The US as the main actor behind the ‘yellow vests’ protests. Ukraine as the provocateur of war, preparing a chemical attack. Both got their part in the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign this week. What a convenient way of shifting focus from the actors performing disinformation, like reported by euvsdisinfo.eu.
Yellow vests – words and deeds
The attention of pro-Kremlin outlets was focused on the ‘yellow vests’ movement, with different disinformation angles having one aim: to sow confusion and a narrative about Europe in chaos.
Many of our readers might have seen a video of French policemen taking off their helmets in front of the protesters in the city of Pau, in an attempt to calm the mood. The move was described by Newsfront, RT and Sputnik as a solidarity gesture with the protesters, with RT going further and saying that the police were now siding with them. The disinforming reports were based on the video and on a statement by a representative of the unions. In reaction, Bloombergoutlined that the union’s representative, while voicing support for protesters, was speaking for a minor French union. The disinformation about the solidarity gesture was debunked by several media, including the AFP. Only after that did disinforming outlets correct their reports.
Another case from this week, about an armoured EU vehicle allegedly suppressing French protesters, perfectly fits the narrative about Europe in chaos (and possibly on the brink of civil war). The ‘news’ was debunked by Le Monde, saying that the EU flag on one of the vehicles had to do with its previous participation in European trainings.
We have also witnessed a well-known blame game, with the US shown as the one provoking the ‘yellow vests’ protests, in the hope of weakening Europe’s position in the world. A classical move of pro-Kremlin disinformation, strengthening the picture of Europe in weakness, chaos and disarray.
Unsurprisingly, the disinforming outlets do not report extensively about the related findings described by The Times and Bloomberg. Hundreds of social media accounts linked to Russia were extremely active last week, circulating messages focused on violence and (again!) chaos during the protests. Possible Russian involvement in amplifying the protests – denied by Russia itself – is now being investigated by the French authorities.