Russian Media Trumpeting Poroshenko’s Fall to Right Sector
Extraordinary events of 10-14 July in Mukacheve, Zakarpattia region, gave the Russian TV-people dealing with the ‘Ukrainian matter’ the facts and videos that would nourish the myths of ‘Nazi threat’ and upcoming ‘anarchy’ in Ukraine.
11-23 July RTR, NTV, Zvezda and LifeNews dedicated more attention to the western region of Ukraine than to the ‘self-declared republics of DPR/LPR’. Citing of the Right Sector’s statements overwhelmed the mentions of Donetsk and Luhansk separatist leaders.
So the central Russian channels created an informational ‘bubble’: hyperbolized event and inflated expectations of its consequences. The Mukacheve events were presented as a herald and trigger of new social and political turmoil in Ukraine.
It is hard to tell what was the catalyst for boosting of the Right Sector’s role: the repetition of propaganda clichés that were made back at the time of Euromaidan or the use of multiple statements of the most radical organization. Nevertheless we have to pay tribute to the Russian manipulators. They have estimated and forecasted the tough response of Right Sector activists to the actions of the authorities. The open threatening by RS speakers against the law-enforcement bodies and the government, and the equally primitive threats by the authorities representatives in return supported the scenario of ‘new split’, new turn of ‘civil war’ predicted by the Russian TV.
RTR-Vesti, Vesti, 19.07.2015, 22:00
“This week the extremist organization Right Sector has finally shown itself as an independent military force that does not relate itself to the Ukrainian authorities and, moreover, does not obey it. The fighters and deputies in Mukacheve are reported to have failed sharing the smuggling manger. This was the first time that the neo-Nazis threatened President Poroshenko with murder. They said literally: he can finish his days in the dark cellar. In his turn, Poroshenko promised to declare the radicals the terrorists. At this point Yarosh got involved. He said: his comrades are not satisfied with the whole system of Ukrainian authorities. And it won’t take long to resolve this matter.
… “I see that the President of Ukraine is a round peg in a square hole: he is no good as a commander in chief or as an efficient national leader. I believe, and I am going to bring this matter to the meeting of Right Sector, it is high time to talk about the President’s resignation, the dissolution of Parliament and, respectively, resignation of Government,’ said Dmytro Yarosh, the deputy of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the leader of national radical movement Right Sector.”
The Right Sector’s idea to organize non-confidence referendum and to establish voting preparation units in every region played up to the Russians. Deliberately or not, the right radicals started talking with the Opposition Bloc unanimously, the latter also called to dismiss the government, dissolve the parliament and reboot all authorities. And this voice was reproduced by the same channels.
Furthermore, the Russians stooped to use the leading separatist speakers to promote the RS. E.g., Basurin, ‘DPR’s general officer commanding’, one on the talking heads of ‘DPR’, told the Channel One and Vesti (13.07.15) that “the Right Sector’s battalions made for Kyiv from the front line”. Kariakin, ‘head of people’s council of LPR’ warned that the Right Sector was going to shoot Poroshenko if the war stops (Ren-TV, 17.07.15). And ‘LPR leader’ Zakharchenko said (LifeNews, 18.07.15) that ‘he started respecting the Right Sector’ for beating up of gays in Lviv and their desire to remove Poroshenko from the office after the Mukacheve shootout.
The irresponsible politicians and journalists that decided to make use of Mukacheve crisis for their benefit and played up to the Russian propaganda include:
Yurii Boiko of Opposition Bloc, he stated that the authorities caused the war and collapse in the country: “The Mukacheve events are the example of developments in the country” (Vesti, 12 and 14 July);
Yuliia Tymoshenko, saying that “the law-enforcements structures are the same armed gangs as fighters” (Vesti of 13 July with reference to Channel 112);
Journalist Maksim Ravreba who forecasted “the beginning of civil war between those who came in power. This will split Ukraine in disperse particles” (Channel One, 13 July);
Artem Skoropadskyi, press-secretary of Right Sector, for the threats “to direct reserve battalions to the Administration of the President or to the Ministry of Interior” (Channel One, 13 July) as well as for the threat with “new revolution and execution” (Vesti, 15 July);
Leader of Right Sector Dmytro Yarosh for the intent to create “own Central Election Committee and vote separately all over Ukraine” (NTV, 21 July).
There are also other messages amid the general information campaign promoting the ‘nationalist revolution threat’. By the way, some stories of Russian TV-channels used the materials and comments of the journalists of Channel 112 to make their conclusions look ‘unbiased’:
- Hungarians and Ruthenians advance the struggle for Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia) independence after the Mukacheve events (syncs of ‘Petro Getzko, coordinator of on-line Ruthenian movement, prime-minister of the Republic of Pidkarpattia Rus’ and ‘Vash Zoltan, representative of the Hungarian and Ruthenian anti-mobilization movement, head of the social network group ‘Zakarpattia is not Ukraine’” in RTR-Vesti on 13 July);
- the Mukacheve events will cross out the Ukraine’ hopes to visa-free regime and approximation to the EU (stories on Channel One on 12 July, Vesti);
- Right Sector is engaged in banditry and robbery for their self-seeking purposes (quoting Gennadii Moskal by Channel One and RTR, 21 July);
- volunteer battalions were split into two irreconcilable camps after the conflict in Mukachevo (stories of LifeNews on 13-14 July);
- the Right Sector’s fighters would do not hesitate to crimes against children (stories about taking of a fifth-grader hostage on RTR, NTV LifeNews on 13 July based on the materials of Channel 112).
In such information presentation, only the hostage of a schoolkid follows the storyline of propaganda for the Russian viewer who was consuming the stories about ‘crimes of punishers’ for over a year. The other stories are rather for the Ukrainian audience that is favorable to Russia or did not make up their mind yet.
That is to say that the Russian propagandists intensify their brainwashing efforts. Their probable objective is to contribute to the victory of pro-Russia politicians at the oncoming local election in regions where the Russian TV-channels are still broadcast.
The open trolling of representatives of the authorities, major political forces of the country indicate the purposeful nature of such actions. They resort to almost all manipulations: reference to reliable sources of information, repetition of the outdated information, calling names, half-truth, and statement of ‘facts’.
The targets of information attacks are: Petro Poroshenko (a story where Zhyrinovski offers to exchange the arrested Roshen plant in Lipetsk with the factory in Kostopil, Russia TV, 13 July), Mariya Gaidar (stories about contradictions between her former statements with the current position on Vesti on 20 July and on Channel One on 26 July), Mikheil Saakashvili (about the conflict with Kolomoiskii’s man Boris Filatov, NTV on 20 July, about the involvement in corruption,Vesti on 16 July), the new governor of Luhansk oblast Georgiy Tuka (stories relating Tuka to the assassination of Oles Buzyna on Channel One, 22 and 26 July), Eka Zguladze and David Sakvarelidze (a story about their involvement in corruption in Georgia on Russa-TV, 12 July), Arseniy Yatsenyuk (failed PR-event in Washington, Vesti, 15 July).
With view to discredit the Ukrainian servicemen and Ukrainian authorities, the Russian TV-journalists keep distorting the sense of western publications about Ukraine. For example, the story of Channel One of 15 July quotes the article of The New York Times about the Chechens seeing actions alongside the Right Sector. And the unbiased article is turned into the anti-Ukrainian attack:
“One of the pieces of American The New York Times draws attention that Chechens joined the Right Sector in Ukraine. It tells that some of them had migrated to Germany, Denmark and other European countries as refugees. The journalists note that they stay in Ukraine with the Government’s consent.
The army suffering of corruption and underfinancing has proven to be inefficient. So Ukrainians are glad to have the support from Chechen Islamists.
“He leads the ‘Sheikh Mansur group’ named after the Chechen leader of 18th century, it subordinates to the Right Sector the nationalist Ukrainian militia. He said that they are on good terms with the nationalists because they also love their motherland and hate Russians,” the periodical says.
The article also mentions other so-called volunteer battalions, like Azov, the American journalists call it neo-Nazi.”
On the other hand, some politicians ‘deserved’ the time on Russian channels due to their ‘anti-Russian’ projects and populism. In this way they make the false image of ‘real’ defenders of Ukraine. In particular, free ad was granted to Oleh Liashko (a story about confiscation of the property of the Russian Federation and its residents in favor of Ukraine, Zvezda, 14 July), Yuliia Tymoshenko (a story about the demand to terminate the Minsk Accords, Zvezda, 17 July).
In the second half of July the Russian TV-channels were elaborating – for the domestic use – the coverage of two storylines about Ukraine.
First, on the occasion of the anniversary of the Malaysia Airlines crash, the Russians were reminded who ‘actually’ hit the Boeing. Principal methods:
- the syncs of ‘witnesses’ who ‘saw’ or ‘heard’ the Ukrainian forces plane lying near Boeing;
- contrasting of Holland investigation to the versions of Russian experts (developers of BUR air-defence system, military pilots) that the surface-to-air missile could have been launched only from the Ukrainian territory or only the Ukrainian military air forces could have been in the crash area;
- the emotional reference that the DPR and Russia residents commemorate the victims (suppressing similar activities in Ukraine).
Second, TV-viewers are told that the Ukrainian authorities deliberately undermine the Minsk Accords and regularly break the cease-fire regime. The marginal channels TV-Center, Ren-TV and LifeNews keep reproducing reports about shelling of residential areas and civilian casualties with reference to ‘DPR/LPR’.
All in all, one has the impression that the fascists are at the edge of taking control over Kyiv, and the government in place and politicians are hostile towards Russia, ‘rebels’ and little people of the ‘republics’ who want to live in peace. It looks like a prelude to another ‘peace enforcement’ operation, doesn’t it?
The monitoring is carried out by NGO “Тelekrytyka” supported by the “Internews Network”.