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New #DisinfoReview from the EEAS East StratCom Task Force
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Issue 28 -  31 May 2016

Savchenko pleaded guilty. Not.


Following the welcome release of Nadiya Savchenko on 25 May, the Ukrainian pilot, in Russian detention since 2014, was immediately caught up in pro-Kremlin disinformation yet again.

Pro-Kremlin media widely repeated disinformation concerning the circumstances of her detention and the outcome of her deeply politicized trial and guilty verdict (http://bit.ly/1YdlHZE). The German version of Sputnik for instance echoed the already refuted myth that Savchenko opened fire on a group of civilians and killed two Russian journalists. The claim was also repeated by deutsch.rt.com (http://bit.ly/1Umd0vg). Despite the fact that Savchenko had denied all charges during the trial, Petr Tolstoy, host of Vremya Pokazhet, Perviy kanal's notorious political talk show, still asserted that she was pardoned only after pleading guilty (http://bit.ly/1TGPd72, 06:30).
Savchenko's release also prompted wild speculation among pro-Kremlin journalists. Izvestia.ru for example expects her to be "murdered soon" by the Ukrainian government as she is allegedly becoming too burdensome for the authorities due to her "mental illness" (http://bit.ly/25mT97P). It was also disseminated that she is preparing to "kill all Russians" (http://bit.ly/1X5r4xp). The only problem is that the Twitter account where she reportedly made this announcement is a fake one (http://bit.ly/1sjJugM).

The perils of Euro-Atlantic integration


Pro-Kremlin commentators are becoming increasingly concerned about the fate of post-Soviet countries that dare to opt for the hazardous European path of development.

In case of Ukraine, it has been highlighted by Russian and Czech disinformation outlets that Western powers not only helped "Ukronazis" to overthrow the rightful government of the country (http://bit.ly/1XIb2rW, http://bit.ly/1sGxy8Q), but they are also planning to turn Ukraine into a nuclear dumpsite (http://bit.ly/1P8E6Y8).
A similarly gloomy fate awaits Georgia if Tbilisi continues to pursue the aim of NATO and EU integration. Georgian lawmaker Tamaz Mechiauri stated that "Georgia will have to give up its territorial integrity in exchange of NATO membership" (http://bit.ly/1WsQxjX), while Asaval-Dasavali claimed that Brussels will require decision-makers to legalise same sex marriage and to recognise the breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Needless to say, neither NATO nor EU membership is tied to such preconditions.


Historical revisionism at its best


Examples presented in this week's Disinformation Review table raise serious doubts about the thoroughness of pro-Kremlin journalists' historical knowledge.

According to an article published by cont.ws, the Soviet Gulag was a correctional facility with developed medical services, decent food supplies and access to various leisure activities, therefore it would be incorrect to call it a concentration camp. In the author's interpretation, the Gulag's bad reputation is simply due to an "anti-Soviet myth" (http://bit.ly/1P8LnXQ).

The situation is not much better when it comes to contemporary history. Pravda.ru for instance claims that since the collapse of the USSR, the West has been pursuing a "policy of Russia’s destruction which was veiled with honey words of friendship and cooperation" (http://bit.ly/22sJ5Fa). In reality, since 2010 the EU through its Delegation to Russia has allocated EUR 7 million for projects under the EU-Russia Partnership for Modernisation Facility (http://bit.ly/1p648gA).

Another example of historical revisionism concerns NATO-Russia relations. Zerohedge.com's disinformation article states that the Alliance revoked the treaty of 1997 prohibiting the stationing of nuclear weapons in the new NATO member states (http://bit.ly/1REfJf7). The author of the article labels this as another promise breached by NATO, after it had violated the promise given to Gorbachev in 1990 that NATO won't expand further to the East. In fact, the 1997 Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security between NATO and the Russian Federation is still in force, and no such promise was ever given to Gorbachev. This has also been confirmed by the former General Secretary himself.

 
READ THE LATEST DISINFORMATION REVIEW: ISSUE TWENTY-EIGHT
Thank you very much for your reports, we are looking forward to new ones.

East StratCom Task Force
Follow us on Twitter @EUvsDisinfo

For contributions, please e-mail jakub.kalensky@eeas.europa.eu
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The Disinformation Review collects examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation all around Europe and beyond. Every week, it exposes the breadth of this campaign, showing the countries and languages targeted. We're always looking for new partners to cooperate with us for that.
The Disinformation Digest analyses how pro-Kremlin media see the world and what independent Russian voices say. It follows key trends on Russian social media, so you can put pro-Kremlin narratives into their wider context. And finally… some Friday Fun before the weekend!
DISCLAIMER: The Disinformation Review is a compilation of reports received from members of the mythbusting network. The mythbusting network comprises of over 450 experts, journalists, officials, NGOs and Think Tanks in over 30 countries. Please note that opinions and judgements expressed here do not represent official EU positions.
Copyright © 2016 European External Action Service, All rights reserved.

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