Remember the story by Hans Christian Andersen of the emperor with no clothes? He is tricked into paying large sums of money for clothes supposedly woven of the finest fabrics, which can only be seen by the most intelligent people. But in reality he is wearing nothing – a fact which no one dares acknowledge until it is finally pointed out by a little boy as he parades the streets.
The same goes for disinformation. If you don’t dare point out that it is disinformation, people keep pretending. And as we could read earlier this week, disinformation outlets do not even themselves try to keep up appearances; on the contrary, they are quite open about the nature of their activities.
This last week there have been many repetitions of recurring disinformation narratives in the pro-Kremlin disinformation wardrobe. So we feel the need to point out the obvious, again.
The never ending moral decay of the West
In the Georgian disinformation space, the moral decay of the West was supposedly illustrated by a new Canadian law that made criticising gender theory a criminal offence. In reality, the new law is an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act, which adds gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.
On Russian state TV, NATO was claimed to be on par with Daesh when it comes to terrorism. And the US was accused of being one of the warring sides in Ukraine. We have debunked such claims countless times.
See how disinformation targeted politicians, organisations and values this week:
And in another Georgian disinformation outlet, it was claimed that Europe had recognised incest as a norm. Actually, protection and promotion of the rights of the child is one of the objectives of the European Union. All policies and actions with an impact on children must be designed, implemented and monitored in line with the best interests of the child.
The end of Ukraine, is it?
Judging by the pro-Kremlin disinformation stories about Ukraine, you would wonder if the country will make it through the week. Ukraine was described as a wasteland, with a plummeting population due to lack of health care; and as a country plagued by a Hepatitis A epidemic.
But, it is not quite as bad as it sounds. According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Health, there are sporadic cases of the disease in Ukraine, but there is most certainly no epidemic. And as pointed out many times before, disinformation about Ukraine has been at the heart of the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign at least since the start of the protests at Maidan.
And pro-Kremlin outlets again portrayed Russia as the peacekeeper in the world and a country that adheres to international law, contradicting the facts of its illegal annexation of Crimea in clear violation of international law, and involvement in the conflict in the East of Ukraine.
When it comes to disinformation, the emperor has no clothes.
Disinformation cases reported in the previous week:
Repeating recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the president of Lithuania. No evidence given to the claim that Dalia Grybauskaitė would have been working as a KGB agent. As explained by the Insider, in 2015 the website of the Center for Research of Genocide and Resistance of Lithuanian residents was hacked and fake documents about Grybauskaitė as an agent "Magnolia" were published. One of the documents was a letter containing inaccuracies and formulations not used in the USSR in 1982, when it was allegedly written.
The Canadian Bill Ch-16 does not mention criticism of gender theory, the enactment amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. http://www.parl.ca/DocumentViewer/en/42-1/bill/C-16/royal-assent
Hungarian translation of an article by Russia-Insider. The organisations' analysis - which is available online and dates back to year 2009 - in fact says: "if one of the diplomatic or regime change options cannot be made to work soon, then Washington will have no choice but to adopt either Containment or one of the military options." It does not state that military intervention is the only feasible option. In fact, it lists pros and cons to all the possible approaches to Washington's Iran policy.
Conspiracy theory. The analysis in question - which is available online and dates back to year 2009 - in fact says: "if one of the diplomatic or regime change options cannot be made to work soon, then Washington will have no choice but to adopt either Containment or one of the military options." It does not state that military intervention is the only feasible option. In fact, it lists pros and cons to all the possible approaches to Washington's Iran policy.
The names that the Council of the District of Colombia, the legislative branch of the local government of the U.S. capital, chooses for it streets are the council’s constitutional right and the city’s own business. In no way does it violate diplomatic protocols or constitute interference in any foreign country’s internal affairs.Further debunking at Polygraph https://www.polygraph.info/a/russian-embassy-washington-nemtsov-plaza/28967584.html.
The EU Ukraine Association Agreement that Rossiyskaya Gazeta refers to makes no mention of any ban on milk sales from private farms, but the agreement does outline the introduction of uniform sanitary standards for milk and other products. Meanwhile Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy assures that the purchase of milk from private farms will continue and the introduction of a new state standard will take place on July 1, 2018 followed by a one year transition period. Further debunking by Stopfake https://www.stopfake.org/en/fake-eu-bans-milk-sales-from-private-ukrainian-farms/.
According to Ukraine’s Health Ministry Community Health Center, Mykolayiv and the surrounding region have logged 47 Hepatitis A cases this year, including six children. National rates of hepatitis A have remained constant over recent years and there are no grounds to call the current outbreak an epidemic. Further debunking by Stopfake https://www.stopfake.org/en/fake-hepatitis-a-epidemic-in-ukraine/.
The Shostka Chemical Reagants Plant is not part of Ukraine’s military industrial complex and has never produced military components, not even during the Soviet era. After the collapse of the USSR the Shostka plant was privatized.
Responding to StopFake’s inquiry about the Russian claim, Shostka Chemical Plant director Serhiy Buhakov said the company’s production is purely for peaceful purposes. Shostka has neither the personnel nor the raw materials to produce explosives. "We make dyes, chemical indicators and compounds", Buhakov emphasized.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry also dismissed Russia’s insinuation, calling it yet another attempt to assault Ukraine with disinformation, in order to draw away attention from Russia’s actions in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. Read more on Stopfake https://www.stopfake.org/en/russia-accuses-ukraine-of-involvement-in-syria-attacks-on-russian-bases/
The Moldovan authorities dream of returning to the Russian market.
According to the Moldovan "Agricultural Information Center", the real amount of vegetables exported to the Russian Federation was 1,601 tonnes, compared to 1,499 tonnes exported towards the EU. The difference is much smaller.
Official statistics show that the Republic of Moldova has exported fruits and vegetables to the EU worth around 51 million dollars and to the CIS countries (including Russia) - worth 36 million dollars. So the value of the products exported to the EU is higher and brought more profit for Moldova.
Further debunking by API.
Recurring disinformation about the EU in Georgia. Incest is illegal in all European countries and there are no "satanic" laws imposed on Georgia by the EU.
Recurring disinformation about NGO's in Georgia. Accusations including George Soros and Nazism are common in the pro-Kremlin disinformation sphere. https://euvsdisinfo.eu/the-all-powerful-mr-soros-2/, https://euvsdisinfo.eu/?s=Nazi.
No evidence given. Read more about Zvezda TV here https://euvsdisinfo.eu/dependent-media-russias-military-tv-zvezda/.
Russia's actions in Ukraine are a clear violation of international law. Article 2, paragraph 4 of the UN Charter declares without ambiguity that "all Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations" http://bit.ly/1rbGaE3. UNGA Resolution 68/262 also affirmed the General Assembly's commitment to the territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders and underscored the invalidity of the 2014 Crimean referendum http://bit.ly/1RZGnjo.
The 200 page report cites exhaustive detail and is deeply sourced, with 20 pages alone of source citations.
Titled “Putin’s Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security” and published by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 10, the report investigates Russia’s interference in political and electoral processes of “semi-consolidated” and “fully-consolidated” democracies in Europe. It does not examine Russia’s meddling in the U.S. 2016 presidential election, which was the subject of a report by the U.S. intelligence community published in January 2017, and is currently being investigated by several congressional committees and a Department of Justice special counsel. Read more at Polygraph.info https://www.polygraph.info/a/rt-slams-congress-report/28969701.html and here https://euvsdisinfo.eu/figure-of-the-week-206/.
Recurring narrative in the pro-Kremlin disinformation https://euvsdisinfo.eu/good-russia/. Russia is currently involved in several conflicts and has illegally annexed a part of Ukraine.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation, all criticism against Russia is called Russophobia https://euvsdisinfo.eu/the-russophobia-myth-appealing-to-the-lowest-feelings/. Read more on the report mentioned here https://euvsdisinfo.eu/figure-of-the-week-206/.
Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about Ukraine. The demonstrations which began in Kyiv in November 2013 – called "Maidan", or "Euromaidan" – were not provoked from outside but were a result of the Ukrainian people's frustration with former President Yanukovych's last minute U-turn when, after seven years of negotiation, he refused to sign the EU–Ukraine Association Agreement and halted progress towards Ukraine's closer relationship with the EU as a result of Russian pressure. The protesters' demands included constitutional reform, a stronger role for parliament, formation of a government of national unity, an end to corruption, early presidential elections and an end to violence http://bit.ly/2ftv6iT.
There are no Nazis in the government nor in the parliament of Ukraine. Even the far-right ‘Right Sector’ (often depicted as "fascists" or "Nazis" by pro-Kremlin outlets) gained only 1.8% of the votes, far short of the threshold needed to enter the parliament. Ukraine's electorate clearly voted for unity and moderation, not extremism or Nazism, and the composition of the parliament reflects that http://bit.ly/2dFFEdi
The US is not fighting in the war in Ukraine. https://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3211.htm
Recurring disinformation. No evidence of the EU abandoning Ukraine. The European Commission's decision not to transfer the 600 million dollars tranche to Ukraine was made because four of the measures linked to this macro-financial assistance remained outstanding. European Commission is ready to consider further Macro-Financial Assistance to Ukraine, provided reform momentum is stepped up, it stated.
The EU is supporting Ukraine through one of the most ambitious reform programmes the EU has ever undertaken. The provisional application of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area offers Ukraine privileged access to trade with a market of over 500 million consumers. The EU has provided long term loans to Ukraine to help stabilise its economy: €2.2 billion has been disbursed already. The EU (whose Member States represent altogether the largest IMF shareholder) is strongly supported by IMF loans and programmes which have helped to stabilise the economic situation in Ukraine and will continue to help the country to reform its economy. The EU is also providing substantial budget support, technical assistance and loans to SME businesses through the EIB and EBRD supported EU4Business programme. This is in addition to over 250 projects supporting reform efforts across sectors and industry http://bit.ly/2dQQWJq. Overall, the EU is both currently and historically the biggest international donor to Ukraine, and has proposed an overall support package of at least €11bn to help stabilise the economic and financial situation.
No evidence given, no credible reports supporting the population in Ukraine rapidly declining because of the health care reform.
No evidence given, recurring disinformation concerning the Maidan-events https://euvsdisinfo.eu/disinformation-cases/?text=maidan&disinfo_issue=&date=. The article referred to does not claim that the US is planning anything in Ukraine. Furthermore, the spontaneous onset of the Euromaidan protests was a reaction of large parts of the Ukrainian population to former President Yanukovych’s sudden departure from the Association Agreement with the European Union in November 2013. The total number of members of radical groups, e.g. the "Right Sector", never amounted to more than a few hundred to a maximum of a thousand people. The vast majority of the protesters (up to two million at one time nationwide) consisted of peaceful Ukrainian citizens http://bit.ly/1Tl9X7W.
Recurring disinformation, portraying NATO as the main threat to peace https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_111767.htm?#threat.
Islamists have received help from a "technologically advanced" country, the Russian defense ministry says.
According to the US, no P-8 aircraft was in the area at the time, and - in fact - not a single one has flown over the area for a long period of time. http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/09/politics/russia-us-attack-base-syria/index.html