Disinfo: The EU is not helping, but you should not ask for Russian help

Summary

Brussels wanted to convince the Western Balkans that it is not “right” to ask for Russian help. The EU organised a summit to convince the Balkan states that aid from Russia and China is not about helping them; instead, it is aimed at “strengthening their positions on the continent.” When Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia asked for EU help to combat the crisis, Brussels did not do anything, but now the EU demanded that they take part in a video conference.

Disproof

The claims made in this article are broadly similar to recurring narratives about the EU's complete failure to respond to the coronavirus crisis. The EU is providing an EUR 3.3. billion package for the Western Balkans, including financial help to their healthcare sectors and exclusive access to EU instruments and medical equipment. According to the conclusions of the 6 May EU-Western Balkans summit, the participating states should work on fully aligning themselves with EU foreign policy solutions, notably on issues where "major common interests are at stake. The document does not mention Moscow and Beijing, and EU foreign policy is not against accepting medical assistance from Russia or China - as several EU members have accepted such help.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 197
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 10/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Hungarian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Russia
  • Keywords: Western Balkans, EU/NATO enlargement
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The European Parliament has falsely accused the Soviet Union of the Second World War moving Hitler to the background

Truth is a difficult goal to achieve in the West, where fake news and now also “fake history” have become the norm. The OSCE and the European Parliament accuse the Soviet Union of the Second World War, suggesting that Russia and Putin are to blame. Hitler is moved into the background as a result of these baseless accusations. The hidden actors that are pushing this parallel history are the Baltic states, Poland and Ukraine, which are full of hatred for Russia. Today the Baltic states remember Nazi collaborators as national heroes and celebrate their cowardly deeds. Today the Polish government is destroying monuments. Polish “nationalists” cannot stand the memory of the Red Army that liberated Poland from the Nazi invaders.

Disproof

This message is part of the pro-Kremlin’s disinformation campaign against the European Parliament resolution on the importance of European remembrance for the future of Europe. It reflects the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism and is an attempt to portray Russia's role in World War II as not aggressive. The European Parliament resolution, stressing that World War II was an immediate result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, was portrayed as “fascist” along with the Parliament which adopted it. The pro-Kremlin media outlets claimed that the European Parliament has joined forces with fascism, that it represents the Third Reich, and relieves Germany of the responsibility of World War II. The disinformation campaign about the European Parliament resolution has also targeted Poland, the Baltic States, Finland and Ukraine. The article also contains attacks against Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine. It is not true, as the article claims, that the European Parliament resolution “blames the Soviet Union”, while “moving Hitler into the background”. The resolution states that the outbreak of the war was an immediate result of the Molotov-Ribentropp Pact, an agreement between two totalitarian regimes. It is a fact that the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact contained the Secret Supplementary Protocol, which assumed the division of Poland and other Eastern European countries between the USSR and Germany. Thus, the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact enabled the German and Soviet military aggression against Poland in September 1939, which resulted in the occupation of this country by Germany and USSR, triggering the beginning of WWII. It is also not true that the resolution suggests that Russia and Vladimir Putin are to be blamed for the Second World War. The resoultion states that “Russia remains the greatest victim of communist totalitarianism”. Read previous cases claiming that the European Parliament resolution is part of a campaign aimed at minimising the role of the USSR in World War II and that the European Parliament resolution is aimed at the demonisation of Russia.

IMF has abandoned Ukraine and cut its support

Volodmyr Zelenskyy and his team were in the position of the Indians who sold Manhattan for a necklace and “firewater”. Despite the law on the sale of land adopted by the Verkhovna Rada for the sake of an IMF loan, the Fund has suddenly changed the rules of the game with Ukraine. The IMF has abandoned the previously agreed three-year EFF extended financing programme. This means Ukraine will not receive $8 billion promised by Zelenskyy. Instead of a three-year loan, the IMF will throw to [the government in] Kyiv a small bone: the 18-months stand-by programme.

Disproof

This disinformation message advances pro-Kremlin narratives undermining the statehood of Ukraine and casting it as abandoned by its partners. According to the IMF spokesman Gerry Rice, the IMF and Ukraine have decided to shift their focus to a new 18-month stand-by programme, instead of the previously agreed EFF programme, to deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. "Considering the large-scale global financial and economic crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19 and general economic uncertainty about the duration and intensity of the pandemic, the IMF has changed its approach to the duration of programmes with countries and offers to continue cooperation with Ukraine on a shorter Stand-By Arrangement," the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine explained in an official statement. The Ministry has also confirmed that under the new programme, the size of financial assistance to Ukraine will not change: "The size of the programme for the relevant periods remains unchanged. The main difference between these programmes is the term of their implementation: Stand-by is designed for 1.5 years, while EFF for 3 years."

Georgia joined the Russian empire in the early the 19th century

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Georgia joined the Russian Empire, and later became a republic of the Soviet Union.

Disproof

This disinformation message follows the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism by whitewashing the circumstances under which Georgia became part of the Russian Empire, suggesting that Georgia voluntarily "joined" the Russian Empire rather than being invaded.

Georgia did not join the Russian Empire of its own free will. In 1801, Russia annexed the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti. Subsequently, Russia also annexed other kingdoms and principalities of Georgia. In May 1918, Georgia finally gained independence from Russia after a long struggle for national liberation. Soviet Russia attempted to reconquer Georgia on several occasions, but the country managed to defend its independence for almost three years.