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Issue 46 - 8 November 2016

War is everywhere, even Queen Elizabeth knows it


In this issue of the Disinformation Review, we present you with a record number of over 100 disinformation stories, as reported by our network in the course of the last two weeks - we would like to thank our contributors very much for not letting up during the holiday period.

The prevalent theme for pro-Kremlin outlets throughout this period was: war. According to disinformation oriented media, it seems that a significant part of the world is preparing for World War III against Russia.

We heard from NTV that Estonia is preparing for war against Russia (http://bit.ly/2euSRX9). During the talk show “Mesto vstrechi” on the same TV channel, it was claimed that Moscow and Washington cannot reach agreement in the Ukrainian and Syrian wars, which will also lead to war (http://bit.ly/2e7SanT); and a couple of minutes later in the same show it was said that the Ukrainian President Poroshenko is calling for a direct military attack against Russia. Another Russian-language outlet said that Ukraine is about to drop a dirty bomb on Russian cities (http://bit.ly/2fqfBqv).

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who is running the pro-Kremlin outlet Infowars.com, explained to his viewers that the US (which he claims is controlled by George Soros) has already declared war against Russia (http://bit.ly/2eK9wYI). The Czech outlet repeats the pro-Kremlin disinformation that Hillary Clinton will start war against Russia (http://bit.ly/2ffi1rb) - in this story, unlike in the Jones’s story, she will at least wait until she gets elected.

Slovakian outlet Protiprudu.org once again repeated an old disinformation about the whole of NATO preparing for war against Russia (http://bit.ly/2e5dVEV).

And even the Queen of England is allegedly getting ready for war - at least according to the outlet YourNewsWire (http://bit.ly/2egaWbz). Of course, the statement that “a brutal and apocalyptic war will be waged in the East” cannot be found anywhere apart from disinformation oriented outlets.

According to REN TV, though, the Third World War is already happening. Russia has, we learn, been designated as the centre for preserving mankind (http://bit.ly/2fshHEn).

Fuelling tensions against refugees


We showed you a couple of weeks ago how pro-Kremlin outlets try to persuade their consumers that the American elections will be rigged (http://bit.ly/2fTWAzt). This type of messaging continues this week. TV show “Vremya Pokazhet” claimed that the US already interfered with the elections in Russia and will now go on to rig its own elections in pretty much the same way (http://bit.ly/2f7zQID).

But what was even more frequent than the highly topical US election was the issue of refugees. In our last review, we wrote about how the pro-Kremlin media distorted a story about a migrant raping a child in Austria - accusing the Austrian justice system of acquitting the migrant, although he is in fact still in custody awaiting a new trial (http://bit.ly/2fvcvnc). This story was repeated this week by disinformation oriented outlets in other languages, e.g. in English (http://bit.ly/2fjmfON) and Czech (http://bit.ly/2eYewr0).

Another regurgitated piece of disinformation came from August: the story of a refugee who allegedly earns hundreds of thousands of euros on allowances. This reappeared in the Sun (http://bit.ly/2ffGhK6), and was quickly multiplied in several Russian media (e.g. http://bit.ly/2eD62CY), as well as by English (http://bit.ly/2eFz3jO) and German (http://bit.ly/2fjcTWe) versions of Sputnik. A detailed debunk was presented by The Insider (http://bit.ly/2fi3qvE).

In the already mentioned show “Vremya Pokazhet”, we heard a totally unfounded story about German authorities repressing citizens for any public protests against immigrants who committed crimes against Europeans. According to one of the claims, Germans who have expressed dissatisfaction with the mild punishment of those immigrants who attacked the inhabitants of Cologne were detained by the police (http://bit.ly/2fiRLij).

Also in an attempt to further fuel the tensions in the migrant question, one of the pro-Kremlin outlets invented a story about a ban on Christmas lights in Sweden, so as not to offend Muslims (http://bit.ly/2fvuGWe).

60 years of colour revolutions in Central Europe


Apart from disinformation targeting Austria, two other Central European countries were of particular interest for the pro-Kremlin outlets over the past fortnight. The first of them was Hungary. During the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian anti-Soviet uprising, the Kremlin's “chief propagandist” Dmitry Kiselyov claimed that the uprising might in fact have been a special operation of Western secret services, a sort of “colour revolution” (http://bit.ly/2f7KbUD).

Hungary summoned the Russian ambassador in Budapest because of these remarks (http://bit.ly/2fg1kvx).

The second of the Central European countries was the Czech republic. Because of recent public protests against the current president Miloš Zeman, the Czech pro-Kremlin outlets multiplied a message about an alleged “Czech Maidan”, or coup d’etat backed by US and/or George Soros (see e.g. http://bit.ly/2f4PQeh, http://bit.ly/2f7HXqW, or http://bit.ly/2fq3QzP).
Download the FULL TABLE (.pdf) of disinformation pieces
collected for the Disinformation Review issue No 46

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.
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