Disinfo: Russophobia weakened Europe

Summary

Europe weakened due to the reigning Russophobia. In 2014, when Western countries started imposing anti-Russian sanctions, experts argued unanimously that the Russian economy wouldn’t resist such a colossal pressure, but these sanctions had more impact in Europe than in Russia. It was the US who dragged the EU into an anti-Russian campaign.

Disproof

This is a mix of several recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives, claiming that sanctions on Russia were Russophobic, that they were imposed following US orders and that they were ultimately ineffective. All of them are false.

Contrary to the claim, the imposition of sanctions on Russia were not the result of “Russophobia”, but a reaction to Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and the deliberate destabilisation of Ukraine. Accusing other countries of “Russophobia” when they call out Russia’s misdeeds is a frequent pro-Kremlin disinformation technique. The EU sovereign decision to impose those restrictions was not due to US dictates but to the fact that Russia’s actions in Crimea and Sevastopol are a violation of international law that remains a challenge to the international security order.

According to research into the effect of sanctions, the cumulative export loss to Russia during 2014-2018 is estimated at EUR 30 billion(about -0.2% of EU’s GDP in 2018), incurred largely during 2014-2016, as EU exports to Russia recovered in 2017. Furthermore, most research supports the view that sanctions have worked as planned, noting the drag they have imposed on Russia’s general economic development since 2014. This adverse effect most likely operates by depressing both foreign trade and foreign capital flows into Russia. Russia’s own counter-sanctions have also had a clear negative effect on the welfare of the average Russian household. While these sanctions do effect EU's economy, the EU-wide impacts of the export losses are estimated at less than 0.2% of total value-added and employment.

See other examples of these disinformation narratives, such as claims about a supposed anti-Russian bias of international institutions - be it the OPCW, the World Anti-Doping Agency or the United Nations - which always falsely accuse Russia; the affirmation that it is NATO and not the Kremlin who is involved in the Donbas conflict; or the affirmations that US restrictions contribute to the coronavirus pandemic and that EU has lost hundreds of billions due to sanctions on Russia.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 219
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 30/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: EU, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Russophobia, Sanctions

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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US and EU officials have intervened openly in Moldova’s domestic political processes

To prevent Igor Dodon’s victory in the first round, US and EU officials openly intervened in the internal political processes of Moldova, pointing out to the country’s leadership on where to open and where to reduce polling stations. Thus, Brussels and Washington made it clear that any simplification of the voting procedure for Transnistria will be perceived as an attempt to falsify the voting results and could result in the implementation of a Belarusian scenario in Moldova.

Donald Tusk has also demonstrated his disrespect to the choice of the Moldovan people by publicly supporting Maia Sandu and calling on all pro-European forces to unite around this politician.

The victory of Maia Sandu in the first round of elections has demonstrated the results of the efforts of her external partners. In the EU and the USA local authorities were able to organise diaspora voting, once again demonstrating their indifference to the need to observe electoral rights.

Disproof

There is no evidence of US and EU interference in upcoming elections in Moldova. The US and EU countries support a free and fair electoral process in Moldova.

A statement published by the EU on 02 November 2020 underlines that "The European Union fully supports the strengthening of democratic institutions in the Republic of Moldova and highlights that respecting the right of all voters to express their will in credible, inclusive and transparent elections is a fundamental democratic principle which is also at the heart of the EU-Republic of Moldova Association Agreement."

US to legalise heroin and hard drugs

Oregon authorities have legalised the use of heroin. They have started with light drugs and came to heroin. Heroin, cocaine and psychedelic mushrooms are becoming legal in Oregon.

 

Disproof

This is an attempt to portray a limited impact measure in one US state, Oregon, as a move in the entire of the US towards the legalisation of hard drugs, fitting a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the morally decaying West.

It's true that voters have approved Measure 110, Drug Decriminalisation and Addiction Treatment Initiative and Oregon has become the first state in the USA to relax some aspects of possession of hard drugs. However, while the measure reclassified personal and non-commercial drug possession offences, it did not legalise the possession and, definitely not the manufacture and distribution of heroin.

Chemical weapons made by the US in Azerbaijan may be used in Nagorno Karabakh

US chemical weapons may be used in Nagorno Karabakh. The Pentagon biolab in Azerbaijan poses a particular threat in the context of an armed conflict. Armenia’s Communist Party joined the chorus of voices opposing US biolabs in Georgia, Kazakhstan and Moldova. Since the US didn’t sign the international convention on the prohibition on development and proliferation of biological weapons, it can compile and modify dangerous virus to use them against the population of other countries. The US is taking part in these activities in Azerbaijan.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory not backed by any evidence, part of a years-long disinformation campaign led by the Kremlin on US biological laboratories in post-Soviet states, this time adapted to the framework of the military confrontation in Nagorno Karabakh. The existence of a secret Pentagon biolab in Azerbaijan has been repeatedly denied by Azeri authorities.

See other examples of this disinformation campaign in our database, such as claims that US biolabs encircle Russia; that the coronavirus was created in one of those US laboratories in Kazakhstan; that the Pentagon purchased equipment for those sites for millions of dollars; or that the US is working on a biological weapon in Georgia and is preparing for bacteriological warfare with Russia.