Disinfo: There is not a single example of disinformation coming from Russian media

Summary

On March 16th 2020, the European External Action Service published a report namely accusing Russia of spreading disinformation, to lower the confidence of Western citizens in their state and public health system. The report did not include a single example of disinformation and was published for internal political goals. Since the EU and national state failed to address the health crisis caused by the coronavirus, Russia was used as a scapegoat to distract the attention of Europeans. Russia is used as a scapegoat in the West for many issues such as elections, climate change, coronavirus….

Disproof

Recurring narrative from the Kremlin and editors of Russian state media claiming that the EEAS did not give any examples of disinformation. The cases the report referred to are listed in this very database, documenting the most common disinformation narratives and examples in many different languages by pro-Kremlin media: more than two hundred are on the coronavirus. The EEAS did not publish a report accusing Russia of spreading disinformation on March 16th. However, some parts of an internal report were leaked to news agencies and were subsequently commented on by the Kremlin. The report itself included several examples of disinformation. A shorter version of the original report was published on March 19th on the EUvsDisinfo website. It summarises the trends of disinformation narratives about COVID-19 for different audiences. An update was published on April 1st.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 191
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/03/2020
  • Outlet language(s) French
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, France, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, fake news, European Commission
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Ukraine is in free fall

In social and economic terms, the Ukraine is in free fall. Following years of chaos and corruption the Ukraine is now a deindustrialized country which can sell only three things: men (for menial jobs in Poland and in the EU), women (prostitution) and its “black soil” (chernozem).

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine as a failed state. Consistent with pro-Kremlin narratives alleging that Ukraine is a degrading state that has failed to become Europe, while the EU is planning to rob Ukraine's soil. Ukraine has a functioning government and economy, it is a member of many international organisations, such as the United Nations and the Council of Europe, and a party to international agreements. Ukraine has bilateral diplomatic relations with the majority of states. The Ukrainian economy has been affected by the recession of the 1990s, the world economic and financial crisis in 2008-2009 and the crisis provoked by the Russian military intervention in Ukraine that started in 2014. However, its gross domestic product (GDP) has exceeded the pre-Independence levels in 2005 and was at an all-time high in 2013. Moreover, Ukraine's GDP per person has been improving steadily since 2015 and as of 2018-2019 was the largest in Ukrainian history.

The official numbers of COVID-19 cases in Ukraine is totally fictional

COVID19 has hit the Ukraine very, very hard. The problem is that the authorities, which fully knew that they had no means to do anything meaningful began by thumping their chests and saying that there were no cases in the Ukraine only to then suddenly decree drastic quarantine measures. And yet, the true information is seeping out: Ukrainians hospitals are full of cases, mostly un-diagnosed, and many have already died. Officially, and as of right now, there are only 14 confirmed cases in the Ukraine, and only two fatalities. But absolutely everybody knows that these numbers are totally fictional and that the real number of cases remains unknown due to a lack of testing kits, not a lack of cases. MDs in Ukrainian hospitals are sounding the alarms, but nobody is listening.

Disproof

An unfounded claim exacerbating the situation with the COVID-19 outbreak in Ukraine. Ukrainian media are reporting extensively about the outbreak and its spread in Ukraine. The outbreak is a serious challenge to any society, and Ukraine is addressing the outbreak with all available resources. WHO statistics on the outbreak can be found here.

Zelenskii is unable to handle the Ukronazis

Zelenskii has proven to be a total ZERO. Simply put, neither he not his team can get anything done, anything at all. Nothing, nothing at all. While initially the victory of Zelenskii seem to indicate that the Ukronazis had suffered a crushing defeat, it now is completely obvious that Zelenskii lacks the will, or the means, or both, to tackle this huge problem. Now the Ukronazis are back in force, they provoke Zelenskii on a daily basis, but the man is simply unable to react and reassert his authority.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives painting the 2013-14 Ukrainian revolution as a coup d'etat, and Ukrainian politics as dominated by fascist/Nazi groups and ideology. The Euromaidan was not a coup but a nationwide popular protest against the government's sudden announcement that it would not sign the EU Association Agreement. See the full debunk here. As for the Nazis ruling Ukraine, far-right groups had a very limited presence during the protests and have suffered spectacular defeats in every national election since 2014. See previous disinformation narratives alleging that the 2014 Ukraine coup was orchestrated by neo-Nazis and that the Nazis took over Ukraine with a coup.