Sputnik: Coronavirus Could be Designed to Kill Elderly Italians

In a time that calls for international cooperation to fight a common threat, Kremlin mouthpiece Sputnik chooses to spread disinformation about COVID-19. 

A Sputnik article published on 15 March promoted an entire catalogue of unfounded theories about the origin of the coronavirus: from the idea that COVID-19 could originate in Latvia to the suggestion that it could have been created as a means to reduce the number of elderly people in Italy.

What makes Sputnik want to misinform audiences about the origin of the coronavirus in this way? And how exactly is Sputnik linked to the Russian authorities? 

Cui bono?

The article in question was published in Russian by Sputnik Latvia under the headline, “Coronavirus Invented in Latvia? Why Not?” and suggested to look for who could benefit from the crisis. 

According to the publication, COVID-19 could serve the interests of The Communist Party of China to stop protests in Hong Kong; governments challenged by the Yellow Vest movement; Italy to limit the economic burden of retired citizens; and Europe as a whole to not let in refugees via Turkey. 

Sputnik promoted a series of conspiracy theories about coronavirus under the headline, “Coronavirus Invented in Latvia? Why Not?”. Screenshot from Sputnik.

In addition, Sputnik suggested that COVID-19 could help Greta Thunberg to promote her green agenda; European tourist magnets Prague, Barcelona and Venice to limit noise and garbage; and feminists to see more women on corporate boards, as the virus is allegedly more dangerous to men than to women. 

Finally, in the spirit of the saying that “all politics is local,” Sputnik suggested that the virus could be used by Latvian authorities to postpone local elections in Riga, as well as to further a number of other potentially unpopular measures, using the virus challenge as an excuse.

Part of a tendency

Sputnik Latvia does not stand alone; also other branches of the Russian state-owned media outlet have disseminated conspiracy theories about COVID-19.

Sputnik in Arabic has speculated that coronavirus could be an American biological attack; that president Trump ordered such an attack to happen and that it has been manufactured to target Asians.

Sputnik Mundo – the Spanish language branch of the Russian state media netowork – has spoken of COVID-19 as an American biological weapon. Screenshot from Sputnik.

In Armenia, Sputnik has suggested that the coronavirus was created in a laboratory and labelled the virus an example of hybrid warfare. In Azerbaidjan, Sputnik has presented COVID19 as a tool to weaken Chinese economy, as has Sputnik’s branch in Belarus.

Also in Belarus, Sputnik has suggested that coronavirus could have been developed in NATO biological laboratories, while the branch in Georgia has spoken of the epidemic as not accidental and with economic goals.

Sputnik’s Spanish language branch has suggested that COVID-19 could be an American biological weapon; as a means to isolate China and to spread panic and divert attention from unpopular issues, such as Brexit.

Under the Kremlin’s direct control

With headquarters in Moscow, Sputnik operates news websites in more than 30 languages and countries worldwide.

Together with RIA Novosti and InoSMI, Sputnik comprises the state news holding Rossiya Segodnya whose CEO is the EU-sanctioned Dmitry Kiselyov. The holding shares its editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, with RT (Russia Today).

Sputnik’s CEO is the EU-sanctioned Dmitry Kiselyov. He is also the host of a Sunday night show on state-controlled TV Rossiya 1.

Rossiya Segodnya is funded by the Russian government. According to the draft budget for 2020-2022, Rossiya Segodnya will receive on average 106 million euros per year in subsidy.

Sputnik’s editorial policy is subject to direct control from Russia’s presidential administration through a practice known as “the weekly meetings.” 

The Rossiya Segodnya holding was created by a Presidential decree with the aim to “report on the state policy of Russia abroad”. That leaves no other option but to conclude that the current aim of Russia’s policy is to confuse, rather than inform about the threat from COVID-19.

Follow this link to the EUvsDisinfo database to see other examples of pro-Kremlin disinformation about the coronavirus; follow this link to see other examples of disinformation spread by Sputnik.

EU vs Disinfo

4 comments

  • How long are the West going to put up with this filth, before they decide to act? If someone accused me of some dreadful act without a shred of evidence, I wouldn’t sit quietly in the corner, I would want to stamp on the bastard’s head.

    Liked by 5 people

  • Despite the concentrated evil of the chicom regime, putlerstan is still working hard to hold on to its well-deserved title of world’s most evil regime. Incidentally, the putinazi internal propaganda is not blaming the chicoms: the line is that ‘we don’t yet know who is responsible and will not find out for a long time’.
    Unian reported that Kyiv is supporting Italy:
    ‘Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko announced a rally in support of the Italian republic, as the country is overwhelmed with the raging coronavirus. The official said so during the briefing on March 20.
    Italian flags are hoisted on Khreshchatyk street, and the city hall’s building will be lit in green, white and red – the flag’s colors.
    “For three evenings, from Friday till Sunday, the building of the city hall will be lit in the colors of Italian flag in support of those who now combat this dangerous disease”, Klitschko said.’

    This warm hearted response despite the fact that Italy has a putlerite fascist regime that was ordered to lock up an entirely innocent Ukrainian soldier on bogus charges. Vitaly Markiv got 24 years, on the orders of the kremlin shitweasel.

    Liked by 5 people

    • It is solidarity with people who are suffering, not governments. BTW Ukraine’s current government is probably worse than Italy’s.

      Liked by 4 people

      • It is a putin lackey government in a country where fascism and therefore putler are popular and have been for a long time; since Berlusconi and probably before. It is one of many Nato members whose allegiances make it an impossible member. Italy would never fight RuSSia. It probably would not even fight against Tuvalu. Mussolini’s grand daughter is or was an MP there FFS.
        Despite their cuddly reputation, Italians have some pretty unpleasant opinions and lots of very shady allies, including the shitweasel himself.

        Liked by 3 people

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