Embassy comment regarding British media accusations against Russia regarding disinformation on the coronavirus

 

British press are claiming that “Russian state media” are spreading disinformation and escalating the situation in Europe with regard to the coronavirus pandemic. Russia is alleged to be again attempting to set panic and stir controversy in Western societies.

It is noteworthy that these publications refer Russian talk shows and opinion articles in online media. They represent personal views and have nothing to do with the Russian state.

In Russia, as in any democratic country, an active public discussion in connection with the virus is ongoing. Experts, public figures and private individuals express their personal opinions which do not always correspond to scientific data and certainly do not necessarily coincide with the official position of the Russian authorities. Maintaining an atmosphere of transparency and preventing unreasonable restrictions on human rights, including freedom of speech, is an important element of effective public efforts in fighting the decease.

For these reasons we strongly reject such accusations. They look absurd, to say the least. We condemn using the current tragic events for political manipulations. Instead, countries should unite their efforts to resist the pandemic.

As for the general feeling of anxiety in connection with the coronavirus, it is clearly caused by the objective seriousness of the situation. If people in the UK are worried, it is not due to opinions from Russian talk shows, but rather due to words of the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser, who has recently given a truly catastrophic forecast.

 

20 March 2020, 14:50