Sputnik News or manure for feeble minds

Sputnik news at work 


Article by: Thomas Theiner

Today I stumbled upon the article “Anti-Russian Sanctions Are a ‘Disaster’ for Italy” by Russia’s propaganda outlet Sputnik News. Surprised by the factually wrong headline I read the “article”… and understood that even by Russian standards this is really, really harebrained and malicious fact-twisting and lying. Let me explain:

  1. The “Italian newspaperIl Nord is actually a blog written by three Eurasianists from Milan, who rile against the US, the EU, NATO, Western liberalism, economic liberalism, Jews, Freemasons, Muslims, the European Central Bank, the Euro,… and they love to dabble in conspiracy theories.
  2. Supposedly the “trade turnover between Russia and Italy is continuing to decrease as result of economic sanctions against Russia and is comparable to a disaster.” The true part is that last year trade between Italy and Russia decreased, but 77,36% of that drop were Russian exports to Italy. Italian exports to Russia fell by 1,2 bn € during 2014 or by 11,6%, and that drop is in just two sectors: food and fashion. Fashion as Russians spent less on expensive Italian fashion brands and food, because Russia forbade the import of Italian products. Actually, exports to Russia in other sectors did grow. The only sanctions, which hurt Italian-Russian trade are the sanctions imposed by Putin (!) last August.
  3. The drop in Russian exports to Italy has nothing to do with sanctions, but results from:
    1. Italy diversifying gas supplies in 2014 and thus buying less Russian gas
    2. Lower oil prices. 82% of Italian imports from Russia are oil and gas. In 2014 the oil price dropped over 40% and thus Italy paid much less to Russia for oil and gas.
    3. Italy buying less gas, as the fall of 2014 was the warmest in Italy on record.
  4. The data used by Il Nord was compiled and presented by the “Conoscere Eurasia” foundation, which is financed by Russia’s Gazprombank, whose chairman of the management board Andrey Akimov is also the honorary chairman of “Conoscere Eurasia”.
  5. Also oligarch Alexander Abramov, chairman of Uralmash Igor Molibog and Mikhail Baydakov, who fronts Vladimir Yakunin’s jingoistic Center of National Glory of Russia are board members of “Conoscere Eurasia.”
  6. And Sputnik News itself is a sponsor of the “Conoscere Eurasia” foundation.
  7. One of the two Italian board members of “Conoscere Eurasia” Antonio Fallico is quoted in the “article.” Fallico is Italy’s foremost Putinversteher and has been promoting Russia’s point of view relentless since spring 2015, but he is not the “chairman of the Board of Directors of the Intesa Bank.” Fallico is just the head of the Moscow office of Banca Intesa.
  8. Italy’s GDP in 2014 was approximately 1,620 bn € and the drop in trade with Russia of 1.2 bn € equals a mere 0.07% of GDP. That is not “a disaster” but a statistical blimp. Italy’s GDP is expected to grow by 0.6% in 2015 and even a further drop in exports to Russia won’t dampen the growth even a bit.
The "article" by Sputnik News

The “article” by Sputnik News

But Sputnik news claims that “one of the factors leading to the continuation of the economic crisis and rising unemployment in Italy,” which is an outright lie. In short, a Russian-financed foundation with dubious ties to nationalist and jingoistic Russian circles took Italian government data and presented only parts of it to underscore its point that sanctions hurt Italy. Then, its presentation was even further reduced into propaganda by Il Nord to attack the Italian government and create the illusion of a disaster, and ultimately Sputnik news picked that maliciously distorted hit piece to create an “article,” which is factually wrong, disingenuous, and basically a load of bullshit.

But that is what Sputnik News task is: create bullshit to fill feeble minds with manure in the hope that there Russia’s insane idea of Europe being unable to exist without Russia may find fertile ground. But the truth is: the less Europe has to do with Russia economically, the better for Europe.

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  1. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

    And they also blend in cute animal stories, and the like, to help build the lie that they’re simply not a propaganda organ against the West, Ukraine, and other made-up enemies. They continue to maintain the ‘Ukraine is all fascists” narrative as well as NATO & the West are threatening russia’s borders. Same 70-year old Stalinist propaganda packaged in a more contemporary venue. Their obsession with the USA is amusing.

    1. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

      Oh justice will be served. For your boy, Yanukovych, at a public hanging at Maidan Nezalezhnosti and his little butt-buddy Putler at the Hague. No different than Milosevic.

      1. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

        Katsap, you should change your name to “copy and paste.” LOL.

  2. Avatar Morris says:

    This article is really a hit. I enjoyed to read it. Good and unbeatable arguments, reasoning. It just gives a explanation about the ways and means that are used by the Kremlin and its supporters (Eurasianists, Putinverstehers) to falsify fhe acts and spread propaganda.

  3. Avatar Truenet says:

    Factual correctness is not necessary for people to believe the narrative. A lot has to do with presentation …..and the presentation part of disinformation is becoming more and more sophisticated. There is something called Russia-Insider.com which is just starting up and even raising money on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter money is just for show because the amount needed for this news portal is huge. Pretty slick stuff and totally slanted. That is what we’re up against.

    1. Avatar Morris says:

      Agree. One said that nowadays even neutral journalism is not anymore in demand. There is just black or white, and you are forced to join a side not to be blamed by both. Presentation is the key. Good salesmen will sell chicken shit as chicken salad.

  4. Avatar Jens A says:

    Typical Russian crap. As the KGB did it in the 70’ies and 80’ies. Example:

    The Soviet system was out of their wits because of the embarrassment that their highest esteemed scientist, Andrey Sakharov, turned into a dissident. Therefore they wanted to make attacks on Sakharov’s character. A Danish “agent”, “opinion agent” used to influence public opinion in the West in favor of the USSR, receive a text from his controlling agent from the USSR embassy in Copenhagen. The text was in conclusion, that Sakharov was an “absent minded theorist without contact to the Soviet people” and then a lot of details about how Sakharov had lost his faculties. This article was used in a USSR controlled magazine in the US without stating what was the source. This again was used in a French communist magazine using the US and Danish magazines as sources without telling it was the same and without telling exactly what magazines it was. That allowed other magazines to have 3 “independent” sources about how absent Sakharov had become. Sakharov himself was sent to Gorky on forces exile and he could not say anything to anyone.

    The Danish guy wanted compensations in court for the above claims about his disgusting deed, and he has for now lost his case against the historian who brought this story (and other information). Unfortunately the criminal case about him being an agent is too old to put him at trail for what he did. I am a convinced atheist, but regarding him, I hope that punishment in an after life exists. He deserves it!

    This was a sick and criminal system, and now we have it again. May the new criminals be send to trail and get LONG sentences in jail!

      1. Avatar Jens A says:

        Yes, I know. He belongs to jail as does his master.

  5. Avatar Milton Devonair says:

    …and on a related note, a russian with a terminal disease has volunteered to be the first human head transplant (true story). The doctor has previously performed a head transplant, but on a monkey….so the thinking goes, it should work fine on a russian as there are even less cranial activity than monkeys…..

  6. Avatar Dirk Smith says:

    Grammar alert! LOL.

    1. Avatar Michel Cloarec says:

      You only cut and paste what you like , you forgot the rest of the story.

      By the way junta is =

      Junta (/ˈhʊntə/ or /ˈdʒʌntə/) may refer to:


      Military-led government:

      Military junta, a government led by a committee of military leaders

      The ruling council of a military dictatorship