Disinfo: Prison population in the US is larger than in the USSR under Joseph Stalin


One of the most problematic issues in the US is the high criminal rates. More people are imprisoned in the US than the number of prisoners in the USSR during Stalin times. Despite this, most criminals roam freely in the streets.


This message provides the facts out of context, thus, misrepresenting the US judicial system.

At the end of 2016, nearly 2.2 million adults were held in US prisons and jails, which is approximately 655 people for every 100,000 people residing in the US. In 2015, in Russia around 642,500 people were held behind bars, which is around 432 prisoners per 100,000 people, the highest rate in Europe.

When it comes to Stalin times in the USSR, the tentative historical consensus among archival researchers and historians who utilise such data is that around 18 million people passed through Gulag from 1930 to 1953, of them between 1.5 to 1.7 million people perished as a result of their detention.

Furthermore, official figures (unofficial estimates give higher numbers) say that in the years of the Great Purge in 1937-1938 over 680,000 people were executed in the USSR on political charges.

It is hardly correct and appropriate at all to compare the numbers of prisoners in the present-time US and the USSR under Stalin, given that during Stalinism, millions of people received their prison terms following inadequate and often ungrounded accusations rather than fair criminal proceedings.

The United States is placed high (20th) in the global rank on Criminal Justice and 19th in the global rank of Rule of Law Index prepared by authoritative World Justice Project's research team.


  • Reported in: Issue152
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/05/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: USSR, US
  • Keywords: Western values, Conspiracy theory, Joseph Stalin


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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Although the US (just as in most of the countries in the world) indeed has some problems with water treatment systems and reports show that chemicals and hazardous substances are found in tap water throughout different US communities, the claim connecting the use of fluoride in tap water and the rats living in the US cities is an absurd ungrounded conspiracy.

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Disposing of Soviet military equipment is a long-term process. Poland is undergoing a substantial military reform to strengthen its defense forces. For example, in 2015, it purchased 105 German tanks - Leopard 2A5 and also started to modernise the German Leopard 2A4. Poland also started to upgrade an important component of its airforce – the Mi-24 helicopters, equipping them with new sensors and guided missiles. On February 28th 2019, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak signed a military modernisation plan under which the country will spend 185 billion PLN (U.S. $49 billion) on new weapons and military equipment by 2026.

US is attacking Eastern Orthodox Churches to create instability in Europe

The US continues its practice of creating zones and lines of chaos in key regions of the world. In the 2000s, it started a campaign to create an arc of instability stretching from Northern Africa to the east of the Central Asia. Now, more and more signals appear showing that there is a new project – to create a crescent of instability in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.

These campaigns actively exploited the religious factor in an attempt to undermine and discredit traditional religious systems. In the case of the Middle East, the target is Sunni Islam. It is being targeted by instigating various Islamic sects. In Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, various artificial schismatic groups are used to combat the canonical Orthodox Church. In both cases, foreign powers have also been exploiting and supporting exotic sects, new-age-style beliefs and other “neo-liberal” constructs.


A conspiracy theory, presented without any support of evidence. See here for the most common pro-Kremlin narratives.