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Pre-emptive distortion of facts: the Eastern Partnership Summit – Disinformation Review


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23 November 2017

*TRENDS OF THE WEEK*

Pre-emptive distortion of facts: the Eastern Partnership Summit

On Friday this week the Eastern Partnership summit will take place in Brussels between the EU and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. In the build up, we have seen plenty of pre-emptive distortion concerning the facts about the EU’s cooperation with its Eastern Partners.

For example, there is the claim that the new agreement between Armenia and the EU, half of which focuses on building a stronger economy, will not in fact have any affect on the economy. The EU was accused of restricting Georgian products, whereas in fact Georgiaenjoys a zero customs duty policy on the import of goods into EU countries, save for one product: garlic. It was also claimed that only Europe benefits from the agreement with Georgia, whereas actually trade relations between the EU and its partner countries aremutually beneficial.

The most common myths about the Eastern Partnership have been compiled and debunked here, available in all EU languages and Russian.

As we have pointed out before, disinformation is a tool that can be used for many purposes; to confuse, to cover the facts, to discredit something or someone. Or, as Ben Nimmo explains it with the 4 D:s; dismiss, distort, distract, dismay.

What was said in pro-Kremlin channels about Theresa May after she stated that Russia seeks to weaponise information is a recent example of pro-Kremlin disinformation efforts to dismiss a critic. But as shown this week, disinformation is not always a reaction-sometimes it is rather proactive.

Disinformation – live in conflict

Another Eastern Partner, Ukraine, continued to get the usual extra attention in pro-Kremlin outlets. This week, the focus seemed to be on alleging the preparation of future atrocities to be committed by either the US or the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

On Russian state controlled TV, the US was accused of paying Ukraine to keep the conflict going, actively preventing peace in the east of Ukraine, but also of provoking the war in Ukraine in order to stop the new “Great Silk Road”. Neither theory was backed up by any evidence.

The “real” reason for the conflict in Ukraine? There is a more truthful explanation.
And Ukrainian authorities were accused of having conducted ethnic cleansing in Donbas as well as of planning, in cooperation with the US, to conduct large-scale ethnic cleansing in that area. Again, there are no indications to back these assertions up.

A similar unsubstantiated claim in pro-Kremlin disinformation was that the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council have death squads at their command. If these are simply cases of distortion, or if it is also a case of distracting the attention from something else, remains to be seen.

Click here for the FULL COLLECTION of recent stories repeating disinformation.

*LATEST ANALYSES*

UK, the Latest Target of Fake Russian Twitter Accounts

After the United States, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, it’s the turn of the United Kingdom to sound the alarm about Russian meddling.

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Figure of the Week: 45,000

New revelations show that fake Russian Twitter accounts published at least 45,000 messages about Brexit in the two days before the referendum, most of them calling on British voters to reject the European Union.

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This week on Russian TV: Theresa May targeted after stating that Russia weaponises information

On November 13, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that Russia seeks “to weaponise information” and uses its state-run media outlets to “plant fake stories and Photoshopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West.”

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*LAST, BUT NOT LEAST*

“We will return Alaska”

A new video shows Russian children performing a song with references to pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives, especially with regards to foreign policy.

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Every Thursday, the Disinformation Review brings you the latest cases of news articles carrying key examples of how pro-Kremlin disinformation finds its way in international media, as well as news and analysis on the topic. The review focuses on key messages carried in international media which have been identified as providing a partial, distorted or false view or interpretation and/or spreading key pro-Kremlin messaging. It does not necessarily imply however that the outlet concerned is linked to the Kremlin or that it is pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. The Review is a compilation of cases from the East Stratcom Task Force’s wide network of contributors and therefore cannot be considered an official EU position. Likewise, the news articles are based on the analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force, so information and opinions expressed there cannot be considered an official EU position. Any errors or misrepresentations should be reported to the East Stratcom Task Force for correction at disinforeview@euvsdisinfo.eu.
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