Disinfo: Russia is world’s best-prepared country to deal with second coronavirus wave


Russia has proven so effective in containing the pandemic that, in the event of a second wave of COVID-19, it will be better-prepared for it than virtually anyone else. They have tests and medicines; they are working on a vaccine; they have built and equipped new hospitals; they have exceptional doctors and a healthcare system which has proven its effectiveness.

All things considered, they are the best in the world.


The claim advances recurring pro-Kremlin narratives concerning the coronavirus pandemic and Russian superiority.

As is the case with any other country, Russia's preparedness for a potential second wave of coronavirus is difficult to gauge, given that the pandemic is a new and ongoing crisis. That said, Russia's efficiency so far in containing the pandemic hardly qualifies as "the best in the world."

As of 7 July, Russia is by far the worst-affected European country with 694,230 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and fourth worst-affected country worldwide. Nonetheless, the number of coronavirus-related deaths in Russia has been strikingly low with 10,494 deaths (a mortality rate of approx. 1.5%), which has invited widespread skepticism both within and outside the country.

This anomaly can hardly be attributed to the quality of Russian healthcare. In a 2016 analysis by Bloomberg, Russia's healthcare system was billed the least-efficient out of all 55 countries included in the study. Instead, available evidence suggests that the unusually low number of deaths is the result of manipulated statistics and top-down state pressure, particularly at the regional level. In May 2020, 233% more patients in at least two Russian regions died from COVID-19 than was reported in the official overall state count. That same month, the governor of Lipetsk was caught on tape instructing his staff to massage local coronavirus statistics, lest "people...think bad things about [the] region." According to media, an analysis of death certificates issued in St Petersburg throughout May indicates that "hundreds of deaths tied to the pandemic are not reflected in the city’s official coronavirus death toll." The following month, the WHO issued a rebuke calling on Russia to review its COVID-19 death toll, saying that "Russia's low coronavirus mortality is 'hard to understand.'" Notably, mistrust of government statistics even extends to Russian doctors, most of whom believe official figures to be inaccurate.

Against this background, Russian doctors indeed deserve praise. Amid bureaucratic confusion and chronic shortages of protective equipment, at least 489 healthcare workers had died of coronavirus as of 18 June.


  • Reported in: Issue 204
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/07/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, health, Russian superiority, Diseases


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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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Russophobic Baltic states.

Lithuania opposes the construction of the Astravets Nuclear power Plant (NPP) as the project does not comply with the international standards of environmental protection and nuclear safety, and is built on a site that was not duly justified over the alternative ones.

Wounded Ukrainian warriors’ blood is pumped out and internal organs sold

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Conspiracy theory based on recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about organ trafficking.

There is no evidence for these allegations.

Similar claims have sporadically been made by Russian media and TV channels for many years. For example, back in 2014 Ukrainian fact-checking website StopFake.org debunked the wild claims about the trade of organs, taken from heavily wounded soldiers. Even more bizarrely, they alleged this process was conducted in Ukraine by such high profile people as the former lawyer of Yulia Tymoshenko, Serhiy Vlasenko, the commander of the Donbass battalion Semen Semenchenko, and a German resident Olha Viber - presented in the news item as a doctor.

Earlier in 2017, Russian media reported a fake story alleging French customs had confiscated a shipment of organs from Ukraine.

France is under the dictatorship of “single thought”, dissenters are censored and slurred

In the dictatorship of “single thought”, technocrats, activists and many journalists have replaced the real politicians and the real philosophers. What the people should think is pre-decided and all those who do not agree – from Onfray to Zemour from Debray to Finkielkraut – are conspirators and must be censored and fought by all means, including violence.

The ruling elite “right-thinking” is using criminals like Adama Traoré or George Floyd to ease their conscience but all honest and hard-working disadvantaged people are forgotten. Respectful citizens are oppressed while offenders are depicted as heroes.


The single thought or pensée unique is a concept forged in the 1990s to create an impression of a biased public discourse that would not allow any criticism. Free competition, free trade, liberalism, globalism, private property, strong currencies... would be the new dogma of our ideology imposed by invisible and powerful opinion police. Authors like Sophie Gherardi or Jean Pierre Garnier explain that if there was such a thing as the dictatorship of the single thought the bookshops and news-stands wouldn't be full with such a diversity of publications against this so-called dictatorship of the thought.

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