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New #DisinfoReview from the EEAS East StratCom Task Force
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Issue 41 -  27 September 2016

US equals Daesh, Russia equals humanitarian aid

During the last week, pro-Kremlin outlets focused mostly on events in Syria and the Middle East. But in a classic example of "disinformation through distraction" they focused attention away from the key news event of the week, the attack on a humanitarian convoy providing aid to Aleppo, and instead on the actions of others. In particular, they deflected attention by accusing the US of… well, practically everything.

The website riafan.ru kicked off by claiming that the US had an agreement with Daesh (http://bit.ly/2cRepuI). This accusation was further developed during the popular TV show Vremya Pokazhet (http://bit.ly/2dtWRb8) in claims that the US had created Daesh, as well as Al-Qaeda (in an English disinformation article all these organisations at least cooperate with the US: http://bit.ly/2d4ZYFJ). Only a couple of minutes later, viewers of this show were informed that Russia is the only country in the world that provides Syria with humanitarian aid.

Not only is there much more significant humanitarian aid from both the EU and the US (http://bit.ly/2dly4Xz; http://bit.ly/2d38gfb); during the UN Security Council, the US, UK and French ambassadors suggested that recent Russian actions in Syria could constitute “war crimes” (http://bit.ly/2dt4vPZ), rather than “humanitarian aid”.

The disasters in Syria were used for yet another repetitive pro-Kremlin technique: dismissing any criticism of Russian actions by pointing out someone else’s mistakes. The US-coalition air strike from the previous week served this purpose well. The Americans admitted their mistake and apologised for it (http://bit.ly/2cTBsbI). Nevertheless, in Vladimir Solovyov’s show we heard that this incident proves that the war in Syria is in fact only a proxy war between Russia and the US (http://bit.ly/2drCmIU).

And after the attack on the humanitarian convoy that killed at least four medical workers, pro-Kremlin media started spreading various pieces of disinformation, e.g. that the attack was meant only to distract from the previous strike by US-coalition forces, as claimed by Sputnik (http://bit.ly/2d55M1T).

Using a classic tactic, similar to the one that was used after the downing of MH17 and after the assassination of Boris Nemtsov, Russian authorities and pro-Kremlin media immediately started spreading new (and often conflicting) versions of the story, see e.g. http://cbsn.ws/2dcsIZE.

Legitimisation of the non-legitimised

Many states, including the EU as a whole (http://bit.ly/2dlBYjr) did not recognise the “elections” held on 18 September in illegally annexed Crimea. This made pro-Kremlin outlets repeat older disinformation about the so-called referendum on the Ukrainian peninsula.

The disinformation was repeated e.g. in Dmitry Kiselyov’s show Vesti Nedeli (http://bit.ly/2d1oXYq), where it was moreover claimed that Crimea joined Russia in line with the UN Charter. Strange then that the UNGA Resolution 68/262 condemning Russia's illegal actions in Ukraine was supported by 100 United Nations member states (http://bit.ly/1RZGnjo).

The Czech version of Sputnik also repeated the disinformation about the “referendum” in Crimea (http://bit.ly/2cwwZeA). The outlet accused the Czech government, which refused to recognise the outcome of the elections in Crimea, of ignoring the will of local people. (Image: Sputnik)

Russian patriarch meets the world

The Russian Orthodox church plays a major role in the Kremlin’s foreign policy. Last week, the outlet podrobnosti.ua informed about a meeting held in Kyiv between EU and US ambassadors to Ukraine and the local head of the Moscow-headed Ukrainian Orthodox Church (http://bit.ly/2dbgeVv). The patriarch allegedly asked the ambassadors for international support in the “violent campaign” against the followers of his church and about attempts to seize its places of worship. 

This colourful story has just one irregularity: as confirmed by both the EU Delegation and the US Embassy in Kyiv, such a meeting never took place. (Image: Flickr
Download the FULL TABLE (.pdf) of disinformation pieces
collected for the Disinformation Review issue No 41

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.
Copyright © 2016 European External Action Service, All rights reserved.

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