Check for Scapegoats: International Fact-Checking Day and the Crocus City Attacks

The 2nd of April marks the International Fact-Check Day. Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine and war-mongering is wrapped in lies which need to be debunked to limit their pollution of the mind. Here on EUvsDisinfo we contribute by sharing our articles, research and examples of debunking as we have done since 2015.
Our database with more than 16,800 cases brings updated examples of pro-Kremlin disinfo and manipulation together with checks and responses to the claim. We also feature the sections Learn and Research with material relevant to fact-checking in an environment where disinformation and manipulation are integrated tools of warfare in all domains, not only the kinetic fighting on the ground. […]


Hinterland on Fire

Last week, the pro-Kremlin disinformation machine had already set its sights on one of its favourite targets, the EU and Ukraine, gearing up to ridicule and deride the EU Summit, and then the unthinkable happened. The largest terror attack on Russian soil in the past two decades took the lives of at least 137 unsuspecting people, attending a concert in the Crocus City Hall on the outskirts of Moscow on 22 March.
This tragic and deplorable act of terrorism sent the pro-Kremlin disinformation pundits into a frenzy of disinformation, conspiracies & manipulative rhetoric. The Kremlin’s disinformation is shifting from ridicu-ling the EU to spreading baseless accusations and conspiracy theories about the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack in Moscow, using this tragic incident to further vilify Ukraine and divert attention from potentially mounting domestic turmoil. […]


The Kremlin’s Call for Peace Is Still Masking a Bloody Empire

We examine the major disinfo narratives claiming that Russia wants peace. In fact, war has become an almost desired state of affairs for Putin. Since the very beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the Kremlin has tried to pretend that someone else was doing the invading. For example, a year after that invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that the West some-how started the war. Pro-Russian outlets also routinely assert that Ukraine is nothing more than a Western weapon against Russia and that the country itself does not exist. And if Ukraine does not exist, how could Russia have invaded it? Russian state and pro-Kremlin outlets have also tried to conjure an alternative reality in which Russia is interested in peace, but Ukraine and the West are determined to wage war. […]

DR_2024-0321_Putin Re-election Cover

Putin’s Re-election and the Messages it Brings

The re-election of Putin is largely the result of the Kremlin’s scaremongering tactics, control of infor-mation spaces, and elimination of real alternatives in Russia. A lot has already been reported about the so-called presidential elections in Russia during 15-17 March. There were no surprises, and reactions from the EU and others offered clear condemnations of the predetermined result. The re-coronation of Putin is scheduled for 7 May, conveniently close to the yearly 9 May celebrations… Election numbers reveal an ice-cold reality cherished by disinformers and manipulators: you can sway a society. George Orwell’s 1984 was fictional, but here is the reality. If you lie, lie big and lie constantly. Destroy the notion of true and false. Even literate societies with all their art, literature, theatre, faith, and religion can be subdued. A thin veneer separates civilised behaviour from barbarism. […]


Black Days Continued (vol.5): Media Repression in Russia

Censorship, conveyor-belt sentencing, gangster attacks, economic suffocation and waterfalls of disinfo flooding public discourse: revanchist, militant nationalism is drowning the Russian information space. The last remaining pretence of media freedom in Russia is quickly falling away. The suspicious death of Alexey Navalny has left Russian leader Vladimir Putin with few if any viable domestic opponents, and he seems to relish his strongman image. His state-of-the-nation address on 29 February set a new tone in the Kremlin’s information operations: that of a dictator seemingly confident that no one would dare oppose him. For Russians who believe that their country should be free, open, and prosperous, the current moment is bleak. As one mourner for Navalny said, ‘I don’t have any vision of the future.’… Putin’s institutionalised wrath against all his real or perceived enemies, continues to get crueller, pettier, deadlier, faster. […]

DR_2024-0314_EUvsDiSiNFO_Kremlin in fire

Force Feeding Fears and Summoning Bogeymen

This week, as the Czar awaits his re-crowning after a so called ‘election’ rigged in his favour, the pro-Kremlin propaganda apparatus has been busy crafting an alternative reality. As the Russian armed forces failed miserably to produce anything worth celebrating, the propagandists have resorted to age-old fear tactics, painting a picture of a world filled with threats, where Russia is under attack and enemies are already at the gates. It also sets the scene for the next chapter of Putin’s rule. The imagery invoked aims to trigger primal reactions that can be harnessed for the Kremlin’s post-‘election’ purposes… The pro-Russian disinformation eco-system has continued to push cynical lies that Russia does not strike civilian targets. This time, the claim was presented in the context of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to issue arrest warrants for 2 high-ranking Russian military officers. […]

Evgenia Kara-Murza

Women Fighting Back at Putin and Lukashenka

International Women’s Day: Independent female politicians and activists are particularly feared and smeared by the Kremlin and its fellows. This International Women’s Day is an opportunity to honour Russian and Belarussian women who have taken up the fight against Russian and Belarus state and pro-Kremlin disinformation and manipulation. One example is Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of the imprisoned Russian dissident Alexei Navalny who died suddenly on 16 February 2024 in suspicious circumstances in a Siberian prison camp. On 1 March, Alexei Navalny was buried near Moscow. In defiance of the Kremlin, thousands of Russians came to pay their respects while chanting anti-war slogans. Russian state and pro-Kremlin outlets have a long history of mocking feminism and women’s rights. This strategy isn’t accidental or marginal. Demeaning and degrading independent female agency is a major part of the Kremlin’s ‘threatened values’ super-narrative. […]

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The Kremlin Blows Hot Air to Spite the Freezing Winter in Russia

Russian state-controlled and other pro-Kremlin outlets continued to push hackneyed disinformation tropes about European energy problems despite mounting energy woes in Russia. Two years after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, social discontent in Russia is heating up. Despite massive repression and laws criminalising opposition to the war, scattered protests have broken out. In some, the wives of Russian soldiers demand that their husbands come home. Other protests, however, focus on heating blackouts and outages in the midst of sub-zero temperatures. Since Putin cut off gas supplies to Europe in 2022, pro-Kremlin propagandists have gleefully predicted that Europeans will freeze in winter. They’ve been wrong again and again. Meanwhile, not far from Moscow, cold and desperate Russians recently took to making online videos of their plight. But as the Kremlin knows, disinformation never lets reality get in the way of a good story. […]


Jointly Inflating a Disinformation Bubble

What can we see in the Transnistrian region and international media. Over the past weeks Moldova has got a lot of international press coverage. The major media, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Politico, Deutsche Welle, The Guardian, France 24, Euractiv, European Pravda, The Moscow Times, Meduza, Balkan Insight, CNN, CNBC, Aljazeera, and many more wrote about a possible request from Tiraspol to Moscow to accept the Transnistrian region of Moldova as part of the Russian Federation. “Deputies of all levels from Transnistria” were reported to possibly adopt the request on 28 February, during a special session called by de-facto leader Vadim Krasnoselsky. The reports all go back to an opinion – not even original information – of a local opposition activist, Ghennady Chorba, who wrote on his Facebook page that this could be the main topic at the congress, especially given that Russian president Vladimir Putin was expected to address the Russian Federal Assembly on 29 February. […]


What He Said and What it Really Means – Vol. 6: Putin Forever

In his, two hour, record long, yearly state of the nation-speech Putin fixed his sight on the presidential ‘election’ [coronation] expected in a few weeks. The war against Ukraine, ‘Nazis’ and bashing the West is the guiding ideology. As seasoned KGB-operative, Putin boasted self-confidence sugar-coating the military situation and its losses. Demands for everybody to contribute and rally behind the militarised society is the oratorical chapeau on the increased physical repression. As usual, he promised money for everybody and the crowd obeyed the traditional of applause; 116 times according to the puppet opposition. When Wladimir Putin says : « Our Motherland is defending its sovereignty and security, defending the lives of our compatriots in Donbass and Novorossiya », he means : «We invaded the neighbour Ukraine, but I call it defence. ‘Novorossiya’ is my colonial word for southern parts of Ukraine ». […]