Disinfo: The US used sanctions to seize the Russian aluminium industry

Summary

The US used sanctions against the Russian company Rusal to seize control of Russia’s aluminium industry.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative casting Western sanctions against Russia as an unjust, Russophobic ploy designed to cripple the country's sovereignty and prosperity. The relevant iteration of sanctions was imposed in April 2018 and extended to Russian individuals and entities suspected of interference in the 2016 US presidential election. One of these individuals was Russian minerals mogul Oleg Deripaska, CEO of Rusal. The sanctions on Rusal were rolled back in January 2019, following a restructuring of the company's shareholding and voting structure in the course of which Deripaska surrendered majority control over Rusal's parent company, En+. Under the terms of the restructuring process overseen by the US Office of Foreign Assets Control, En+ and Rusal additionally appointed the required number of independent directors to ensure transparency and accountability of their corporate governance. None of the above would indicate that Washington "seized control" of the Russian aluminium giant. In fact, Deripaska is likely to have retained indirect majority control of Rusal through former family members and a charity organisation -- founded and funded by Deripaska himself -- which holds a stake in En+.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 153
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 06/06/2019
  • Outlet language(s) English
  • Country: US, Russia
  • Keywords: Oligarchs, Anti-Russian, Big business, Sovereignty, Sanctions, Russophobia
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Ukraine buys gas in Europe for a price twice as high as its real value

Currently, the prices of gas in Europe have dropped significantly, but Ukraine has to buy it at a price twice as high, due to the requirements of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Disproof

No evidence given. Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about the IMF and Ukraine. Ukraine buys gas in Europe at public auctions. At the moment, gas prices in Europe have dropped significantly due to the warm winter in 2019. In turn, the Ukrainian company Naftogaz has reduced the price of gas by 8% for the industry, which in turn would mean lower prices for the Ukrainian citizens. Oksana Markarova, Finance Minister of Ukraine, commented that Naftogaz’s decision to lower the gas price for the population “is in line with the goal of market pricing for natural gas for all consumer categories and thus meets Ukraine’s obligations to the IMF”. Background “The situation with falling prices for gas in Europe refutes many of the myths that are still popular in Ukraine”, noted Karel Hirman, an expert on energy in the Strategic Group of Advisers on Reform Support under the Government of Ukraine. “Ukrainian politicians often say that Siberian gas purchased on the border with Russia will always be cheaper. As it turns out, this logic must also take into account prices in the European market. This factor can ensure low prices when buying gas in the EU”, Hirman added.

Europe interferes into internal affairs of the neighbouring states

The European Endowment for Democracy has grown into an impressive tool for interfering in the internal affairs of “target countries”. It is an intervention, which is designed to ensure the development of social processes in these countries in the interests of the “collective West”.

Disproof

No evidence given. This message is part of a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about aggressive Western activities. The European Endowment for Democracy is an organisation that supports local actors promoting democratic change in the European Neighbourhood and beyond. It is an independent foundation created to promote European values of freedom and democracy. Its funding comes from the EU and EU members states. See here for more information about the EED.

NATO's war against [former] Yugoslavia was contrary to international law

NATO’s war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was against the international law.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about war in former Yugoslavia. The primary purpose of the NATO campaign was to end violence and repression and force Milosevic to withdraw his military, police and para-military forces from Kosovo (see NATO statement from 1999). In 1999, the NATO operation for Kosovo followed over a year of intense efforts by the UN and the Contact Group, of which Russia was a member, to bring about a peaceful solution. The UN Security Council on several occasions branded the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and the mounting number of refugees driven from their homes as a threat to international peace and security. NATO's Operation Allied Force was launched to prevent the large-scale and sustained violations of human rights and the killing of civilians. Read more about disinformation about the war in former Yugoslavia here and here.