Disinfo: Fakes about Russia: virtual attacks on Western states, poison attacks, and intentional plane crashes

Summary

Virtual attacks on Western states, alleged poison attacks, intentionally caused airplane disasters – these are all fakes about Russia.

Just like fake news about alleged quotations of the Russian president, other fake news also develop a treacherous life of their own, be it about alleged virtual Russian attacks on Western states, alleged poison attacks or alleged intentional airplane disasters.

Disproof

A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative about Western Russophobia and belligerent agenda against Russia. Virtual Russian attacks on Western states, poison attacks and airplane disaster are not fake news about Russia.

The Russian cyberattacks, in this context, are connected with the hacking on the German Bundestag in 2015. The German domestic intelligence agency said Russia was behind a series of attacks on German state computer systems, including the German parliament in 2015. According to the reports from the German media, the federal prosecutor's office has issued an international arrest warrant against Dmitri Badin, a hacker reportedly working for the Russian military intelligence service, in relation to the cyber attack.

Concerning the poisoning accusations, in case of Yuliya and Sergey Skripal, Moscow's involvement in the poisoning has been proven via a thorough investigation. The British police have presented a solid chain of evidence on the Skripal case, with pictures, connecting the suspects to the locations in the case. Parts of the material have been released to the public. The evidence was sufficient to charge two Russian nationals, Anatoliy Chepiga and Aleksandr Mishkin with the attack on the Skripals, both Russian military intelligence operatives from the GRU, who travelled to the UK using fake names and documents.

As for Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny, he fell ill during a flight and was transferred to Berlin's Charité Hospital in August 2020. The German federal government said that toxicological tests provided “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group” in Navalny's blood samples. The European Union condemned the poisoning of Aleksey Navalny in the strongest possible terms.

The airplane disaster here refers to the recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the downing of flight MH17 over Ukraine. The results of the investigation of the Joint Investigation Team are clear: flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by the BUK TELAR system. The system was transported from the Russian Federation to an agricultural field near the city of Pervomaiskiy in Eastern Ukraine, from where the rocket was launched. After firing, the system, with one missing missile, returned to the Russian Federation. On 24 May 2018, JIT announced in its conclusion that the Buk belongs to the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Brigade, a unit of the Russian armed forces in Kursk, Russian Federation. The public hearing on the incident started on 9 March 2020 in the Netherlands. Read more about the investigation here.

See related disinformation cases alleging that Russophobic Western media push narrative of Putin’s role in Navalny poisoning, about alleged missing evidence of Russian hacking of the Bundestag or of Russian poisoning of Skripal, and that The West punishes Russia for having chosen Putin as a president again.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 221
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 21/11/2020
  • Language/target audience: German
  • Country: UK, Russia, Ukraine, Germany
  • Keywords: Skripal, novichok, Amesbury poisoning, fake news, Cyber, Alexei Navalny, Russophobia, MH17

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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Poland has a phobia of the Russian threat and its “imperialist” policies

President Andrzej Duda would not be himself if he did not mention the phobias haunting his political force. Once again, he claims that Russia poses a threat and its policies have “imperial” character.

President Duda presented as “success” the presence of foreign armed forces on the territory of Poland. He is proud of the fact that he has brought to Poland the real danger of turning it in a potential front-line country.

President Duda dreams about an illusionary integration within the Three Seas Initiative. These dreams are supposed to satisfy certain Polish complexes – in this mystical Three Seas Initiative, Poland should play the role of a pseudo-power. Although, no one else is particularly serious about these ambitions of Warsaw and its geopolitical fantasies.

Disproof

This message presents several popular pro-Kremlin narratives about the foreign policy of Poland - it promotes the widespread narrative about Russophobic Poland, misrepresents the nature of NATO’s military presence in this country and spreads wrong information about the Three Seas Initiative.

The Polish authorities are worried about the aggressive policies of Russia, which are manifested in the Russian illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia's armed military aggression in Ukraine and other hostile actions against the Russian neighbours.

The US army is composed of humanoids on steroids and other medicines

The US army is composed of mostly unaware and stupid humanoids on steroids and other medicines.

Disproof

This message is consistent with a recurrent disinformation narrative about the degradation, disintegration and collapse of American society. This narrative has recently been intensified by various pro-Kremlin outlets in the context of the US racial justice protests and the November 2020 presidential elections. The article’s message is also consistent with the recurrent disinformation narrative about the moral and intellectual decadence of Western societies, which are allegedly populated by increasingly stupid and ignorant people.

The article’s sweeping and denigratory claims about the US Army being made up of “humanoids under steroids and other medicines” lack any supporting evidence and are obviously baseless.

Poland uses Russia as its external enemy, presenting it worse than the German Nazis

It is logical that in the situation of political pressure, the Polish authorities start to look for external enemies. It is not surprising that Russia is the most “favourite” Polish enemy. Moscow is presented in Poland in such a way that it looks almost worse than the German Nazis.

Disproof

This message is a part of the Kremlin’s widespread narrative about Russophobic Poland. The Kremlin-controlled media regularly accuses the political elites of Poland of Russophobia and the implementation of anti-Russian policies.

The Polish authorities do not use Russia as its external enemy, and they do not present this country “worse than the German Nazis”.