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
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: EU, Russia, France
  • Keywords: coronavirus, fake news, European Commission

Disclaimer

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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Due to coronavirus, Italy is on the brink of default, many European states will likely cease to exist

The course of events in the next months can change Europe’s political map. Many European countries will likely not get through it, they will merge with bigger ones. Total economic downturns point at their absolute incapability to deal with the crisis. Italy is on the brink of default, and nobody can help it. The EU just does not possess enough money for saving the Italian economy. Everyone will care about himself in the first place. The situation is dramatic, similar events took place in the 1910s, 1920s, 1940s.

Disproof

This message paints a far-reaching gloomy economic and political scenario which is consistent with a common pro-Kremlin narrative about the EU's imminent collapse. Whereas the economic consequences of coronavirus outbreak for Italy are indeed grave and a sharp economic slowdown is expected, it will not inevitably face default as alleged.

At present, no EU country has a credit rating low enough to justify that claim. The EU as a whole enjoys a very high credit rating. Before the coronavirus outbreak it was rated AAA/Aaa/AAA/AAA (outlook stable) by Fitch, Moody’s, DBRS and Scope and AA (outlook stable) by Standard & Poor’s.

The actual ruler of the European population is the US

The actual ruler of Europe is the United States of America.

The Italian people and the European people are eager to have friendly relations with Russia, but today these people cannot express their will. The people of Europe don’t have any role in the European Union, because – simply as that – the European nation is subject to the decisions of NATO and NATO is managed by a US military general named by the American president.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US presence in Europe, portraying Europe as a vassal of the USA and trying to undermine the sovereignty of European countries.

The European Union is a sovereign entity, created by the voluntary initiative of European nations, and it has its own, independent foreign policy. Its citizens are directly represented in the European Parliament and Member States are represented in the European Council and the Council of the EU. The United States of America is not part of these institutions. The US had no role in the creation of the EU and has no say in its decisions.

Amid the pandemic the idea of a united Europe has crashed

Idea of a united Europe has crashed. The idea of fraternal nations of Europe turned into the idea of each for its own.

NATO exercises to defend Europe have been cancelled, Sweden tries to remind that Russian threat is in its backyard – no one cares about it, Slovakia tried to buy masks from Ukraine, Germany bought them instead, UK asked its citizens abroad to stay there, as there is no one to bring them back.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the disintegration of the European Union.

The European Union is supporting the Member States in addressing the crisis, and mitigating the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.