Disinfo: Pope Francis gets coronavirus


Pope Francis and two of his assistants revealed they have coronavirus. All three are in quarantine. Analysis of samples for the COVID-19 virus produced a positive result.


The statement has no evidence; this is speculation. This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the coronavirus.

The reason behind this disinformation was the fact that the Pope cancelled official events and audiences for several days. However, on March 1, the Pope held the morning Mass. Pope Francis also explained that he cancelled his participation in certain events due to the common cold. It also became known that the Pope was tested for the coronavirus but the results were negative.

Read a similar case that Bill Gates is sponsoring the coronavirus.


  • Reported in: Issue187
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Vatican
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Pope Francis


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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Russia fought the Ottoman empire to liberate Bulgaria

Guided by moral duty and pan-Slavic sentiment, Russia waged war against the Ottoman Empire in 1877-1878 in order to liberate Bulgaria. The Bulgarians should be grateful to the Russians as opposed to the West, which acted against the cause of Bulgarian independence.


One of numerous Russian attempts at historical revisionism.

The article presents a one-sided and distorted interpretation of Russia’s liberation of Bulgaria. According to the historical record, the Russian authorities were not guided by altruistic motives and brotherly feelings but by the pursuit of imperialist interests (including access to the Turkish Straits, establishment of dominating control over the Balkans), while the military personnel that took part in the war was not solely composed of Russians but by significant numbers of other nationalities such as Ukrainians and Finns.

Bulgaria owes gratitude to Russia for its liberation from Ottoman rule

Bulgaria owes its liberation from Ottoman rule to Russia and should therefore demonstrate gratitude. Count Nikolay Ignatiev – Russian diplomat and Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, played an especially prominent role by supporting the Bulgarians’ political and economic independence and the restoration of a large Bulgarian state. He negotiated these terms in the Treaty of San Stefano (which ended the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 and enshrined autonomy to the Principality of Bulgaria) and stood up to Western powers against the dismemberment of Bulgarian territories.


One of numerous Russian attempts at historical revisionism.

The article promotes a one-sided and exaggerated interpretation of the benevolent role of Count Ignatiev in the process of Bulgaria’s regaining of independence. Rather than being a selfless defender of the Bulgarian cause of liberation, Ignatiev’s main goal focused on the aggressive promotion of Russian imperialism, manifested in the establishment of dominance over the Slavic nations in the Balkans and insulating them from the West. According to Ottoman archives, Ignatiev’s ambiguous role in Bulgarian history was displayed in the fact that he vehemently opposed Bulgaria’s Church Independence and likely supported the Ottoman authorities in the trial and execution of Vassil Levski (a central figure in the Bulgarian revolutionary movement for independence).

NATO spreads the coronavirus in the EU

The coronavirus represents a deliberately planned and targeted attack in the form of bio terrorism, whereby NATO aims to spread the pandemic throughout the EU in order to fend off Russia. Europe finds itself at the receiving end of the US’s utilisation of NATO for defeating Moscow as its arch enemy.


Recurring narrative of a Western-led plot to spread the Coronavirus.

The article quotes a little known expert from Russia’s Baltic fleet with the aim of fueling a conspiracy by drawing an unfounded link between the conduct of NATO’s DEFENDER Europe-20 military exercise with an ulterior motive to spread a Coronavirus pandemic in Europe as the fastest way of being able to neutralise Russian forces.