Disinfo: Russia provided coronavirus aid to some European countries like Italy because nobody had helped them, not even their closest allies

Summary

Russia provided coronavirus aid to some European countries like Italy because nobody had helped them, not even their closest allies

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that the EU left Italy and other countries alone to fight coronavirus and that Russia was the first to help.

This speculative claim about  “abandoned Italy” exploits the coronavirus pandemic to push a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the West's crumbling solidarity.

This narrative also aims to undermine European and transatlantic solidarity in face of the crisis, in line with the Kremlin's long standing goal of weakening the EU and the transatlantic alliance.

While the COVID-19 did challenge Europe's crisis response mechanisms, the European Union is supporting Italy and other Member States in addressing the crisis, and mitigating the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. To cushion the blow to people’s livelihoods and the economy, the European Commission has adopted a comprehensive economic response to the outbreak, applied the full flexibility of the EU fiscal rules, has revised its State Aid rules and has proposed  setting up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector.

To support scientific research into COVID-19, the European Commission earmarked 47,5 million EUR for shortlisted research projects that can improve epidemiology and public health, including preparedness and response to outbreaks.

The EU has also created first everstockpile of medical equipment. 

Read more about the EU's response here and here. 

Moreover, the response of individual EU members to the crisis since March is  further proof that the “lack of solidarity” claim is false. As ECFR’s tracker shows, by the end of May, Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Sweden had sent hundreds of thousands of protective masks, teams of medical professionals, and other forms of assistance to Italy.

On the 11 of April, US President Donald Trump ordered top U.S. administration officials to help Italy in fighting the novel coronavirus by providing medical supplies, humanitarian relief and other assistance. In a memo to several Cabinet ministers, Trump ordered a variety of measures to help Italy, including making U.S. military personnel in the country available for telemedicine services, helping set up field hospitals, and transporting supplies. He also ordered his Secretary of Commerce to encourage U.S. suppliers to sell products requested by Italian authorities and healthcare providers.

The US Department of State added that a "robust assistance package" will be given to Italy.

Read  similar cases claiming that the the EU is dead because it abandoned Italy, and only Russia, China and Cuba gave a helping hand,  and that Italy is alone face to face with an invisible and terrible enemy.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 204
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/06/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Italy, Russia, US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, European Commission, EU

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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Marshal Konev statue in Prague was removed without any voting

There are not many people who support the actions of the Mayor of Prague-6, Ondřej Kolář, he did not even ask what the inhabitants of his district think. No valid voting took place. The facts on the basis of which he made decisions, in fact, are his own readings of history.

Disproof

The report contains a recurring disinformation narrative about the removal of the Marshall Konev statue in Prague. It is also consistent with common pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about Russophobia and the supposedly hostile anti-Russian intentions of the West, based on which Russia can cast itself as the victim.

The democratically elected municipal council of Prague 6 voted to remove the statue on 12 September 2019.

So called Western “values” are a denial of human value and Russia wants to be protected from them

Russia doesn’t want the pseudo Western values to penetrate in Russia because, unfortunately, they are a denial of human value.

NGOs defending the right of LGBT or combating violence against women will have to stop since the Russian people expressed their will in the referendum for amendments to the constitution.

Disproof

Recurrent narrative about the moral decay of Europe and the pernicious western values. This disinformation appeared in the same video as another message about the Russian government, unlike France or the EU, having a legitimacy that comes from the base.

The values advocated by the European Union as they are stated in the Lisbon Treaty and the European Charter of fundamental rights of the EU are:

The Association Agreement contains 120 secret articles on migration, gay marriage and juvenile justice

The Association Agreement contains 120 secret articles that oblige Georgia to adopt gay marriage, receive migrants and adopt juvenile justice in the form of the Children’s Code.

Disproof

The claim contains multiple pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives on the Association Agreement (AA) and the EU:

  • The Association Agreement is a public document that any citizen can read. See earlier case on the same issue here. The claim on the "120 secret articles" is a lie.
  • Same-sex marriage is not a requirement for membership of either the EaP or EU membership. EU member states decide upon issues around marriage and family independently. See similar cases on same-sex marriage here and here.
  • "Juvenile justice" has been a target of disinformation campaigns in Georgia for years. Groundless allegations are spread, claiming that this issue has been imposed by the West and gives minors unlimited rights, which in the end is directed against the institution of family and its values. More about the disinformation narratives around juvenile justice in Georgia can be found here.