Skip to comments.Top 10 Kremlin myths & lies used to justify Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea
Posted on 03/06/2014 5:11:38 AM PST by Texas FossilEdited on 03/06/2014 5:53:54 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]
The Soviet Kremlin was skilled at dishonesty from Vladimir Lenins a lie told often enough becomes the truth to Josef Stalins denial of Ukraines forced famine that killed millions and Mikhail Gorbachevs stonewalling about the Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986.
While not the evil empire that it once was, Russias Kremlin under Vladimir Putin keeps in the tradition of deploying an arsenal of myths, deceptions, distortions and outright untruths. Since coming to power in 2000, despite his denials, the former KGB colonel is widely suspected of involvement in or at least tolerance of murders of journalists, dissidents and ordinary citizens in pursuit of his domestic and foreign policy agendas.
The Russian presidents propaganda machine has been working overtime to create pretexts justifying its military invasion of Ukraine and seizure of the Crimean peninsula in contravention of numerous international and bilateral treaties.
Russian journalist Dmitry Kiselyov, working for Russia 24 television station, is even an icon of unfair and distorted coverage, not to mention the steady stream of inaccuracies that comes out of such outlets as the Kremlin-funded Russia Today and Voice of Russia.
Ukraine and its friends abroad are having a hard time keeping up. Thus, here are some of the worst Kremlin lies being told about its invasion of Ukraine.
MYTH 1: Russia does not interfere in the internal affairs of other nations.
REALITY: If those nations were once a part of the Soviet Union, as Ukraine is, Russia has a long history of interfering. Putin mourns the loss of empire and has set one of his goals to reconstruct a modern version of it through his proposed Eurasian Union. But to do that, he needs Ukraine and he doesnt need democratic revolutions so close to Moscow that threaten his autocracy. So he reserves the right to resort to economic blackmail and in Georgia in 2008 and now Ukraine military intervention to keep his neighbors in line.
MYTH 2: Viktor Yanukovych was democratically elected and not legitimately impeached as president on Feb. 22.
REALITY: Yanukovych abandoned the presidency overnight Feb. 21-22, fleeing Kyiv and ending up in Russia where he held a press conference on Feb. 28 in Rostov-on-Don. Moreover, he escaped ahead of an arrest warrant that accuses him in the mass murders of nearly 100 EuroMaidan protesters in Kyiv from Feb. 18-20. Many of his top aides are on the run also, including former presidential chief of staff Andriy Klyuyev, former Interior Minister Vitaliy Zakharcheko, former Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka and former Justice Minister Olena Lukash. More than 300 members of parliament out of 450 filled the leadership void on an emergency basis by appointing an interim president, prime minister and Cabinet of Ministers and scheduling presidential elections on May 25.
MYTH 3: The interim government in Ukraine came to power in place of Yanukovych is dominated by fascists, Banderites and anti-Semites.
REALITY: The Kremlin denies the democratic character of the EuroMaidan Revolution. By and large, a broad segment of Ukrainian society, including Crimean residents, fed up with Soviet ways and Yanukovychs corruption, took part. Also, fascists are not Banderites and Banderites are not fascists. If the iconic yet divisive Stepan Bandera, leader of Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, was a fascist, he would probably not have spent three years in a Nazi German prison from 1941-1944, during most of the fighting.
The Svoboda Party led by Oleh Tiahnybok, criticized for allegiance to Bandera, has only three posts in the current government. He was expelled from Viktor Yushchenkos Our Ukraine party many years ago for anti-Semitic statements.
But that doesnt mean the government is anti-Semitic. In fact, leaders in Ukraines Jewish community have come out in support of Ukraines interim government and against the Russian invasion. Jewish leaders in Crimea note that anti-Semitic vandalism didnt appear in Crimea until after Russian forces arrived, making such incidents suspicious. Also, many prominent Jewish leaders are being asked to take leading government positions, including billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky as Dnipropetrovsk Oblast governor.
MYTH 4: Ukraines interim government is denying Russian-language speakers the right to use their language.
REALITY: While Ukraines parliament downgraded Russian from official status, along with other minority languages, Russian and other languages are widely used in all spheres of Ukrainian life. The law on regional languages, which allows greater use of Russian and other minority languages in other spheres, was voted down by the parliament last month, but the vote was vetoed by Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov.
MYTH 5: Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea are capitulating en masse and are taking oaths of allegiance to the Crimean pro-Russian local government.
REALITY: So far the only member of Ukraines military to capitulate is the countrys former Navy commander Denis Berezovsky, who is now being investigated for treason. The rest are doing their jobs and have pledged to defend their country -- Ukraine.
MYTH 6: Russias intervention in Ukraine was essential to protecting the safety of ethnic Russians who are facing discrimination and violence; Ukrainian activists have already killed two Russians in Crimea.
REALITY: There has been no evidence of Russians experiencing violence or discrimination, to the best of the Kyiv Posts information. However, Ukraine-born Valentina Matvienko, Russian Council of Federation head, has spread the rumor about the two killings, although the Russian general consul in Crimea, Vyacheslav Svetlichny, and speaker of the Crimean parliament, Vladimir Konstantinov, clearly denied this as false. However, the hysteria being whipped up and the Russian invasion with up to 16,000 heavily armed troops may actually lead to people getting killed.
MYTH 7: The West, by supporting Ukraines interim government and the EuroMaidan Revolution, is supporting violent extremism.
REALITY: The West says its supporting the democratic aspirations of Ukrainians that were under assault from ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. Now, the West says it stands for Ukraines sovereignty and territorial integrity as a nation against the Russian invasion, which violates international law. Most of the violence in the EuroMaidan Revolution came from police and government-hired thugs, called "titushki," under ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. The threat of violence today comes from up to 16,000 armed Russian troops in Crimea.
MYTH 8: Ukrainians are fleeing en masse to Russia as refugees because they want to get away from the chaos of Ukraine and do not support the EuroMaidan Revolution
REALITY: No such exodus is taking place and, for the most part, Ukrainian life is proceeding normally under the circumstances, whereas the Russian stock market has been tumbling and its central bank has burned through $12 billion in reserves to prop up the ruble.
MYTH 9: Crimeans demand to rejoin Russia and dont want to be part of Ukraine any longer.
REALITY: Russia has been stoking separatist sentiment for years in Crimea and is now doing it at gunpoint. The new pro-Kremlin prime minister, Serhiy Aksyonov, a citizen of Russia whose party enjoyed only 4 percent in the last elections there, has declared a March 30 referendum to give the 2.2 million Crimeans three choices: status quo, independence or rejoining Russia. A Ukrainian court has cancelled his appointment because on his citizenship and the central government in Ukraine does not recognize him as the leader of the peninsula. But hes backed by Putin and the Russian army. Under such heavy-handed circumstances, it is hard to see that any referendum would be legitimately valid. That said, a majority of Crimea's residents are ethnic Russians and many support Russia.
MYTH 10: Russian media say the Right Sector, the militant faction of the EuroMaidan Revolution, is calling on Chechen separatist Doku Umarov for military support.
REALITY: Ramzan Kadyrov, the pro-Kremlin Chechen leader, has promised to eliminate Right Sector leader Dmytro Yarosh for allegedly making such a statement. However, the statement was never made by Right Sector. The groups Vkontake website had been hacked, however, to post such a statement.
There are dozens of more myths, lies, distortions and half-truths floating around not just exclusively on the Kremlin side, it should be noted.
Theres doctored photos and bogus video clips airing on Russian TV channels. For instance, Russia 24 aired a short episode of clashes between protesters in Kyiv, but said it had taken place in Simferopol. Totally false. Hopefully, with the eyes of the world currently on Ukraine, truthful information will prevail as everybody fact checks each other.
This is the best analysis I have found discussing the reality of this event.
Remaining of the 10 Russian propaganda statements and explanation of reality are at the link.
Which country interferes more in the internal affairs of foreign countries, Russia or the United States?
The Russians need breathing room. If we just let them have the Crimea, we can have peace in our time. /sarcasm
The real lesson of Neville Chamberlain is not from Munich but from a half year later when he reversed course and foolishly committed his nation to the defense of Eastern Europe. We too have no business arrogantly meddling in affairs that don’t concern us. We have as much business in the Ukraine as Russia does in Mexico.
An answer to that question must be framed in perspective of when in history.
Once territory is acquired by the Russian or Soviet empire, it was conquered. In the case of the US, it seldom was.
Motives are different. I am not defending our non-declared wars. In my opinion they have all been illegal and almost never in the interest of the US.
But to compare Russia to the US, that is FAR OUT.
My point is America has done bad things, too. And we’re supposed to be the good guys.
Funny post on FB. Wish I knew how to repost it but it shows
pictures of Obama on the phone and Putin on the phone. Putin says “knock knock”, Obama says “who’s there”, Putin says “Crimea”, Obama says “Crimea who”, Putin says “Crimea a river” and hangs up. Pretty funny.
And who overthrew a constitutionally elected government?
Democratic elections do not assure honest government.
It is clear that the Putin chosen leader of Ukraine had drained the treasury.
Yes, he was elected. But here in the US we declared in 1776 that we had the right to overthrow an unjust government.
Viktor Yanukovych is accused of mass murder. (for what that is worth)
And please see Myth #2 in the article.
Nothing like a whiff of relativism in the morning. (I used to remember when only libs believed in it).
I trust Putin more than Obama. At least Putin looks out for his country.
Your source is about as believable as Pravda. I’m sure they could come up with their own set of myths.
Which is another way of saying, “because I do not trust Obama, I trust everyone else.”
How did you come up with that conclusion? Is that what I said? NO.
Anyway, got to go to work. Somebody has to pay for food stamps.
*another relativistic argument
I don’t see the point in wringing our hands over it when the USA wont do anything that matters to impact the situation.
Putin jails people who say things against his government. There is no freedom of speech in Russia and there is no freedom to bear arms in Russia.
Putin only cares about advancing his tyranny. To that extent he "loves" his country because he loves his tyranny.
Obama, when tyranny in the US is in full force will love his country. When the last right to bear arms is removed in this country and freedom of speech is gone in this country, Obama will love this country.
I somewhat agree with you on that point.
But I weigh stronger toward the article than I do to the statements from Russian Government or certainly than Pravda.
But I have a built in bias toward those who seek their own liberty as opposed to being forced into subjection.
Do you know the difference between chicken$hit and chicken salad?
WFB once said there's a difference between a guy who shoves an old woman in front of a train, and a guy who shoves her out of the way of the train...but in your world, they are both guys who like to shove old ladies around.
Thanks for the addition of text. Considered including it all, but did not request permission before.
I don’t feel like I was “wringing my hands” to post the article.
Possibly because the consequences will bite further into the future than next weekend.
We agree on that point. And we have done some really stupid things too that have come home to haunt us.
“Which country interferes more in the internal affairs of foreign countries, Russia or the United States?”
We have troops in more than 150 countries and over 150,000 troops in those countries. Russia does not.
Maybe we should have thought about that before electing a Marxist twice?
Who is the "we" to which you refer?
What is your plan to oust Putin out of Crimea?
The west is largely Catholic, the east largely Russian Orthodox. The west speaks Ukrainian, the east speaks mostly Russian. Any attempt by one wing of Ukraine to dominate the other will lead to civil war or breakup.
Yeah! Lets jump in and show them that they had better join the EU and tell Putin to go home.
The mistakes were made in 1936, when those two nations could have stopped Hitler at absolutely no cost save the expense of fuel to move a few divisions eastward into the Rhineland.
Regardless of the best path to take relative to Russia and Ukraine today, your post was one of the most preposterous ever written on Free Republic.
Had Neville not guaranteed the whole of Eastern Europe, it would have been Stalin versus Hitler, Bolshevism and Nazism destroying each other. Chamberlain in 1939, as today’s war party, forgot that a leader’s responsibility is to his own people.
I do agree that the time to act was in response to the Rhineland provocation. That’s on Stanley Baldwin and the French, not on the much-maligned Chamberlain who I think deserves a lot better than he gets today as the symbol of the one and only lesson the war party seems to want to take from history.
France was a distant second to Russia in Hitler’s mind. I wish our conservative politicians would take heed to the commonsense lesson of history that if there’s going to be a war, it’s best to be the last power to enter when the rest of the world is weakened and exhausted. Today’s “tough on defense” politicians seem to have their heart set on our nation to be in on every war all over the globe, ensuring that if a real threat ever did arise, we’d be broke and bled when the crisis arose.
I had no idea it was that many countries.
This is about Ukraine, not the entire world. That said, I don’t fully agree with all our foreign commitments abroad either, but that’s not the point.
Which country interferes more in the internal affairs of Ukraine, Russia or the United States?
Being the primary homeland of a particular ethnic group does not give you carte blanche to invade and occupy territories where your ethnicity is the majority.
23 January, 09:44
Russia outraged at foreign interference in Ukraine’s internal affairs Putin’s aide
The Russian President’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov says Kiev is capable of finding on its own the best solutions for bringing the situation back to normal in and restoring peace to Ukraine. Peskov said that the obvious external interference in the processes under way in Kiev are clearly deplorable and arouse Moscow’s indignation.
“It’s hard to comprehend why foreign ambassadors in Kiev should tell the Ukrainian authorities where these should withdraw their Interior Ministry troops and police from, what they should do next etc. In other words, we see these kinds of outside instructions as something altogether incomprehensible. Of course, we cant approve of it and feel intense indignation about it,” Peskov said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda daily. The interview has been posted on the daily’s website.
According to Peskov, Moscow is certain that Ukraine’s leaders are perfectly aware of what they should do. Ukraine is Russia’s partner; Russian-Ukrainian cooperation is multifaceted, the two countries have large-scale and long-term cooperation. There is absolutely no way Russia and Ukraine can avoid being partners, the official said.
Dmitry Peskov further said that Moscow doesn’t see it right to interfere in the internal affairs of fraternal Ukraine in any way. This is inadmissible, so Russia will never do that. Any decisions by Kiev are sovereign and made by Ukrainian leaders in the framework of democratic processes. So, we see any interference, any attempts to bring political pressure to bear through the use of political management instruments as inadmissible, the Russian Presidents press secretary stressed.
What right do we have to interfere? Except for the little treaty.
The United States and Britain reaffirmed their commitment to protect Ukraines borders in exchange for the nation giving up its nuclear weapons in a little-known agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994.
The Daily Mail notes reports if Russia has invaded Ukraine then it would be difficult for the US and Britain to avoid going to war.
Sir Tony Brenton, who served as a British ambassador from 2004 to 2008, said war is certainly on the table if its determined that the Budapest Memorandum is legally binding.
March 1, 2014
Does the 1994 ‘Budapest Memorandum’ obligate the US to intervene in Ukraine?
There’s been a lot of loose talk about a 1994 “treaty” that obligates the US to guarantee the territorial integrity of Ukraine. As Financial Times reports, this is vastly overstating the reality of our agreement with Ukraine, which in no way says the US must come to Ukraine’s defense militarily.
Ukraines new prime minister invoked 20-year-old international agreement as he appealed for western powers to help him resist Russian attempts to assert itself in the south of the country.
Arseniy Yatseniuk called upon the members of the UN Security Council to help preserve Ukraines territorial integrity hours after armed pro-Russian separatists in Crimea took over the local parliament calling for unification with Moscow.
His words are a deliberate echo of the so-called Budapest Memorandum, signed as part of the deal that saw Ukraine give up its nuclear weapons in 1994.
According to the agreement, the US, UK and Russia all agreed to protect the sovereignty and territorial agreement of Ukraine, meaning any Russian support for an attempt to declare Crimean independence would be in violation of their international obligations.
The three powers committed to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine and refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine.
Significantly, the wording suggests Russias insistence that Ukraine forgo an EU trade deal may have already breached the terms of the agreement.
The signatories agreed to refrain from economic coercion designed to subordinate to their own interest the exercise by Ukraine of the rights inherent in its sovereignty and thus to secure advantages of any kind.
Western diplomats are now scouring the text to check whether they are obliged to intervene in the country to prevent it from breaking up if Russia does so first.
John Lough, associate fellow of the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House, the foreign policy think-tank, said: While this does not legally oblige the UK and other western powers to intervene, they might feel morally obliged to.
He added: Russia has already violated the spirit and letter of this agreement through the economic pressure applied to Ukraine in the run-up to the Vilnius Summit, a reference to the November meeting when then president Viktor Yanukovich declined to sign the EU deal.
Crimea & the rest of eastern Ukraine appreciate your support as they move toward determining their own future!
Let them. And leave the rest of them alone.
That is probably what is going to happen any way.
Interesting question, but beside the point.
There's no practical way to force Putin out of Ukraine...we've reached a point of no-win alternatives. That's clear to anyone.
In fact, in regards to Russia the West is in a no-win situation. We're not here by accident, we're here due to myopia and short sightedness.
We're here because of a failure of HW and Clinton to vacuum all the nukes out of the former USSR when the opportunity was there in the 1990s. We're here because W thought he could look into Putin's eyes and see his soul. We're here because Obama is a fool who thinks the relationship between the two countries just needs to be reset...and we're here because enough fools voted Obama into office. We're here because Europe thought it a good idea to make Russia their primary source of energy. All of these were incredibly short-sighted.
Fools like Obama who are divorced from reality are elected by fools who are divorced from reality.
So, I don't give a pass to those who shrug and say, "But what is to be done now?" My focus is those who created the no-win situation in the first place, and what's to be done to change that.
I have no interest in telling Ukraine what they should do. In a perfect world, they would be able to decide that for themselves.
To the list of fools can be added those who think this is just about Ukraine...or that this is some kind of home grown uprising. It's more to the point about an expansionist Russia led by a former KGB head focused on putting the old empire back together.
It's about a potential alliance with another Asian power bent upon expansionism, both of whom sit on the UN Security Council.
It was so obvious, even Sarah saw it...(/sarc)
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