New #DisinfoReview from the EU East StratCom Task Force
23 February 2017


The evil West

This week, we saw plenty of depictions of 'the evil West' in the pro-Kremlin media.

In our recent commentary we mentioned that one of the common techniques of the disinformation campaign is to use outright falsifications. And many examples of the technique presented themselves this week. So we saw for example a Bulgarian story claiming that EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn stated that Bulgaria will cease to exist as a nation within 40 years ( – he said no such thing. We saw a Czech outlet saying Commission President Juncker thinks the EU will fall apart during the Brexit negotiations ( - something he has not stated. And we saw Europe and the West accused on Russian state TV of wanting to destroy both Russia and Ukraine (, of starting the Maidan protests in 2014 (, and of aiming to loot Ukraine ( - even of peoples organs. Again, needless to say, all untrue.

The NATO enforcement of its Eastern flank was another favourite issue heavily targeted with disinformation, described again as a provocation and intimidation directed against Russia (,, It was claimed that the Baltic countries are 'part of the Russian world', hence NATO's desire for a presence on their territory. TV Zvezda suggested that the Baltic countries were plotting to attack Russia ( There was also an intentional fake concerning a German soldier supposedly raping an under aged girl in Lithuania ( - a clear resemblance to the now infamous 'Lisa-case' (

Other well-known narratives emerged again: claims on Russian state TV that NATO is encircling Russia ( – as shown here that is clearly not the case. The old narrative that the West promised Russia that NATO would not expand appeared again on Russian state TV ( and other pro-Kremlin outlets ( The claim about NATO "expansion" misrepresents the process of NATO enlargement. NATO does not "expand" but considers the applications of candidate countries which want to join (
Image: TV Zvezda

The danger of refugees

Another continuing trend this week was the depiction of refugees and migrants as dangerous. A Czech outlet reported that migrants had sexually harassed people in Frankfurt on New Year's Eve ( - information that was based on false testimonies and subsequently deleted from the original report but that is still spreading. A cooperation agreement between the Czech, Romanian and German armies was explained as an effort by Germany to protect itself against migrants by another Czech outlet (

Also the Swedish city of Malmö was depicted in a very negative way on Russian state TV ( misrepresenting unemployment numbers as at 63% (that is actually the employment figures of the city) and murder rates over the last year exaggerated up from 12 to 50. The piece also covered the old disinformation story of no-go zones in Sweden (
Image: Pervy Kanal

Ukraine absurdities

Another week, another sadly predictable aggressive disinformation campaign targeting Ukraine. Repeated allegations of Nazis governing the country are still a part of the regular "reporting" of pro-Kremlin outlets. The show 'Vremya Pokazhet' repeated the many times debunked disinformation about the alleged oppression of Russian speakers in Ukraine. In Vladimir Solovyov's show, the absurd and unsubstantiated allegation was repeated that the annexation of Crimea had to happen because the Ukrainians planned a war (

And to make Ukrainians look as inhumane as possible, Izvestia multiplied a phantasmagorical "testimony" about Ukrainian soldiers ( In the parallel world of pro-Kremlin media, the soldiers in Donbass were fighting under such strong psychotropic drugs that no matter how many times they were shot, they kept on getting up and carrying on fighting. "And sometimes even without his head, he attempts to stand up and keep fighting," says one of the so-called separatists' leaders. The story was heavily multiplied also in other languages, e.g. by the Czech version of Sputnik (
Click here for the FULL TABLE of recent stories repeating disinformation (.pdf).


Emmanuel Macron in Russian media

The campaign staff of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron has warned of Russian meddling. So we looked into what Russian media report on the subject.
Read more

Behind the scenes at a Swedish troll factory

Journalist Mathias Ståhle from Swedish daily Eskilstuna Kuriren went undercover in a Swedish troll factory and reveals how it works.
Read more

Useful experts in pro-Kremlin media

How credible are experts in pro-Kremlin media? The international “expert” community that is prominent in Kremlin-loyal media has some members with colourful CVs
Read more

Alternative Gallup

A company that has been using for years illegally the brand and the name of the famous American polling firm gives additional credibility to survey results that support pro-Kremlin narratives.
Read more


Enough is enough

This is how Russian cartoonist Sergey Elkin sees the fact that 25% of Russians think that their country "should use any means at hand, including force, to keep the former Soviet republics under control". The protesters carry signs saying "Give us the USSR back" and "The fall of the Union was a crime". At the back, however, the protester is a little different. His sign says: "NO TO THE DISINTEGRATION OF THE UNIVERSE! WE WANT EVERYTHING BACK TO HOW IT WAS BEFORE THE BIG BANG".
East StratCom Task Force
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Every Thursday, the Disinformation Review brings you the latest cases of news articles carrying key examples of how pro-Kremlin disinformation finds its way in international media, as well as news and analysis on the topic. The review focuses on key messages carried in international media which have been identified as providing a partial, distorted or false view or interpretation and/or spreading key pro-Kremlin messaging. It does not necessarily imply however that the outlet concerned is linked to the Kremlin or that it is pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. The Review is a compilation of cases from the East Stratcom Task Force's wide network of contributors and therefore cannot be considered an official EU position. Likewise, the news articles are based on the analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force, so information and opinions expressed there cannot be considered an official EU position. Any errors or misrepresentations should be reported to the East Stratcom Task Force for correction at
Copyright © 2017 European External Action Service, All rights reserved.

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