It is no coincidence that the political crisis in Belarus is happening against the background of the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank. Foreign interference is obvious in Belarus and follows a very similar formula to the one applied in Venezuela.
The emergence of a Russian coronavirus vaccine, able to put an end to the epidemic, was received with scepticism. They tried to discredit the medicine developed by Russian scientists, pointing to the rush to create a vaccine. However, Bloomberg says that not everything is that bad because “secondary effects in vaccines are rare”. The Russian vaccine causes a sensation, the article says. Though this development was severely criticised in the United States, US authorities felt the need to reassure its citizens by claiming that their own vaccine was already in full development. But for the Kremlin, this global race is not a priority. The coronavirus seriously ruined 2020 for Vladimir Putin, forcing him to eradicate the virus as fast as possible. “By promising a vaccine, he became again the people’s defender,” Bloomberg says.
This is a deliberate distortion of the original Bloomberg article, titled “Russia’s Sputnik Vaccine Gamble Is All About Vladimir Putin”. The article doesn’t praise Vladimir Putin as the protector of the people but rather states that the Russian president is trying to present himself as such by making this announcement. Bloomberg explicitly says:
“The rushed endorsement (…) is less an affirmation of Russian scientific prowess than it is an expression of Putin’s hankering for Soviet-era international clout. It’s a premature victory lap that suggests a worrying need for affirmation at home too”.
Another distortion is the claim on secondary effects. The Bloomberg article says: “While adverse effects from vaccines are rare, they are not unheard of,” meaning the opposite from what the disinformation message presents.
The disinformation message also introduces several pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives not mentioned in the original Bloomberg article, such as claims about “an attempt to discredit the Russian coronavirus vaccine” or the assertion that the global vaccine race is not a priority for the Kremlin. The opposite is true: there is credible evidence that the Russian government pressed Russian scientists and researchers to be the first to find a vaccine against Covid-19, and did everything at hand to shorten the process, raising concerns about the safety and efficiency of the Sputnik V vaccine. Reservations and criticism are caused by the fact that Russia hasn’t completed large trials to test the drug, and rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger people who receive it.
Pro-Kremlin media frequently resort to this manipulative technique of quoting sentences from serious publications and then introducing a distorted message as if it was part of the original article. See other examples in our database, such as false claims that British outlet The Guardian pointed out to ruling elite as the real instigators of the racial crisis in the US or reported that the EU remained silent as the Europeans couldn’t buy food for the first time in 75 years; that Newsweek magazine explained how US coup in Iran will end; that Soros’ structures saw an opportunity in the coronavirus pandemic to attack the “bad guys”; that the US National Counterintelligence and Security Centre put Wikileaks at the same threat level as jihadist organisations in its last report; or that the US special envoy for Syria admitted that Washington’s goal was to defend terrorists from Russian attacks.