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Top 10 Kremlin myths & lies used to justify Russian invasion of Ukraine’s Crimea
Kyiv Post ^ | March 5, 2014, 4:04 p.m. | Brian Bonner, Ivan Verstyuk

Posted on 03/06/2014 5:11:38 AM PST by Texas Fossil

Edited on 03/06/2014 5:53:54 AM PST by Admin Moderator. [history]

The Soviet Kremlin was skilled at dishonesty – from Vladimir Lenin’s “a lie told often enough becomes the truth” to Josef Stalin’s denial of Ukraine’s forced famine that killed millions and Mikhail Gorbachev’s stonewalling about the Chornobyl nuclear power plant disaster in 1986.

While not the “evil empire” that it once was, Russia’s 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 president’s 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.

Ukrainian journalists have even launched a stand-alone website devoted to countering Russian myths and propaganda – The New York Times also covered the issue in its blog section. 

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 doesn’t 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 Yanukovych’s 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 Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party many years ago for anti-Semitic statements.

But that doesn’t mean the government is anti-Semitic. In fact, leaders in Ukraine’s Jewish community have come out in support of Ukraine’s interim government and against the Russian invasion. Jewish leaders in Crimea note that anti-Semitic vandalism didn’t 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: Ukraine’s interim government is denying Russian-language speakers the right to use their language.

REALITY: While Ukraine’s 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.

The state of Russian-language media in Ukraine.

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 Ukraine’s military to capitulate is the country’s 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: Russia’s 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 Post’s 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 Ukraine’s interim government and the EuroMaidan Revolution, is supporting violent extremism.

REALITY: The West says it’s supporting the democratic aspirations of Ukrainians that were under assault from ousted President Viktor Yanukovych. Now, the West says it stands for Ukraine’s 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 don’t 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 he’s 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 group’s 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. 

There’s 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. 

Kyiv Post chief editor Brian Bonner and associate editor Ivan Verstyuk can be reached at, respectively.


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: brianbonner; crimea; evilempire; ivanverstyuk; kremlin; lies; neosoviets; putin; putinsbuttboys; russia; ukraine
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It is clear the Russian propaganda is in full force trying to shape the coverage of their invasion of the Crimea (and Ukraine).

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.

1 posted on 03/06/2014 5:11:38 AM PST by Texas Fossil
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To: Texas Fossil

Which country interferes more in the internal affairs of foreign countries, Russia or the United States?

2 posted on 03/06/2014 5:13:31 AM PST by ilovesarah2012
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To: Texas Fossil

The Russians need breathing room. If we just let them have the Crimea, we can have peace in our time. /sarcasm

3 posted on 03/06/2014 5:17:22 AM PST by wolfpat (Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. -- Cicero)
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To: wolfpat

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.

4 posted on 03/06/2014 5:27:04 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: ilovesarah2012

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.

5 posted on 03/06/2014 5:30:28 AM PST by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: Texas Fossil

My point is America has done bad things, too. And we’re supposed to be the good guys.

6 posted on 03/06/2014 5:34:24 AM PST by ilovesarah2012
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To: wolfpat

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.

7 posted on 03/06/2014 5:35:59 AM PST by ilovesarah2012
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To: Texas Fossil

And who overthrew a constitutionally elected government?

8 posted on 03/06/2014 5:41:15 AM PST by McGruff (Every night has it's dawn.)
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To: ilovesarah2012


9 posted on 03/06/2014 5:41:51 AM PST by McGruff (Every night has it's dawn.)
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To: McGruff

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.

10 posted on 03/06/2014 5:48:46 AM PST by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: ilovesarah2012

Nothing like a whiff of relativism in the morning. (I used to remember when only libs believed in it).

11 posted on 03/06/2014 6:02:56 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

I trust Putin more than Obama. At least Putin looks out for his country.

12 posted on 03/06/2014 6:04:27 AM PST by ilovesarah2012
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To: Texas Fossil

Your source is about as believable as Pravda. I’m sure they could come up with their own set of myths.

13 posted on 03/06/2014 6:05:46 AM PST by McGruff (Every night has it's dawn.)
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To: ilovesarah2012

Which is another way of saying, “because I do not trust Obama, I trust everyone else.”

14 posted on 03/06/2014 6:07:47 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: 1rudeboy

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.

15 posted on 03/06/2014 6:09:39 AM PST by ilovesarah2012
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To: McGruff
Hey, now . . . whenever someone posts some BS from Russia Today or Voice of Russia, our russophiles shrug it off by saying "but MSNBC*" (as if that legitimizes the former). Why such scrutiny of the Kiev Post?

*another relativistic argument

16 posted on 03/06/2014 6:10:29 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: Texas Fossil

I don’t see the point in wringing our hands over it when the USA wont do anything that matters to impact the situation.

17 posted on 03/06/2014 6:13:01 AM PST by listenhillary (Courts, law enforcement, roads and national defense should be the extent of government)
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To: ilovesarah2012
I trust Putin more than Obama. At least Putin looks out for his country.

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.

18 posted on 03/06/2014 6:20:08 AM PST by FreeReign
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To: McGruff

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.

19 posted on 03/06/2014 6:44:21 AM PST by Texas Fossil (Texas is not where you were born, but a Free State of Heart, Mind & Attitude!)
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To: ilovesarah2012
...and you can't tell the difference?

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.

20 posted on 03/06/2014 6:45:06 AM PST by gogeo (If you are Tea Party, the Republican Party does not want you.)
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