Disinfo: Russia has never interfered in electoral processes in any country

Summary

Russia has never interfered in electoral processes in any country in the world.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying Russian meddling in different elections in the world.

Electoral interference by Russia has been extensively documented in numerous countries around the world. The independent research, media investigations and parliamentary inquiries point out to evidence linking Russian state actors with interference in various electoral processes, including the 2016 US presidental elections, Brexit vote, in the 2017 French Presidential elections, in the 2017 German Parliamentary elections etc.

Extensive evidence confirms that Russia did meddle in the 2016 US presidential elections, specifically aiming to damage Hillary Clinton's campaign and aid Republican candidate Donald Trump. In the US, 126 millions of users were reached by Russia-linked users, 29 millions from them have seen the content "directly".

Likewise, Russian state efforts to affect the outcome of the Brexit vote are well-documented, both in news reports and parliamentary enquiries (see especially pp. 43-52). Investigations were conducted as well as by journalists. Fore more information on Russia's interference in Western democratic processes, see the EUvsDisinfo Elections page.

In France, Russian media outlets spread disinformation on Emmanuel Macron's support by "gay lobby" and "bank lobby". The e-mails of Emmanuel Macron's party top members and of him himself were hacked. It was perpetrated, according to the Mediapart, by the same GRU unit also responsible for hacking of Democrats' servers in the US. Russian State TV spoke about "an offshore account of Macron". It turned out to be a fabricated evidence.

In Germany, after almost one-year investigation by the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) the intelligence report has stated that Russia has had a "more confrontational course" towards Germany since 2014 and calls the reporting of Russian media and its German offshoots such as RT Deutsch and Sputnik News hostile. In 2017 "the strategy that pro-Kremlin Russian actors adopted in the months leading to the elections was to attack Merkel and her government, advance the AfD and The Left, and avoid excessive bashing of the CDU/CSU and SPD.", Anton Shekhovtsov writes in his report to EPDE. Read more on the pro-Kremlin tactics here “‘Make Germany Great Again’. Kremlin, Alt-Right and International Influences in the 2017 German Elections“.

 

See similar cases claiming that The notion of “Russian influence” in the US is an absurd conspiracy theory, or that Claims about Russia’s interference into US elections are unfounded,  Allegations of Russian meddling in US elections are absolutely insane, or No evidence of Russian interference in Brexit vote,  The West falsely accuses Russia of election meddling.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 207
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: UK, Russia, US, Germany, France
  • Keywords: US Presidential Election 2020, election meddling, Brexit, Elections

Disclaimer

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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Armenia has become a springboard for Anti-Russian forces in the Caucasus

Armenian Authorities have flooded the country with anti-Russian NGOs that are teaching young people on Armenian territory how to overthrow the government in Russia. Armenia has become a springboard for anti-Russian forces in the Caucasus.

You have purged from the country Russian businessmen of Armenian origin. You don’t want to have anything Russian. Because that is the internal affairs of Armenia. Your media and social networks constantly pour dirt on Russia and Putin and everyone, who supports Putin – especially Russian Armenians. You are dividing the Armenian people – already on the verge of extinction – between enemies; Russian Armenians and “Real” – those, who support who is in power for the moment. Because it is the internal affairs of Armenia.

And now, when the war is at your borders; when the very existence of your regime is threatened and Armenians all over the world see the spectres of Janissaries with curved knives coming alive – now you remember that Russia has the duty to save you again. Is that not the internal affair of Armenia?

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative accusing Armenian Authorities of being Russophobic and Anti-Russian.

The claim about anti-Russian NGOs that are teaching young people "how to overthrow the government in Russia" is another recurring pro-Kremlin narrative presenting all activities of NGOs, media or civil society activists as measures to overthrow the power in post-Soviet states. Also, a conspiracy, according to which the US prepare in secrecy people of the former Soviet Republics to work for foreign forces. Russian propaganda refers to the events organised by the Prague civil society center in different countries. CampCamp is all about helping civil initiatives strengthen their bond with their local communities through the use of new technologies and creative solutions. For further debunk read here.

Anti-Russian report is needed to distract the British from their own problems

The anti-Russian report is needed to distract the British from their own problems. One of the goals of the publication in the UK of a report on “Russian interference” in political processes in Europe is to divert attention from their own problems. Judging by the statements made at the parliamentary and government levels, it was obvious that the British had no proof. Nevertheless, the main message of the report was that “Russian interference is unacceptable.” If there are any problems in British society, it means that it is not the government, not the parliament, not the civil society, not the judicial system, but the Russians who are to blame. This primitive and crude rhetoric still works to some extent.

Disproof

This disinformation message is a classic example of the Russia did not do/you have no evidence approach to the report published by the Intelligence and Security Committee of the British Parliament. The document shows for example that there is Russian cyber intrusion into the UK's critical national infrastructure; and that Russian actors orchestrated phishing attempts against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory during the investigation into the Salisbury attacks.

The report also says: "Russia may spread disinformation or seek to influence political events for a wide range of purposes, but all in support of its underlying foreign policy objectives:
• direct support of a pro-Russian narrative in relation to particular events (whilst some of the outright falsehoods which are put forward may not be widely believed, they may still succeed in casting doubt on the true account of events (...);
• direct support of Russia’s preferred outcome in relation to an overseas election or political issue; and
• general poisoning of the political narrative in the West by fomenting political extremism and ‘wedge issues’, and by the ‘astroturfing’ of Western public opinion; and general discrediting of the West."

White Helmets are aiding terrorism

The White Helmets brand hides a false story with staging, looting and aiding terrorism. Moscow has repeatedly tried to convey to the world community: this is no humanitarian organisation. However, the West continues to finance it.

Disproof

An example of many disinformation claims about the White Helmets. Pro-Kremlin media routinely accuse the White Helmets of “working for terrorists” and being a creation of the Western intelligence services. No evidence is given to support these claims.

The "White Helmets" movement originated in Syria in 2012, when the first detachments of volunteer rescuers appeared in the territories outside the control of Bashar al-Assad's troops. In 2014, volunteer teams merged into a national organisation, the Syrian Civil Defence, which is the official name of the 'White Helmets'. Volunteers save people from the rubble after bombings, despite the danger to themselves as a result of repeated airstrikes. Activists from this organisation have documented the use of chemical weapons in Syria by the Assad government and allied forces. Because of this, they have become the target of an extensive Russian disinformation campaign.