Disinfo: Russia has not interfered in British elections nor in the elections of any country

Summary

Russia has not interfered in British elections nor in the elections of any country. Russia rejects any allegation of involvement in election interference in the UK and in any country.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to depict accusations of Russian meddling in Western democratic processes as factually unfounded and driven by "Russophobia". The article repeats the disinformation message often spread by pro-Kremlin outlets claiming that Russia never tried to influence British electoral processes, such as the 2016 Brexit referendum or the British 2017 and 2019 elections.

Independent research, media investigations and parliamentary inquiries have uncovered evidence linking Russian state actors with interference in various electoral processes, including the 2016 Brexit vote, the 2017 French Presidential elections, the 2017 German Parliamentary elections, the 2016 constitutional referendum in Italy and in the Dutch referendum on the EU’s Association Agreement with Ukraine.

A UK Parliamentary inquiry and serious academic studies have found evidence about Russian state efforts to affect the outcome of the 2016 Brexit vote. One study showed that fake Russian Twitter accounts published at least 45,000 messages about Brexit in the 48 hours before the vote, most of them calling on British voters to reject the European Union.

Moreover, according to data released by Twitter, Russian trolls sent thousands of messages with the hashtag #ReasonsToLeaveEU on the day of the Brexit referendum. According to another research report, between 1 January 2016 and 23 June 2016 Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik published 261 media articles on the EU Referendum with an anti-EU sentiment. This report also showed that RT and Sputnik had more reach on Twitter for anti-EU content than either Vote Leave or Leave.EU, during the Referendum campaign.

There is also evidence that Russia tried to influence the 2019 British general elections by amplifying illicitly acquired sensitive and leaked documents about a planned UK-US free trade agreement.

A long-awaited UK Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee report into alleged Russian interference was published in July 2020 and can be read here.

Further background on Russian interference in various electoral processes in Europe read here.

Read our article on Russian election meddling in EU countries and in the US here. For more information on Russia's interference in Western democratic processes, see the EUvsDisinfo Elections page.

Read here similar cases claiming that there is no evidence of Russian meddling in the French and US elections and that Twitter did not find evidence of Russian efforts to influence Brexit.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 206
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: election meddling, Russia Today (RT), Brexit, Cyber, Trolls, Sputnik
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Poles don’t like being a colony of America

Poles don’t like being a colony of America. Although Warsaw is part of the EU, its foreign policy is largely oriented towards Washington, since it does not trust its “European partners” in matters of ensuring its own security.

Disproof

The recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the US presence in Europe, alleging that the United States fully controls the foreign policy of other nations, especially EU member states, including Poland, Romania and the Baltic states (these countries are often presented as American “vassals” or puppet states).

Some countries of Eastern and Central Europe such as Poland, Romania and the Baltic states have close political relations with the United States, but this fact does not impact their independence nor membership of the European Union.

MH17: The Netherlands is staging a provocation against Russia in the ECHR

Although the evidence shows that Ukraine is guilty [in the crash of MH17], the circus continues. That is, six years after the disaster, the Netherlands decided to file a petition with the ECHR, using an openly contrived pretext to arrange a provocation in court using fake data.

In any case, as long as the Russian Federation is the “main suspect” because the West has decided so, it is Russia that will bear all the lawsuits, and not Ukraine, the real culprit of the tragedy.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine, aiming to discredit the criminal trial and the Joint Investigation Team (JIT).

The Netherlands brought the MH17 case against Russia before the European Court of Human Rights. The Netherlands submitted an inter-State application sharing all available and relevant information with the court and supported individual applications of the next of kin of the passengers of Flight MH17. ‘Achieving justice for 298 victims of the downing of Flight MH17 is and will remain the government’s highest priority,’ said Dutch foreign minister Stef Blok.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia engage in political censorship

The ban on broadcasting RT television channel Sputnik, in Latvia and Lithuania is a direct violation of the obligations of media freedom undertaken by the Baltic states. The Federation Council of Russia believes that such actions of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia violate the principles of freedom of speech and unhindered dissemination of information, which are fundamental norms of the OSCE and the Council of Europe.

Disproof

This claim tries to portray EU sanctions on Russia, the result of its illegal actions in Ukraine, as unfair persecution against Sputnik and its employees, and against media freedom in general. In all of the mentioned countries, Sputnik and RT are being accused of spreading disinformation, violating copyrights, acting as a propaganda instrument.

In Estonia, Sputnik is wrongly represented as a victim of unprecedented persecution. These statements have already been debunked before. The steps taken by Estonia are based on the Article 2 of the Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine that foresees freezing the assets of Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director-General of Rossija Segodnya.