Disinfo: “La Stampa” is notoriously Russophobic and journalist Jacopo Iacoboni a specialist in spreading Russophobia


Russia sent 16 airplanes carrying assistance and highly specialised personnel to help our country fight the coronavirus epidemic. The people warmly welcomed out neighbour. But someone did not like this. Jacopo Iacoboni, who specialises in spreading the germs of Russophobia, a highly infectious disease, wrote an article against Russia for “La Stampa”,  a notoriously Russophobic newspaper. He accused Russia of sending this assistance not to help Italy but to exploit our misfortunes, to infiltrate Russian military intelligence agents into our barracks. He based his accusations on mysterious sources, probably close to the Atlantic Council.

This understandably irritated Moscow.  First the Russian ambassador in Italy responded, then the Defence Ministry’s spokesman.  As a result, Iacoboni became the champion of press freedom “threatened by Russia”!


Emerging pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Russia has become a target of a Western disinformation campaign related to the coronavirus pandemic.

This narrative is consistent with the recurrent narrative aimed at discrediting mainstream Western media by claiming it is dominated by Russophobia and spreads fake news. It is also consistent with the propaganda theme that seeks to discredit any critical views of Russian foreign or domestic policies as “Russophobia”.  By labelling them “Russophobia”, pro-Kremlin outlets degrade such views as irrational and not worthy of a serious reply.

On the 25th of March 2020, the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa published an article on the equipment and personnel (100 mostly military specialists in bacteriological warfare) sent recently by Russia to support Italy in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The article posed a series of questions about the real motives behind Moscow’s coronavirus assistance operation in Italy and reported that, in the opinion of unnamed highly placed Italian officials, the Russian aid was mostly of limited value to Italy’s efforts to fight the epidemic.

Another La Stampa piece later reported the concerns of some military and security experts that Russia’s aid operation in Italy could be used for intelligence purposes by the GRU (Russian military intelligence).

The Russian Ministry of Defence spokesman subsequently issued a statement accusing La Stampa of spreading Russophobic disinformation. The MOD statement also contained thinly veiled threats against the newspaper and the author of the article. Read Italy's response here and European Commission's Vice-President Věra Jourová's here.

Read similar cases claiming that the Italian newspaper “La Stampa” spreads Russophobic fake news on Russian Coronavirus aid to Italy and that NATO is waging a disinformation campaign against Russia’s COVID-19 aid to Italy.


  • Reported in: Issue 192
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Italy, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, fake news, Russophobia


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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We cannot rule out that the coronavirus will cause humanity to perish

The coronavirus epidemic has brought about the end of the global capitalist system and of the modern world. Does this mean that humanity will perish?  We do not know, but we cannot rule this out


Emerging apocalyptic pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that  the coronavirus pandemic will soon lead to the collapse of globalisation, the fall of modern civilisation and could even bring about the end of humanity. The narrative of “imminent collapse” is one of the core instruments of pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets, used to spread demoralisation and self-doubt among target audiences, as well as to sow discord, panic and diminish trust in national authorities, the EU and international institutions.

The article provides no evidence to support its sweeping, apocalyptic claims. The Covid-19 pandemic - which  is closing borders, severely restricting travel  and disrupting supply chains - is expected to provoke a global recession, but it does not mean the catastrophic collapse of the global economic system.   Moreover, the article’s claim that the end of humanity is a possible outcome of the pandemic does not reflect reality.  The international scientific and medical community is working together like never before to understand the virus and produce a vaccine. There is coordinated, cross-border international effort to monitor and treat the disease, and to speedily develop and disseminate a vaccine across national borders to end the pandemic.

Authoritarian regimes are best at handling disasters

What happens in the United States (the spread of the Coronavirus) confirms that capitalism is a catastrophe, and neoliberalism remains a very big predicament because it only cares for big investors and neglects people.

Democracy cannot be present amid the spread of such an epidemic (Coronavirus). Democracy is a disaster. There must be a dictatorship and I call for more oppression.


The claim about the superiority of political authoritarianism and isolationist “closed societies” in preventing and controlling epidemics does not reflect reality. Authoritarian regimes, which tend to control and manipulate information and to limit the freedom of doctors and scientists to engage in international cooperation, are often an obstacle to the timely detection and containment of epidemic outbreaks.

A clear example is China’s deliberate cover-up of the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. The regime suppressed information about the virus and allowed it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks. The Chinese authorities censored and detained those doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of the coronavirus threat.

The coronavirus destroyed the myth of the NATO’s super army, NATO is fleeing Europe

The coronavirus pandemic destroyed the universal myth of the Alliance’s super army. Because of the aggressive propaganda about the combat readiness of NATO units, the whole world was accustomed to the fact that it was a “super army”.  And here comes the coronavirus. The Americans should not think about missiles, but about toilet paper, and running away from the Baltic. NATO is fleeing Europe today, rescuing itself. Here is the true face of NATO. In reality, the Russian army, […]cynically humiliated by all, today helps many countries that are part of the NATO bloc.



Pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the coronavirus, an attempt to discredit NATO.

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