Disinfo: Russia repelled Western attack on referendum

Summary

Foreign centres tried to disrupt the Russian voting for amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation, using the media, cyber-attacks and paid “activists”.

Disproof

One of the disinformation narratives about the voting on the amendments to the Russian Constitution and a narrative that portrays the West as an aggressor. There was no evidence of Western interference in Russia's voting. On the contrary, different analysts claimed that Russia's Constitutional Vote came with "loaded dice" that undermined the rule of law and disputed the accuracy of the official vote tallies. For example, the independent election watchdog Golos has reported widespread instances of forcing state employees to vote, carousel voting, ballot-box stuffing, a lack of secret voting, and obstruction and non-registration of independent vote observers. On July 2, the European Union urged Moscow to investigate all allegations of election wrongdoing and issued a reminder about Russia’s international treaty responsibilities. “We expect Russia, regardless of any amendments to its constitution, to live up to its international obligations, including its obligation to execute European Court of Human Rights judgements,” wrote EU spokesman Peter Stano. According to the independent observers, their observations were that such large-scale fraud, as during the voting on constitutional amendments, has not been seen since 2011. In just six days of voting on constitutional amendments, the movement for voter rights "Golos" received 682 messages with signs of violations. Activists identified several types of violations: abuse of authority and illegal activities of election commissions, coercion to vote, illegal campaigning by election commissions, state bodies and officials, multiple voting, ballot-box stuffing and violation of voting secrecy.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 205
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/07/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: election meddling, West, Manipulated elections/referendum, Elections
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Disinfo: "Ukrainian infection" eradicated in Seattle

“Ukrainian infection” eradicated in Seattle. Yesterday, Seattle’s “Maidan” was finally dispersed by the police. (…) Police groups in full gear took to the captured streets of the American city. They pushed aside the protesters, while 30 law enforcement officers on bicycles blocked their escape routes. The dispersal of the protesters was without serious clashes, although some people tried to attack the policeman.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative attempting to relate the 2013-14 Ukrainian revolution and the protests in the US. The protests in Kyiv in 2013-2014, known as the Maidan or Euromaidan, and the protests in the US in 2020 have nothing in common. The US protests are against racial injustice and police brutality, which broke out after the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020. The protests followed several high-profile incidents involving African Americans and the police, invoking debates about racism in the US. The Maidan in Ukraine was against the actions of President Viktor Yanukovych after his government refused to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union, which had taken seven years to negotiate, due to pressure from Russia. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence.

Disinfo: Russophobia is a characteristic of contemporary Poland

Russophobia is one of the characteristics of contemporary Poland’s policy. The Polish leadership is gambling with the fate of the Polish state and its people, and of course, all this military build-up in Poland and other NATO allies does not work, because Russian military capabilities outweigh what they (NATO) have of possibilities.

Disproof

This message is a part of the Kremlin’s widespread narrative about Russophobic Poland. The Kremlin-controlled media regularly accuses Poland of Russophobia and the implementation of anti-Russian policies. On the other hand, NATO and Poland's membership therein is not a threat to Russia. NATO is a defensive alliance. Its purpose is to protect the member states. NATO's exercises and military deployments are not directed against Russia – nor any other country. NATO does not seek confrontation, but it cannot ignore Russia breaking international rules, undermining stability and security, such as in Ukraine. See other examples of similar messages claiming that the Polish authorities created an insane hysteria of intimidation with Russia, used for the needs of domestic politics and the national security strategy of Poland is a manifestation of traditional Russophobia of the Polish authorities, or that NATO exploits non-existent “Russian threat” to increase its presence close to Russian borders and that the US creates and spreads a false image about an “aggressive” Russia constituting a security “threat”.

Disinfo: European observers noted the level of organisation of voting in Russia

European experts closely watched how the voting took place in Russia. They noted the high level of organisation of security measures and the electronic voting. The French are interested in the Russian system. They believe that it can be an example to the rest.

Disproof

One of the disinformation narratives about voting on amendments to the Russian Constitution. According to the independent observers, such large-scale fraud as during the voting on constitutional amendments, has not been seen since 2011. In just six days of voting on constitutional amendments, the movement for voter rights "Golos" received 682 messages with signs of violations. Activists identified several types of violations: abuse of authority and illegal activities of election commissions, coercion to vote, illegal campaigning by election commissions, state bodies and officials, multiple voting, ballot box stuffing and violation of voting secrecy. As for the European observers, BBC Russian analysed who was coming from abroad to monitor voting and stated that most of those invited "European experts" were actually already closely connected with Russia, with some known abroad for their far-right views. Moreover, on July 2, the European Union urged Moscow to investigate all allegations of election wrongdoing and issued a reminder about Russia’s international treaty responsibilities.