The current crisis, which caused the pandemic of fear additionally to the COVID-19 pandemic, is the result of the specific media coverage and political-motivated decisions of particular actors. […] The specific of the Russian political culture, a complex tangle of contradictions within the Russian regional and federal elites, as well as the fact that a significant part of the Russian elites is affiliated with the collective West contribute to this scenario. Therefore, the developments triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic may lead to the deformation of the political and administrative structure of the Russian Federation, and lead to notable social and economic tensions. If this scenario turns into reality, the stability of the entire Eurasian region will be undermined.
The Italian newspaper “La Stampa” spreads russophobic fake news on Russian coronavirus aid to Italy
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.