Published materials that contain false information about Russia
Anti-Russia propaganda in the Albanian media
Both pro-government and opposition media in Albania published a number of articles mentioning the would-be Russian connections of the country’s president and prime minister, as well as “Kremlin’s meddling” in Western Balkan’s domestic political processes.
For example, Sot and Tema newspapers referred to Albanian President, Ilir Meta, as “Putin’s man” and the “champion of Russian scenarios” destabilising the Balkans. The evidence to support this yet another conspiracy theory consists of the fact that the head of state is mentioned by Sputnik, a “pro-Kremlin propaganda mouthpiece,” as well as his long interview in 2018 with Mikhail Gusman, Deputy Director General of TASS News Agency. Therefore, the Albanian media regards the very fact of talking with Russian journalists as “serving Moscow’s interests.”
Beginning July 9, 2019, i.e. after the conversation between North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev and Russian prankers was made public, the suggestion that Russia was behind the idea of the land swap between Belgrade and Pristina as part of the alleged “Moscow’s anti-Albanian foreign policy” resurfaced in the Albanian media. The words of the Macedonian politician whereby “Russia and Turkey could be interested in benefiting from this dangerous precedent” were presented as if Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama was serving “the hostile interests of the Russians and Serbs, the historical enemies of Kosovo and the Albanian people.” One can only guess how the Albanian media became so brash and ready to accuse both politicians in power and their opponents of “serving Russia’s interests.”
Unfortunately, there is nothing new in the attempts to play the Russian card in Albania’s political infighting. We can recall the fake report in 2018 on the alleged funding by Russian businessmen of the Democratic Party, an opposition force, during the 2017 parliamentary election. This fake was based on publications in Mother Jones, a US magazine affiliated with George Soros. The Albanian media went on to spread the message that Moscow was to blame for the destructive actions by the opposition, and orchestrated all protest movements in the Balkans. We have to point out that media outlets controlled by political forces loyal to the United States often come up with accusations that are not backed by anything.
The escalating anti-Russia rhetoric amid political infighting in Albania proves once again that the country’s authorities and the media they control are ready to join in the global information campaign that was unleashed against Russia. They use all the available tools that were developed in the West to this effect, including spreading fake news that are not backed by anything on funds obtained by politicians and election campaigns, as well as messages on Russian security services meddling in the political processes in other countries.