Emerging pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Russia has become a target of Russophopic campaigns 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.
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 in fighting 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 mainstream media ignores the fake news campaign against Russia and that Buzzfeed hires russophobic journalists and spreads disinformation.