Disinfo: The US is campaigning against Russia, backing the so-called opposition


The US leadership is carrying out active diplomatic, economic (including sanction pressure) and propaganda campaigns against Russia. The US-NATO military build-up is ongoing along Russian borders in Eastern and Northern Europe. The US and its allies are openly backing the so-called ‘non-system opposition’ in Russia (the part of the opposition that openly aims to overthrow the government by non-constitutional means and destroy the Russian statehood). This ‘opposition’ includes various radicals and destructive forces that employ methods and tools that have been already demonstrated in Ukraine in 2013-14.


A conspiracy theory, presented without any evidence. The article is in line with a narrative that protests, in this case in Russia, are always financed by outside forces. The protests in Moscow started in July after the election committee banned opposition candidates from running for the elections to the city council - the Moscow City Duma, disqualifying their ballots because of what officials claimed were irregularities in the 5,000 signatures each had to gather to run. The protesters also demanded the right to fair elections and the right to free assembly - all along the lines of the Russian constitution. See here for EUvsDisinfo analysis of disinformation surrounding protests in Moscow. Similar disinformation cases can be found here.


  • Reported in: Issue 164
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 15/09/2019
  • Outlet language(s) English
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: US, Russia
  • Keywords: West, Encircling Russia, Protest, Conspiracy theory
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Disinfo: Serbian media uncritically repeat false Western media reports on Russia

Western media, starting with Reuters, have misrepresented the results of regional elections in Russia. Reuters contemplated a possible “beginning of the end” for Vladimir Putin, speculated on Putin’s downfall in the 2024 presidential elections and made an unwarranted comparison to Erdoğan’s election losses in Ankara and Istanbul. The media in Serbia have uncritically repeated these conclusions, misinforming the public about the real state of affairs in Russia. That is bad and dangerous for Serbia, because marginal figures are getting media coverage, instead of those who really influence Russia’s policy, including that towards the Balkans.


These false claims were spread across two complementary reports of Sputnik Serbia, published on September 14th (“How Putin “lost” the elections in Moscow”) and September 15th (“The West is rejoicing Putin’s decline, but what really happened”). The claim that Serbian media have “blindly reprinted Western disinformation” is diametrically opposed to what actually happened. Reuters’ report on the results of regional elections in Russia, published on September 9th, does not mention Putin’s “downfall”, nor did Reuters compare Putin to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in this, or any other report on the results of the regional elections held on September 8th in Russia. Reuters also didn’t focus only on United Russia’s loss of seats in Moscow. The report states that the party “retained its majority in the Moscow assembly following Sunday’s nationwide local elections, and its candidates for regional governor appeared to have won in St Petersburg and in 15 other parts of the vast country.” The same point is reiterated in the video clip embedded in the article. The video report provides a statement of Alexei Navalny, but also that of Andrey Turchak, the chairman of United Russia, who said that the party’s overall result was “more than positive” and “has exceeded our most optimistic forecasts”. A number of media in the Balkans used Reuters’ report on the regional elections in Russia and added sensationalist headlines about “Putin’s downfall” and speculation about who will form the new majority in Moscow city assembly. Reuters, however, was clear on the fact that United Russia, whose candidates were “rebranded” as independents for the regional elections, will keep a majority in Moscow city assembly with 25 out of 40 seats. This claim falsely attributes these statements to Reuters, which has never published them (see a fact-check in local language here).

Disinfo: Saying that the USSR occupied Estonia after WWII, means that Estonia was an ally of Nazi Germany

The statement of the Estonian President that WWII ended for Estonia only in 1994, when the last Russian soldiers left this country, has no sense. If someone states that Estonia was occupied by the USSR, it means that Estonia was an ally of Nazi Germany.


This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism – it tries to promote the idea that there was no Soviet occupation of the Baltic states and that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact did not cause the division of East and Central Europe between the USSR and Nazi Germany, causing WWII. See similar cases on the Baltic states and the Soviet occupation here and here. The claim that Estonia could not have been occupied by the USSR unless it was an ally of Nazi Germany is illogical. As a result of WWII, the USSR de facto occupied not only former German allies such as Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary, but also several countries, which were neutral (Baltic states) or faced direct German aggression (Poland, Czechoslovakia). On the 23rd of August, 1939, Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a non-aggression (Molotov-Ribbentrop) pact, whose secret protocols divided the territories belonging to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and Romania into Soviet and Nazi spheres of influence. Contrary to the claims of the pro-Kremlin media, the re-capturing of the Baltic States did not bring freedom, but Soviet repressions and occupation, which lasted for 50 years. The estimated war and occupation deaths are at 90,000 in Estonia, 180,000 in Latvia, and 250,000 in Lithuania. Furthermore, It has been estimated that between 1946 and 1953 deportations and guerrilla deaths reached 95,000 in Estonia, 125,000 in Latvia, and 310,000 in Lithuania.

Disinfo: A true flourishing of Estonian culture, science and industry took place under the Soviet rule – it does not look like an occupation

A true flourishing of Estonian culture, science, education, and industry took place under the Soviet rule. How can Estonians speak about “greatness” of their country before WWII, if it did not even have its national choir? The first thing which was realized by this “Asian satanic horde” was to establish the first Estonian people’s choir in history – it does not look like occupation.


This message is part of the Kremlin’s policy of historical revisionism – it tries to promote the idea that there was no Soviet occupation of the Baltic states and that the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact did not cause the division of East and Central Europe between the USSR and Nazi Germany, leading to WWII. See similar cases on the Baltic states and the Soviet occupation here and here. The statement that "Estonia did not have its own culture or a national choir" before being occupied by the USSR is a cynical historical manipulation. As a result of massive Soviet repressions, Estonia lost large part of its cultural elite, which was replaced by new elites loyal to Moscow. The White Book on the losses inflicted on the Estonian nation by occupation regimes (1940-1991) prepared by the Estonian State Commission on Examination of the Policies of Repression presents a well-documented list of the Soviet repressions aimed at destruction of independent Estonian science, culture, and education. These repressions resulted in murders and deportations of thousands of prominent Estonian artists, professors, teachers, scientists, poets, and writers. In terms of the economic development of Estonia before WWII, this country had quite a high level of economic development throughout 1920s and 1930s. According to The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe, in 1929, the GDP per capita of Estonia was the highest among the countries of Central and Southern Europe (with the exception of Czech Republic and Italy). In 1938, after this indicator, Estonia overtook such countries as Austria, Italy, and Ireland. Thus, throughout 1920s and 1930s, the level of development of Estonian economy was similar to Western European states.