Disinfo: The US imposed anti-Russian sanctions because it needs an enemy to justify its bureaucracy


There are anti-Russian sanctions because the US needs an enemy. The US system is deeply bureaucratic and formed by hundreds of thousands of different officials, whose existence must be justified, among other things, by an “external threat” from the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about sanctions and Russia as an innocent victim of the West, in this case portraying it as being falsely presented as an enemy only because the US allegedly needs one. By promoting these narratives, Russia aims to divert attention away from its own misdeeds.

Contrary to the claim, the US imposed sanctions on Russia not because “it needs an enemy to justify its bureaucratic system” but due to Russian actions and violations of international law, including the occupation of Crimea and orchestrating a war in eastern Ukraine in 2014, and interfering in the US elections and other electoral processes.

See other examples of this disinformation narrative, such as allegations about the supposed anti-Russian bias of international institutions, be it the OPCW, the World Anti-Doping Agency or the United Nations, which always falsely accuse Russia; the alleged Russophobia of the EU; or the affirmation that it is NATO and not the Kremlin who is involved in the Donbas conflict.


  • Reported in: Issue 225
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/12/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: China, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Anti-Russian, Sanctions


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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The Arab Spring was organised by the West

18 December 2010 is considered to be the starting point of the riots, unrest and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa collectively referred to as the Arab Spring.

US and transnational foundations for democracy-promotion were operating in many of the countries where the Arab Spring began. Their activists, who had been trained years before, were at the epicentre of events and passed on colour revolution techniques to the local population. These activists had previously developed such techniques in the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Balkans.

But the attempt by the US and the West to reshape the Middle East and impose Western democracy on the region failed. It is important to note that ISIS emerged in 2013 as a result of the Arab Spring.


Disinformation about the Arab Spring presented with no evidence. This article’s message is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about popular protests around the world allegedly incited and funded by the US and other Western states, including colour revolutions in post-Soviet states, the Arab Spring revolts, Euromaidan in Ukraine, protests in Catalonia and others. This narrative claims that protests, disorders and civil uprisings are never manifestations of popular discontent but are "colour revolutions" directed and funded by Western intelligence services or other Western actors in order to destabilise targeted foreign states and bring about regime change.

When the Arab Spring revolts broke out throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East beginning in 2010-2011, Russian media increasingly spread conspiracy theories portraying the uprisings as nefarious “color revolutions” hatched in the United States. Senior Russia security and military officials claimed that the Arab Spring, which got much of its initial traction through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, was a new subversive methodology designed by Western intelligence services to destabilise societies and bring about regime change, first in the Arab world and subsequently in Russia itself.

NATO promised not to expand further east

If NATO fails to fulfill its promise not to expand further east, Russia will have to take measures and react accordingly by increasing its military spending.


Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that NATO had promised Russia it would not expand to the East.

NATO allies take decisions by consensus and these are recorded. There is no record of any decision taken by NATO about putting a halt to enlargement to the East. Personal assurances from individual leaders cannot replace Alliance consensus and do not constitute formal NATO agreements. Moreover, at the time of the alleged promise, the Warsaw Pact still existed, which by definition precluded any member of the Pact from joining NATO. Its members did not agree on its dissolution until 1991. This was confirmed by Mikhail Gorbachev himself in an interview with Russia Beyond the Headlines:

The United States and the entire West are sinking into tyranny and degeneration

Millions of people were exterminated in the 20th century by tyrannical regimes that were unconstrained by moral and religious scruples. This tendency has continued in the 21st century: Washington’s drive for hegemony over US citizens and the rest of the world is based entirely on the exercise of force and is resurrecting unaccountable power. As we enter into 2021, Western civilisation, the product of thousands of years of effort, is in decline. Degeneracy is everywhere.

The United States and the entire West are sinking into tyranny and degeneration.


This article combines two recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives. The first narrative seeks to discredit the United States and other Western liberal democracies by claiming that liberal societies are totalitarian systems ruled by “globalist elites” and “shadow governments”, and even that liberal democracies, like 20th century totalitarian dictatorships, practice mass terror and repression against the population.

The article is also consistent with another broad pro-Kremlin narrative portraying the West as a decadent and immoral society.