The new coronavirus epidemic is dominating the news this week, and this is clearly reflected in the flow of disinformation from pro-Kremlin outlets. The narrative on the virus is getting focused on hinting on it being man-made and probably manufactured by the same British lab that poisoned the Skripals. The virus is further tailor-made to target Asians and spread by the United States as an element of actions to isolate China. Well, and attack Russia as well. Russia is too important, in the view of the disinformation outlets, to be left alone by the West. Of course, evidence for none of those claims is presented. The proof, as in any good conspiracy theory, lies in the lack of evidence. While most of the disinformation on the epidemics is focused on attacking “The West,” one can also detect some Kremlin suspicion against China as well in this week’s yield of disinformation on the coronavirus.
The pro-Kremlin media is loyally following the Kremlin “historians’” recommendations to select Poland as a target for a disinformation campaign on World War 2. Russian state agency Sputnik spits out accusations on Poland starting the war in English, Italian, Polish, Russian and Arabic; parroting the instructions from Moscow. Poland is also under attack for “not showing gratitude” towards Russia’s support after the war. Soviet leader Stalin demonstrated pure altruism towards Poland, despite all its pre-war sins. And yet, today’s Polish leadership fail to express appreciation for the Russian post-war “support” more correctly known as the Sovietisation of Poland, which for decades blocked the country’s development and prosperity.
The campaign against Poland is not limited to historical events or processes – modern Poland is also attacked for instigating conflicts with Russia and getting money for it. Eventually, the disinformation outlets attempt to have us believe that Poland as insignificant and lacking independence. Yes, that makes sense of the almost 200 cases of disinformation on Poland, added to the database since 1 August last year. Only a really insignificant country is worth lying about that much.
Another coordinated campaign is targeting the UN chemical watchdog OPCW – the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Russia has accused OPCW of manipulating evidence on a Syrian government chemical weapons’ attack in Douma in Syria. The Disinformation Database contains a large number of claims, suggesting the OPCW doctored its report. OPCW has requested an independent inquiry that rebuts the Russian claims. The release of the report prompted the disinformation outlets to mobilize and launch a campaign against the OPCW. Just days before the independent report was published, the pro-Kremlin media lashed out: “OPCW attempts to save face through smearing whistleblowers”; the attack was, according to the pro-Kremlin media, a false flag attack to put the blame of the legal government of Bashar al-Assad. To deflect attention from the complete rebuttal of the Russian claims on the OPCW, the NGO White Helmets are attacked: Now US-backed terrorists, together with the White Helmets, are preparing new attacks against civilians. These are serious accusations against the White Helmets; so serious that Sputnik has been repeating them since 2018. Of course never with any hint of evidence.
Pro-Kremlin media generally do not differ between concepts like “The West,” “US,” and “NATO.” For the disinformation outlets NATO is the US, the US is the West and all are by definition aggressive hostile forces; imminent threats to Russia and decency; usually powered by shadowy elites. This week, disinformation outlets describe how the US is preparing an attack against Russia under the disguise of a military exercise. German version Sputnik joins in: the exercise serves the warmongers, and it might spark a war in the middle of Europe.
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