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New #DisinfoReview from the EU East StratCom Task Force
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04 July 2019

*TRENDS OF THE WEEK*

Russophobia, dependence, and the Belarussian gay-opposition


Last week, the pro-Kremlin media claimed that Russophobia is Lithuania’s main export, but in reality, it’s mineral fuels and machinery. This case offers a great opportunity to ask, what’s the main “export” of the pro-Kremlin media?

 

 

Based on the more than 70 cases of pro-Kremlin disinformation collected this past week, Russophobia is supposedly found in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the US deep stateGerman mediaGeorgia, the Baltic StatesTheresa May, and the UK.

But why? And what’s the common denominator across these cases? Well, “always blame the victim” seems to be an apt explanation, considering that everyone who seeks to hold Russia accountable for its various forms of aggression and subversion is branded as Russophobic by the pro-Kremlin media.

Georgia is bad

As a result of the ongoing protests, the second rather prominent keyword this week is Georgia. Here the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine uses the externally-funded “colour revolutions” narrative, in which the “funder” is of course the West, the US, or ex-President of Georgia Mikhail Saakashvili. As a result, the protests in Georgia are described as a Russophobic provocation and the protesters are labelled as rioting ultra-nationalists and Russophobes.

But that’s mild compared to the story about two Russian tourists who were allegedly so badly beaten in a supermarket that it was impossible to identify their gender. In reality, both the Georgian Interior Ministry and the store owners denied reports about any Russian citizens being physically assaulted.

Belarus’s gay opposition

According to the pro-Kremlin media, the West has diligently created all the infrastructure necessary for regime change in Belarus while the Belarusian opposition does its best to sabotage the 2nd European Games. But that’s not all, as Great Britain financially supports LGBT groups and this is why the entire Belarusian opposition has suddenly turned into an LGBT community.

While these narratives can be regarded as recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about the Belarusian opposition and the morally corrupt West, the case about opposition leader Andrei Sannikau working both for the CIA and RAND is a new one.  He is unfoundedly blamed for staging a coup in Belarus with US military assistance and receiving orders to ignite a war in Belarus.

It’s someone else

As the MH17 investigation is once again in the headlines, the pro-Kremlin media claims that there are no satisfactory investigation results, that the investigation is politically motivated, and that the ‘Old’ EU member states are delaying the investigation because Russian responsibility cannot be established.

In addition to ignoring the Joint Investigation Team’s announcement that Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile from the 9M38 series, which was launched by a BUK TELAR missile system that came from the Russian Federation, the pro-Kremlin media is also on the offensive.

The United States is falsely accused of occupying Germany, wide-scale power cuts in three South American countries, and even sponsoring Hong Kong’s opposition.

Those are not real countries, are they?

While the question of Lithuania’s main export has been already covered, the alleged problem of subsidizing the Baltic economies remains in sight of the pro-Kremlin media. It claims that the three countries survive mainly at the expense of the EU budget. In reality, the EU contributes €1.575 billion or 3.90 % to Lithuania’s gross national income (GNI), €0.648 billion or 2.87% to Estonia’s GNI and €0.737 billion or 2.76 % to Latvia’s GNI.

And this brings us to a case of biblical proportions. According to the pro-Kremlin media, Lithuania claims that rebuilding the entire railway network to European standards would require around 900-950 annual Lithuanian budgets, meaning they would finish by the end of this millennium. In reality, Lithuania is investing in its railroads and is also a part of the Rail Baltica project that aims to link Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland with the European gauge railway, and the Baltic route should be completed by 2025.

The missing piece

Well, it’s not really a piece, but more like a country. It’s called Ukraine and the fact that there’s a frontline and soldiers are still getting killed is totally missing from the narrative that claims Russia was suspended from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) because of “a Russophobic minority”.

After the PACE reinstated Russia’s voting rights, a new narrative about Ukraine surfaced, claiming the EU has decided that Ukraine does not deserve much attention and becomes a stumbling block in EU-Russia relations.

In this context it is important to note that the European Union and the Council of Europe are two separate entities and mixing them up either deliberately or by accident is manipulation based on the “abandoned Ukraine” narrative. Furthermore EU continues its policy of non-recognition of Crimea and Sevastopol,  as well as its sanctions against Russia. And the Council of Europe itself has condemned the annexation of Crimea.

Click here for the FULL COLLECTION of recent stories repeating disinformation.

*LATEST ANALYSES*

Conspiracies: It Is Impossible to See Ostriches Hiding Their Heads in the Sand

Pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets attempt to attract an audience through offering platforms for activism: progressives, conservatives, anti-abortionist, pro-Hitler groups, anti-Semitic – anyone who feels excluded by the “Mainstream Media”.

Read more

Figure of the Week: 6 Million Dollars


How much can pro-Kremlin outlets earn on disinformation?
Read more

*LAST, BUT NOT LEAST*

Lost in Translation

Here is why you should think twice before giving an interview to the Kremlin-controlled media.

Read more
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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 disinforeview@euvsdisinfo.eu.
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