Disinfo: Supporters of Western liberalism seek to undermine Russia’s cultural code

Summary

Supporters of contemporary Western liberalism - including the Russian opposition - seek to undermine Russia’s cultural code. For contemporary liberalism only personal material well-being makes sense. In Russia, instead, national pride has always played an important role. For today’s liberals, the value of national pride does not make sense.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that seeks to discredit liberalism by claiming that it undermines traditional values such as patriotism and upholds only the value of personal material well-being.

The article provides no evidence to support its claim that the West and the Russian political opposition are seeking to undermine Russia’s “cultural code” and its patriotic values.

This narrative emphasises the decay of traditional values in the West and claims that Russia has preserved its traditional social, moral and spiritual values and is, therefore, a superior civilisation compared to the materialistic West. This narrative often claims that the West – and, in this case, Russia’s political opposition – seek to undermine Russia’s traditional values.

As explained in this analysis by EUvsDisinfo, “threatened values” are one of the most common narratives used by pro-Kremlin outlets.

Furthermore, it is not true that for liberalism only individual material welfare is significant and patriotic values make no sense. Liberalism is a political doctrine that upholds the values of freedom, protection of individualcivil and human rights, pluralism, and equality. Liberal-democratic values go far beyond material well-being and do not contradict or undermine traditional values such as patriotism.

Read similar cases claiming that Liberalism subverts national, moral and religious values, that liberalism is like the coronavirus: it kills humans as social beings, and that contemporary liberalism is now striving to cancel Western culture.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 244
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 27/04/2021
  • Article language(s) Italian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: Western values, neo-liberalism
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Disinfo: No evidence of Russian involvement in the SolarWinds hacking, US sanctions only want to cripple Russian tech competitors

The Biden Administration just approved a new round of sanctions against Russia. The White House statement accuses Russian intelligence of being behind a massive cyberattack against US companies and government systems through SolarWinds. But the truth is that there is not a single piece of evidence pointing to Moscow. The operation wanted to gather data, the same thing that companies and other governments do, namely that of the US. Among the sanctioned entities are several Russian private companies, including Positive Technologies, a leader in data protection at a global level, which is accused of cooperating with Russian intelligence without providing more evidence than the mere claim. Positive Technologies was about to enter the stock market in Moscow, and it wouldn’t be the first time that the White House sanctions companies from other countries because they are competitors for the US.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation denying any Russian involvement in the SolarWinds hacking in late 2020.

While it is always difficult to attribute responsibility in hacking attempts, multiple state-linked and independent researchers from all over the world have found clues and evidence linking Russia to the SolarWinds hacking. The FBI, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the National Security Agency (NSA) of the US all concluded that Russia was behind the cyber-espionage incident, as did the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) of the UK. On January 2021, cybersecurity experts from Kaspersky discovered that the hackers had deployed malicious computer code tied to a hacking group known as “Turla”, widely suspect of operating on behalf of Russia’s FSB security service. On 24 February 2021, Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith declared in a US Senate hearing that “substantial evidence” pointed to Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, and to have found “no evidence” leading them anywhere else. In the same hearing, FireEye CEO Kevin Mandia also pointed that forensics were “not very consistent with cyberespionage from China, North Korea or Iran” but “most consistent with cyberespionage and behaviors we've seen out of Russia”. Other cybersecurity researchers reached similar conclusions.

Disinfo: NATO's actions are openly anti-Russian

In recent years, Russia has noted an increase in NATO military activity along its western and southern borders. The states in the alliance regularly conduct major exercises and simulate an "attack" by Russia. The alliance's actions are openly anti-Russian.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about NATO.

NATO is a defensive alliance, whose purpose is to protect its member states. During the Warsaw summit in July 2016, NATO has made it clear that:

Disinfo: Anti-Russian campaign is the real reason behind the expulsion of Russian diplomats from Czechia

The expulsion of 18 Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic aims to reanimate the anti-Russian campaign aiming to discredit Russia. Prague’s decision are an attempt to kill two birds with a stone: discrediting the producer of the Sputnik V and the best candidate for the completion of a new unit for the generation of energy in the nuclear plant of Dukovany. With those goals, an anti-Russian campaign similar to that of the Skripal case is being resurrected, and who knows if the downing of the Malaysian Boeing won’t resurface on the table. Those cases have a common thing whit this one: none of them has been adequately investigated. Sanctions have been introduced violating all the basic principles of the civilised world, particularly the principle of presumption of innocence. The investigation is not credible and was manipulated, and it is all about having any pretext, as vague as it may be, to impose sanctions, and the only beneficiary will be the US.

Disproof

The investigation by Czech authorities have established beyond doubt that GRU agents Anatoly Chepiga and Alexander Mishkin, the same individuals considered responsible of the attempted murder of Sergey Skripal in Salisbury in 2018, were behind an explosion in an ammunition storage depot in the Czech location of Vrbetice in 2014, which killed two people. According to investigators, an email supposedly from the National Guard of Tajikistan had requested permission for two individuals -”Ruslan Tabarov” from Tajikistan and “Nicolaj Popa” from Moldova- to visit the storage site, and included the scanned image of two false passports with the pictures of both men. The images of “Tabarov” and “Popa” matched those of Chepiga and Mishkin. Prague's findings were independently corroborated by a joint investigation conducted by Bellingcat, The Insider (Russia), Der Spiegel (Germany), and Respekt.cz (Czech Republic).

The involvement of Russian state actors in the MH17 crash and the Skripal poisoning has been established beyond reasonable doubt. See here and here for our debunking of these claims. Contrary to the claim, all three incident have been thoroughly investigated and unequivocally pointed to Russia’s responsibility. By attributing the expulsion of Russian diplomats from the Czech Republic to dark interests -such as discrediting the Sputnik V vaccine, aborting the completion of the Dukovany plant, introducing sanctions or benefiting the US-, this pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aims to deflect any Russian responsibility in the incident and portray Russia as innocent of any misdeed.