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Tue Mar 24, 2020, 06:12 AM

Is Russia running a coronavirus disinformation campaign? That's what it looks like.


Is Russia using the coronavirus pandemic as a chance to incite unrest in the West by spreading fake news and misinformation? EU observers of Russian media say that's what it looks like.

The Russian news outfit Sputnik claims "very smart biologists and pharmacists" in Latvia invented the new COVID-19 coronavirus. Other sources close to the Kremlin say it was made in the British military's Porton Down facilities.

Russia observers from the European Commission have so far analyzed 80 different reports containing false or misleading information about coronavirus published by official Russian state media sites as well as platforms and authors with close ties to the Kremlin. But does that activity constitute a deliberate campaign, or is it just part of the ongoing propaganda war between Russia and the West?

Excerpts of those reports, which can be seen on the website EU vs. Disinfo under the title, "The Kremlin and Disinformation About Coronavirus," are at times astonishing. The authors note that it is easy to get the impression that the reports are entirely contradictory. For instance, the Oriental Review, an e-journal with ties to the Kremlin, wrote: "When the panic is over, COVID-19 will have killed less people than a normal flu." The article argues that current fears about the new coronavirus are racially-fueled.

Alexander Dugin, a Russian nationalist and a very public supporter of the Orthodox Church, claimed exactly the opposite at Geopolitica, another Russian e-journal. Dugin said when the virus finishes its "victory march across the planet" it will have destroyed the existing world order. In his moral and religious castigation of Western lifestyles he often draws on symbols such as vengeful ancient gods or biblical plagues.

But is there some sort of plan behind all these contradictory claims? EU observers suspect the aim of the campaign is to confuse European citizens by, "sowing disunity and mistrust." Peter Stano, lead spokesman for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the EU, explains: "We have seen an increase in the amount of misinformation originating outside the EU. Some has been Russian, spread by Russian providers and pro-Kremlin sources." Stano says Russia isn't the only source of foreign misinformation, before adding that wherever such misinformation is coming from, "it threatens people's lives."


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Reply Is Russia running a coronavirus disinformation campaign? That's what it looks like. (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Mar 24 OP
DFW Mar 24 #1
Chainfire Mar 24 #2
kentuck Mar 24 #3

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 06:21 AM

1. Well, let's see.

The dictator of the country is a "former" KGB agent, who oversaw the occupation of the "DDR (East Germany)," and the villa where he used to live in Potsdam, outside Berlin, was a few doors down from the wall where they used to execute their least favorite political prisoners. I saw it. As of ten years ago, they hadn't even repaired the bullet holes.

At this point, it is back to Soviet mentality. Putin's media could decide to tell nothing but the truth for a week, and the people STILL wouldn't believe it, since they are so used to hearing lies.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 09:25 AM

2. Why wouldn't our enemies be attacking when we are down?

You have to remember that great lies are built around small truths. Destroying the morale of your enemies one of the most effective forms of winning battles; propaganda is cheap and effective.

The most effective response to foreign lies is having complete trust that your own government is telling the whole truth, so we have nothing to worry about.....

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Response to Chainfire (Reply #2)

Tue Mar 24, 2020, 09:26 AM

3. I agree.

Why wouldn't they?

It's hard to fight if you don't have trust in your own government.

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