Disinfo: Thanks to sanctions Russia became a world leader wheat exporter

Summary

Thanks to the sanctions, Russia has become de facto the largest exporter of wheat in the world. Before we didn’t pay much attention to agriculture although we always said that we had to create we had to create our own powerful economy. This is what we have been doing in recent years.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Western sanctions imposed on Russia trying to imply that the West has scored an own goal because sanctions actually turned out to be beneficial to the Russian economy.

There is no link between developments in wheat exports and the sanctions against Russia. If in 2017, for the first time, Russia became the world's n°1 exporter of wheat supplying 20–23 percent of total world exports in 2017–2018, this is the result of an investment and development policy that started in the early 2000s and not in 2014. Climate change is also favourable to this development as new and huge territories become favourable to wheat production on the contrary to the evolution for a traditional wheat exporter like France.

The evolution in Russia's wheat exports in the long term also shows that the trend is the result of a long investment and development plan rather than Western sanctions. In 2010, after a dramatic year for agriculture because of the drought and fires, it was decided to stop Russian wheat exports leading to a critical situation for traditional Russian wheat buyers. In fact, the toxic mix of an industry oriented towards export and counter-sanctions on food products created a dramatic situation for millions of Russian citizens and taxes/quota on exportations are to be introduced see the following link a 25 euro/ton is planned.

Western Sanctions:

EU sanctions and other restrictive measures were first applied in 2014 following the Russian annexation of Crimea. Since then, the list has been updated. The United States also imposed sanctions on Russia after the violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity in 2014.

The sanctions are not helping Russia. According to a Bloomberg report, they have knocked off 6 percent of Russia’s GDP since 2014. The sanctions played a major role, although other factors were present as well. And the GDP of the Russian Federation is now 10 percent smaller than might have been expected before the crisis in Crimea. Sanctions also play an important role in the relatively small wage increase in Russia in comparison to other countries in 2019.

Most research supports the view that sanctions have worked 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. Or as The Washington Post said:

"The sanctions have stunted Russian economic growth and sapped the urban middle class of wealth and opportunity."

Russia’s own counter-sanctions have also had a clear negative effect on the welfare of the average Russian household.

Read also similar stories: US sanctions policy is ineffective , Sanctions actually help Russia and EU has suffered more from the sanctions imposed on Russia .

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 224
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 09/12/2020
  • Outlet language(s) French, Georgian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia
  • Keywords: economy, Sanctions
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Disinfo: Violation of freedom of speech in Central and Eastern Europe supervised by the US

The authoritarian practices in the Baltic states and Poland become more and more obvious. No one is trying to pretend anymore that freedom of speech should be respected.

The repressions against the journalists in Latvia should not come as a surprise. It is not the first case of gross violation of freedom of speech in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly against the background of discussions about the rule of law in the EU.

Many believe that there is a group of countries of Central Europe which are under a strong influence of Washington and follow its political agenda. This block includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

The political influence of the US leads to an active role of American secret services in these countries. American curators influence local authorities to clear the information sphere from all alternative sources of information. Due to the geopolitical situation, the biggest part of these alternative sources of information is Russian media.

Disproof

This article repeats two recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives: one about the oppression of the freedom of speech in Central and Eastern Europe and another about the US presence in Europe.

The statement that the Baltic states and Poland manifest “authoritarian practices” in the area of freedom of speech is a manipulative one, especially in comparison with the situation in Russia. In the “Freedom of the press 2020” ranking (by Reporters Without Borders) Estonia is on 14th place, Latvia on 22nd place, Lithuania on 28th place, Romania on 48th place, Poland on 62nd place out of 180 countries. The region is not monolithic. Estonia belongs to the group of states where the situation is evaluated as “good”, the situation in Latvia and Lithuania is “fairly good”, Poland and Romania belong to “problematic” group of countries. Russia holds in this ranking 149th position, the situation of media freedom in the country described as “bad”.

Disinfo: NATO membership will lead Ukraine to disintegration

Ukraine’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance will lead to the disintegration of its own statehood. As a result, part of Ukraine’s territory will turn into a security buffer between NATO and the Russian Federation.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about NATO and Ukraine with no evidence given. This message is an example of a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine being abandoned by its Western partners and the disintegration of Ukraine.

Ukraine is a priority partner for the EU and NATO. Its sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected by almost all the world. Neither the EU nor NATO are planning to turn Ukraine into a security buffer.

Disinfo: US election result was rigged by mail voting

A month has passed and the world is still waiting for the official announcement of the US presidential election results. It is difficult to understand what kind of democracy this is. However, some insist there is a winner. He was proclaimed by TV stations and NGOs. In the era of “rule of law” and “bourgeois democracy”, the verdict of American people was not decided by the ballot boxes but by the boxes of the US post offices, as minors, citizens who had never been registered to vote, and dead people voted.

Disproof

This report is part of a recurring pro-Kremlin media narrative that the US democracy is an illusion, the election was fraudulent, and thus the US has no right to lecture others about human rights or democracy.

The claims that the US Presidential elections faced an “enormous number of irregularities” and was not properly managed, especially because of mail voting, is not supported by evidence. The OSCE Observation Mission states that the 2020 Presidential elections vote was “competitive and well managed”. Read more OSCE statements on the American elections here.