An easy, fast and effective way to create disinforming content is to manipulate statistics and figures. And since the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign’s main goal is to sow discord (and not to maintain credibility), being caught red-handed is not an issue.
Last week, we saw how distorted figures were used as parts of larger pro-Kremlin disinformation campaigns. Let us highlight them here.
The Russian Defence Ministry has had a crucial role in producing fabricated evidence for the needs of the disinformation campaign on MH17, and this week was not an exception. After the Dutch-led Joint Investigation Team published its new report on the MH17 downing at the end of May, one of the responses of the Russian Ministry of Defence was to claim that the missiles from the year 1986 – that downed the MH17 – were disposed of after 2011. This was reported by Sputnik and Russia Today and widely spread by the Russian-language media.
But the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign proved its ability to debunk itself: In fact, as noted by Bellingcat, the Buk manufacturer Almaz Antey used one missile from 1987 in their MH17 test in 2015, which means it was 28 years old and should have already been decommissioned.
Remember how Russia claims they get rid of Buk missiles more than 25 years old? Well Almaz Antey used one from 1988 in their #MH17 test in 2015. 2015-1988 = 27, so according to the Russians this missile should have already been scrapped.
h/t @CITeam_en https://t.co/2IiGl6Bztv pic.twitter.com/aX46145R4J
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) June 5, 2018
Diverting the audience towards heated discussions about numbers blurs the facts provided to us by the JIT: that flight MH17 was shot down by a missile that was launched by a BUK-TELAR from an area controlled by pro-Russian fighters, that it was brought in from Russia and taken back to Russia and that it originates from a unit of the Russian army from Kursk.
Read more on the MH17 case:
- Flight MH17: Why can’t the Kremlin tell the truth?
- Why did Russia close its airspace near Donbas one day before flight was downed?
- Flight MH17 three years on: getting the truth out of Eastern Ukraine
- Russian media forge more papers to blame Ukraine of downing MH17, make bad grammar mistakes
- Novaya Gazeta identifies Russian colonel involved in shooting down MH17
- Moscow may soon blame extraterrestrials for MH17 catastrophe, Russian aviation expert says
- MH17: Is Ukraine the one to blame?
- Ukraine had no reason to close its airspace above 10 000 m before MH17 disaster
- The most comprehensive guide ever to MH17 conspiracies
Alarm as EU’s economy on the brink of collapse
During this week, Russia’s Defence Ministry was active on another front. Its TV Channel Zvezda reported how the European Parliament has informed about “total unemployment” in the EU. In fact, 1) the European Parliament’s research presented the unemployment rates among young people in each EU member state; 2) there has been a significant improvement in the past few years (in spring 2013, the youth employment rate peaked at 23,8 % and then declined sharply to 16,1 in 2018); and 3) huge imbalances persist between the EU Member States. The lowest rates were observed in the Czech Republic (5.8 %) and Germany (6.6 %) while the highest ones were recorded in Greece (43.7 %), Spain (36.0 %) and Italy (31.5 %).
State-controlled Russian TV continued to spread multiple theories regarding the Salisbury attack and referred to “another oddity: the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons OPCW says that 100 grams of nerve agent were used in Salisbury”. In fact, the OPCW stated already a month ago that it had wrongly referred to grams in the comments to New York Times when the quantity should probably be characterized in milligrams.
Read more on pro-Russian EU-related disinformation:
- You can’t fight disinformation in the EU without naming its main source
- Disinformation is attractive for millions in Central and Eastern Europe
- Pro-Kremlin propaganda’s years of European horror
- NATO sprays poison over Poland, ‘civil war’ in Ukraine and other Russian disinformation of the week
- Fake Western experts as a propaganda tool on Russian TV
- Russian media have published 20 different narratives on Skripal case
- Revisionism, misinterpreted facts, video game image as evidence – this week’s pro-Kremlin disinformation tactics
How Many Non-Existent Apples Go into Two Apples?
The question presented in the headline – how many non-existent apples go into two apples? – has confused mathematicians for hundreds of years when they have sought the answer to the nature of zero.
It seems that the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign doesn’t have to waste time on such pondering. It is able to create as many non-existing pieces of any kind of fruit as fits its purpose.
Read more on pro-Kremlin disinformation:
- Kremlin disinformation campaign extremely successful
- The Kremlin’s top 5 lies about Ukraine
- Kremlin disinformation and Ukraine: The language of propaganda
- Corruption and disinformation: Backstage at Russian TV
- How Russian TV-channels promote pro-Kremlin narratives in talk shows
- Conspiracy: The US creates bioweapons in “400 countries”
- Internet bots are key players in propelling disinformation
- EU beefs up Task Force to fight Russian information war
- 25 ways of combatting propaganda without doing counter-propaganda
- To the making of Russian fake news, there is no end
- Deception, Disinformation, and Doubt: Hybrid Warfare in Eastern Ukraine
- Ukraine targeted by disinformation campaign to restore “friendship with Russia”