Disinfo: Soviet Russia fought much worse epidemics than coronavirus


In 1960, the authorities of the Soviet Union were able to prevent the spread of the smallpox epidemic (which was feared that it was an epidemic with no cure), through swift measures that contained the epidemic and spared the country a humanitarian catastrophe.

Will countries today be able to tackle Coronavirus, as the Soviet Union did 60 years ago?


A recurrent narrative to depict Russia as better suited for combatting the COVID-19 outbreak.

The 2019-nCoV coronavirus is a newly detected virus that is still being closely studied in order to know its nature and later hopefully find a vaccine and cure for it. To speed things up, scientists are even turning to untested classes of vaccines, in which scientists think that Human trials could begin as early in April, with 35 companies and academic institutions around the world joining the efforts.

The smallpox vaccine, on the other hand, was successfully developed and introduced in 1796. It is even known that smallpox ravaged several countries, including Russia, during the early part of the 20th century and was even worse during the misery that accompanied and followed the First World War.

With the establishment of the USSR in 1917, the new government took steps to control smallpox, and vaccination was made mandatory in a decree signed by V.I. Lenin in April 1919, and in 1924, the Soviet vaccination law was modified to require vaccination in infancy and the revaccination of teenagers (Kravchenko, 1970).

Nevertheless, smallpox continued with severe epidemics in Russia in 1931-1933 and during the outbreaks reported in 1950-1952, 1955, 1956 and 1958 up until 1960.


  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 16/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, vaccination, Virus / bacteria threat
  • Outlet: RT web Arabic, moragboonpress, yemenvibe, amnewskw, sahafahnet, nabd, ibb-press, yemen-now, kol-masr, akhbarlibya, bbcnews1, headtopics
see more

Inhabitants of Crimea wanted to restore its Russian identity

In 2014, Crimea restored the Russian identity, at the will of its inhabitants, after it had belonged to Ukraine since the early 1950s when the Soviet power decided to transfer the Crimean dependency from Russia to the Soviet Republic of Ukraine.


This is recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation on the illegal annexation of Crimea claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin Russia through a legal referendum and that Crimea has never belonged to Ukraine.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on 16th of March 2014. A year after the illegal annexation, Russian President Vladimir Putin admitted that the plan to annex Crimea was ordered weeks before the so-called referendum.

Coronavirus: Distance working allows corporations to limit social obligations to the workforce

Global corporations are exploiting the crisis to shape their business processes and pushing forward the concept of distance working (from home). So, they would be able to reduce costs and say goodbye to their already limited social obligations.


An unfounded conspiracy theory, sharing a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative about "secret elites" controlling world leaders.

The measures of quarantine and social distancing, including work from home, have been implemented by numerous countries around the world.

The myth about “European unity” is destroyed; only “Bad guys” like China and Cuba offer help with the coronavirus

The virus outbreak became a useful pretext for a further regionalization of the world that breaks into seprated economic political clusters. The myth about the ‘European unity’ as well as the ‘Euro-Atlantic’ one is destroyed. All states are fighting the crisis almost alone. Only so-called “bad guys” like China, Venezuela or Cuba are offering their help to other states.

Governments are strengthening surveillance and security measures limiting freedoms of citizens.


An unfounded claim.

The European Union is taking steps to cushion the blow of the pandemic 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 set up a EUR 37 billion Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to provide liquidity to small businesses and the health care sector. Read more about the EU's response to the COVID-19 pandemic here.