here. See a similar case denying Russia’s involvement in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine here. The EU and the US have condemned the clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity by acts of aggression by the Russian armed forces since February 2014.

Russo-Georgian war was a war for independence

Russia recognized 11 years ago the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which had been part of the former Soviet Socialist Republic of Georgia and were seeking independence even before the disintegration of the Soviet Union. This occurred after a five-day war between Georgia and South Ossetia in August 2008, which killed 1,692 people and injured about 1,500 civilians in South Ossetia.

In addition to Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Nauru also recognized the independence of Abkhazia. Syria announced the recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia on May 29, 2018.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative trying to deny any role for Russia in the Russo-Georgian 2008 war, and presenting it instead as a conflict between South Ossetia and Georgia. South Ossetia and Abkhazia did not claim independence from Georgia, but were occupied by Russia.

Russia continues its military presence in both Abkhazia and South Ossetia in violation of international law and commitments undertaken by Russia under the 12 August 2008 agreement, mediated by the European Union.