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New #DisinfoReview from the EEAS East StratCom Task Force
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Issue 45 - 25 October 2016

Nazi coups and abused kids - again…

 
Ukraine is constantly among the most targeted victims of pro-Kremlin disinformation. This week it is once again the major topic for outlets specialised in spreading disinformation.

One of the reasons is probably the death of Arsen Pavlov, aka Motorola - one of the most famous faces among the Russian military leaders of the “separatist” forces. Pro-Kremlin media immediately started accusing Ukrainian authorities and President Poroshenko in particular of his death. Russia Today (RT), for example, quoted accusations made by the self-proclaimed authorities of the occupied territories, without any attempt to let the accused party respond (http://bit.ly/2dCG0yp).

It was, we learned, apparently not only the Ukrainian President who was to blame, but also Ukrainian “nazis”. Multiple pro-Kremlin outlets used as evidence a video where a group of people claiming to be the ultranationalist Misanthropic Division say that they killed Pavlov (http://bit.ly/2ewr7zj). The Misanthropic Division itself later dismissed the video as a fake (http://bit.ly/2ecUxnb). This reminds us of a similarly styled fake video threatening the Dutch people with terror attacks if they voted for closer EU/Ukraine ties; it was later proven to be a fake produced by the infamous St Petersburg troll factory (http://bit.ly/2ezhBeG).

One more culprit was also named - a Latvian hitman (http://bit.ly/2euY0k7). This accusation was “backed” by a picture which turned out to be stolen from social networks and belonging to someone else completely (http://bit.ly/2eGRnpP).

But Ukraine disinformation was not all about Motorola. In Dmitry Kiselyov’s talk show on Russian national TV, we again heard the never-ending claims about a “coup” in Ukraine (http://bit.ly/2elpAAU). In Vladimir Solovyov’s show, it was the similarly ancient claim about “fascists” governing Ukraine that was recycled (http://bit.ly/2ekGFZ4). And in the Vremya Pokazhet talk show, we heard that Ukraine is occupied by the US, who need a “civil war” there (http://bit.ly/2dMSyq9) - no mention that the only country currently occupying Ukraine is Russia, and that the “civil war” is Russian military aggression.

Many media also multiplied a story about the Ukrainian group, Right Sector, brutally assaulting children in the city of Kharkiv for speaking Russian (http://bit.ly/2eu5Mt9). Right Sector refuted this story (http://bit.ly/2ezLs7I), which by the way cannot be found anywhere apart from pro-Kremlin outlets (and anyone who has visited Ukraine knows that it is no problem to speak Russian there). Again, we are reminded of an old fake by pro-Kremlin outlets - the now infamous invention by Russian state media of the “crucified Russian boy” from Slavyansk (who never was) (http://bit.ly/2f01meY).

...and evil Russophobes in the West - again

 
We’ve seen recently how pro-Kremlin outlets appeared to try to divert the attention from Russia's elections by accusations that the US elections will be rigged (http://eepurl.com/cjysWv). This time, it was the elections in Montenegro that were supposedly rigged, and even the European Commission fears so, we were told. In reality, the statement of HRVP Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn made no such assessment but spoke about the “calm and orderly manner” of the elections (http://bit.ly/2eG9fpV), "under a reformed legal framework" which were, according to the OSCE/ODIHR, "held in a competitive environment and characterised by a general respect for fundamental freedoms".

As usual, there were plenty of depictions of the “evil, Russophobic" West. The already mentioned TV show Vremya Pokazhet persuaded its viewers that the West is now dehumanising Vladimir Putin and Russia in the same way it dehumanised Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic; which is “real preparation for aggression” (http://bit.ly/2ev4Lkg).
We also learned that the EU will implement mechanisms to block Russian media - at least according to the website svpressa.ru (http://bit.ly/2eULtpi). In fact, nothing like that is neither performed, nor planned in the non-binding resolution the article refers to (http://bit.ly/2dh7LiM).

And, facing so much scrutiny of their own behaviour, Russian authorities also blamed Belgium for airstrikes against civilians in Syria (http://bit.ly/2e0wZ4Q). Two Belgian ministers denied these accusations as “totally groundless and unsubstantiated” (http://bit.ly/2duZJQr)

Baltic region on the radar


Pro-Kremlin also turned their attention to disinforming about countries in the Baltic region this week.

The Russian government's official newspaper, Rossiiskaya Gazeta, invented a story about the “tendency to suppress Russian language media” in all Baltic countries (http://bit.ly/2etMCks). The reason for this article was a decision of one Estonia-based publishing house to shut down printed versions of its outlets because of the decline in the number of subscribers, and to focus on online versions instead (http://bit.ly/2eJT5vu).
Latvia also received its portion of disinformation. According to numerous outlets, as noted above, the already mentioned Pavlov was killed by a Latvian hitman (see e.g. http://bit.ly/2eWjwOO) but the story was soon debunked as fake (http://bit.ly/2eGRnpP).

And nearby Sweden allegedly celebrated the talks about remilitarisation of the Åland Islands (http://bit.ly/2eKggGc). In fact, only one Swedish politician, Allan Widman, has commented on the idea. He said the suggestion is “adventurous” and adds that he would not endorse such an idea (http://bit.ly/2eKjXvp).
Download the FULL TABLE (.pdf) of disinformation pieces
collected for the Disinformation Review issue No 45
TECHNICAL NOTE: Because of holidays in multiple European countries, the Disinformation Review will not be published next week. But we still intend to collect your reports and compile them in the Disinformation Review that will be published on 8 November. Thank you.

East StratCom Task Force
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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.
Знаете ли вы, что "Обзор дезинформации" и "Дайджест дезинформации" выходят и на русском языке? Подпишитесь на них по этой ссылке - и поделитесь ею с друзьями, которые читают по-русски! Eсли вы работаете журналистом, вы можете подписаться здесь на специальную рассылку с новостями внешней политики Европейского Союза для русскоязычных журналистов. Нажмите на изображение выше, чтобы попасть на официальный сайт с информацией ЕС на русском языке.
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