Disinfo: On European instructions, Belarusian opposition willing to be infected with coronavirus to infect others

Summary

Isolated Europe-instructed anarchists in Brest, Belarus to take to the streets to spread coronavirus. Lately corona-opposition has spread to other Belarusian cities. Their task is not just to destabilise the situation in Belarus by spreading fear, but to infect as many people as possible and therefore harm the national health care system. This would allow Europe to criticise Belarus for human rights’ violations and to impose sanctions on Belarusian authorities. Today, members of the Belarusian opposition are willing to be infected with coronavirus for money. This would allow them to infect others, they are paid for each infected person. For this reason, they take to squares and call on other people to do the same. This is the essence of their electoral campaign. All who take part in it can be called traitors of the motherland and their own people.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and preposterous claims about financial payments for infecting the population with coronavirus, aimed at discrediting the West and Belarusian opposition. This disinformation message is a modification of a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Western attempts to organise a colour revolution in Belarus and inflict various forms of damage upon the Belarusian state and society. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that the Belarusian opposition, civic activists and independent journalists make kill lists for Western security bodies, that pro-Western Belarusian opposition prepares 'kill lists' and genocide, and that the Belarusian opposition plans genocide with coronavirus-infected, Soros-funded, test tubes, given by Pompeo. All these cases were published by pseudo-regional Belarusian websites associated with the pro-Kremlin propaganda network, as explained here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 197
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Belarus
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Sanctions, Conspiracy theory, Elections
see more

Disinfo: US Congress transcripts will prove Russia did not meddle in 2016 election

The newly released House Intelligence Committee transcripts will help establish that there was no Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections whatsoever. According to the transcripts, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper “never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting [or] conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election”. Nevertheless, in April 2019, Clapper still insisted that there may have been some “passive collusion” between Trump and Russia, despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller finding nothing of the kind.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Moscow's interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Like multiple earlier stories made by pro-Kremlin outlets regarding the 2016 US election, the present report muddles the crucial distinction between: a) interference, b) collusion, and c) conspiracy. Russia's interference in the 2016 US presidential election is a well-documented fact. By the time the Mueller report was published, Russian meddling in the 2016 poll had been established by the US intelligence community. The Mueller report itself concluded that Moscow had carried out this effort "in sweeping and systematic fashion" (p. 1). On the other hand, collusionis "not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in [US] federal criminal law," (p. 2) and therefore gathering evidence of it fell outside the scope of the Special Counsel investigation. The aim of the probe was not merely to ascertain contacts between the Trump Campaign and Russia-linked individuals during the election period, but to establish whether these interactions were deliberate enough on the part of Trump Campaign officials to sustain charges of conspiracy(ibid). Clapper's testimony, therefore, is in line with the findings of the Special Counsel investigation and does nothing to suggest that Russia did not interfere in the election.

Disinfo: Despite government bans, Ukrainians secretly celebrate Victory Day

The Ukrainian people still celebrate Victory Day, despite the prohibitions of the authorities and those who want to destroy the memory of the feat of the soldiers and liberators. Despite the provocations, prohibitions and even overt attacks on the participants in the celebrations, people still celebrate May 9th. Despite all the repressions, crowds of people took to the streets of Ukraine.

Disproof

There are no “prohibitions” regarding WWII Victory Day in Ukraine. In the framework of the law on decommunisation, Ukraine celebrates “Victory Day over Nazism in WWII” on May 9. This holiday replaced the "Day of Victory over Fascism in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945." The relevant law No. 2539 “On the perpetuation of the victory over Nazism in the Second World War of 1939-1945” was adopted by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on April 9, 2015. The law prescribes respect for war veterans, participants in the Ukrainian liberation movement, the victims of Nazism and the memory of the victory over Nazism in World War II. Also, together with the EU countries, Ukraine annually celebrates the Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation on May 8: “We choose the European responsible model of remembrance, which honours all who fought against Nazism and all victims of the war. This is a proper warning against the recurrence of such tragedies in the future,” said Anton Drobovich, head of the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. Read more disinformation cases about WWII here.

Disinfo: The EU is not helping, but you should not ask for Russian help

Brussels wanted to convince the Western Balkans that it is not “right” to ask for Russian help. The EU organised a summit to convince the Balkan states that aid from Russia and China is not about helping them; instead, it is aimed at “strengthening their positions on the continent.” When Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia asked for EU help to combat the crisis, Brussels did not do anything, but now the EU demanded that they take part in a video conference.

Disproof

The claims made in this article are broadly similar to recurring narratives about the EU's complete failure to respond to the coronavirus crisis. The EU is providing an EUR 3.3. billion package for the Western Balkans, including financial help to their healthcare sectors and exclusive access to EU instruments and medical equipment. According to the conclusions of the 6 May EU-Western Balkans summit, the participating states should work on fully aligning themselves with EU foreign policy solutions, notably on issues where "major common interests are at stake. The document does not mention Moscow and Beijing, and EU foreign policy is not against accepting medical assistance from Russia or China - as several EU members have accepted such help.