Disinfo: The Italian Parliament lowers the flag of the European Union


The Italian Parliament lowers the flag of the European Union.


A misleading headline to support a recurring narrative about EU disintegration amid the coronavirus crisis. From the text of the article it is clear that one Italian MP has allegedly removed the EU flag from his office.

For similar cases, see for example claims that amid the pandemic, the idea of a united Europe has crashed, that after the COVID-19 crisis Italy or Germany may leave the EU, and that the coronavirus will cause the dissolution of the EU and NATO.


  • Reported in: Issue 190
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: EU, Italy
  • Keywords: coronavirus, EU disintegration


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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It is too early to tell whether any extra people will die because of COVID-19

It is definitely too early to accurately gauge how many – if any – extra people will die because of coronavirus.

It is hard to believe that when this all blows over, the damage that will have been done by the shutdown measures – to businesses, to civil liberties, to individual lives and, of course, to the global economy – could have been for nothing. Nonetheless, it seems entirely possible based on the present data.


This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation attempt to downplay the severity and urgency of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Pro-Kremlin media have spread a variety of false claims to push this message, for example that coronavirus mortality figures are insignificant, that COVID-19 is fake and a political move to install hegemony, and that the virus is safe.

The novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, belongs to a family of viruses originating in animals that includes others such as SARS and MERS. It was first reported in the city of Wuhan in central China in late 2019 and has been rapidly spreading across the world, with cases being reported in 190 countries, territories and areas. The number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 777,000 globally with over 37,000 deaths as of 31 March 2020.

Authoritarian trends in the COVID-19 lockdown are a harbinger of the future

What will 6 months of Covid-19 do to our society? Only certain thing is we’ll be in a state… and the STATE will be IN CONTROL.

What Covid-19 has already accomplished is the final nail in the coffin of the phoney post-war ideological battle between free-marketeers and state ‘socialists’.

There has been no argument. There has been no political debate. But the state has won, and everything else will follow. If we thought yesterday’s tendency towards technocracy was strong, we haven’t seen anything yet. The authoritarian trends already on display in the current lockdown are perhaps a harbinger of a future society run along managerial principles.


Conspiracy theory with no evidence given; this is part of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the coronavirus, implying that the COVID-19 pandemic represents the end of democracy and open societies and will lead to authoritarian takeover. See similar cases that the COVID-19 outbreak is a pretext to gain control of the world population and introduce tyranny, and that COVID-19 is a political move to install hegemony.

This case also plays into the idea of "imminent collapse", one of the master narratives used in pro-Kremlin disinformation. It is 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.

Baba Vanga predicted 9/11 and Obama’s rule which ended in ruin and chaos

Baba Vanga said: twin american brothers will fall struck by iron birds. Wolves will haul in the bushes, and rivers of innocent blood will flow.

This frightening vision has been remembered on the 11th of September 2001. And it became clear that the metaphor about wolves in the bushes was supposed to tell the date of the tragedy. In 2001 George Bush Jr., became the US president and his last name can be translated from the English language as bush [“куст” in Russian].

Vanga said: a black man will come to a white house, and will leave chaos and destruction in his way. Now after the term of a black man in the White House is over, and Libya, Iraq and Syria are in ruin, it is obvious: the words of a clairvoyant need no proof.



Conspiracy theory consistent with broader pro-Kremlin narratives undermining the US.

See related disinformation case, alleging that Baba Vanga predicted the coronavirus.