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Complete Timeline Of A Fabricated Russian Disinformation Event

Maria Zakharova made no statements about any US sanctions between 24 and 26 March 2017.

This story was published at 15:28 EST on 26 March 2017, all information is current as of this time and date.


Sputnik news took a legitimate story about increased sanctions against Iran and embellished the story to make it appear as if Russian sanctions were also increasing. Facts about Russian corporations receiving increased sanctions were totally fabricated and amended to a story about Iran receiving increased sanctions.  The story is fairly limited, it makes a perfect case study to pick out the originating source, the original story line, and to follow the story to its end.

Researching to find the facts – Russian MFA

Initially, this story was uncovered: New sanctions: ‘Robotic move by US bureaucrats’ or ‘part of anti-Russia propaganda’?  There are no links within the article, so I investigated the statement by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

Researching on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Russia) website reveals no such statement about US sanctions which allegedly were emplaced against Russia on 24 March 2017. Searches on the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Russian and in English also turned up no results after both automated and manual searches on both sites.

Various Russian media and propaganda proxies are carrying similar articles.  Here they are, in chronological order, from the first to appear to the most recent (this timeline is from first to last).  At the bottom of this article is the complete list from which this is derived, in reverse order (oldest at the bottom).

Two Ukraine outlets might have picked this up inadvertently, a mark of poor reporting without verification.  Perhaps these publications should be watched for other similar ‘mistakes’.

Researching to find the facts – US Department of State

The US Department of State has not posted anything about new sanctions on their Ukraine and Russia Sanctions Page.  There are new sanctions here: Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act Sanctions but no mention of Russia, Russian corporations, or Russian citizens.

Two statements are notable:

  • “On March 21, the United States imposed sanctions on 30 foreign entities and individuals in 10 countries pursuant to the Iran, North Korea, and Syria Nonproliferation Act (INKSNA).”
  • “An additional 19 foreign entities and individuals were sanctioned under INKSNA on March 21 for other violations. These entities and individuals were sanctioned as a result of a determination that there was credible information indicating they had transferred to, or acquired from, Iran, North Korea, or Syria goods, services, or technology listed on multilateral export control lists; or on U.S. national control lists, or other items that could make a material contribution to the development of weapons of mass destruction or missile proliferation.”

It is possible the eight Russian companies are among these “19 foreign entities”.  There is no listings of the Russian companies – at all – until the Sputnik report, which is the first

Researching to find the facts – Alleged Russian Sanctioned Corporations

Among the eight Russian companies supposedly receiving new sanctions, from aninews.in, are:

  1. Rosobornexport (last mentioned by State in 2016)
  2. 150th aircraft repair plant (last mentioned by State in 2015)
  3. Aviaexport foreign economic trade company (no results at State)
  4. Bazalt Scientific and Research Corporation (last mentioned by State in 2003)
  5. Scientific and Production Corporation ‘Engineering Design Bureau (weapons manufacturing companies) (no mention, name is too vague)
  6. Ulyanovsk Higher Civil Aviation School (the city of Ulyanovsk is mentioned often, but not the school)
  7. Urals Civil Aviation Training Center (terms too vague, no specific mention)
  8. Zhukovsky – Gagarin Air Force Academy (no mention at State).

I also searched the State Department website in Russian, both Anglicized and Cyrillic, with no results.

Some articles mention the US State Department issued the statement on Saturday, which is the 25 March, which I find abnormal.

There is absolutely no mention whatsoever of new sanctions aginst Russia in Western media – none, zero, zip, nada.

Conclusion choices

I am faced with a few conclusions.

  1. This is a bold-faced lie aka disinformation
  2. The US Department of State has not yet posted a statement in English on their website
  3. The US Department of State briefed only the Russians and will wait until Monday to post the update

I find option #1 the most likely. I find option #2 possible but highly improbable. I find option #3 outside the realm of possible reality.

According to the timeline, the Sputnik report was the origin of this thread of apparent disinformation.  It was published at 14:51 on 25 March 2017.

Final conclusion:  Sputnik invented this disinformation. I would consider this evidence, some would say this is proof, of a complete fabrication for the purposes of disinformation and propaganda against the United States by Russia.

Detailed news article coverage of both Iran and Russia new ‘sanctions’

A complete reversed timeline of the original sanctions against Iran, then, in red, are the ones about supposed Russian sanctions. This timeline is from last to first, or most recent to oldest.

26 March 2017
In the last 6 hours
Iran Slaps Sanctions on 15 U.S. Companies The Wall Street Journal 09:19
In the last 8 hours
Earlier today
25 March 2017
Iran Faces Stricter Sanctions in Bipartisan House, Senate Bills The Washington Free Beacon 05:08 Sat, 25 Mar
US charges Lebanese businessman with sanctions AhlulBayt News Agency 03:35 Sat, 25 Mar
24 March 2017
When sanctions work — and why they fail New York Post 19:19 Fri, 24 Mar
US Sanctions Firms Working With North Korea, Iran Voice of America 18:23 Fri, 24 Mar
US sanctions 30 firms, people for ties to Iran, N. Korea, Syria Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) 13:53 Fri, 24 Mar
Nota Bene: the story was about 25 hours old before Sputnik first published the initial disinformation article.



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