New #DisinfoReview from the EU East StratCom Task Force
2 February 2017


Fabricated moral collapse

Two well-worn disinformation narratives featured prominently in the stories we uncovered this week.

We learned from Russian state TV that Brussels is a dangerous place to live and that thousands - yes, literally thousands - of women are sexually assaulted on the streets on a daily basis Furthermore, the EU institutions were criticised for not consisting solely of elected people We looked hard to find a system where all the bureaucrats are elected, but couldn't. True, the EU's bureaucracy, like any other, is made up of appointed officials. But if the criticism concerns the politicians, we find it important to recall that the Members of the European Parliament are elected by the 500-million strong populations of the EU Member States and that the European Council constitutes the Heads of Government of the Members States, all of whom have been elected in their respective countries

We also learned that the EU institutions don't actually play any role at all, and that everything will shortly be under the control of Berlin Repeating already debunked disinformation, we read again that thousands of tanks are flowing into Europe to threaten Russia; and that the EU's moral collapse continues, this week with the banning of baptism The image one gets of Europe is grim, to say the least. But happily none of the claims are factual. Not long ago we asked people on the streets of Brussels how they feel. This is what they said:
Image: EurActiv

Facts on the ground

Ukraine again featured plenty of times in this week's pro-Kremlin narratives. The Ukrainian Armed forces were accused of shelling the Principal Deputy Chief Monitor of the OSCE monitoring mission to the country  - but we found no reports of this on the OSCE website. We saw again the often-used narrative that Ukraine is banning the use of the Russian language  – and that this was the legitimate reason for the annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine  As stated many times before, Russian is not banned, and it is completely uncontroversial to speak Russian in Ukraine.

Another old and unfounded claim was repeated, namely that without Russian control of the country, Ukraine will embrace Nazism and fascism There are no facts to support those claims. In fact, the human rights situation in the country was better before the Russian forces entered Ukrainian territory uninvited Russian state TV also repeated the usual disinformation that a coup took place in Ukraine in 2014
In support of the facts on the ground, we recall the statements from the OSCE that the elections were conducted in a democratic manner
Click here for the FULL TABLE of recent stories repeating disinformation (.pdf).


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Conspiracies galore

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Sexism, racism and anti-Semitism in Russian media

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EU bans baptising children?

This week we learned that the EU has banned baptism. We were intrigued. The Bulgarian outlet "BG news 168" gave us this curious news that the EU Court (we're not sure which court they refer to) has ruled that after March 2017, Europeans are no longer allowed to baptise their new-borns. 

The fictive ruling seems to be based on Article 16 of the "European convention". Now we can only guess, but it looks like it is the European Court of Human Rights that stands accused and that the convention in question is the European Convention on Human Rights. Article 16 (in the real convention) concerns 'Restrictions on political activity of aliens'. But of course, we cannot know what the fictive Article 16 concerns. What we do know, however, is that the same myth about a ban on baptism has circulated in Europe at least twice before; once in 2014 and once last year

What we also know is that Europeans will be able to baptise their new-borns if they wish to also after March this year – as stipulated in Article 9 of the European Convention of Human Rights.The real convention, that is. It says: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance." (Image: BG News 168)
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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 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
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