Disinfo: US feeds Polish, Austrian, and Hungarian imperialistic ambitions

Summary

The Three Seas Initiative received a new impetus in 2016 due to migration crisis in the EU. The US sees it as a geopolitical buffer and develops close cooperation with its twelve member states with the aim of counteracting the development of gas transportation infrastructure between Russia and Western Europe. The American political class feeds the ambitions of the Three Seas Initiative countries for its own interests. Poland dreams of becoming the center of restored Rzeczpospolita, Hungary wishes to gather the lands under King Saint Stephen, and Austria would like to return to the Habsburg Empire’s possessions. When the situation presents itself, these countries will oppose the EU and attempt to return to their imperial past.

The EU has become the USSR’s antipode. Upon victory in the Cold War, the West began to enlarge eastward at expense of east European countries, which it previously devastated.

Disproof

This article is consistent with pro-Kremlin propaganda narratives about the US presence in Europe, alleging that the United States controls the foreign policy of EU member states, the EU's imminent collapse and about Poland's ''imperial dreams''. The statement that the Three Seas Initiative is an anti-Russian and anti-EU project fully controlled by the USA is a conspiracy theory. The Three Seas Initiative is a forum of 12 countries from Central and Eastern Europe launched in 2015. The main goal of this Initiative is to promote better connectivity among the Member States, with a particular focus on infrastructure and energy. The main projects discussed at the forums of the Three Seas Initiative are the Via Carpathia, Baltic-Adriatic Corridor, Via Baltica, Rail Baltica and the LNG infrastructure in Poland and Croatia. Poland, Hungary, and Austria fully support the independence and territorial integrity of neigbouring countries. They do not have any territorial claims and reject any “imperial” ambitions towards other countries. See earlier disinformation messages alleging that the Polish doctrine of IV Rzeczpospolita is part of the US doctrine of global dominance, that Poland wants to dismember Ukraine and re-establish a Polish empire, that the Three Seas Initiative is a geopolitical concept designed to promote American interests, and a tool of American hegemony in post-Soviet countries.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 199
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/05/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, Hungary, Austria, Poland, US, Russia
  • Keywords: Imperialism/colonialism, Anti-Russian, USSR, EU/NATO enlargement, Conspiracy theory
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US creates ethnic weapons against Russians and Slavs in its biolabs

The main goal of the US [biological laboratories] is to surround Russia not only with troops but also with bio laboratories, which, in the event of a possible military threat, will make it possible to deliver a swift strike with the most unpredictable and deadly biological weapons. As we know, a new virus can spread very quickly and its effects on humans scare even experienced doctors. At the same time, the Americans may be creating not just biological weapons, but ethnic weapons aimed exclusively at the extermination of Russians and the entire Slavic ethnic group.

Disproof

This is a recurring conspiracy theory alleging, without evidence, that the United States develops biological weapons and has secret biological laboratories around the world. The disinformation claim also capitalises on the oft-recurring conspiracy theory about the Lugar Lab in Georgia, as well as laboratories in Ukraine, all of them encircling Russia. According to this and similar claims, the main task of these labs is to create "combat" viruses against Russians. In fact, virology laboratories in Ukraine are involved in preventing the risks of complex diseases by pathogens and, together with other similar projects, counteracting bioterrorism. Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Georgia officially addressed the conspiracy theories behind the Richard Lugar Centre as "nonsense and typical of Russian misinformation and propaganda campaigns." The Richard Lugar Centre for Public Health Research is a facility of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC), which became operational in August 2013. It is a top-tiered institution in NCDC’s laboratory network and serves as a reference laboratory for Georgia’s public health system. Read more about the disinformation campaign surrounding the Lugar Laboratory on Myth Detector. See similar disinformation cases claiming that the Pentagon creates biological laboratories around the world to develop "combat" viruses, that US prepares biological weapons against Russia, that Ukraine became a testing site for developing biological weapons and that US laboratories in Ukraine are deadly.

Joe Biden was personally profiteering in Ukraine

Joe Biden was personally profiteering in Ukraine. Not only his son, Hunter Biden, who has fictitiously worked for Burisma company in Ukraine receiving enormous amounts of money for nothing, but also Biden himself [got] a million dollars for his family for consultations. The purpose of this consultation was actually to pressure then-president Poroshenko so that he would fire the prosecutor-general Victor Shokin, who was investigating the corruption of the Biden family – the father Joe and son Hunter, who were unlawfully helping themselves in Ukraine. For the firing of inconvenient Shokin, the US vice president promised Poroshenko one billion dollars which could be used by Poroshenko’s companies that received military contracts. […] It is a story of international corruption and high treason.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Joe Biden and Hunter Biden. The disinformation message appeared after the leak of the audio tapes containing edited fragments of a conversation between former US Vice President Joe Biden and former president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko. There is no basis for the claims that Joe Biden personally profited in Ukraine. As a former US vice president, he was responsible for US policy towards Ukraine. Extensive journalistic investigations by multiple international media outlets reveal that Ukraine faced broad international and domestic pressure to advance anti-corruption reforms and that Ukraine's international partners were concerned about Ukraine's prosecutor-general at the time, who was reputed to not follow up on corruption issues. See relevant reporting by the Financial Times, RFERL, and Washington Post among others. In 2018, Joe Biden himself publicly spoke about conversations with President Poroshenko regarding Ukraine's prosecutor-general. The mentioned sum of one billion dollars was not a personal payment, but rather the amount of US loan guarantees to Ukraine. There is no evidence to support the claims that international corruption or high treason occurred in this case. Hunter Biden served on the board of one of the largest natural gas companies in Ukraine. Hostility towards the Biden family has been a consistent feature of pro-Kremlin disinformation. See other examples, such as false allegations of Hunter's "dubious" business in Kyiv, Joe Biden's vow to prevent Vladimir Putin's reelection, his rule over Ukraine, and his intimate involvement in the war in Donbas and in Georgian unrest.

Bloomberg fakes Putin's approval numbers

The US news agency Bloomberg has reported, citing figures by the Russian state pollster VTsIOM, that Putin’s rating dropped to a record low of 27 percent in April as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on the national economy. The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the report, showing that the real figures provided by VTsIOM (67-8%), which Bloomberg claimed to cite, were altered in the report. “The editors of Bloomberg continue to show complete disrespect for its readers. They probably hope that their audience will not check Russian sources and find a real WCIOM data”, the Russian Embassy in the United States said on Twitter.

Disproof

The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative which casts Western media as biased against Russia. Under this narrative, outlets such as Bloomberg will not hesitate to report bogus statistics for the sake of impressing their Russophobic prejudices on unsuspecting readers. VTsIOM's statistics on public trust in politicians are based on two different survey questions, which in turn produce two different percentages. The first question is closed-ended: "Do you trust or not trust... [name of public official]"? Based on this, Putin's approval rating stands at 67.9% as of 17 May 2020. The second question is open-ended and allows multiple answers: "When it comes to politicians, whom do you trust, and whom would you not entrust with solving important state issues?" In this case, Putin's approval comes to 27% as of April 2020. The Bloomberg article correctly cites the second figure (27%) and correctly bills it as an "historic low," given that Putin's approval is now at its lowest since 2006. Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in the US countered Bloomberg's reporting by citing the first figure (~67%), implying that this is the only relevant statistic produced by VTsIOM.