As soon as Washington realised the resurgence of Russia, both nationally and internationally, especially after the reincorporation of Crimea in 2014, it didn’t waste a minute to start a demonisation campaign against Moscow and its leader Vladimir Putin, accusing him of aiming to weaken the US and divide its society. Besides sanctions and military deployments along Russia’s borders, the anti-Russian propaganda was reinforced by the State Department, the CIA and the Pentagon, through Hollywood and other means such as the Pulitzer Prize, awarded both in 2017 and 2020 to anti-Russian stories in The New York Times. The awarded journalists accused Russia, using anonymous sources and without any evidence, of killings abroad, destabilisation operations in Europe, manipulating the US elections in 2016, the poisoning of Bulgarian citizen Emilian Gebrev by a GRU unit, diamond trafficking in the Central African Republic and destroying four hospitals in Syria.
This is part of a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative to portray Russia as a victim of US aggression against its sovereignty, which Moscow uses to justify its illicit activities on grounds of “defence” and self-preservation. In this case, the narrative goes, Crimea’s illegal annexation is portrayed as a legitimate reincorporation to Russia, and The New York Times’ stories describing illegal actions by Vladimir Putin’s regime as ‘Russophobic’.
See other examples of this disinformation narrative about Russia as a victim of the West, such as claims about NATO military exercises as acts of war against Russia; alleged plans to encircle Russia or to wage war against it; 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; the affirmation that it is NATO and not the Kremlin who is involved in the Donbas conflict; or denials that Russia had any role in the poisoning of Sergey Skripal or the downing of MH17, that it interfered in other countries’ elections or that it is waging a disinformation campaign on COVID-19.