Disinfo: Sputnik V is a target of a corporate Cold War

Summary

Political, economic and even geopolitical issues play an important role in the “vaccine race” concerning COVID-19. The West and more specifically NATO governments and their satellites seem to be doing their best to exclude Sputnik V reaching Western markets and they are preventing health organisations such as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to evaluate the Russian vaccine, although EMA has already started contacts with the Russian institution that produced Sputnik V.

Disproof

The article is part of a pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign on the Russian coronavirus vaccine Sputnik V, launched after its announcement was met with scepticism and criticism, even by Russian specialists in the country.

However, evidence exists that it was Russia which has at all times perceived the development of a coronavirus vaccine mainly in terms of geopolitical and economic gain.

Additionally, reservations and criticism of the Russian Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine are caused by the fact that Russia didn’t complete large trials to test the vaccine’s safety and efficacy before releasing it. Rolling out an inadequately vetted vaccine could endanger people who receive it.

Also, it was the Gamaleya Institute which approached the European Commission and not other way round as far as Sputnik V is concerned.

Other disinformation reports following the same context said that the UK launched a smear campaign against it; that the US and the EU face multiple deaths out of fear to admit Russia’s success against coronavirus; that the WHO confirmed that Sputnik V was on Phase 3 of clinical testing already in August 2020; that the WHO and Microsoft sabotaged the Russian vaccine; that Europe is turning to Russia due to its desperate need for a vaccine; or that the West criticises the Sputnik V because it can’t accept Russia’s primacy and because its pharmaceutical companies will lose billions of dollars.

See also previous case on the EMA.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 223
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/12/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Greek
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Italy, Russia
  • Keywords: Sputnik V, coronavirus, vaccination, WHO
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The Baltic states are persecuting the Russian media

In Latvia, criminal proceedings were initiated against some Russian-speaking journalists of Sputnik and Baltnews. They are accused of violating EU sanctions but it is obvious that they are persecuted for cooperation with the Russian news agency. It is a violation of the norms of a democratic society, restriction of press freedom and freedom of speech.

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The authorities of the Baltic States systematically harm Russian media. They obstruct the work of Russian journalists.

For example, in Lithuania “Sputnik Lietuva” is mentioned in the report of the State Security Department of Lithuania. Lithuanian politicians talking about “Sputnik” in the context of “Russian propaganda”.

Lithuania tries to restrict the retransmission of Russian television channels. I.e. soon the broadcasting of the “RTR Planeta” channel in Lithuania could be banned. It is part of the process of pushing Russian media out of the Baltic States.

Lithuania is violating international law. The news agency “Sputnik” is persecuted in Lithuania although this media works by adhering to the law and in line with high journalistic standards.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message about the Baltic States.

In 2016, Latvia's domain registry shut the website of Sputnik Latvia after receiving a letter of concern from the Latvian Foreign Ministry, which drew attention to Sputnik's coverage of Ukraine and routine denial of Ukraine's territorial integrity. In July 2019, Latvian authorities blocked access to the online portal baltnews.lv, owned by Rossiya Segodnya, citing EU sanctions against Russia. In 2020 Latvia has banned the state-owned Russian television channel RT, saying it is controlled by an individual - Dmitriy Kiselyov, who is under EU sanctions. According to the Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Latvia's national media watchdog, RT and the network of channels operated by it are under Kiselyov's "effective control" and has attempted to present Latvia as a failed state.

After the coup d'état in Kyiv, the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol decided to hold a referendum on reunification with Russia

After the coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014, the authorities of Crimea and Sevastopol decided to hold a referendum on reunification with Russia. The voting took place on March 16 of the same year. More than 80% of those eligible to vote took part. 96.7% and 95.6% of the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol, respectively, voted for reunification with the Russian Federation. On March 18, the Russian President signed an agreement on the admission of the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol to the Russian Federation, and on March 21 the document was ratified by the Federal Assembly. Despite the convincing results of the referendum, Kyiv refused to recognise Crimea as part of Russia.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative depicting the 2013-14 protests in Kyiv as a coup and about the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia.

There was no coup in Ukraine. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013, called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan", were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure.

US ordered Ukrainian Minister of Health to discredit Sputnik V

[Ukrainian Health Minister Maksym Stepanov] was tasked with discrediting the Russian vaccine Sputnik V. Only because [in the US] he was threatened that his daughter would be deported from the US to Ukraine within 24 hours. Stepanov, I already clearly understand this, works exclusively under external control.

Disproof

Conspiracy with no evidence given.

No evidence is provided to support the claim that the Minister of Health of Ukraine Maksym Stepanov was tasked with discrediting the Sputnik V vaccine by anyone. He is a Ukrainian state official, a member of the Cabinet of Ministers. He has mentioned several times that Ukraine may consider purchasing Sputnik V only when it is approved by the WHO. This can happen only after the third phase of clinical trials will be completed and its results will be published by the WHO.